Two months ago I got a speeding ticket in a road that barely has any traffic during rush hour, and it's a road with two lanes in each direction with a median, but the always inept NC DOT set the speed limit to 35, even though the type and length of road warrants a 45 mph limit, as all other roads like that in Raleigh are. The Raleigh PD set up a speed trap there and I fell victim to it. I never had a speeding ticket before, and tomorrow I'm supposed to go to court for it. To me the amount of the court fee is obscene ($188+$10 for the ticket itself), especially taking into account that the NC DOT obviously put the wrong sign, but having being laid off a month ago, I can't pay for it. Can they take away my license if I can't pay the excessive court fee? Offense is 40 on a 35.
Regardless of how fast you think the speed limit should be, you have to follow the law. So I suggest not using that argument. Also, the fact that cops set up speed traps don't force you to go over the speed limit, so don't use that argument either. And $198 is one of the lower fines for a speeding violation and definitely not excessive.
I would suggest hiring an attorney to fight it, but if $198 is too much then I'm guessing an attorney would be too. So your best bet is to go to court and try to negotiate the speed (which is very low) to a more favorable dispostion with a lower fine.
If you are found guilty and fail to pay a fine, your license can be suspended.
Has anyone at DOT verified the wrong sign was erected? Might the speed limit on that particular roadway have been reduced due to poor visibility or numerous accidents?
Those would factor into an effective defense.
For a charge of speeding 40/35, you would not be eligible to have an attorney appointed to represent you. Unfortunately, the "excessive court fee" you reference is standard for Wake County tickets. Statewide, court costs for traffic matters are either $188 or $190.
Unfortunately even if you disagree with the posted speed limit, it is still the legal limit. As for the court costs, you could ask the assistant district attorney to continue your case in order to get more time to pay them, or you could ask the judge for a compliance date. Failure to pay court costs will result in your privilege to drive being revoked, so I would suggest avoiding that consequence.
I suggest you ask for a continuance of your case to give you more time to save up money. Also, ask the district attorney for mercy. It cant hurt. He cannot really lower the fees (much) but he might be willing to dismiss the case, being that it is only 5 mph over. Dont be too upset if he or she will not, though. Ask for a continuance to save up the money, as the court will charge you extra to set up a payment plan, so it is best if you can have all the money you may need when you go to court and handle it.
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