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  1. #1

    Default Does the Vehicle Description Need to Be Exact Not Guilty by Mail

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Pennsylvania

    Caught speeding in an obvious ambush speed trap. Exiting I-80w onto US-15n a divided limited-access expressway I was clocked doing 70, (the speed limit on I-80)
    As I saw the lights on the unmarked SUV come on and as I passed the State Trooper I saw the first speed limit sign showing 55mph limit. I really had no chance to follow the "posted speed limit" since it was not posted until after I was already past the speed trap. OK, he got me---- but it's not really fair.

    Q1--Does the vehicle description need to exactly match my vehicle? The only detail that is wrong is the Florida Tag # An extra H was added to the number. Can I get off on a technicality?

    Q2-- The Citation allows me to Plead "Not Guilty" by mail by sending the full amount due, plus $8 additional dollars "as collateral for your appearance in court" I have no intention of travelling back to PA from Florida for a trial, but would love to avoid the $300 plus Insurance hike that is coming if I plead guilty. Article 2 on the citation reads "If you fail to appear for trial, the trial "may be" held in your absence" Is there any risk to pleading "not guilty" by mail? The worst I figure can happen is they find me guilty in abstention and fine me the fine I've already paid. Comments?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,196

    Default Re: A Technicality, Does the Vehicle Description Need to Be Exact Not Guilty by Mail

    Q1: No.
    Q2: You do not show, you will be found guilty. You'll lose what you paid and they will enter the conviction.

    The ramp has a posted safe speed of 40. The PA law (75 PaCS 3362) sets the maximum speed at 55 unless POSTED OTHERWISE. It was unsafe doing 70 until you saw a sign permitting higher.

  3. #3

    Default Re: A Technicality, Does the Vehicle Description Need to Be Exact Not Guilty by Mail

    Thank you for your opinion, however.
    I never, never, ever operate my vehicle in an unsafe manner. (40+ years driving with no at fault accidents).
    I did slow for the off/on ramp, @2pm, clear & dry conditions, light/ no traffic on an expressway built to the same/ (or better) standards than the interstate I just exited from.
    My well equipped and maintained 2014 Mercedes Benz was perfectly safe to travel at that velocity under those conditions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,196

    Default Re: A Technicality, Does the Vehicle Description Need to Be Exact Not Guilty by Mail

    It doesn't matter. It's illegal to drive over 55MPH in PA on any road unless it is posted higher. It doesn't matter what a great car you have or how safe you think you are. This is a per se statutory limit and not open for argument. Your "defense" in your original post was that you hadn't yet seen a speed limit sign. By your own argument, you are guilty.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,728

    Default Re: A Technicality, Does the Vehicle Description Need to Be Exact Not Guilty by Mail

    As to your original question

    since cars don’t get tickets and drivers do, no, the additional h does not invalidate the ticket at all. Does your drivers license match what was written on the ticket? If so, that’s all they needed because they were ticketing you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    207

    Default Re: A Technicality, Does the Vehicle Description Need to Be Exact Not Guilty by Mail

    Quote Quoting davidpat48116
    View Post
    I never, never, ever operate my vehicle in an unsafe manner.
    Driving 70 mph when everyone else is driving 55 is unsafe. Switching from one road to the other and believing the speed limit goes with it is unsafe. A race car built to travel at 200 mph is unsafe on those roads.

    You operated your car in an unsafe manner.

  7. #7

    Default Re: A Technicality, Does the Vehicle Description Need to Be Exact Not Guilty by Mail

    It seems as though davidpat is curious about the possibility of using the legal system to increase his likelihood of a defense. I'm not a sure a moral discussion about whether his actions were right/wrong or safe/unsafe pertains here. Even if he was breaking the law that doesn't necessarily mean the court will be able to find him guilty.

    Davidpat,
    I'm not familiar with the laws in PA but appearing in court may be your only way of contesting the violation. That being said, if the prosecutor and the defendant are both absent the case should be dismissed.

    Is there any risk to pleading "not guilty" by mail?
    Theoretically there shouldn't be.

  8. #8

    Default Re: A Technicality, Does the Vehicle Description Need to Be Exact Not Guilty by Mail

    Thank you JK--Helpful

    Thank you B. Frank---very helpful

    Moderator--Please close this thread

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    3,221

    Default Re: A Technicality, Does the Vehicle Description Need to Be Exact Not Guilty by Mail

    Quote Quoting B.Frank
    View Post
    Davidpat,
    I'm not familiar with the laws in PA but appearing in court may be your only way of contesting the violation. That being said, if the prosecutor and the defendant are both absent the case should be dismissed.
    That is NOT how it works in a lot of states. In many states, the prosecutor isn't involved in traffic citations. I have no idea if PA is one of these states.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,196

    Default Re: A Technicality, Does the Vehicle Description Need to Be Exact Not Guilty by Mail

    Believe me, the magistrate isn't going to dismiss the entire docket because the ADA isn't there. If the defense isn't there, there's nobody to protest the lack of prosecution. The case will default to guilty.

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