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Jeannie Mucklestone

Setting the record straight on moving violations

Getting a speeding ticket on your motorcycle is no fun. Not to say, of course, you've ever exceeded the speed limit. Many of us have, and at one time or another been picked up on radar and cited.

But amongst us there are a number of fallacies that circulate through conversation, or just in our own thinking.  Let's consider a few and then look at the realities of these.  To help out we've hooked up with a top traffic attorney in Puget Sound, Jeannie Mucklestone.

Fallacy #1: Speeding tickets cost whatever the fine is.

Consider what it really costs to get a ticket:

First off there's the obvious fine for the citation which can be anywhere from $86 and up depending on the severity of the violation.

On a typical moving violation, the insurance company will tack on a few hundred dollars a year to your policy. Over the next three years that can become $600 or more in cumulative costs.

And then there's your lost time going to court which accounts for your hourly rate times how many hours you linger around the courthouse waiting your turn with the judge.

So is it worth it to hire a lawyer and fight the charges, even if you know you were in the wrong? In most cases the answer is "Yes."

Fallacy #2: If you're guilty you will lose in court.

Jeannie Mucklestone (right) has been defending motorcyclists in Washington State for 15 years. Her clients read like a Who's Who in Northwest motorcycling including members of Open Throttle, Wet Leather, Microsoft and a number of racers. Today she represents 500-1000 motorcyclists annually in court, from sport bikers, to commuters; cruisers to touring enthusiasts. In her 15 years of defending riders she has racked up an impressive 95%+ rate of decisions in favor of the motorcyclists.

Mucklestone comes from a family of attorneys in which her mother and father were both practiced, and today she and her two brothers, as well as an uncle, practice law.

As for how she became interested in traffic law, Mucklestone says, "I started out my career serving as a pro-tem judge for King County to supplement my income when I began my practice. Many of the cases were traffic related and I became intrigued with that area of law.

Fallacy #3: Whatever the fine schedule on the web says it is, is what it is.

Having spent so much time working around the state of Washington, Mucklestone makes it clear that final fees on violations are not always going to be what they seem. "Each county has varied fees for court time and costs. So regardless of the fee schedule you see posted on the web by the State Patrol, your costs will likely be more. One more reason why you might be in a better financial situation hiring an attorney."

Fallacy #4: It costs a lot of money to hire an attorney.

Getting representation on a speeding ticket from Mucklestone begins at $350. It's still a better deal than paying the consequences of having one stay on your record and getting penalized year after year by your insurance company.

Fallacy #5: Moving violations stay on your record for three years.

While most insurance companies only look back three years on moving violations, the state keeps them on your record for five! That means if you get another citation for the same violation before five years is up, it will be viewed as a second offense.

Mucklestone has wisdom for all riders who get pulled over. Be polite and do not admit any guilt. "If the officer presses you to admit guilt, simply tell him/her 'I'm not comfortable answering your question at this time,' and don't dispute them" she notes. "A response like this often sends the message to the officer that you know what your rights are." By all means never say anything like 'I'll see you in court.' "

Bottom line is that regardless of your violation, as long as you have not admitted guilt at the scene, you've got a good shot of beating the citation.

TM/Summer 02

To contact Jeannie Mucklestone call (206) 623-3343, or email her at mucklestone@msn.com. You can visit the Mucklestone & Mucklestone website at www.mucklestone.com.

 

 


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