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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Out-Of-City Cops put Wrong City on Ticket

    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


    ME->
    ===============|==============X intersection
    ----------------------------COPS--------------------


    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!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,175

    Default Re: Out-Of-City Cops put Wrong City on Ticket

    Quote Quoting gr_cl
    View Post
    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


    ME->
    ===============|==============X intersection
    ----------------------------COPS--------------------


    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".
    The officer will more than likely testify that the violation occurred at "OakGrove / Middlefield Ath"... and nothing that you posted here will raise sufficient reasonable doubt as to the accuracy of that statement.
    Quote Quoting gr_cl
    View Post
    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.
    So you're admitting guilt but you're arguing location and jurisdiction! (maybe I was speeding back there, but not up here)

    As I stated above, there's not much you can say to refute the officer's testimony of where the violation occurred. As for jurisdiction, you're free to make whatever argument you see fit before the court but the way I understand it, and so long as the citation is filed in the proper venue/courthouse (and in California, jurisdictions are divided by county), then you're argument that a California “peace officer” authorized to cite anywhere in the state, cited you out of his jurisdiction is NOT going to nullify the citation. The bigger burden that you'll have to prove though, is that the violation occurred in Menlo Park as opposed to Atherton. And frankly, I am just not feeling either argument.

    Quote Quoting gr_cl
    View Post
    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.
    Possible, although I see no reason why they would have to lie about location or speed.
    Lets assume that the officer somehow benefits from writing a citation... Citing you for 35 in 25 carries the same penalty and requires the same burden of proof as citing you for 40 in 25... So I see no real reason as to why they would fake it... had he cited you for 41 in 25, then that would put you in the next fine bracket ($212 for 15 over versus $336 for 16 over), then I would think, “maybe”...
    Quote Quoting gr_cl
    View Post
    (These cops also took over 15 minutes to write up the violation for absolutely no reason).
    Not sure what that would infer...
    Quote Quoting gr_cl
    View Post
    Does anyone know whether the radar used by city cops works only when the police car is stationary?
    Today's Radar can be used in either stationary of moving modes...
    Quote Quoting gr_cl
    View Post
    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?
    All that might add up to a quick correction before the judge orders the matter to proceed... Those discrepancies have no effect whatsoever on the elements of the offense with which you were charge. You were charged with is "allegedly driving at an unsafe speed in a 25mph speed zone". That speed limit, however, must be justified by way of an Engineering and traffic Survey. And that might present you with your only glimmer of hope in beating this citation.

    (Read the “speed trap” definition and related information in California Vehicle Code Sections 627, 40800 through 40808 for more information)...

    So what you need to do is to obtain a copy of that survey for the stretch of roadway where you allegedly committed the violation. Two ways you can obtain that... One would be to file and serve an “informal discovery request” (Google that and you'll find quite a bit of info on how to proceed)... OR, you can contact CalTrans and make a request through them for a copy. If that stretch of roadway happens to be maintained by a different authority than CalTrans, they would be able to direct you to the proper channel from whom you can request a copy.

    Once you obtain that survey, you can come back to this thread and post a copy of it and hopefully someone will guide you further.

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