Out-of-State Speeding Tickets and Alabama Arrest Warrants
Regardless of the circumstances, seeing blue and red flashing lights appearing behind you while you’re driving a little over the posted speeding limit is something that most of us have encountered. Despite the excuse you gave, the case you pleaded, and the polite attitude you maintained with the officer, he still wrote you up for a traffic citation. The worst part is that you may not have been in Alabama when it happened, and you have to deal with the speeding ticket situation from there.
Although there was a time when receiving a speeding ticket in another state meant that you may be able to get out of it by not reporting it to anyone, those days have passed. Due to the national Driver’s License Agreement, traffic citations and tickets are automatically uploaded to a database that every state’s authorities have access to. This means that while you do not have to report your infractions, you also are not getting out of them just by going home.
Before we begin with how you can get out of your speeding ticket, we should mention that just because the state knows about your ticket doesn’t mean that your insurance provider does. While they may access the DLA database to see if you received any tickets recently, this isn’t a guarantee. Although it’s a good idea to report these things to your insurance provider as they happen – because they may punish you more severely if they find out later – it isn’t always necessary.
Getting out of your speeding ticket
One of the best ways to avoid paying for a speeding ticket is to visit the precinct office in which you received the ticket, and plead your case to either a police officer or a magistrate. Unfortunately, if this happened out of your home state of Alabama and returning to that precinct simply isn’t an option, then you won’t be able to plead your case in person. Thankfully, there are other options.
Communicating with the precinct
The first is to start a letter-writing campaign. You should begin by writing the officer that issued the ticket a personal letter, addressed to his precinct office. While this won’t guarantee that he will waive the ticket, putting your case in writing and why you feel you should be granted leniency couldn’t hurt, and has spared many motorists from having to pay their speeding ticket. You can also write a letter to the magistrate of the precinct.
Alternatively, you could call the officer and the magistrate listed above. Bear in mind, however, that they may be busy and taking time out of their day to speak with you – and you may irritate them into guaranteeing that you will be paying for your ticket.
Forcing the issue
If the officer and the magistrate just won’t budge, then you can write a letter that denies your guilt in the speeding ticket and that you will be pleading innocent in absentia. Please note, however, that if you decide to follow this option, then you should definitely consult the services of an attorney. However, if you wish to have the greatest impact on your infraction, then consider attending your court date and pleading anything but guilty. This will force the arresting officer to both be present and provide evidence that you were speeding. Because so few people contest their speeding charges, officers often do not retain sufficient evidence, or simply fail to show up – which will absolve you of your ticket.
But what if I have an arrest warrant?
If you have reason to believe that there may be an arrest warrant with your name on it, then the steps you should take are substantially different than those listed above. The first thing you need to do is to determine if you actually have a warrant out for your arrest, what it is for, and where the warrant was issued.
As a private citizen, you have a few choices. You can visit the police department in the precinct that issued the warrant, but this will likely get you arrested. Alternatively, you can visit the court that issued the warrant. It is less likely that you will be arrested, but it is still a possibility, and so we do not advise this. The best things that you can do is to keep an eye on your mailbox, because the court will have sent a notice to your mailing address, look up your records on GovernmentRegistry.org (although this will cost you money), or to hire a criminal defense lawyer.
There’s a warrant out for my arrest. Now what?
Assuming that that you have a warrant out for your arrest, there are a few things you should be aware of. The first is that, unless the charge is severe (a first-degree felony like murder), it is unlikely that the police will come any further than your last known address. Generally speaking, most people with arrest warrants are picked up during routine traffic stops, DUI checkpoints, or border crossings.
Regardless of the nature of your arrest warrant, you should immediately seek out a criminal defense lawyer. If you do not have the money for a lawyer, the court system is legally obligated to provide you with one, although this will only happen after your arrest.
While you should operate under the guidance of a criminal defense lawyer, it is usually advisable to contact a bail bondsmen, a police department, or a court, and inform them that you will be surrendering yourself. This will make it more likely that you will be released and that your bail will be reasonable, and it will also look favorable on you during your prosecution.