NMA Email Newsletter: Issue #91

Ticket Fighting 101

Molly Snyder posted about her ticket fighting adventures recently at MinnPost.com. Molly felt she received an unfair ticket for making a right turn in a construction zone in Ramsey County, Minnesota and so she wrote a blow-by-blow account of her encounter with the local traffic justice system.

As she approached the court house, Molly carried photos of the intersection where she made the right turn in question, a copy of the Minnesota law that covered how and where to signal a turn, and Minnesota DOT statues detailing traffic signage requirements. In other words, Ms. Snyder was loaded for bear.

She then plopped her research on the desk of a clerk who proceeded to deflate her dreams of a dismissal. The following exchange between Molly and the clerk is verbatim from her post.

Oh, I don’t need to see those [the site photos]. I know, I know. Plenty of others have brought them in. They don’t matter. So here are your options, you have three and you’re not going to like any of them.

Option 1, your ticket is originally $131. You can pay $50 more, bringing the total to $181 and you won’t admit guilt and it won’t go on your record.

Option 2, I can reduce your original ticket from $131 to $81 but you will be admitting guilt and it will go on your record for five years. Your insurance will go up at least $10 a month for five years.

Option 3, you can go to court. But if you lose, it will be at least $300 and I can tell you that you won’t win.

But the signage didn’t follow Minnesota signage laws.

Oh, those don’t apply in construction zones.

Wait, so while my fines will double if I screw up in a construction zone, the laws to help prevent me from breaking those laws don’t apply?


Okay, what about the fact that a construction truck was block the sign?

That was just circumstantial. Fifteen minutes later that wouldn’t necessarily have been the case. You know, it’s your obligation to know the rules of the road. For instance, in Minnesota, if you are driving somewhere and there is no sign posted, you have to default to driving 30 mph.

But what if you do that and get pulled over because it’s actually a minimum speed there of 40?

Well, it’s your responsibility to know.

But this was a construction site and the temporary sign went up that day. How was I supposed to know?

I told you that you wouldn’t like them, I am just telling you the options.

Molly took the $181 (Option 1) deal, which is exactly what the three options were designed to coerce, without so much as a court appearance or a discussion with the prosecutor.

Moral of the story:
Court house employees are not your friend or ally, and anything they tell you regarding your rights or options, no matter how matter-of-factly, needs to be challenged.

Here is a link to Molly’s full post.

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