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  1. #1
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    Feb 2011
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    Default Speedy Trial Rights in Texas Traffic Court

    My question involves traffic court in the State of: Texas
    Does anybody know when I can start counting the days regarding having a case dismissed for violating my right to a speedy trial. I got the ticket Nov. 4, met with the prosecutor for the "pre-trial meeting and a court date was set. The court sent a letter saying the court date was moved to March 15. I called and the clerk said it was moved at the request of the Judge because she wasn't going to be available.
    Do I have grounds for dismissal?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Speedy Trial Rights in Texas Traffic Court

    I have found no indication that Texas has a "speedy trial" rule or statute that would apply to traffic court; to be certain, you may want to check with a lawyer who handles traffic tickets in the county where you're charged. If the delay is so long that it materially prejudices your defense (e.g., through the unavailability of witnesses, loss of memory, loss of evidence, etc.) you can potentially raise a Due Process defense.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    13

    Default Re: Speedy Trial Rights in Texas Traffic Court

    I don't think I can claim it prejudices my defense. But isn't it a Federal right to have a speedy trial?
    I'll file a motion to dismiss for lack of evidence, just incase the cop doesn't show. I guess it wouldn't hurt to throw in a motion to dismiss for due process and see what happens. should i file the motions to dismiss before the court date or is the morning of ok?
    Also, the cop wrote I thought the speed limit was 45 mph. Is there any chance or getting that surpressed via Miranda?
    Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    3,123

    Default Re: Speedy Trial Rights in Texas Traffic Court

    The Feds have only set up bright line rules regarding Speedy Trial for use in Federal courts. They leave it to the states to establish their own rules and only get involved if/when those rules are challenged in the appropriate Federal court.

    You may make the motions the day of court. Making a motion to dismiss for lack of evidence won't fly prior to trial because you don't know if the officer will be there or not. Since your case was not prejudiced by the delay, you aren't likely to prevail on a Speedy Trial motion. Most "beat a ticket" systems actually encourage people to push out court as long as possible. Why? Because it may result in the officer either not being present or not being able to properly testify to the facts of the case. The latter only really works with a skilled/carefully directed examination of the officer.

    There was no Miranda violation. If you said it, you said it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    13

    Default Re: Speedy Trial Rights in Texas Traffic Court

    Thanks for the insight. From what I've read and heard, it's tough to beat a LIDAR speeding ticket.
    I asked for a trail by jury. I'm hoping I'll be able to discredit the officer's testimony by:
    --the distance of his reading was less than 300 feet
    --taking the reading though his windshield
    --no clear view of my front license plate (the preferred target). I'm hoping he'll testify that was the target and then show due to the angle, this would be impossible. I can also show a picture of my truck that has a brush guard that obstructs the plate.
    If I testify, I will show the distance between the stop light where I turned on to the highway and where he took the reading is too small to accelerate to 54 mph, especially with two 18-wheelers in from of me.
    I'll state the officer's statement about me thinking the limit was 45 was incorrect. It wasn't an answer to the ol' "is there a reason you were going this fast" question. I asked him where he was when he claimed to had clocked me at 54 mph in relation to the 35, 45 and 55 mph signs. He did answer my quest; he started rambling about where the signs are located. The prosecutor did the same thing in the pre-trail "meeting".
    I'll also enter into evidence a certified copy of my complete driving record that shows I've been a licensed driver for 29 years and states no history of driving safety courses, convictions or crashes. I don't know how for this history report goes back but I did have some speeding tickets when I was young. Nonetheless, I'll argue my character contradicts driving 54 mph in a 35 mph zone and basically drag racing to accelerate from 0-54 mph on a stretch of road that is heavily patrolled for speeders.
    The officer's notes say I was in the "inside lane leading the pack". Aside from me the "pack" were two gravel trucks driving very slowly.
    If I'm convicted, I'll ask for leniency based on my driving record, and it was necessary to pass the 18-wheelers because they were impeding traffic and I've had three chips in my windshield from gravel trucks. I'll also appeal and ask for the bond to be waived based on me and my family being lifelong residents and working in the community, meeting all court dates and the fact I could jeopardize my job by having a warrant issued for failing to appear.
    Does it sound like I have a good plan or should I just go down Monday and ask the prosecutor for Defensive Driving or to have the ticket deferred? The trail is Tuesday. Thanks for the help.

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