How Do I Fight Speeding Ticket in Pennsylvania School Zone?
The speed limit in Pennsylvania school zones is 15 miles per hour. If you are caught speeding there, you will receive a fine and three points are added to your driving record. If you are clocked at 11 miles over the speed limit, the fine is $35 plus $2 for each mile greater than 5 over the speed limit. If the officer clocks you at greater than 11 miles over the speed limit the ticket grows to $500. When issued , most people simply pay the lower fine; however, if facing the larger ticket or the accumulation of points will cause your license to be suspended, fighting the ticket may be worthwhile.
In order to fight the traffic ticket, the driver must appear before a judge. The officer who issued the ticket is also asked to appear in court. Your job is to present your case in order to prove you are innocent.
Going to court involves:
- Providing evidence, testimony and if appropriate, witnesses
- The opportunity to be represented by an attorney
- Testimony by the officer who issued the ticket
- Cross-examination of the officer by your attorney
- Losing the opportunity to plead outright to lower charges
Entering a Plea of Guilty or No Contest
If your driving record is otherwise spotless and the ticket is for 11 or less miles over the speed limit, the least expensive option is to enter a plea of No Contest or Guilty and pay the fine. Even if you were clocked at 26 miles per hour, the ticket is under $50. In other cases, fighting the ticket may be the best option. If you choose this option, be sure to return the plea and payment by the time stated on the ticket to prevent a bench warrant from being issued for your arrest.
Notifying the Court
If you choose to fight the ticket, you must notify the court of this decision. The court handling the ticket should be included on the ticket. You normally must appear in person to inform the court, although some are now allowing other options. You will need to post collateral with the court, usually the cost of the ticket plus court costs or request a waiver of reduction.
Hiring an Attorney
Although you have the right to represent yourself in court, you will likely feel much more comfortable with the help of a traffic attorney. Winning the case will result in a refund of the collateral you have paid and protect your driving record.
Prepare Your Case
It is now time to prepare your case. You need to gather evidence as well as witnesses in the case. If you plan to testify in your own defense, you might want to practice your testimony until you feel comfortable telling your story.
Your day in court resembles most other types of hearings. When you appear, the judge will;
- Listens to testimony from the officer citing you as well as your own testimony (Here is where your attorney can be helpful and speak on your behalf)
- Consider all the evidence presented
- Hear the testimony of witnesses
- Make a judgment
If you are found not guilty, you may still be responsible for the cost of the attorney and court costs. If you are found guilty, you will also have to pay the penalties and fines.
I'm a school teacher in PA and was just pulled over Friday morning for going 25 in an "active school zone" (15 mph). This stretch of road is right around the corner of my house and I drive it every morning to work in another district, so I'm familiar with the protocols when children are crossing the street to the school on the other side. Even when the roads are clear I still hit between 20-25 mph, which I believe is not fast enough to where you are moving too quickly to monitor your surroundings. I've never had an issue until this particular morning, and I assume I was just severely unlucky this day. my fine is $166 and I explained that as a teacher I would never consciously put anyone at risk, and that i always respect and obey school crossing zones when kids are crossing/boarding buses. I am preparing to dispute this fine, as I firmly believe that I was not moving at such a rate of speed that could be considered dangerous/reckless by any means. like I stated 20-25 is usually my average speed when traversing this short road (unless there are actually crossing guards telling me to stop, and kids are actually present, in which case I will slow and/or stop.) On this morning there were no kids along the sidewalks, none crossing the street (the patrol wasn't even in the road telling traffic to stop), and no buses had their red stop lights flashing. All this said, can I counter argue this citation, especially given my status as a teacher? If foot traffic within the school zone is non-existent and there are no physical prompts signaling me to stop, is it really justifiable for an office to charge me with such an outrageous penalty? I'm really angered by this and want to know what I can do to plead my case. Thank you for your time.