My question involves a speeding ticket from the State of: California
I got a California "Basic Speed" violation ticket today for going 40mph in a 25mph area.
I was driving along a street (Oak Grove) that crosses from Menlo Park into Atherton (driving left to right on the map below). The cops were parked on the right side of the road, inside Menlo Park, but the cops themselves were from the Atherton police department.
Menlo Park----------------------------------------- Atherton
The boundary between the cities is marked by a vertical line on the map above. At the end of the road is an intersection with Middlefield, marked with a "X" on the map.
I saw the cops parked (literally on the city line). As soon as I drove past them, the cops pulled out behind me. They followed me all the way to the intersection, crossing into Atherton on the way. I turned right at the intersection. They then followed me and pulled me over to give me the ticket.
The cops were parked where the metallic SUV is parked on the right in this Google Street View image: Street View link The brown sign just in front of the SUV is the "Welcome to Atherton" sign.
On the ticket, they put the "Location of Violation(s)" as "OakGrove / Middlefield Ath". This means the intersection between Oak Grove and Middlefield, marked with a "X" on the right of the map above. "Ath" means Atherton. In the box marked "Radar", they wrote "Yes".
Now it is just possible (although I think very unlikely) that I could have been doing 40 mph before I saw the cops. However there is no possible way that I did 40mph anywhere within Atherton. As soon as I saw the cops (while they were still parked, and I was still well within Menlo Park) I checked my speed, and I knew it was a 25mph limit. What's more, there are traffic lights at the intersection that were red, and there was a line of cars waiting at the lights. The distance from the city line to the lights is only 150 yards. There literally isn't any room where I could have done 40mph within Atherton if I had wanted to.
My guess is that they may have clocked me at, say, 35mph with the radar when I was in Menlo Park. Since they were Atherton cops, perhaps they are not allowed to give routine tickets for violations outside their jurisdiction. So they simply fabricated a speeding violation within Atherton. (These cops also took over 15 minutes to write up the violation for absolutely no reason).
Does anyone know whether the radar used by city cops works only when the police car is stationary? If so, then I could prove that the violation was not in Atherton. If I can prove that the city was stated wrongly on the ticket, and that it was a city out of the jurisdiction of the cops, would that be enough to defeat the ticket?
Oh, and they also put the year of my vehicle wrong: they put "2010" (i.e. this year) when it is actually a 2003 model. They also got my "age" wrong (off by one year). And the "reg mo/yr" section has the wrong month. Do these things add up?
Thanks for your advice!