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Speeding on I-5, I Lost My License to Drive

ce shot uptoo.What Was the Harm?

So, I was traveling north on California’s Interstate 5 or I-5. I had been visiting my parents in Buttonwillow over the weekend and was headed back to Kettleman City in Kings County, CA. It was a beautiful clear night and I wasn’t paying attention to my speed, I knew I was going pretty fast. I was thinking about having to work the next day. I was listening to the radio and Sammy Hagar was blasting, “I Can’t Drive 55”.

It was a clear night and I could see forever, was there any harm in going a little over the speed limit? I mean there was no traffic. Although I didn’t think of it at the time, it is clear to me now. There are three simple factors, whether combined or isolated, that make the answer a resounding "Yes!" The harm could be personal injury and property damage, the difficulty of dealing with traffic court, and the added expense and inconvenience of a fine, increased insurance premiums, and driver’s license suspension can all be harmful to your professional reputation, your checkbook balance, and the inconvenience of not having a driver’s license, particularly if you live outside the city where public transportation is not readily available.

It could turn into a very expensive adrenaline rush. Some may think there is no harm in speeding on a clear night, especially when there are no other vehicles around and the conditions are perfect. However, whereas there is a law against driving too fast for conditions, there is no allowance for driving faster than the speed limit, no matter how perfect the conditions.

Speeding Ticket for Over 100 mph on I-5

Well, before I could make it to the Kettleman exit, I saw the flashing lights and glanced down at the speedometer before pulling over. I immediately thought, “Oh God, nearly 110 mph!” I sat there cussing Sammy Hagar as the police officer walked up to my car. The police officer said he had me on radar doing 109 mph as he was writing out the ticket. I didn’t even have an excuse or a reason for driving that fast.

As he wrote out the ticket, he informed me that driving over 100 mph is a serious offense in California. He added that he could technically add a reckless driving charge for going that fast. The police officer was really nice. He explained to me that I should hire a lawyer. He said, although the “base fine” for a first offense was $500, with county and state assessments, it could total nearly $2000. Then he told me that it was quite possible when I went to Hanford Court the judge would suspend my license for 30-days. I started thinking, “Well, I can just ask for traffic school and plead for mercy on the fine, since it was my first offense.”

Some Astonishing Revelations

The cop explained to me that signing the ticket was not an admission of guilt, just a promise to show up in court. So, I signed the ticket and went on home watching my speed the rest of the way.

When I got home, I immediately went to the computer to see what exactly I was up against. At first, I searched speeding 100 mph and read about accidents at high speeds. The site said, reaction times are notoriously misjudged at high speeds. This is not just a “anecdotal convention” but a proven fact. Everyone knows that car accidents at higher speeds produce much more damage and more severe injuries than at a slower rate of speed.

I read a little more trying to find if I could somehow escape paying the $2000 and higher insurance premiums. The site continued, even if you have the reaction time to avoid mishaps and the pocket cash to keep things moving at a fast pace, traffic court is no joke. The possibility of getting nailed for a 100-mph speeding ticket is something even an amazing reaction time cannot avoid. Sure, it may seem like a bundle of fun and an adrenaline rush, until that car you were racing on I-5 turns out to be one of California's finest, who was “pacing” you not racing you.

I thought, well isn’t that appropriate for my night’s adventure. Then I read that traffic school was not an option for driving more than 100 mph in California. And, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will add two points against my license. In addition, I could very well be looking at a 30-day license suspension for speeding.

Driving Suspension in California

That Thursday morning, my court date finally arrived and I had decided that hiring a lawyer would be too expensive and I would just represent myself. When the bailiff called my name and I went forward, the judge asked if I was represented by counsel. I told the judge I didn’t need a lawyer. He just looked down at me and frowned. I told him I had no excuse for going that fast and I had learned my lesson. He said quite sternly, "A 30-day license suspension will go into effect on Saturday at 5 PM. I hope you learned your lesson."

Yes, your honor I sure did learn my lesson. For speeding, it cost me the suspension, luckily it was restricted so I could drive back and forth to work. Because I plead without fighting, the fine was "only" $1000. But worse, it cost me 2 points. I should have listened about getting a lawyer because my insurance shot up too. And, it will stay that way for at least three years. No more “good driver” discount for me.

Unfortunately, nobody is perfect and as American motorists, we rush through the day out of habit. These two little facts of life supply law enforcement, judges, and county clerks with job security. If you are speeding, sooner or later, you are going to be caught. When you do, you will need the knowledge and experience of a professional traffic ticket defense attorney. In Kings, Kern, Tulare, Inyo, LA, as well as other southern California counties, call Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300, or email: attorney@markbigger.com and set up a FREE consultation to review the details surrounding that speeding ticket. Bigger & Harman have disputed and won nearly 2000 traffic tickets in SoCal courts!

En español, llame al 661-349-9755.