By Zachary Almond
Generally, I am a cautious, safe and aware driver, but November 7 was not a joyous day for me.
The night before I had been enjoying election festivities with my friends and family back home and relaxing after nearly a year of campaigning. I was driving back to school from the Charlotte area that Wednesday and as I pulled into downtown Raleigh area, a police officer was hiding between a bush and a concrete pillar.
He turned on those bright blue lights and I knew that I had just gotten myself in a mess. The officer clocked me and there was no denying that I was speeding. Slick talk simply would not cut it this go ’round. I really was not distraught about the ticket; I just did not want to deal with all of the inconveniences it entailed.
My first instinct was to call a few lawyers I know. In doing so, they informed me that it really was not a big deal. One of the lawyers told me to simply order my driving record for $11 from the Department of Transportation and show it to the District Attorney on the court date.
Seeing as my driving record was clean the lawyer informed me to plead improper equipment and more than likely it would be granted. Generally you get to plead improper equipment if your driving record is clean and sometimes court costs get waived. However, if a ticket is issued on another occasion within the next three years you get charged for both offenses.
My friend advised if another incident occurred within those three years, it would be smart to hire a lawyer. This would entail some additional costs, but in the long run, may save on insurance. Speeding is not worth going through this whole process, fretting over all the details, the money spent on the ticket and the stress of it all.
On top of the lesson learned to slow down, another valuable lesson was you might as well confess to your parents. As in my situation, many college students get tickets in different counties and even states than they reside, do the research regarding the ticket and possible outcomes and essentially find out what I listed above.
So, do you really need to inform your parents back home? Many students would choose not to tell their parents.
Let me stop you there – not a good idea!
Thankfully, I fessed up the day of the ticket, so it was no shock when my mailbox at home was full of letters from attorneys offering their services to assist with my ticket. In a major city like Raleigh traffic court lawyers are chomping at the bits to get business, so to find clients they look in the paper, get logs from area law enforcement, etc. Law firms get information any way possible they find out you have got a ticket or been involved in an accident.
A few weeks after the ticket the letters start arriving at the address listed on your license. The mailbox will literally get bombarded with law firm information. Parents will find out! It is best to tell them before they find out via a mailbox full of letters from attorneys.
The reaction of them being told and the reaction of them finding out via your mailperson could be drastically different.
Do not chance it the odds are not on your side.