Can I get reduced fees on a misdemeanor traffic citation?

I am 51 yrs old and have my first ticket. The traffic ticket is for failure to reduce speed causing an accident. This is my second accident within 1 month. I did not receive a ticket for the first one .I am always honest with the officers,; if I did it, I say what happened and admit my guilt. This ticket costs $188.00 for court costs and the ticket itself is only $50.00. I cannot afford this. I was going to pay online because I have to move on my court date. I have no money to pay a lawyer. I am on SSD and can't afford the entire citation fee either! If I show up at the Magistrate, can I even get the infraction and fees reduced by throwing myself on the mercy of the court?

Hickory, NC -

Attorney Answers (2)

Jason David Witt

Jason David Witt

Speeding / Traffic Ticket Lawyer - Monroe, NC

Often the DA will dismiss an accident citation if you bring proof that your insurance company will pay to fix the car of the person you hit. Another option is to ask for a PJC which usually just has Court costs and no fine.

Anthony James Cuticchia Jr.

Anthony James Cuticchia Jr.

Patent Application Attorney - Raleigh, NC

I have seen judges do helpful things for people in financial problems. The only thing the ADA can do is either reduce the charge or dismiss. Most don't like to dismiss. Assuming you couldn't get the ADA to dismiss, you would plead guilty to the judge.

There are two issues here --- first, ask for a PJC (if you haven't had any PJC's in 3 years, the judge will most likely grant it --- helps with insurance).

Second - be honest with the judge. Tell him that you don't have the money and one of three things will happen. (1) He will have you come back at a time when you think you have the money; (2) He will work out a payment plan; or (3) he will allow you to do community service in lieu of payment.

Sometimes I have seen judges ask the defendant how much money they have in their pocket and fine them a portion of that!

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