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Kansas City speeders plead to lower offenses

Michael Mansur of The Kansas City Star used computer-assisted analysis of court records to show the court repeatedly allows thousands of speeders and red-light runners to reduce dangerous moving violations to defective-equipment pleas. That means tickets for serious violations are pleaded down to offenses such as broken taillights, which means no points against a driver's record. The legal tactic — called "buying points" — is common in the metro area, but is spinning out of control in Kansas City, resulting in problem drivers continuing to speed, even when their licenses should be suspended or revoked. "Currently, a driver older than 21 who hires an attorney and agrees to pay a slightly higher fine can get two defective-equipment reductions in a calendar year. That allows some of the worst drivers to get as many as four in a 12-month period — such as two in December and two in January — without any questions. " One driver used the tactic six times in one year, the paper found, while 250 did it three times or more.

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