We are under a speeding ticket attack! A few weeks ago I wrote about the Stamford Police Department’s announcement of the formation of its new “Traffic Enforcement Unit.” The Department’s objective was to make the roads safer. Their campaign is now in full swing–Stamford and Greenwich police are out in full force issuing speeding tickets and infraction tickets for other Connecticut moving violations in order to make the roads safer (and, by the way, generate hefty revenues for their respective municipalities).
What bothers me is that more tickets than warning are being given out and instead, scores of speeding tickets and tickets for other moving violations are being handed out to drivers just trying to get to work or get their kids to school.
It appears that this small army of traffic enforcement officers are out on the roads during the morning rush hour. During this time, you will be guaranteed to see officers roadside doling out tickets. While the goal of the Department is to deter bad driving, what sometimes gets forgotten are the collateral and expensive consequences these tickets have on the ordinary citizen. I’m talking specifically about the impact these tickets have on your driver’s license, driving history and automobile insurance rates.
So what can everyday hard-working drivers do to fight back?
First, you should be a little knowledgeable about the traffic laws. Second, you need to be prepared on how to conduct yourself during a traffic stop to get the best possible disposition of your ticket. And third, you should contact a top speeding ticket and motor vehicle lawyer in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan to help you fight the ticket and get it dismissed in traffic infraction court.
A majority of the tickets being written up lately involve Speeding which is codified in Connecticut General Statutes § 14-219. This charge usually arises when you are accused of driving 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, but below 85 miles per hour. (Anything 85 miles per hour or over usually triggers Reckless Driving charges under C.G.S. § 14-222). A less serious speeding related charge is Traveling Unreasonably Fast, outlined in C.G.S. § 14-218a, and usually involves a driver exceeding a posted speed limit by under 20 miles per hour. Both Speeding and Traveling Unreasonably Fast are infractions and not crimes; however, they can affect your Connecticut DMV driving record and impact your insurance rates. Plus, fines for these tickets range from $100 to $150.
Stamford and Greenwich police are also pulling over drivers who run red lights in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 14-299, also known as Failure to Obey Traffic Control Signals. While the fines and points are not so severe, multiple violations in a short period of time can lead to the suspension of a driver’s license.
One other motor vehicle law that is being aggressively enforced in Stamford and Greenwich is Failure to Stop for a School Bus under C.G.S. § 14-279. A gullty plea to this charge carries a stiff fine of $450 for a first offense, and up to $1000 for a second offense, as well as three points on your license. I’ve actually seen a sting operation on Bedford and Summer Streets this past year where the police have worked with the local school bus company and have had a school bus sit idle in Stamford with its flashing stop sign out just to nab drivers who fall to come to a complete stop. On three and four-lane city roads like High Ridge Road, Long Ridge Road, and Bedford and Summer Streets, it can be particularly difficult to notice a school bus three lanes over, especially during the busy rush hour times.
You need to understand that Stamford, Greenwich and New Canaan police have a wide amount of discretion in deciding whether to issue you a traffic infraction ticket. They can write up a warning and let you go without a ticket, or they can cite you with as many charges as are appropriate. That’s why we encourage our clients to be courteous and respectful to the police during a traffic stop. Also remember that even though you may not be getting arrested, anything you say to them can be used against you later in traffic court, and if you are nasty, disrespectful or make admissions and statements against your own interests, then the police may write this information on the back of the charging document for the prosecutors at Stamford and Norwalk Superior Courts to review at your court date. So remember—be courteous, police and cooperative. That usually goes a long way in helping your speeding and motor vehicle lawyers help you try and get out of your tickets.
In addition to the fines discussed above, you should realize that by mailing in a guilty plea to your speeding, red light or stop sign ticket, your plea will be communicated to Connecticut DMV which may assess points on your driving record, and can require you to take a driver retraining class, or if you have a history of violations and infractions, DMV can suspend your license altogether. Also, a negative driving history will be reviewed annually by your automobile insurance carrier who has the power to raise your premiums or cancel your insurance in certain circumstances. That’s why it is critical to consult with a top Stamford and Greenwich Speeding Ticket attorney to discuss your options prior to pleading tuilty.
The Speeding and Traffic lawyers here at Mark Sherman Law are experienced in handling your moving violations. Our “two-attorney” review process ensures that your ticket and any accompanying police reports are carefully analyzed by two of our traffic lawyers on staff, who will look for defects and deficiencies with sole goal of trying to get your ticket dismissed in court. When possible, we will often try to resolve your ticket in court without requiring you to come to court, thus saving you from having to take a day off from work.
So if you have recently been pulled over in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan or Westchester County during one of these anti-speeding campaigns, give a traffic and speeding lawyer at Mark Sherman Law a call today to learn how we can help you. We offer reasonable rates and we are focused on trying to get you only one result: a dismissal. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (203) 358-4700.