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You might get ticket reduced, if you ask

Regarding the column about you getting a speeding ticket, I was curious about your statement, "I called the Justice Court ... and they reduced the fine by the statutory maximum of 25 percent." Does that apply here in Jackson County, and if so, are there limiting factors? — Dorothy Elliott

That was a good article for feedback, as I've gotten quite a few comments on it.

It used to be that an officer wrote a ticket and filled in the fine for the ticket based on standards set by the state. The person who received the ticket could then go to court, plead guilty and ask for a fine reduction, which was then granted or not by the judge or court staff.

There was no restriction on what that reduction was, or how it was determined. The same exact ticket given to two different drivers might have vastly different reductions.

To deal with that dilemma, and to increase uniformity, a few years ago the law was changed to allow courts to have discretion in lowering a ticket fine, but there was a cap put on how much the fine could be lowered. The law now allows a court to reduce a person's fine anywhere up to a maximum of 25 percent. Usually that happens with a good attitude, a good driving record and a request for leniency — they're not going to do it if you don't ask.

This is a statewide law, so it would apply to all courts across the state, including circuit court, justice court and municipal courts here in Jackson County.

Dace Cochran, a patrol sergeant with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, writes a regular Q&A column on police issues for the Mail Tribune. Have a question for him? Write to Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501, or e-mail cochradc@jacksoncounty.org.