Hello I received a citation for doing 99 in a 55 and got the notice of civil traffic arraignment. What do I do?

Hello I received a citation for doing 99 in a 55 and
got the notice of civil traffic arraignment. What do I

Asked on April 24, 2016 under General Practice, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Retain an attorney, if you can afford one (there is no right to a free attorney for a traffic violation): experienced traffic or municipal court counsel will greatly improve your odds of a better outcome. If you retain a lawyer, follow his/her advice.
If you can't afford an attorney, then:
1) Ask the prosecutor for "discovery" about the way you were clocked (e.g. the laser/radar gun and the officer's training with it): while this rarely works, once in a great while, you find some problem (e.g. the gun was not properly calibrated or certified) that can help you by casting doubt on the reading. It's worth trying.
2) Show up early for the arraignment. If you have useful information from 1), share it with the prosecutor. If not, if you have a (relatively) clean record otherwise, share that fact with the prosecutor; share any mitigating factors--e.g. traffic was moving fast and you were keeping up; you were on a downhill stretch and didn't realize how you'd picked up speed; etc--and express contrition. Offer to take a defensive driving course. Let the prosecutor know if driving is necessary to support yourself or your family. Do all this in a respectful, nonconfrontational way. There is a reasonable chance you will be allowed to plead to a lesser offense (e.g. a lower speed). 
3) Have several hundred dollars available to pay any fines the day of trial--they generally expect that.

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