I know how the system is set up and fight traffic citations. I encourage others to plead not guilty.
Beating a Speeding Ticket
Note: These tips and suggestions work in the state of Texas. Your state (or country) may have different rules and regulations, and the lawyer fees will be different.
Based on my experience, beating a speeding ticket in Texas can be simple if you follow a few steps...
- Let the officer talk. Be silent as possible. Why? The officer writes information on the back of the ticket. Don't give them information that could be used against you. Also, you need to write basic information on paper or your electronic device: The address of the traffic stop, time of day, etc. The information may be wrong on the ticket.
- Be certain the officer has your correct mailing address. PO Box is acceptable. Don't admit to moving months ago. There's a fine for not updating your address on your driver's license.
- Get a lawyer. Believe me, it's cheap! I found a lawyer in the Thrifty Nickel for the first offense. The second citation Woodrow Bean III sent me a postcard. You might find an attorney on the various links provided by Hubpages and its sponsors.
I Tried by Myself—At First
I tried it by myself at first, just to see how the system was set up. When you receive the ticket there's a court date listed on the bottom with the courtroom location. In my case I was directed to go to the one in the Northeast part of town (El Paso, TX) on Dyer Street. It's a fairly new building, inside the police station ... hard to miss.
When you walk in, there's a room marked Municipal Court. Or Traffic Court, don't remember, exactly. Anyway, you'll enter this room and a large individual will help you. The bailiff. Then you'll wait in line behind ten to fifteen people. Don't worry, it's fast.
This isn't the trial. It's not even the pre-hearing. It's called an arraignment. I've posted the link and a video from the El Paso Municipal Website and Youtube Channel below. You'll have an arraignment judge with a clerk and the prosecutor. (As of January 2019 you can have a video arraignment instead of an in-person one—see below.)
At this point you'll hear other cases... one person didn't have a driver's license. I felt sorry for him. He didn't understand the system and needed legal representation.
Anyway, when it's your turn, the assistant will present the charge or charges to the arraignment judge, he or she will ask a few questions and then you'll plead: "guilty," "not guilty," or "defensive driving."
Plead not guilty. You can ask for defense driving anytime during the legal process. Right now it's too early.
The arraignment judge cannot make decisions or hear your plea. There is no trial at this moment. This judge can accept your plea of guilty, or not guilty. They have the system set up to process traffic cases fast to receive your money quick.
After I pled not guilty, I looked for and hired an attorney. My court dates conflicted with my work. See more of this story below the El Paso Municipal Court Video.
El Paso Municipal Court—Questions About Arraignment
Official Video From The El Paso Municipal Court About Video Arraignment At Police Substations
Why a Lawyer?
Good question! Here's a few reasons.
1. It's easy. They handle all of the proceedings. Pre-trial, continuances, trial, jury selection (if it goes that far), etc. You don't have to be there... Sign a piece of paper giving the lawyer the power to represent you. That's it!
2. It's cheap. Attorney fee: Forty-five or fifty dollars ($25-$50). That's all!
3. You don't know the system. That's the truth!
Most tickets will cost at least $185, more for multiple violations.
The first attorney I used for my so-called "failure to stop" violation was Rudy Perez on Montana Street in Central El Paso. It was quick and easy, the final trial date was the day after the 2008 Super Bowl very early Monday morning in a temporary building. You see, the courthouse was under construction. My case was dismissed. Don't know why. My guess? The policeman didn't appear. Cost: $50.
The second lawyer was Woodrow Bean III. He sent me a postcard and I paid him by credit card on the phone. Cost: $25 for my wife (no seat belt ticket). It got dismissed, no cost. Update March 11, 2021: Now it's $30 for one basic municipal ticket. Justice of the Peace is double at $60.
The process took about seven months for each citation.
I have not received a traffic ticket in a long time. Although my license has been upgraded to class A commercial with restrictions, I didn't take the truck driving test in Dallas; I want to be a Sprinter driver.
Now I did get pulled over in Juarez, Mexico, for passing a police officer fast on a side road when he had someone pulled over. I explained to him that the police in El Paso don't like people that drive slow and rubberneck. That's why I passed him fast. No mordida (bribe) needed. The ticket was only 5 dollars and I went to the police station the next day and paid it.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 06, 2015:
Here when we get a ticket, we keep it until the traffic police announce there is a discount period, that is when we pay at half price
Robert (author) from West Texas on September 06, 2014:
New situation - Got a ticket for expired inspection and my wife for not wearing seat belt. Called attorney Woodrow Bean III and for 25 dollars he got my wife's ticket dismissed. Now he won't call or send you letters about the status of your case. You have to call or watch the status on the El Paso municipal court website.
srpatterson from Dublin, Ohio on July 12, 2009:
I tried one time and got the ticket down to a no points violation. There were many of defendents that got off cause the officers did not show for the case.
Robert (author) from West Texas on June 19, 2009:
Here's more info at Forbes. They talk about deferred adjudication, rescheduling court date, and filing discovery request... read "In Depth".