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-cheeto-
WGA Member



Joined: 2007-06-12
Posts: 4538
Location: Appleton, WI

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:04 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Okay, so I have this ticket from the Winnebago County law enforcement. It's nearing time to either pay or show up in court.

I am 100% guilty. If you have not read my posting on inattentive driving on this forum you should check out the picture. There were 2 witnesses that attested to what happened. I have never had a ticket or been in an accident before. I was not speeding and only cited for inattentive driving.

Some questions for anyone out there who has some knowledge on the subject...

I hear a lot of rumors regarding things like, "just showing up will reduce the points or the fine".

Should I just pay the fine if I am guilty?

If I go, will I have any time to explain what happened? Explain how the event has changed me and how I will try my best to never do it again? Would that even help?? Should I go and plead guilty?

I don't mind paying the fine. In fact it puts some closure on this and it is fair punishment for my actions. However, it's those points and the affect on my driving record that I wish I could limit.

Thanks geocachers for any help. Private messages are fine if you don't want to share personal experiences Very Happy
 
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zuma
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-01-30
Posts: 5559
Location: Eau Claire

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:31 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Hi Cheeto,

I would go, as you might get less of a sentence. Besides the points, and fine, the real cost is how your car insurance may go up as a result, so it is worth the time.

When I was younger, I got a deserved speeding ticket, and showed up in court. The cop was unable to show, so the case was dismissed, so if ya show, best case scenario is that ya get a win on something like that. Not real likely, but possible.

Most judges/police officers are aware of the insurance implications, and if you go and make your case honestly, you may very well get a little mercy for the court, and a conviction of a lesser charge, which is the most likely scenario.

And of course, the worse they can do is convict ya of the charge, and you will be no worse off than if you would have not gone to court.

So basically ya have 3 possibilities: A big win, a small win, or a draw if ya go to court. Go to court, it will be an interesting experience. It is kind of fun to see what the riff raff in the courtroom look like and what they get charged with. That alone is enough reason to go.

Let us know how it turns out.

z

_________________
Keep On Cachin In The Free World.

All posts are the opinions of the poster and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the WGA Board of Directors. 
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I M W/U
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-10-17
Posts: 236
Location: Oxford, WI

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:41 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Each county may be different, but in our county you can meet with the DA the day of your court appearance. You check in with the State Trooper or local police or County Deputy, what ever jurisdiction you were in when the accident happened. Sounds like it was a County Deputy. The DA lets you explain what happened. Lets you know what he can do for you. If you are not satisfied with what he tells you, you can always get an attorney or just represent yourself. Admitting guilt is a good start so you are already there and that is always a plus with our DA, and if you are already willing to pay the fine it won't hurt to go discuss it with your County DA and possibly get your points and/or fines reduced. You could call your DA's office and see if the procedure is similar there, the DA's Secretary should be knowledgable in their procedure. And like zuma said they are aware of the insurance situations and you can check out the riff raff. Good Luck.
 
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furfool
WGA Member



Joined: 2007-02-15
Posts: 2665
Location: Granville

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:48 pm Reply with quote Back to top

A lot of small towns have their own muni court. In this case you usually talk to the town attorney and enter your plea. If you plead not guilty, your next stop is the judge to plead your case to. If guilty, they will more likely than not do something to lessen the charge as far as points go, but usually keep the fine where it is. This has been my wife's experience in the only two court dates that she showed up for. A small town wants to handle their own cases because that way they get to keep all of the money from fines. The county may be different in the way that whatever money they take in is usually split between all of the municipalities. Sometimes a big city like Milwaukee may just send a case to county court so that they don't spend money on court costs.
My wife's experiences were "guilty". "Ok. Instead of going 15mph over the posted speed and losing 4 points with an eighty dollar fine, we will reduce it to 10mph over the posted speed and you lose two points with an eighty dollar fine".
If it were me, I would show up. If they offer to reduce your points and even increase the fine a little, I might even make a counteroffer. Say maybe another twenty-five bucks for another point in reduction. The counteroffer would depend on my driving record and maybe muni court vs county. You wouldn't want a counteroffer to appear like a bribe. You might have bigger problems then.
By the way, this is in no way intended to be any kind of legal advice. Just speaking from past experience.
Good luck.

_________________
I\'ve only made one mistake in my life, I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken. 
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-cheeto-
WGA Member



Joined: 2007-06-12
Posts: 4538
Location: Appleton, WI

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:11 am Reply with quote Back to top

Thanks for the info everyone!

It was a town of menasha police officer who responded so I beleive I will be interacting with a town process not county/state.

I have read about showing up for speeding tickets and pleading guilty and such but I wonder about an inattentive driving ticket where my statement says exactly what happened.

One interesting thing about this situation is that my insurance company wanted to know if the other driver tried to avoid my oncoming battle ram. That has put some doubt into my thoughts about 100% at fault which I have claimed it was entirely my fault from the point of the accident. They never "saw" me (at a 4 way stop) which means that they were not paying enough attention either. I am sure this is important from an insurance coverage perspective but not likely to play a role in my case.

I beleive I will be showing up. Any suggestions on whether I should mention "exactly" what i was doing at the time? Very Happy
 
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RSplash40
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-12-23
Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:30 am Reply with quote Back to top

Hate to be the negative one here, but just pay it. I've never heard of Winne Cty doing anything unless you can positively prove you were not at fault or had some sort of mechanical failure.

My wife, never a scratch on her record, went through a orange light(ie: questionable color call) on a very stressful day. I think it was around 200 bucks, 3 points. I told her to go and try get the points reduced or removed, granted she's not the best negotiator on this type of stuff but even with her 15+ year perfect driving record and the questionable color they basically laughed at her.

Essentially screwed, and from what I've been able to gather from my insurance guy, even if you get the points removed they still find out and it goes on your record with them. And the off your record after 3 years, that might be true but my insurance agency still knows about it 4+ years later and lists it on every renewal.

_________________
Accosting pine tree\'s and rendering caches harmless since 2005.... 
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PCFrog
WGA Member



Joined: 2005-05-11
Posts: 728
Location: Sparta, WI

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:38 am Reply with quote Back to top

RSplash40 wrote:
And the off your record after 3 years, that might be true but my insurance agency still knows about it 4+ years later and lists it on every renewal.


My wife got a ticket a while back and each time my insurance reminds me, I remind her.
 
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Vegas Gamblers
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-06-27
Posts: 6625
Location: Milwaukee

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:18 am Reply with quote Back to top

-cheeto- wrote:
Thanks for the info everyone!

It was a town of menasha police officer who responded so I beleive I will be interacting with a town process not county/state.

I have read about showing up for speeding tickets and pleading guilty and such but I wonder about an inattentive driving ticket where my statement says exactly what happened.

One interesting thing about this situation is that my insurance company wanted to know if the other driver tried to avoid my oncoming battle ram. That has put some doubt into my thoughts about 100% at fault which I have claimed it was entirely my fault from the point of the accident. They never "saw" me (at a 4 way stop) which means that they were not paying enough attention either. I am sure this is important from an insurance coverage perspective but not likely to play a role in my case.

I beleive I will be showing up. Any suggestions on whether I should mention "exactly" what i was doing at the time? Very Happy


Well don't hide the fact that you did something wrong. It does not hurt to show up. Depending on Jurisdiction they may reduce the fine and asses all the points or keep the fine, because they are all about the money, and reduce the points. As for 100% at fault you never are. If someone hits your parked car you are at least 10% at fault just for parking it there.

Good luck!
 
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Team Bear Bear
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-09-25
Posts: 450
Location: Menasha, WI

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:45 am Reply with quote Back to top

Hmmm, interesting thread. Here are my thoughts on the issue:

I M W/U wrote:
Admitting guilt is a good start so you are already there

“My name is –cheeto-, I am a Geocacher…

furfool wrote:
If they offer to reduce your points and even increase the fine a little, I might even make a counteroffer. Say maybe another twenty-five bucks for another point in reduction. The counteroffer would depend on my driving record and maybe muni court vs county. You wouldn't want a counteroffer to appear like a bribe. You might have bigger problems then.

Woah! I have very limited experience in court (thanks God!) but I have never heard of this, buying your points back??? As furfool says it looks a little like bribery. On the other hand, the advice that you would take the points back and pay them their money makes sense. They will give you back anything but the money, that’s what they want anyway, as long as they know you have learned your lesson.

I think zuma! is right, you have your options: pay and be done with it, fight it and negotiate, and you might get some sort of reduction, or fight it and get off scott free if the police screw up. Unless you have to pay a court fee, you have a good chance of ending up with anything better that the first option.

-cheeto- wrote:
One interesting thing about this situation is that my insurance company wanted to know if the other driver tried to avoid my oncoming battle ram. That has put some doubt into my thoughts about 100% at fault which I have claimed it was entirely my fault from the point of the accident. They never "saw" me (at a 4 way stop) which means that they were not paying enough attention either

I think the thought process here is: if the other party had not been there, the accident would not have taken place, therefore a portion of the fault lies with the other party simply for being there. Really, it is never 100% your fault.

RSplash40 wrote:
I've never heard of Winne Cty doing anything unless you can positively prove you were not at fault or had some sort of mechanical failure.

Even then they could say that you failed to maintain you car properly.

Anyhow, those are my thoughts, hopefully I didn’t criticize anyone else’s thoughts/comments.
furfool wrote:
By the way, this is in no way intended to be any kind of legal advice. Just speaking from past experience.
Good luck.
That goes for me too.
X
 
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marc_54140
WGA Member



Joined: 2004-01-28
Posts: 2631
Location: Little Chute

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:00 am Reply with quote Back to top

No suggestions about whether or not to pay up.


However, to help pay the amount, here's a couple of suggestions:

1. Sell the solution to your puzzle caches for $5 each.
2. Offer guide service to your puzzle caches for $5.

Nothing is cheap these days. I hope everything works out for the best....

Rolling Eyes
 
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zuma
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-01-30
Posts: 5559
Location: Eau Claire

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:35 am Reply with quote Back to top

Hey Cheeto,

One other idea that I woke up, may or may not be helpful.

When you go into to talk to the DA about negotiating a lower charge, you should bring up about all of the public service you have done in bringing this to the attention of so many geocachers. You could present the case that it was a learning experience, and that you helped lots of other people be more attentive drivers in your posting here at the WGA and with your Podcast.

zuma

_________________
Keep On Cachin In The Free World.

All posts are the opinions of the poster and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the WGA Board of Directors. 
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Doc.
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-08-07
Posts: 501

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:08 am Reply with quote Back to top

If it were me, I would just tell them you were caching with a Magellan. I am quite sure they would throw the case out and order you to buy a Garmin! Wink Good luck!
 
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elfdoctors
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-10-31
Posts: 417
Location: Grantsburg

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:53 am Reply with quote Back to top

The only traffic ticket I've gotten in the past 15 years was a speeding ticket I got in my home town of Grantsburg. There was a new young zealous cop who gave me a ticket for going 41 in a 25 zone. I was guilty so I just paid the fine.

However, in order to keep all the fine money (rather than sharing it with the county) I was actually charged with disorderly conduct (with speeding listed only when you look deeper) so my public record now has that charge. The county DA was surprised that I hadn't hired a lawyer as lots of charges are written off. The police officer (who was eventually fired by the town within a few months) thought he was doing me a favor. I would rather have had the points on my driving record rather than the disorderly conduct.

I would probably show up in court to better understand any ramifications of any charges. You obviously have shown remorse. There is a good chance that you can get a lighter (or no) fine. At the least you will have a better understanding of the court process in case you ever have to go to court again.
 
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-cheeto-
WGA Member



Joined: 2007-06-12
Posts: 4538
Location: Appleton, WI

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:48 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:
When you go into to talk to the DA about negotiating a lower charge, you should bring up about all of the public service you have done in bringing this to the attention of so many geocachers. You could present the case that it was a learning experience, and that you helped lots of other people be more attentive drivers in your posting here at the WGA and with your Podcast.


- This was one of my thoughts, but I was unsure of just how much they may entertain this idea.

I certainly agree with those of you commenting on the fact that my insurance will "know about it" regardless of the points. They paid a rather large sum of money this past week and are fully aware of the citation..

thanks for the feedback everyone. I figured with all of you out on the roads there would be some input Smile
 
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decdogg
WGA Member



Joined: 2006-03-06
Posts: 320
Location: Fond Du Lac Wi.

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:47 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Now that you have received all this good advice. Would you please tell me what kind of magazines and cigarettes you like and when are visiting hours?

Shocked Laughing
 
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