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  1. #1
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    Aug 2010
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    Default California Pacing Procedure to Determine Speed

    My question involves a speeding ticket from the State of: California.
    I was charged with speeding(22350) by a cop using the pacing method.
    My question is where can I find info in the CA vehicle code for "pacing procedure for determining speed"?
    There has to be a standard procedure for pacing.
    In my case I only noticed the officers vehicle in my mirror after he had come around a corner and he was over 30 car lengths away and closing fast.
    There is no way for the police to accurately determine a vehicles speed if the car in question is so far away from the police car and around a corner.
    I was wondering where I can find the pacing procedure explained?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: California Pacing Procedure to Determine Speed

    I don't think you need to have the pacing procedure explained. You obviously recognize the fact that the procedure used violates common sense. You should just be prepared to question the cop about it in court. You should make him explain it and justify his procedure.

    Now, here's an interesting argument. People v Goulet states:

    Speed trap rules are not applicable to evidence of speed based on use of a speedometer without any use of radar. The Legislature may anticipate that when an officer is driving a vehicle and enforcing prima facie speed laws by observing traffic, roadside conditions, his and/or her own perceptions of safety under the circumstances, and then noting speed from the speedometer of the patrol vehicle, the judgment is likely to be similar to the reasonable and prudent majority of drivers, and not be determined merely by a speed limit which, for political, revenue, or other reasons, a local authority may have set below what is reasonable and necessary for safe and efficient movement of traffic.
    This means that the reason the prosecution doesn't have to consider speed trap laws in a pace case is because the cop is a part of the traffic and he can judge if the speed is dangerous or unreasonable for the conditions. Therefore, simply relying on 22351 saying that a person over the limit is presumed to be violating the basic speed law may not be enough.

    In People v. Behjat, the court stated:

    In a prosecution under Vehicle Code section 22350, the record must contain substantial evidence from which a fact finder could conclude either that the defendant drove at a speed that endangered people or property or that she drove at a speed that was unreasonable for the driving conditions.
    So, just saying that you were over the limit may not suffice. The officer should have to give evidence as to how your speed created a danger or was unreasonable under the circumstances.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: California Pacing Procedure to Determine Speed

    I believe that they have to pace you for 0.25 miles (miles while maintaining a constant distance between cars). I dont know if you will find any written, scientifically reviewed pace method.

    Police measure speed by all kinds of methods not scientifically proven. LIDAR/RADAR equipment have been tested in lab environments but you will not find methods that detail the information needed to determine if lab tested equipment can be used in the field (several errors that should be known include: equipment error, operator error, operator to operator error). When I question officers on the stand I ask them what these errors are in respect to the specific instrument used .. they look at me like "what??". Police officers simply do not have the knowledge, training, or education to answer these questions - its not their fault as most departments only require a HS education.

    You should simply file a FOIA request to the state police asking for the method, any documents that were produced when validating the method & any documents produced during the method development stages. You likely will not any. Then you can ask the cop to describe the method he used, ask him if it is a standard police dept. method etc.

    Other things with pacing include speedometer cal. etc.

    You may find that there is no validated method...

    You will want to object when the officer talks about speed to its foundation to be included against you.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: California Pacing Procedure to Determine Speed

    Thanks for the info.
    The conditions were all in my favor, weather clear, good visibility, light traffic, clear, paved roads.
    I believe that the officer sped up dramatically in order to catch up to my vehicle and concluded that if he was traveling at "x" mph then I must have been traveling the same.
    Fortunately in my case he was not only a great distance behind me, at least 30+ car lengths, also he stopped me after rounding a corner.
    It's not possible to accurately estimate a vehicles speed when the vehicle in question is not only far away from the patrol car but around a corner.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: California Pacing Procedure to Determine Speed

    Unfortunately, you think you know what the cop will testify to but in reality you do not. He will say that he paced you on a straight away in all likelihood. If you have an aerial view of the road (google) you can ask him to identify on the map where he did his pacing exactly. I dont know if you cannot pace on curves ... you may find that out in you FOIA request/discovery request response(s). Post them here, I would like to see it & learn more. You can serve more than 1 discovery/FOIA request so serve what you can ASAP. Certified mail.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: California Pacing Procedure to Determine Speed

    Quote Quoting Sloan
    View Post
    Thanks for the info.
    The conditions were all in my favor, weather clear, good visibility, light traffic, clear, paved roads.
    I believe that the officer sped up dramatically in order to catch up to my vehicle and concluded that if he was traveling at "x" mph then I must have been traveling the same.
    Fortunately in my case he was not only a great distance behind me, at least 30+ car lengths, also he stopped me after rounding a corner.
    It's not possible to accurately estimate a vehicles speed when the vehicle in question is not only far away from the patrol car but around a corner.
    You really need to understand that police officers will simply lie.

    "I am trained in pacing, I passed a pacing course, I measured his speed at X for 2 miles at 100 feet from his bumper"

    You will disagree, you will have a complex argument about how many car lengths and where the officer was, etc, etc.

    Judge will say "Well, I see officer Bob here a dozen times a month for the last year, so I will go with his story...Guilty"

    I'd make them prove it, try and get them to mess up ...TBD, discovery/subpoena for all the records, etc

  7. #7
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    Default Re: California Pacing Procedure to Determine Speed

    Adam is right, they dont call it test-lying for nothing & I seen all the complicated math arguments --- judges dont want to do math, it hurts their puny human brains.

    You'll need to attack the training of the cop, honesty of the cop,the method itself, and the speedo calibration. If not, bong! Guilty.

    Good luck

  8. #8
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    Default Re: California Pacing Procedure to Determine Speed

    Quote Quoting adam_
    View Post
    You really need to understand that police officers will simply lie.

    "I am trained in pacing, I passed a pacing course, I measured his speed at X for 2 miles at 100 feet from his bumper"

    You will disagree, you will have a complex argument about how many car lengths and where the officer was, etc, etc.

    Judge will say "Well, I see officer Bob here a dozen times a month for the last year, so I will go with his story...Guilty"

    I'd make them prove it, try and get them to mess up ...TBD, discovery/subpoena for all the records, etc

    Adam,

    Unfortunately, you are more right than most people would like to admit. How sad for us all.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: California Pacing Procedure to Determine Speed

    "I am trained in pacing, I passed a pacing course, I measured his speed at X for 2 miles at 100 feet from his bumper"

    The cop may testify as EW.. suggests. That is of course, your signal to attack him. You can ask/attack him about his training ... about the operator error involved, operator to operator error. Ask him if he is an expert in pacing, attack the speedometer, attack his education (or bring up his lack of education - I like to begin cross with personal questions to get him upset - I'll ask if he has been convicted of any felony, convicted of any charge involving dishonesty, ask if he graduated high school, any college?, military vet?, honorable discharge? Etc. It will show the court that he is not an expert in pacing, that he cannot state an actual method for doing it (just saying its a police method - then ask him "can you testify that the method that you have used has been scientifically reviewed for its ability to actually measure speed?" & to ask him to state every step of the test method (hey, he said he uses the method - he'll say he cannot in all likelihood).

    It easy easy easy to get a cop to admit that they have no idea if the method they use is actually accurate.

    I would search ct. opinions to see if any actually lists the pacing method. But I dont think that there is an actual validated method

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