Toledo Talk

Traffic court question (fines, what to expect)

Yesterday I caused a fender bender. Entirely my fault. No one was injured. Grateful for that.
It sure was a wake up call, my mind last night was full of what ifs...
Will be taking full responsibility at required personal appearance at court in two weeks.

Two questions.
(1) Any idea how much this might cost me?
I went to http://tmc.toledomunicipalcourt.org/rules/Court%20Rules%20May%2028,%202013.pdf
and it seems the court costs alone will be $88 ($54 minimum plus $34 moving)

(2) Any thoughts, etc, what to expect in traffic court?
Never been. I'm 59. So much for "***55***PointPlace"

Know it is best to just behave myself, tell the truth, show respect in court, etc
Which I try to do in daily life, but don't always succeed.

Again, no one was hurt. I am not only sorry for what I caused, but for what I might have caused (scenarios with drivers, passengers, pedestrians)
Thanks in advance.
Blessings,

created by 55pointplace on Sep 20, 2013 at 04:18:23 am     Comments: 13

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Also, I am very confused about if I am required to appear in court or not.
Question... Is an ACDA (assured clear distance) considered a "traffic or misdemeanor citation"

This is from the Toledo Municipal Court site
Rule 17
APPEARANCE FOR TRAFFIC OR MINOR MISDEMEANORS
(A) T*hose receiving traffic or minor misdemeanor citations in which a plea of guilty and payment of a set fine and costs may be mailed or paid to the clerk of court's office shall be given a court arraignment date by the citing officer no more than 10 calendar days from the date of citation unless the 10th day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or court holiday. *The court appearance for minor misdemeanors shall be scheduled for 1:00 p.m. in courtroom #4.
(B) Pursuant to Rule 4.1 of the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure, a defendant charged with a minor misdemeanor may, in lieu of appearing in court, sign a plea of guilty and pay out the fine in accordance with the schedule established by the court pursuant to Rule 4.1(E) and posted in the clerk of court's office.

The ticket says I must. The box is checked off next to personal appearance required

So, I am given a court date, and option to pay (thus pleading guilty)

Is this because the "personal appearance required" is the set date only if I wish to contest?

I feel so stupid. I am a college graduate, yet illiterate in how to read a traffic ticket.
Am going to have a whole lot more compassion for functional literates, of which I am one.

If you got this far, blessing upon you and your family for your patience.

Umm...any replies will be taken as information in order to help me make an informed decision.
Am considering going down to the clerk of courts and asking this question in person.
Called the phone number yesterday, and the person answering the phone could answer none of my questions. Most likely his office doesn't answer these types of questions.

posted by 55pointplace on Sep 20, 2013 at 04:34:58 am     #  

Went through this yesterday as a matter of fact. If your in an accident you automatically have to go to court. My fine was $35 and court cost was $108. I was in a minor fender bender which was my fault also. Just plead no contest. They will ask you when you want to pay the fine. Enjoy the circus down there. If you want to contest it, you can, they might lower the fine but that would require you to come back a second time. I got cited for making a left turn when I had a green arrow. The guy who hit me was going fast must of had green to. As you already suspected, yes it is a scam and a money grab. Make sure you have your insurance card with you cause he will ask you if you have insurance. Good Luck!

posted by Ethel on Sep 20, 2013 at 05:44:20 am     #  

With all due respect, and not referring to our fellow posters specifically: as a person who was recently "just hit with a little fender bender," due to no fault of my own, I don't see it as a scam and a money grab. I'm glad that people who make contact with others on the road are looked at by a judge, in person. I do not consider $108.00 and a trip to the "circus" unreasonable ramifications of having struck a person or vehicle with one's vehicle due to one's error at any speed.

Now, you want a scam and a money grab?
The I-75 Ottawa River Road Speed Trap Rodeo With Airplane.

posted by justread on Sep 20, 2013 at 06:13:26 am     #   5 people liked this

Sorry for your bad fortune. Just about all accidents front to rear the following vehicle gets the acda. If a court time and date is stated on the citation you must appear. If for any reason you cannot the Clerk's office can change the appearance day and time without an attorney necessary but best not to do that and kinda a one time thing without an attorney. You're stuck if the officer's cited assured clear,very little wiggle room on that one. Financial responsibility today is real important you might bring you're proof of insurance into court. Nobody bites at the courthouse, however, it is full of all the cities' screwbeenies and losers. Take some hand sanitizer. Justread has it right at Ottawa River and 75. Got speed there 15yrs ago @ 0630 on the way to Detroit for an appointment. Only vehicle on the road with five cop cars and the plane for just a few knocks above the limit. Blatant revenue trap smacking down the working guy who they know has the means to pay the freight. Would far rather they asked us to contribute to their fund-raising and not screw with our lives.

posted by Mariner on Sep 20, 2013 at 07:25:09 am     #  

I received two speeding tickets on the same day from red light cameras -- and I have not had a ticket of any kind since the early 90s.

I plan on going to court over these, for the simple fact they were in the same intersection, on the same day -- and reported I was going the same speed both times. Seriously, what are the odds? How do they calibrate these machines, if at all?

And what can I expect in court when I contest?

posted by Anniecski on Sep 20, 2013 at 07:47:18 am     #  

If for any reason you cannot the Clerk's office can change the appearance day and time without an attorney necessary but best not to do that and kinda a one time thing without an attorney.

I don't think this is accurate. To change an appearance date you either need to appear in person (this can be done before the duties judge on any day, just stop at clerk's office first), or you have to have an attorney make the request. I worked at the court for a few years, and this was the standard response to anyone calling wanting to change dates. Its not something the clerk can do because the court controls the docket.

posted by MsArcher on Sep 20, 2013 at 08:03:25 am     #  

Anniecski posted at 08:47:18 AM on Sep 20, 2013:

I received two speeding tickets on the same day from red light cameras -- and I have not had a ticket of any kind since the early 90s.

I plan on going to court over these, for the simple fact they were in the same intersection, on the same day -- and reported I was going the same speed both times. Seriously, what are the odds? How do they calibrate these machines, if at all?

And what can I expect in court when I contest?

Are you talking about appealing the ticket to the mediator who is the first step in the process? From what I understand, you have no luck there unless you say someone else was driving and give up that person.

If you are talking about taking it higher than the mediator, as in going to court, hope you have a lot of money and stamina. You are going to need expert witnesses to testify that they are not calibrated accurately, etc. The way it is set up, you have to prove the city is wrong; they don't have to prove they are right.

posted by MsArcher on Sep 20, 2013 at 08:08:03 am     #  

You were tailgating and the guy in front of you gave you a brake job? 'Way to go, Sherlock.

You probably won't get any days, but be prepared anyway. Tell the folks at work you're going to help care for your sister who came down with acute appendicitis and had to have emergency surgery.

The judge will ask you to plead. If you just plead guilty, the judge will ask you if you have anything to say. This is your big chance to get the judge to lighten up a little. Bring up the fact that you've been driving 80 years without a ticket or accident, that you screwed up and that you're terminally sorry for all the crap you dumped on everyone. You don't have to be sorry, but you have to say you are. See? Then start pleading poverty. Your sister, she's an invalid and you contribute to her care. Your folks are old, Dad's got arthritis, Mom's getting senile and it looks like they may have to move in with you next year. Then there's your blood sucking mother-in-law... okay, maybe not the mother-in-law.

So the judge will eventually tell you to put a sock in it and then he'll tell you about the fine and costs. If you can't pay you'll get sent to the slammer, but if you can then you pay and leave. The judge may also lecture, like he did with a friend of mine we'll call Wise Guy.

Wise Guy was busted for drunk and disorderly, raising hell and resisting arrest. They dropped the last two if he'd plead out to the D&D. So WG gets up in front of the judge, who gives him a fine and costs. The judge asks can he pay, and Wise Guy says he can but it'll cut into his beer money for the week. That will leave Wise Guy drinking vodka, which is how he got into this mess in the first place. Wise Guy can't drink vodka safely; only beer. Vodka makes him cut up and do stupid stuff and get busted, but it's better than tequila. Tequila makes him want to fight people.

So the judge commences to lecture. Blah blah blah, civic duty, bah-ba-bah, disgrace to the community, blah blah blah, your mother would not be proud of you, blah blah blah, unlawful hooligan with no respect for law and order. And on and on. Finally the judge winds down, giving Wise Guy the chance to run his mouth.

Jesus Christ, who pissed in your Wheaties this morning?

posted by madjack on Sep 20, 2013 at 08:35:07 am     #  

@MrsArcher you are 100% correct on procedure. I left out the appearance part not wanting to be too discouraging to 55pp. It should be noted Anything to do with Municipal court takes minimum 1/2 day of frustration so for God's sake don't park at a meter. Do that and you've opened up your wallet twice.

posted by Mariner on Sep 20, 2013 at 09:01:18 am     #  

Thank you very much, everyone, for your responses.
Very good take home points...
Ethel for the fine and court cost (realizing my costs will differ, of course)
JustRead for her insight on why personal appearance in court matter
Mariner & MrsArcher for how to change court day/time appearance
Also Mariner for the 1/2 day time frame to expect

You all have no idea how much more prepared I am to face the consequences of my actions.
Yet, contrite about damage caused, the inconvenience I caused the other driver, and how I stressed the driver out.

May you all have a wonderful weekend.

posted by 55pointplace on Sep 20, 2013 at 05:01:15 pm     #  

I'm sure that it will be fine.

Good luck.

posted by justread on Sep 20, 2013 at 05:33:38 pm     #  

pax

posted by Mariner on Sep 21, 2013 at 07:08:21 am     #  

I think despite my best efforts, I am only going to confuse the issue. But here goes.

In the upper portion of the ticket, which box did the Officer check for the Financial Responsibility? If he checked the "No" box, you must appear. The City/State wants you to appear and prove that you had insurance at the time of the incident.

At the bottom of your ticket, the Officer checked the "Yes" box after "Personal Appearance Required". This is where it gets tricky. Turn the ticket over, near the very top, there will be another box. It also says Personal Appearance Required followed by some jargon. Read that jargon. Does it apply to you? Were you driving without your license or privileges? Were you intoxicated? Charged with reckless op? Have a companion criminal offense resulting from the accident?

If none of these or a few other obscure charges apply to you(and I'm guessing they don't), if you had a valid license that you showed to the Officer, if you had a valid insurance ID card and the Officer checked "yes" on the ticket AND if he did not check the box on the back of the ticket, I think you can pay the ticket out and pass on the appearance if you want to go that route.

The policy has changes a few times over the years, but there have been times that Officers have been required to bring you in for an appearance, in particular if the cited offense involved damaged property or an injury. I do not think that policy exists anymore but I am not sure.

Lastly, what happened? Did you lock 'em up to avoid a small child or a litter of cute puppies on wet pavement? Or were you updating your fantasy football lineup on your cell phone? The circumstances surrounding your event may gain some traction with the judge. ACDA carries two points and maybe your insurance agent will frown on that.

A contrite defendant with extenuating circumstances, a valid license and insurance and an insurance company that has already made efforts to repair the damages looks good in court.

Clear as mud right? Sorry and good luck.

posted by Solleks on Sep 23, 2013 at 08:09:35 am     #