Hey Lifehacker, I was recently busted for turning right at a "No Right Turn" sign which has time restrictions. I've regularly used that turn before, but the rules were changed and I hadn't realised that I was doing so during a period when the no-turn rule applied. Do you think I could ask for leniency, since it's my first infringement? Thanks, Mostly Careful Driver
Technically, any traffic fine can be contested in court so there's nothing to stop you from giving it a shot. You can arrange your court appearance by paying a visit to your local court or filling out a court election form via the SDRO website. A $50 application fee applies.
If you go down this road, you'll get to choose your court appointment from a range of available dates — I'd recommend keeping the whole day free, as it's not uncommon to be stuck in court for hours while other cases are being heard. Make sure to bring any supporting evidence with you, such as a photo of the specific signage and proof that the rules used to be different.
Your chance of success will probably depend on how recently the time restrictions were changed. Most judges will also take your driving record into account — having no previous infringements will definitely work in your favour, especially if you've been driving for many years.
That said, this is a clear-cut case of a motorist doing the wrong thing (albeit unintentionally), so I wouldn't hold out much hope. If the new rules were clearly signposted, that just means you weren't paying enough attention. Being blinded by habit doesn't exactly paint you as a responsible driver. If you're lucky though, you might get an understanding judge who decides to take pity on you. Good luck!
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