My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of California.
I was recently pulled over for doing 56mph in a 25mph Zone.
The truth is that I had stopped at a very confusing intersection that I had never been to before, (one that has a road joining from the right just before the Stop sign, and has an awkward layout), and I was lost trying to figure out which way to go. In the confusion and feeling like I was holding up traffic, I accelerated quickly from the Stop Sign, (but without any tire sounds or loss of traction, just the naturally loud engine in my Sports Car), to about the speed that had been posted throughout the previous miles on the same road I had just come from, assuming that this was still the same. 40,45, and 50mph postings had been the norm on this road so far.
Unfortunately in the confusion of still trying to figure out whether we were going the right way, (discussing options, and looking all around), I honestly missed the 25mph sign standing there unobstructed right after the intersection. Within seconds I realized that the road I was traveling looked residential, so I immediately slowed down to 25. It was then that I noticed the Police Car a good distance behind me in my rear view mirror, and a couple of seconds later he turned on his lights. The road conditions were good, dry and clear, but it was night time.
The officer told me I was lucky that he was giving me VC 22350 (Unsafe Speed in 25mph zone), instead of something more serious which would result in being taken to jail and my car being impounded for 30 days, which I now assume to possibly be Reckless Driving or Exhibition of Speed.
What I'd really like to know is:
- If I decide to go to court, is it somewhat likely that the Officer may not show, and the case be dismissed?
- If the officer does show up to Court, is it possible or likely that the Judge could amend the charge to the more serious Reckless Driving or Exhibition of Speed if he/she so chooses?
- Or could the Officer do this if he finds out that I am going to court?
- With the Officer in Court, is there any way I can effectively fight this?
- Would the State charge me for going to Court, if so how much?
I never saw the Officers Radar or Lidar reading. My ticket has the box checked under Radar/Lidar Unit/Patrol Vehicle No. and the officer wrote either 8/001/**** or 81001/**** (with ****standing for the 4 digits of the Patrol Veh. No.) in this section, but I can't read it exactly. Does that mean he used Radar or Laser?
In your opinion, should I just pay the $500 fine and accept 1 Point and higher Insurance Rates, or should I go to court?
I really appreciate any help on this.