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Anyway to get rid of this ticket? Do I have a bonus as a foreigner?

Discussion in 'Speeding Tickets, Traffic & Moving Violations' started by JohnBB, Nov 13, 2019.

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  1. JohnBB

    JohnBB Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hey guys,

    I'm a German guy and I've been on vacation in the US in August traveling all the way from New York to Los Angeles by car, stopping in Washington, Chicago, Mount Rushmore, Badlands, Yellowstone, Salt Lake City, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Yosemite and San Francisco and many more and before I start let me tell you that you have such a beautiful country..!!:)

    In Utah I got stopped by the police who accused me of speeding because I was going 12mph too fast...
    I did not understand many things but he checked my speed coming towards me and not behind me and the speed measured was probably even incorrect since I set the cruise control to only 11 miles over the limit and it's unlikely the car has been driving faster than the cruise control..

    Now I thought I can argue that in Utah exceeding the speed limit is legal as long as it is considered safe - the road was straight, shoulders on both sides perfect weather conditions but the judge did not want to agree on that and dismiss the case... :oops:

    Now I flew home without paying and we had a long email conversation but it seems to be a dead end...

    Therefore, I have a few questions:

    1. Is it legal to not make me aware of my rights ? I did not sign anything...
    2. What can I do? I'm a student with a huge student debt and I can either pay those 150,- USD fine or buy proper Christmas gifts and I really would love to do the second. .
    3. What happens if I don't pay at all? Can they charge me in Germany? What happens if I enter the US again but not in Utah but e.g. in New York or Los Angeles?
    4. Is there some kind of limitation period such that the case will automatically be dismissed without fine after a couple of months or years?

    Many thanks for your ideas
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Pay the money and give home-baked cookies as Christmas gifts.
     
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  3. JohnBB

    JohnBB Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Okay that's an opportunity ;);)

    But anyone can answer my questions maybe?
     
  4. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Active Member

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    Your English seems to be pretty good. You may have noticed the signs said, "Speed Limit" not "Speed Suggestion".

    1. There was no requirement to read you any rights when they gave you a ticket. An while I'm surprised you didn't have to sign the ticket the fact that you didn't means little.

    2. Pay the ticket or don't your choice.

    3. A bench warrant for your arrest will sooner or later be issued. As long as you aren't in the US you likely have nothing to worry about. If you come back to the US you could be arrested.

    4. More like many years.

    P.S. There is much more chance that your cruise control wasn't keeping the speed than there was an error in the speed measuring device. And they can clock you coming, going or stopped.
     
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  5. flyingron

    flyingron Active Member

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    So, by your own admission, you were speeding and you're only quibbling over 1MPH over what you said you were doing and what the officer said? Your assumption that the car wouldn't go faster than the cruise control speed (especially only 1 MPH) is ludicrous.

    To answer the questions:

    1. No, there's no obligation to tell you anything. Despite what you gleaned from watching American cop shows, there's no obligation for the officer to go out spouting out Miranda rights on any arrest.

    2. Many courts in Utah have payment plans. Frankly, I think it is disingenous that you can speed all over multiple states and suddenly are so destitute you can't pay a modest fine.

    3. They most likely can't reach you in Germany, but if you are ever stopped again in the US it can be sticky for you.

    4. No, there is no limitation period that charges magically disappear.
     
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  6. Red Kayak

    Red Kayak Active Member

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    "Autobahn" is a German word. The US does not have one.
    The German word for "speed limit" has 25 letters, which is perhaps why they don't have as strict speed limits on the Autobahn.

    What rights do you think you needed to be made aware of?! You were driving in the US - you're expected to obey the traffic laws of the country you are driving in. Driving is a privilege, not a right, and that privilege is contingent on being aware of some of the local rules.

    The speed limit is the speed limit. There are times when you can get away with going over the speed limit... And there are times when the speed limit is enforced. "My cruise control was set to only 11 mph above the speed limit" is an admission of guilt, not a valid legal defense when cited for speeding.

    You can choose not to pay, but there can be fees and fines associated with that. There can even be an eventual warrant for your arrest. This would not affect your ability to enter the US. Rather, it is more likely to pop up in the system at an inopportune time.

    Find creative and meaningful ways to express you care at Christmas. For example, a "coupon book for tasks" might be appreciated by some of the people on your list.

    How to Make a Coupon Book for Tasks
     
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  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If I accept your representation to be true (why wouldn't I, huh), you ADMIT to violating Utah speed laws.

    Again, mate, you voluntarily ADMIT to speeding a mere 11 MPH over the limit, versus 12 MPH.

    You're attempting to something that is impossible, citing a distinction without a difference.

    Why do I say that?

    THIS should answer THAT for you, my friend.

    The fines for a speeding violation in Utah are:
    $120 for 1 to 10 miles per hour over the limit.
    $150 for 11 to 15 miles per hour over the limit.

    Whether it was 11 MPH or 12 MPH, the fine is $150 plus court costs and fees.

    That, mate, is a distinction without a difference.

    To further clarify "distinction without a difference":

    A distinction without a difference is a type of argument where one word or phrase is preferred to another, but results in no difference to the argument as a whole.

    It is particularly used when a word or phrase has connotations associated with it that one party to an argument prefers to avoid.

    You have two choices here, my friend.

    You can plead guilty and pay the fine.
    Once the fine has been paid (greedy governments dream up exotic ways to get your money), the matter is done.
    You can one day, should you choose to do so, return to the USA without any legal issues.

    You can do nothing and return to Germany.
    If you choose this solution, you could encounter issues if you try to rent a car from the same agency that rented the car you were driving when cited.
    If someone else rented the car, that person could face issues in future rentals from that agency.
    In addition, you could also get stopped if you ever transit Utah in the future for the "speeding citation" and "failure to appear".
    It is highly doubtful that your German license would be impacted.

    Choose wisely, as choices always have consequences.
     
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  8. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    The OP only admits to setting the cruise control 11 MPH over. He's really got no idea if he was 11 or 12 over and is merely relying on an electromechanical device's setting. In fact, the best he can come up with is that it's "unlikely" he was traveling that fast...so the only actual observation of his speed that we have is that of the officer.

    I don't get it - the guy went to court and was found guilty and THEN decided to ignore the judgment. Why even bother going to court in the first place?
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I was only responding to what he admitted to doing, insofar, as the citation is concerned.

    The point I attempted to make is that OP's argument was TO ME "a distinction without a difference" as regards Utah law and the fine for a violation.

    OP claims he was cited for 12 MPH over.
    Utah law reveals the fine to be the same for exceeding a speed limit "$150 for 11 to 15 miles per hour over the limit.

    I learned to eliminate the minutiae in an effort to focus on legal elements of the crime (or the law).

    We all learn differently and express ourselves differently.

    It can be a challenge to communicate, which is why both parties have to work at it in order to reach an understanding.

    To me, our laws are about resolution, not conflict.

    I've always admired our founders and all of those who came before us for the gift we were given, but chide those among us who believe they know best.

    In all actuality, he might never return to the US.
    For a seeding violation, legally speaking, as long as he stays away from Utah; the citation will never impact him.

    I did note that it could impact his ability to rent from that agency, or the ability of the renter, if rented by another party.

    The court appearance was likely made thinking he could use his nationality to assist him in getting an admonishment, rather than a financial sanction.

    I often see people use a handicap, an ailment, an affliction, an addiction to excuse a choice or avoid responsibility for that choice.

    I suppose that is the way I'd classify the court appearance.

    Foreigner or native, most people seem to ignore traffic school to dispose of traffic citations/ Too much work for some, I suppose.

    Humans are an odd lot, that's all I know.
    I'll never understand what motivates people to consistently make poor choices, even when they KNOW the outcome from making that choice in the past.
     
  10. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I cannot (and will not) disagree with you on this :)

    The OP's cavalier attitude about the laws in the country he claims to hold in such high esteem irks me.
     
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  11. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I have told prospective clients, clients, and friends; that I will never use my law degree and skills to help anyone guilty of something HOW to avoid or evade that law.

    I'd consider it for myself.
    But, I'd never do stupid stuff, so I'll never be faced with that choice.

    People are also bull spitters, serial bull spitters.
    When the flattery begins (as you noted the about OP's comments towards the USA), make sure NOT to get my clothing, skin, hair, and shoes soiled.

    Truth be told, US citizens speak flowery praise about the USA, too.
    Yet, when its time to pay the price, they sing another tune.
    I think that is called "damning with faint praise".
     
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  12. JohnBB

    JohnBB Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Wow I did not expect so much response from you guys, so thank you very much first of all;

    Also, I noted that you quite can not understand my attitude so let me explain it a little bit so if I am allowed to, I will go a little bit into detail:

    1. Germany is the country of cars - when I am on the autobahn, I usually drive around 240 kmh which is equivalent to 150 mph I think - not to prove something but just to be faster (I also admit that during the day there is too much traffic so it is hard to cruise with that speed so I prefer to drive in the evening)
    2. Germany also has speed limits just not on most autobahns - but if you drive 20 kmh too fast (equivalent to 12 mph) the fine is 30 € and not 150 € , so from my point of view it is ridiculously high
    3. I even read that your insurance premium goes up if you are caught for speeding which I can hardly believe - in Germany you premium goes up only if you cause a damage, i.e. have an accident..
    4. In Germany it is not allowed to measure the speed of a car that passes by as the inaccuracies are too high
    5. In Germany for each measurement you subtract a tolerance such that the final speed they "caught" you with is the speed you must have driven 100% for sure - if you can prove that this is not the case, the case will be dismissed
    6. And in the US it seems like a cop needs to stop you - then, afterwards, he can decide whether he gives you a warning or a ticket; While I generally love the idea that the cop has a certain power to also dismiss the case if he feels like he is doing the right thing, it is, however, not objective and it is hard to get used to this fact

    I did not write all of this to make a difference between the US or Germany and I don't want to say that things are better somewhere else;
    I just wanted you guys to maybe understand me a little bit why I think and act the way I do..
     
  13. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the update - I'll be sure to remember these things next time I'm in Germany.
     
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  14. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    First of all, 11 mph over is still speeding. Second, the difference between 11 and 12 mph over the speed limit is legally irrelevant. Third, you're assuming that the cruise control and the car's speedometer were precisely accurate. However, just because your speedometer says you're going 76 mph and that's what you set the cruise control for doesn't mean you aren't actually going 77 mph.

    LOL! You can make any argument you like, but this is a legally incorrect argument.

    Who are "we"? You and who else?

    Yes. The only reason for a cop to "make [you] aware of [your] rights" would be if you were in custody (which you were when you were stopped for a traffic violation) and being interrogated (which haven't indicated you were and likely weren't) and if the cop wanted to use things you said against you in court (which likely won't be the case).

    I'm sure you can do lots of things. As concerns the ticket,

    1. You can try and fight it. However, that will require that you either fly back to the U.S. to attend court or hire an attorney, either of which will cost you a lot more than $150. It also seems pointless since you admit to the violation.

    2. You can pay the ticket.

    3. You can not pay the ticket. Maybe you plan to return to Utah at some point in the future. However, unless you do, this is likely never to become an issue for you. The authorities in Utah aren't going to hunt you down in Germany to try and make you pay.

    I'm not sure who "they" are, but as mentioned above, the Utah authorities aren't going to come after you in Utah, and it is a virtual certainty that absolutely nothing will happen unless you happen to get pulled over or otherwise detained for another crime/suspected crime in Utah.

    No. You leaving the jurisdiction tolls any applicable limitations period.
     
  15. JohnBB

    JohnBB Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Oh and it seems like there was some irritation about the exact events: I have been there in the end of August but of course I had no time to go to the court since I would have needed to drive back and I wanted to go to Zion national park and then to Grand Canyon so I wrote a letter to the judge and since then have been in contact with them by email
     
  16. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    This doesn't make you look better. It makes you look worse. You chose to ignore an ORDER to appear in court because you wanted to go see the sights.
     
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  17. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    You wanting to engage in a leisure activity does not mean you "had no time to go to the court." While that's certainly understandable, and while there was never an order to appear in court, none of this matters.
     
  18. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Yes, I enjoyed the autobahn.

    At one time, Montana had no "posted" speed limit, preferring to allow drivers to motor along at what was safe and prudent.

    Texas has a maximum of 85 MPH on a couple highways.

    Speed, per se, has never been a problem.

    The biggest problems are the human, and/or the dilapidated vehicle.

    Another problem is poorly maintained roads, and roads with traffic in excess of the capacity for which they were designed (too many people).
     
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  19. JohnBB

    JohnBB Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Well first of all, this is incorrect; There has been cases where people got their tickets dismissed because they plead on the following law:

    “A person may not operate a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the existing conditions, giving regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.”

    Given that the conditions were good some people got away driving faster than the actual speed limit;

    Okay I got stopped around 5 so I would not have made it to the court today and then it was the weekend so I would have had to stay 3 days in the middle of nowhere just to appear at some court because of a speed ticket? That's insane, isn't it?

    I mean would you if you were in Germany? Don't visit Munich but rather stay three days in a village and wait for the court to open?

    And you do not understand one thing: Cruise controls do not work properly; If I set it 11 mph above the speed limit, I might as well be just 5 mph over the speed limit; Cruise controls are obliged (at least here) to not drive faster than the speed they are set to but as well might drive slower;


    EDIT: You are right and the roads in the US are really in a bad shape sometimes (especially more east, they get better the longer you drive to the west, at least that was my impression)

    But the car itself was a rental with 15000 miles so pretty new, the road was perfectly flat, wide, shoulders, low traffic (no interstate but just one lane per direction, I think 65 was the limit)

    Is it possible that I reached my post limit and I cannot write any moe messages??

    -----------------------

    Since I cannot post more than 5 messages I'll provide ever answer here:

    Okay here is the link:
    Utah Speed Limits, Laws, and Fines

    and it even says:
    Utah has prima facie speed laws. This means that a driver is presumed to be breaking the speed law, however the driver may argue that they were driving safely despite exceeding the limit. Alternatively, a driver may choose to go to court and claim their innocence based upon one of the following:

    The driver may oppose the determination of speed. In order to claim this defense a driver must know how his or her speed was determined and then learn how to disprove its accuracy
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
  20. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Provide the link to the "cut n' paste" , please.
     
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