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I am a Swiss citizen, 20 years old (yep I'm not an adult in the U.S - maybe that is important) and travelling through the U.S with a rental car.

Driving through the yellowstone national park in wyoming I made a really bad and stupid decision. There were 3 cars in front of me and I decided to pass them because there was absolutely no traffic on the other lane. Unfortunately, the first car was a U.S park ranger which pulled me over because I passed him way too fast. The speed limit on the road was 45mph and I passed him with 78mph, so 33mph over the limit! The ranger wrote me a ticket which says that I have to appear in court in september... He also told me to call a number of an attorney of the US government who will tell me what the further steps will be.

I never got a speed fine in the U.S or in Switzerland before and I really regret what happened. I am willing to pay the fine but are not able to appear in the court because I will return to Switzerland in 2 weeks.

Has anyone got an idea what will happen to me? Any recommendations what to tell the attorney of the government on the phone?

Thanks for your help in advance! :)

  • If the ticket says that court appearance is mandatory (box A is checked), you need an attorney now. – user6726 Jul 15 '18 at 20:40
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    Why do you think you're not an adult in the US? 20 years old qualifies you just about everywhere. – Chris Hayes Jul 15 '18 at 21:04
  • Not being able to buy alcohol doesn't mean that you're not an adult. The voting age is 18, for example. Also, there are some related questions on Travel. – phoog Jul 15 '18 at 22:45
  • Okey I just mentioned it that I am not 21 yet because I didn't know if this makes any difference. Just ignore that information then.. – Nicola Jul 16 '18 at 2:03
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Usually, it is possible to call a number on the ticket and arrange to plea guilty by mail or telephone for an agreed reduced fine and less serious offense classification, even if a court appearance is ordinarily required, and to then pay the fine by credit card or mail.

Sometimes you will need to agree to complete a traffic school (these days this can often be done online) and transmit a certificate of completion as well.

My daughter did essentially the same thing in Nevada (95 in a 55 zone, oh my!).

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    I would also mention to the courts that you're on an IDP and if the court date is after the date you leave the country. Calling the Swiss Consulate would also be strongly advised. The consulate that handles issues in Wyoming is located in San Francisco, so they would probably have someone on hand who knows a thing or two about these issues. – hszmv Jul 18 '18 at 14:11
  • @ohwilleke okay thanks for that! I will give them a call and see what I can do :) – Nicola Jul 18 '18 at 19:45
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Call a lawyer or call the consulate and ask for advice.

Speeding may seem trivial, but this is really not a great time to be cavalier about being a foreigner and in violation of any United States law.

  • Thanks for your answer. I know that this is not a minor violation of the law and I really regret it but it happened and I can't change that now. Do you have an idea what the consequences will be or what the fine amount might be? – Nicola Jul 16 '18 at 2:07
  • I'd expect the monetary consequences to be minimal. Beyond that, I have no idea. – bdb484 Jul 16 '18 at 2:11
  • @Nicola My big concern would be possible implications for any future travel to the US. Particularly if you just go back to Switzerland without handling the ticket (not saying that you would), you can be sure of trouble on any return journey. This is part of why finding a lawyer to help you work through it is important. – Chris Hayes Jul 16 '18 at 5:18
  • @Chris Yes that might be true - but I will pay that fine anyway. I just hope that they will give me a fine and nothing else. And if so I am wondering how high the amount will be.. – Nicola Jul 17 '18 at 1:05
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    @ChrisHayes "sure of trouble on the return journey": according to dmv.org, an arrest warrant will only be issued for more serious violations. Trouble is therefore not certain. – phoog Jul 18 '18 at 15:15

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