View Full Version : Question about a "improper taillight" ticket...

03-10-2008, 05:45 PM
A few weeks ago I was pulled over for speeding (50 in a 35...I didn't realize it was a 35 mph zone, and I had a guy riding my *** with his brights on). Anyway, the officer gave me a warning for the speed, but a ticket for having a broken taillight (the little light over the license plate).

He didn't mention anything about paying a fine (he just told me to get the light fixed), and the actual ticket didn't have a price to pay on it, though he did give me a little sheet of fine fees along with the ticket and warning sheets.

I signed the ticket, checked "admit," and sent it in.

I got it back today, saying the case was deferred to the 19th (and that I "failed to appear" in court, even though they received the ticket the same day I was to appear), because the payment wasn't sent in.

The kicker is, the taillight wasn't even broken. When I got home, I found that some kind of soot-like substance got on the light and covered it.

The ticket fee is apparently $121.

Is there anything I can do about this? I plan to fight it, as $121 for having a dirty taillight is absolutely outrageous, especially to someone in my financial situation.

03-11-2008, 01:40 AM
Show up in court... early....

Apologize for not realizing there was a fine and that you only understood that you needed to get the light fixed and the ticket sent back when you did it OR THEN there would be a fine. Then explain the light wasn't actually broken but some kind of gunk (mud, sand, tar, whatever) had just obscured the bulb. Blame it on the recent weather and road conditions splashing up on it if you think that is what happened. It's hard to blame you for that.

Heck, bring a picture showing the light working now.

Also, I wouldn't call it a taillight if you're talking about the license plate light. Just call it the license plate light.
Personally, I think a malfunctioning taillight would be more of a safety hazard than the license plate light so MAYBE the judge/prosecutor will be more inclined to lean your way for that.

That said, bring your checkbook. It wouldn't surprise me if nobody cares about your story and just want your check. In a zero tolerance world, it was not operating properly.

Lastly, don't wear a hat in court ;)

Personally, I don't think there should be a ticket and fine for a bulb out (particularly a 121.00 fine). It should ALWAYS be a warning. ONLY IF you're in the system for a prior warning for a malfunctioning bulb should you then get a ticket on a subsequent stop. Bulbs burn out and don't give you any warning. Just because it was working at home doesn't mean it won't go out 15mi down the road.


Los Angeles
03-11-2008, 01:42 AM
Lastly, don't wear a hat in court ;)

LOL :laugh:

Trader Joe
03-11-2008, 03:27 AM
Just make sure you don't spend more than 121 dollars fighting the ticket...

03-11-2008, 10:03 AM
You're just lucky they didn't look in your trunk.


James Bond
03-11-2008, 10:54 AM
Personally, I don't think there should be a ticket and fine for a bulb out (particularly a 121.00 fine).

I don't think that it is a ticket in anywhere but Indiana.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that i've heard that before.

I only remember about there being a ticket for it because when i first got my license and my first vehicle the particular light you are talking about was broken (actually was just a burnt out fuse). And my dad annoyed me until I got it working because he said I could get a fine for it, and he kinda knows a little about the law (he's a lawyer btw).

funny thing is, I got a speeding ticket the next month anyways for going 46 in a 30. rofl.

12-28-2010, 12:55 PM
OK Shade... so what happened with this?