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UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

Old Oct 9th 2007, 11:22 pm
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Default UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

I am a UK citizen and whilst on holiday in Arizona recently I was stopped for speeding. I was in a 65mph zone and the officer informed me that I was doing approx 100mph, although I have not seen proof of this. I was given a criminal citation and told I had a month to sort this out.

I tried calling the court on several occasions whilst still in the US but was told the citation had not yet been filed. On my return to the UK I tried again, the citation had been filed and I was told that if I pleaded guilty I would receive a $300 fine and a Class 3 misdemeanour which would remain on my record forever.

My concern is that I travel frequently to the US on business - usually at least twice a month - and I have a C1/D American visa. I understand that having a Class 3 misdemeanour on your record does not preclude you from applying or reapplying for a visa, but I am concerned that I may have trouble getting through immigration or be taken to one side for special handling each time I visit.

As a UK citizen I am not fully familiar with the US legal system and would appreciate advice on whether it would be worth me contacting a local attorney and attempting to arrange some sort of plea bargain, with regards to a probation period of some description as opposed to receiving a criminal record. I don’t have a criminal record in the UK and for the last nine years that I have been travelling to the US I have not had any dealings with the police authorities.

When the officer asked me how fast I think I was going, I said "75 or 80" - he said "not even close" but didn't show me any evidence (I was too stunned to ask to see any).

I have a clean drivers licence in the UK (been driving 15 years), in 8 years of visiting the US I have never had any dealings with the police, I don't have a criminal record in the UK - this was a serious lapse of judgement caused by a few factors. Mostly that I was tired after my flight from the UK, I was worried about the Lodging reception closing before I got there (flight was delayed), I was driving on the opposite side of the road from what I'm used to and driving an automatic (I drive a stick shift in the UK).

The fine isn't the issue here, it's the class 3 missdemeanor on my record and also the embarassment of being carted off to the immigration office, in front of my work colleagues, everytime I enter the US. This sort of punishment will happen for possibly the next 30 odd years I am working.

This has really been getting to me. Any further advice would be appreciated, today I intend to call the County Clerk and ask her for Attorney recommendations.

Any advice would be appreciated as I do not have much time left to get back in touch with the courts.

Up till now I have left voicemails with an immigration attorney and also an attorney specialising in traffic violations. They should get back to me tomorrow, in the meantime any informal advice/tips/comments would be really appreciated.



Many thanks
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Old Oct 10th 2007, 3:22 am
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Default Re: UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
I am a UK citizen and whilst on holiday in Arizona recently I was stopped for speeding. I was in a 65mph zone and the officer informed me that I was doing approx 100mph, although I have not seen proof of this. I was given a criminal citation and told I had a month to sort this out.

I tried calling the court on several occasions whilst still in the US but was told the citation had not yet been filed. On my return to the UK I tried again, the citation had been filed and I was told that if I pleaded guilty I would receive a $300 fine and a Class 3 misdemeanour which would remain on my record forever.

My concern is that I travel frequently to the US on business - usually at least twice a month - and I have a C1/D American visa. I understand that having a Class 3 misdemeanour on your record does not preclude you from applying or reapplying for a visa, but I am concerned that I may have trouble getting through immigration or be taken to one side for special handling each time I visit.

As a UK citizen I am not fully familiar with the US legal system and would appreciate advice on whether it would be worth me contacting a local attorney and attempting to arrange some sort of plea bargain, with regards to a probation period of some description as opposed to receiving a criminal record. I don’t have a criminal record in the UK and for the last nine years that I have been travelling to the US I have not had any dealings with the police authorities.

When the officer asked me how fast I think I was going, I said "75 or 80" - he said "not even close" but didn't show me any evidence (I was too stunned to ask to see any).

I have a clean drivers licence in the UK (been driving 15 years), in 8 years of visiting the US I have never had any dealings with the police, I don't have a criminal record in the UK - this was a serious lapse of judgement caused by a few factors. Mostly that I was tired after my flight from the UK, I was worried about the Lodging reception closing before I got there (flight was delayed), I was driving on the opposite side of the road from what I'm used to and driving an automatic (I drive a stick shift in the UK).

The fine isn't the issue here, it's the class 3 missdemeanor on my record and also the embarassment of being carted off to the immigration office, in front of my work colleagues, everytime I enter the US. This sort of punishment will happen for possibly the next 30 odd years I am working.

This has really been getting to me. Any further advice would be appreciated, today I intend to call the County Clerk and ask her for Attorney recommendations.

Any advice would be appreciated as I do not have much time left to get back in touch with the courts.

Up till now I have left voicemails with an immigration attorney and also an attorney specialising in traffic violations. They should get back to me tomorrow, in the meantime any informal advice/tips/comments would be really appreciated.



Many thanks
Hi, If your speed is 20 MPH over the POSTED limit you will be done for RECKLESS driving and at 100 MPH you were lucky you did not spend a day in jail.If it had been me in your situation i would have sent the ticket to the address on the back with the fine (Money Order) and I would not have signed the ticket.Once signed you have admitted guilt.They only want your money and they would not be chasing you to the UK to get a signature.If you have not paid the fine by the due court date then a warrant will be issued for you.If you get into any trouble or involved in a accident or a speeding infraction you will be arrested and it does not matter which state you are in so be aware.Were you caught speeding by the Highway Patrol/State Police/City Kitties or the County Mounties?Most of the Interstates have a limit of 55 MPH when going through town Tucson and Phoenix so if you were doing 100 mph in the metro area then you asked for it.
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Old Oct 10th 2007, 4:08 am
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Default Re: UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

Originally Posted by Arizona Wurzel View Post
Hi, If your speed is 20 MPH over the POSTED limit you will be done for RECKLESS driving and at 100 MPH you were lucky you did not spend a day in jail.If it had been me in your situation i would have sent the ticket to the address on the back with the fine (Money Order) and I would not have signed the ticket.Once signed you have admitted guilt.They only want your money and they would not be chasing you to the UK to get a signature.If you have not paid the fine by the due court date then a warrant will be issued for you.If you get into any trouble or involved in a accident or a speeding infraction you will be arrested and it does not matter which state you are in so be aware.Were you caught speeding by the Highway Patrol/State Police/City Kitties or the County Mounties?Most of the Interstates have a limit of 55 MPH when going through town Tucson and Phoenix so if you were doing 100 mph in the metro area then you asked for it.
Signing a ticket is not an admission of guilt in any State
your reckless driving statement is not the same in every State ..
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Old Oct 10th 2007, 4:13 am
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Default Re: UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
...Mostly that I was tired after my flight from the UK, I was worried about the Lodging reception closing before I got there (flight was delayed), I was driving on the opposite side of the road from what I'm used to and driving an automatic (I drive a stick shift in the UK).
Yeah, my automatic's always doing that - making me drive at 100mph without me wanting to.

You've been ever so careful not to imply any responsibility in your post. Are you genuinely saying that you didn't know how fast you were going? Because that's just bollocks, now isn't it?

I know this answer is judgmental and rude and not of any help. But the fact is, I have to deal with arsehole drivers here in the US every damned day.

I hope you get your criminal record sorted out, and can continue to use your visa, but I equally hope that you're not allowed to drive again over here. Reckless, irresponsible driving kills people... it doesn't just make you look bad in front of your colleagues and mess up your business trips.
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Old Oct 10th 2007, 4:53 am
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Default Re: UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

Originally Posted by mattyb View Post
Any advice would be appreciated as I do not have much time left to get back in touch with the courts.

Up till now I have left voicemails with an immigration attorney and also an attorney specialising in traffic violations. They should get back to me tomorrow, in the meantime any informal advice/tips/comments would be really appreciated.

Many thanks
Short answer:

-I don't know if a conviction it would impact your US status or not. I frankly doubt it, as this is a fairly low grade misdemeanor, but I'm not sure of that, so don't rely on my speculation.

-If you are concerned, then get a lawyer who specializes in traffic tickets. If your attorney is any good, you may end up with a plea bargain down to some lesser charge and a fine, plus attorney's fees. The attorney will deal with the courts for you, and I would guess that it is unlikely that you would have to appear in person.
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Old Oct 10th 2007, 5:18 am
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Default Re: UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

Originally Posted by Arizona Wurzel View Post
Hi, If your speed is 20 MPH over the POSTED limit you will be done for RECKLESS driving and at 100 MPH you were lucky you did not spend a day in jail.
Must just be an Arizona thing. As I've been nicked 3 times for well over 20mph over the limit and also been done over 100mph. Just got a fine and points in NY.
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Old Oct 10th 2007, 7:16 am
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Default Re: UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

Tired and unfamiliar with the country, area and car you are driving in? Just go faster
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Old Oct 10th 2007, 10:12 am
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Thumbs up Re: UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

Originally Posted by Rushman View Post
Must just be an Arizona thing. As I've been nicked 3 times for well over 20mph over the limit and also been done over 100mph. Just got a fine and points in NY.
I bet you wish that Tom Tom GO910 picked up Police Radar and Laser over here now, don't you????

Mine also worked great in the UK, for picking up fixed camera sights. Really came in handy when trying to get to a friend's house in Skelmersdale, too.

During my overnight drive, back to Heathrow the other Sunday morning.....a boy racer zipped passed me on the M6 doing about 120mph. Also passing me a few seconds later was a Cheshire Police Volvo Estate/Station Wagon pacing him. Needless to say, he was pulled over a little further down the road.

Jim.
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Old Oct 10th 2007, 1:18 pm
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Default Re: UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

Originally Posted by Sally View Post
Tired and unfamiliar with the country, area and car you are driving in? Just go faster
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Old Oct 10th 2007, 6:39 pm
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Default Re: UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

Thanks for all the replies, positive and negative. I don't have the time to reply individually to points that some of you raise just yet as I am on my way out of the door to fly to China (rick shaw or tuk tuk for me this time I think).

Cheers

Matt
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Old Oct 10th 2007, 7:36 pm
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Default Re: UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

Originally Posted by Rushman View Post
Must just be an Arizona thing. As I've been nicked 3 times for well over 20mph over the limit and also been done over 100mph. Just got a fine and points in NY.
It's 30 mph over the limit in Maine and you lose license automatically for minimum of 30 days, up to 90 depending on what speed you were going.
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Old Oct 10th 2007, 11:13 pm
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Default Re: UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

Originally Posted by Rushman View Post
Must just be an Arizona thing. As I've been nicked 3 times for well over 20mph over the limit and also been done over 100mph. Just got a fine and points in NY.
To qualify for a class 3 misdemeanor (excessive speed) in AZ you have to be going over 85. I didn't see a specification for how many miles over the limit that would translate to. (Google search, so I'm not an expert)
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Old Oct 11th 2007, 12:08 am
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Default Re: UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

Only in the land of the free can speeding in your car be classed as a criminal offence. Your living in a nazi state and you dont know it.
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Old Oct 11th 2007, 12:45 am
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Default Re: UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

Originally Posted by Rushman View Post
Only in the land of the free can speeding in your car be classed as a criminal offence.
I guess you didn't hear the recent story about the driver who got a 10-week jail sentence for driving 172 mph in a 911 on the A420: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/o...re/7009923.stm

Or the Scottish car dealer got five months for going 157 mph in a BMW M3 on the A90. The article lists other drivers who received jail time for high speeds. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7010843.stm

And the UK may soon begin taking DNA samples from speeders: http://www.motorcyclenews.com/MCN/Ne...d/?R=EPI-93234

If you want to drive fast in the US (which in some cases has higher speed limits than in the UK), then it's wise to get a radar detector and to watch above for speed-monitoring aircraft when driving in rural areas. There aren't many speed cameras here, as is the case in the UK, so if you're careful, you're likely to get away with it.
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Old Oct 11th 2007, 12:52 am
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Default Re: UK citizen, class 3 misdemeanour for speeding will it affect re-entering US?

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP View Post
I guess you didn't hear the recent story about the driver who got a 10-week jail sentence for driving 172 mph in a 911 on the A420: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/o...re/7009923.stm

Or the Scottish car dealer got five months for going 157 mph in a BMW M3 on the A90. The article lists other drivers who received jail time for high speeds. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7010843.stm

And the UK may soon begin taking DNA samples from speeders: http://www.motorcyclenews.com/MCN/Ne...d/?R=EPI-93234

If you want to drive fast in the US (which in some cases has higher speed limits than in the UK), then it's wise to get a radar detector and to watch above for speed-monitoring aircraft when driving in rural areas. There aren't many speed cameras here, as is the case in the UK, so if you're careful, you're likely to get away with it.
Your examples were A roads not motorways. Anyone doing 172 and 157 on A roads deserve a bit of porridge. I was referring to interstates/motorways and will no doubt be inundated by all the do gooders telling me that such speed even on motorways should carry a custodial sentence.
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