Idaho Speeding Tickets
I get calls nearly every day from people looking to fight traffic tickets in Idaho. Many of these people are from out of state or have never received an Idaho traffic citation before. I wanted to write this post in order to clear up any misconceptions and answer the questions I get on each of these cases.
It should be noted that if you have an actual defense to the case, these will likely not apply. However, in my experience most people are not asserting a defense, they just don't want the points on their record.
First, Idaho Does Not Treat Traffic Tickets Like Many Other States
I hear from residents in California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, etc. all the time about how the system works in their state. They explain that they can hire someone to quickly and painlessly get the ticket reduced to a non-moving violation or dismissed - No Problem! This does not happen in Idaho. Most Idaho counties have begun to take a strict stance on traffic citations, especially speeding tickets. Unlike many of the surrounding states fighting a traffic citation can be just as complex as fighting some misdemeanors. Additionally, there is no guarantee that the citation will be reduced or dismissed! In fact, (depending on the county, the facts of the case, and the past driving record of the defendant) in most cases it is a 50/50 shot at best that the prosecutor will agree to negotiate on the case.
Because there is no guarantee, it is critical that prior to hiring an attorney every client understand: If you hire an attorney you run the risk of paying for legal services and paying for the ticket you are trying to avoid.
Second, Fighting A Traffic Citation May Cost More Time And Money Than You Expect
Another part of the story I hear from residents in other states is that they are able to hire a company for $50 or $100 to fight their ticket. The process in Idaho is very different from these states. As previously explained, in Idaho fighting a traffic infraction can often require as much time and energy for an attorney as some misdemeanor cases. Depending on the county (and of course the lawyer you hire), I would expect to spend from $300 - $500 for legal fees on an infraction case. This is a lot of money considering that the infraction fees are often no more that $150 to just pay the ticket.
Third, You Chances Of Success Depend On The County You Are Cited In
Having represented clients in many of these cases across several Idaho counties I can tell you that the odds of success change depending on the county. If you received a citation in Ada County you are in for an uphill battle. The prosecutors in Ada are the least likely to reduce or dismiss a traffic citation. This does not mean that it is impossible, depending on the facts and the driving history of the Defendant I am frequently able to find some resolution that works for everyone, but be aware that you may end up with a prosecutor that is unwilling to budge. Canyon County is a little bit more likely to negotiate than Ada and smaller counties such as Valley County, Boise County, and Owyhee County give you the best chance of success.
Fourth, If You Have A Troubled Driving Record - Your Odds Of Success Are Low
I see people all the time with 2 or 3 citations in the last year now looking to fight a new citation because either their license is about to be suspended or their insurance is either threatening to dramatically increase their rate/drop them altogether. I don't care what county you are in, the odds of successfully convincing a prosecutor that you deserve a break are very low. Only those with clean or relatively clean records stand a chance of success.
Fifth, Be Realistic
If you were caught doing 90 mph in a 55 mph zone and only received a speeding ticket, just pay it! You are lucky you were not charged with Reckless Driving (misdemeanor) and facing a drivers license suspension, no prosecutor in their right mind is going to reduce that ticket.
Sixth, If You Drive For A Living You May Have A Slightly Better Chance Of Success
Again, this all depends on your past driving record but I have been successful in convincing prosecutors that the effect on a CDL is not the same as your standard person receiving a traffic infraction. This has lead to a slightly higher rate of success in these cases. However, there is still no guarantee.
Last, Sometimes It Is Better To Bite The Bullet And Just Pay The Ticket
I will happily take your money if you want to fight a traffic infraction but the truth is sometimes it is just better to cut your losses and move on with your life.
William Young and Associates - Idaho Infractions
If after reading this you are still interested in representation, give me a call.
Posted Jan 30, 2019 at 16:01:44
So, I’ve always heard that, if the officer doesn’t show up, it’s dismissed; is that true?
William Young Reply
Posted Jan 30, 2019 at 16:13:39
First, this is an old wives tale – the officer always shows up. Maybe back in the day the officer would fail to show but I have never actually seen this take place.
Second, most of the time (this depends on the county) there is a hearing before the trial called a Pretrial Conference or a Status Conference. This is a hearing where defendants and their attorneys are given the opportunity to negotiate a resolution with the prosecutor. The officer is not required to be there for this hearing.
Third, while it is likely to be very difficult for the state to prove their case without the officer’s testimony and, on account of that, the state is likely to dismiss, the officer’s failure to show up would not automatically lead to the case being dismissed. There are circumstance where the court would give the prosecutor additional time to produce their witness – thereby resetting the trial for a different day. In rare circumstances, it is also possible for the state to produce sufficient evidence to prove the case without the officer’s testimony.
Daniel Sweeney Reply
Posted Jun 23, 2019 at 16:56:23
Hi, I am a California driver. I was recently driving through Idaho on vacation headed home and a few miles from the Nevada border I was pulled over for speeding. The officer said and wrote me a ticket for doing 87 in 55…. I thought this was absurd at first. I was passing another car yes but knew I had not touched 80 since I left the main road. Later found out that the tires on my truck were not the same size as the truck was ment to have. They were much larger… I as so work full time as a mechanic here in California and need to keep my driving record clear or I lose my job. I know it was my fault and should have known the truck had different size tires. Mind you I had only owed the truck for about 3 weeks before making this trip. I still don’t think I was doing 87 mph. Normally I would pay and leave it alone but since it matters to my job and could lose my job over this ticket. Wondering if there is a chance I could get it moved to a fine and not a moving violation.
Thanks in advance
Craig Himes Reply
Posted Jul 17, 2020 at 07:06:40
Mr Young is totally correct. I contested a 49-654(1) ticket for descending Lookout Pass I-90 in sudden snow flurry in first gear of my F250 truck and skidded upon a patch of ice into the cement side rail. The officer tells the court he came an hour and a half away to the scene of the accident and determined my true speed and conditions at the time of the accident. He states even though my speed was below the speed limit 55mph I was not going 20mph as claimed and my determined speed was unsafe for conditions. One question by the Shoshone Prosecutor stands out: ‘Would your truck have skidded if the truck was not moving’?
One can only conclude that in Shoshone County the Court system is predetermined
to find you guilty.
William Young Reply
Posted Jul 17, 2020 at 07:49:56
I’m sorry you had this experience. The idea that under certain conditions any driving at all is “too fast for conditions” is an incorrect interpretation of the statute in my opinion.
Posted Feb 02, 2022 at 16:27:36
Thanks for providing all this great info Mr. Young! I got a ticket in Kootenai county for 37 in a 25, but I’ve discovered that the city has reduced the speed limit below 35 without a survey/study as per Idaho Code 49-654 (2)(a)(i) and 49-207(2) or (3). I’m confident that no survey exists, but I’m leery of meeting with the prosecutor and giving them info to prepare the case against me. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
William Young Reply
Posted Feb 03, 2022 at 10:12:51
Even if the court determines that the speed limit should be 35, not 25, if the prosecutor is able to prove that you were driving 37 you will be found guilty. I would suggest contacting the prosecutor and seeing if something can be worked out. In my opinion, this gives you the best chance of success.
Leave a Comment