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Posted: 7/29/2003 6:13:47 AM EDT
OK, I got busted! No bones about it. I screwed up and I know it. I was out on my motorcycle last evening. I ride a sport bike, but don't consider myself a stunter. I don't habitually speed and generally consider myself to be a fairly reserved rider.

I was out cursing about 2 miles from my house on a fairly rural road in Bucks County, PA. I was not paying attention to my speed, nor the fact that I had crossed into a 25 mph zone in Pendel Twp. I never saw the cop or even attempted to alter my speed. When I was pulled over, the officer informed me that he clocked me at 57 in a 25. I was truly shocked. I would have guessed my speed at around 45 and certainly did not realize I was in a 25 mph zone. When the officer returned with my citation, he informed me that I should request a trial because anything over 30 mph is an automatic 15 day suspension and a $200.00 fine. He also said he would talk to the judge and see about getting the charges reduced, lower the points, wave the suspension, etc because I had been polite and not given him a hard time.

So this is where I stand on Tuesday morning. I'm not really sure what to do next. Before yesterday I had a clean record for the past 8 years. Not even a parking ticket. The cop said he would try to help me out, but if that were the case, why not just write the ticket for 3mph lower, and then I would not be facing this suspension. I probably would not request a trial, just pay the fine and be done with it. The cop was just doing his job, and I was breaking the law, but these penalties seem a bit steep for first time offender. Should I just suck it up and pleed guilty, mail my fine, and serve my suspension? Should I throw myself on the mercy of the court?

The fine, and suspension don't bother me, it's the points that scare me. A huge increase in insurance could make riding economically unfeasible. I made a mistake that caused no harm or damage to anyone. Does this mean I should have to give up riding?

Does anyone know how the procedures work for traffic court in Bucks County? Will I have the opportunity to meet with a prosecutor prior to the trial? Possibly work out a plea barging? Or will this be like Philly? Show up to the courthouse, wait for your name to be called, go before the judge, enter a plea, and await a summary judgment? Should I lawyer up?

Any knowledge, experience, incites, or advice anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your time...
-Matthew
Link Posted: 7/29/2003 10:11:19 AM EDT
Hey M4 Sorry to hear about your misfortune last night. I'm not from Bucks Co , so I can't help you with what court is like . I would request the trial if only to get your points reduced. Just tell the judge your story you never know he might cut you a break. Good luck and hope it works out for the best.
Link Posted: 7/29/2003 6:13:10 PM EDT
Hey M4, BE CAREFULL the penndel police are corrupt pricks!Do not listen to them, if they wanted 'help you out' it would have happened then and there. I would plea not guilty and request a trial.Most of the time the cop will make you a deal at court Before the hearing.One good thing is Judge Falcone would hear the case and he is an honest, fair judge. Remember, if you go to trial say 'I know I was going 45mph for fact'. Everybody knows that cop sits in Big Martys parking lot, impossible for him to clock that speed from that angle period! I have been to that traffic court recently and know judge Falcone knows penndels cops are lying a$$holes!
Link Posted: 7/29/2003 6:19:29 PM EDT
Oh yea, never admit guilt in court!Just reaffirm your belief of 45mph, that makes the cop look shady.You were probably going 45 but he just wanted butter you up with that 57mph b.s.to scare you.No lawyer needed, he would just make it more expensive, and would piss off the judge.(you dont want that!) Well good luck! If you have any other questions let me know.
Link Posted: 7/29/2003 10:58:44 PM EDT
Ok I'm from Far Northeast Philly and I am very familiar with what goes on in Pendel. I've been in front of a judge in Pendel about a speeding ticket. My advice is plead innocent, goto court, talk to the cop and before the hearing. Most likely what he is going to do is agree to let you plead guilty to a lower speed that will not require a suspension and will be less points. This to me is your best option. You are not gonna win in court if you plead not guilty. If you were nice to the cop as you said you were he will probably let you plead guilty to 45 MPH. The gov gets their money, you get less points everyone is happy.

You see cops (at least in PA) get credit for any ticket they issue. Weither or not the ticket is overturned does not matter. So if you are a nice guy, they will write you up so they get credit for the pinch and then lower the penalty when you goto court.

This all just re-enforeces the point that SPEEDING TICKETS ARE LITTLE MORE THEN REVEUNE PRODUCERS.
Link Posted: 7/30/2003 12:22:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/30/2003 12:24:18 PM EDT by Princeton]
Probably worth the risk to try to plea to a lesser speed. I believe 30+ over the posted is concidered wreckless driving in PA.

If you find yourself in Pendel in the next few days and see a different cop, might be worthwile asking his opinion. Not all cops are jerk offs!

Have to agree that if the cop truly felt bad and wanted to help out he would have just given you a ticket for a lesser speed then & there. What a prick!

I got stopped years ago for going 105 in a 35mph zone (straight away along NE Phila airport) when I first bought my Camaro. That cop did lower my speed to only 25 mph over the posted speed.

If you have legal assistance through work or otherwise available it would be a good idea to talk to a lawyer. Usually, just having a lawyer present can get reduced sentence. No guarantee though.

The Teamsters union I'm a member in usually has good luck helping its membership with vehicle citations.

Good Luck!
And remember, the Southampton cops aren't much better.
Link Posted: 7/30/2003 8:39:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Princeton:

I got stopped years ago for going 105 in a 35mph zone (straight away along NE Phila airport) when I first bought my Camaro. That cop did lower my speed to only 25 mph over the posted speed.




Norcom Road ? I used to live 5 minutes from there and I'd always put the pedal down on that road.
Link Posted: 7/31/2003 4:12:34 AM EDT
Thanks to everyone for their advice. I knew if there was one place that I could turn to where other people from this area would be looking, it would be here. I think I am just going to request a trial and see what they offer. I spoke with my brother, who is a cop in Indiana, and he recommended against a lawyer. He said that it gives the appearance that this is a regular occurrence and you have a lawyer just to help you get off when you get caught. I’ll see what they offer, and if I’m not getting anywhere, I will request a continuance and then see about a lawyer. One interesting point, my brother indicated that when he is running radar that he calibrates his unit before and after his shift, to ensure the radar unit is operating within spec. Right on my citation, the officer wrote the last calibration of the unit he used as over a month ago. Think this has any merit if I do have to go to trial? Maybe not…Anyway, thanks again, I’ll keep everyone updated.
Link Posted: 7/31/2003 4:40:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/31/2003 4:43:01 AM EDT by Princeton]

Norcom Road ? I used to live 5 minutes from there and I'd always put the pedal down on that road.

It was on the other side of the airport (Decatur, I think) and I always try to keep it under 45mph there now.


Matt
That's interesting advice form your brother. Kinda makes sense. I was talking to a guy at work and he told me that the union lawyers only get involved when there's a chance of loosing your license. Half the guys where I work are truck drivers. They can usually negotiate away the points and any suspension then only the fine is due.

I used to do Tae Kwon Do in Pendel with a Pendel K-9 officer and he was a real nice guy. Unfortunately, its been about 11 years and I don't remember his name and doubt he would even remember me.
Link Posted: 7/31/2003 9:14:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By m4_a3:
Right on my citation, the officer wrote the last calibration of the unit he used as over a month ago. Think this has any merit if I do have to go to trial?



Definately. I'm pretty sure that in PA the radar guns must be calibrated within 30 days for the reading to be valid in court. They usually don't screw something this simple up. But if it is over 30 days on the ticket as you said then I'd look into it.
Link Posted: 8/4/2003 6:21:40 PM EDT
If it was local police that pulled you over they were using a speed timing device not radar. The State Police are the only ones in the state that use radar.

Speed timing devices and Radar need to be calibrated every 60 days in PA. So his was still good.

If he openly told you he would help you out, I would have to assume that he was being honest and he is willing to do so.

I dont work in that county so I have no first hand experience with the Magistrate or PD.

Advice? Plead not guilty, take a hearing, meet with the officer before the hearing, he will find you. Ask him if you can plead guilty to " Traffic Control Devices" which in short means you failed to obey a traffic control device ie.. the speed limit sign. If he says the Magistrate wont do it ask him how low the Magistrate usually lowers the speed... see if he will go for six to ten mph over the limit, this will net you the lowest fine and points.

Oh ya, the Traffic Control section doesnt have any points so try "real hard" to get that one.



Good Luck.

Link Posted: 8/5/2003 9:47:17 AM EDT
Just wanted to add that if things go totally wrong (which I doubt) and you cannot get a break and it looks like you're going to get your license suspended ask about a work license. It basically allows you to drive only to & from work and is available in PA as long as your offense didn't involve a DUI.
Link Posted: 8/5/2003 5:30:29 PM EDT
Yea those Vascar timing devices are only as accurate as his hand on the switch. If he is one second too early on the switch then your speed increases as it shows that you covered the distance quicker than you were actually going. In this borough near me they got those white stripes painted on every main road going in or out of town. So you have to be on the alert. Those white stripes are your first clue that they use Vascar or similiar in any Pa. town.
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