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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default School Zone Speeding Ticket, No Flashing Lights Were Observed or Visible to Driver

    My question involves a speeding ticket from the State of: Washington, city of Everett.

    Had just completed a left turn from a two lane road onto a four lane road. Noticed sidewalks on both sides of the 4-lane crowded with pedestrials - commercial stores and apartment complexes along the road. A few hundred feet after making my left turn, while in the left-hand lane, I was motioned by an officer standing in center of the 4-lane street to pull to side of the street. Was informed that I was driving 32 in a school zone. I noticed his laser speed gun and saw the speed display "32 ". My response was incredulous - "What school zone?!?" Officer asked if I saw the flashing school signs - I responded, "What flashing signs?" Officer asked if my mailing address was current, and that I would receive notice of infraction via US Mail. He was using a clip board to record relevant details to later write up and issue the infraction notices.

    So, today I received the notice, six days after the event. I read the green notice of infraction and the cover letter. Cover letter states that I have 18 days from letter date (6/10) to respond. Backside of green ticket tells me I have 15 days from issue date (6/8) to respond.

    >> Which is the correct date to comply to?

    Naturally, I'm given three choices but as I read thru these forums, it appears best to contest and to request discovery.

    I had never driven through that section of town before (ultra high crime area), so I was really unaware of the school zone. Curiously, I drove through the area later that night to obtain a better view of the "working" flashing school lights that I was to have complied with. There was one sign mounted on a sidewalk, on the right, somewhat behind a blooming tree. I was making a left turn onto that street from a left turn lane while waiting at the red light/4-way intersection. One block straight ahead of me further along the street off which I was turning was a flashing School Zone sign strung across the street between two utility poles. At midnight, those lights were still flashing. Is this relevant? The sidewalk lights that I was accused of not obeying were not flashing at midnight.

    No indication on the infraction that lights were flashing and children were present.

    I can scan and post the infraction notice here if that helps.

    Suggestions and recommendations?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,577

    Default Re: School Zone Speeding Ticket, No Flashing Lights Were Observed or Visible to Drive

    So, it looks like you, too, have been nailed by the left turn from 5th Ave. onto W Casino Rd -- right before you get to Horizon Elementary, eh? Here's another thread about that location.

    As far as you other question, IRLJ 2.4 (a) states:

    Quote Quoting IRLJ 2.4
    (a) Generally. A person who has been served with a notice of infraction must respond to the notice within 15 days of the date the notice is personally served or, if the notice is served by mail, within 18 days of the date the notice is mailed.
    So, since it was mailed, your response is due 18 days from that date. But, why wait? Send it back tomorrow.

    Then submit your discovery request and take a look at the evidence against you.

    Barry

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: School Zone Speeding Ticket, No Flashing Lights Were Observed or Visible to Drive

    Ha! I had to laugh. Yes, that's the place. Just returned from another surveillence trip of the area, to better comprehend the situation.

    I'll review the thread link you offered; thank you.

    What is the IRLJ link that you can recommend to request discovery? I'd be happy to post updates as the situation develops.

    Larry

    A post script: curiously, the officer stated that the school zone extended down to the intersection (4 blocks!) of Casino and Everegreen, and that I should keep that in mind. It's all commercial, along that Fred Meyer's and the shopping mall opposite (to the north). A bit beyond 300 feet from the school!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,577

    Default Re: School Zone Speeding Ticket, No Flashing Lights Were Observed or Visible to Drive

    Take a look through this thread. You'll find some information about how to proceed, including a link to a discovery form you can adapt. You'll note that in the thread I linked to, the poster never returned to tell us how it went. That happens quite often -- unfortunately.

    Good luck,
    Barry

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: School Zone Speeding Ticket, No Flashing Lights Were Observed/Visible to Driver

    Hello Barry -

    I mailed back the infraction notice on the 15th, contesting the case. No response yet from the court. Made a copy of the signed form for my records. Kept the USPS mailing receipt. This week, I will contact them to begin discovery. I'll see then if they've received my signed form.

    I returned to the site today and made several photographs of the intersection, signage, and the eastern and western "school zone" signs along Casino Rd. I noticed Everett DOT workers cleaning the signs on Friday, and feared that they would change the signs!

    Q: From these threads, it seems that the signs determine the boundaries for the school zone along a road. Is this correct?

    Q: During court, is the prosecution asked to swear to the court, in the same manner as the defendent?

    Q: If the court asks me about my driving record (Is this your first infraction?), would it be unwise to decline, citing the 5th...or claiming that this is evidence after discovery?

    I'm looking for subtle process/procedural opportunities but don't want to snare myself. So, just asking...

    Larry

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,276

    Default Re: School Zone Speeding Ticket, No Flashing Lights Were Observed/Visible to Driver

    Only in CRIMINAL trials is taking the 5th perfectly OK .. no inferences can be made. Not so in civil & administrative hearings .. inferences CAN BE MADE in these proceedings when a person pleads the 5th (which they still can do).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: School Zone Speeding Ticket, No Flashing Lights Were Observed/Visible to Driver

    Discovery - an interesting journey. Decided to see online what process I needed to follow. Could not find it thru these links -

    http://www.ci.everett.wa.us/default.aspx?ID=240
    http://www.ci.everett.wa.us/default.aspx?ID=1002
    http://www.ci.everett.wa.us/default.aspx?ID=888

    The IRJL table of rules does not specify a particular form. It does describe the minimum required discovery that is released from the prosecutor's office.

    Called the city prosecutor's office, who gave me their mailing address but declined to offer the specific form to use. Not being employed at the moment, I made a leisurely drive to the prosecutor's office. Was rewarded with feigned ignorance about "discovery." Waited 15 minutes for another person to assist me with three copies of the discovery form and instructions. Why this was not available online is a head-scratcher. Completed the forms, walked to the municipal court (closed noon to 1pm) and offered the form to the clerk. Extremely helpful and friendly. Same at the Evt police department. My copy of disclosure was stamped RECEIVED by the muni clerk and the EPD clerk.

    For chuckles, I asked the EVT city clerk about the discovery process - "Huh? Isn't your lawyer helping you? Your ticket has everything on it that you need for court."

    Now, I wait...

    Court date is Aug 5th. I hv some time on my hands, so I'll sit in on several cases during the day to understand the process (and remove my nervousness) from that end. And, see what works and doesn't work during the hearings.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: School Zone Speeding Ticket, No Flashing Lights Were Observed or Visible to Drive

    Received discovery; the officer wrote that the area is "...clearly posted 20 MPH zone."

    The area is posted 20 MPH "when lights are flashing" ... which they were not.

    The posted speed in this zone is 35 MPH. I was clocked at 32 MPH.

    The flashing signs have solar cell panels - and I read another thread that these signs can be mis-syncronized from real time. So I need to dig for this new information.

    I have read threads about this same situation in Sammamish. I need to locate those threads and understand how the drivers convinced the court to dismiss their case.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default CASE DISMISSED: School Zone Speeding Ticket, No Flashing Lights Were Observed...

    Hearing today - presented packets to judge and prosecuting attorney (a decent guy) containing photos of the area and detailed exhibit numbers and relevent descriptive text.

    From my testimony:

    "• I observed that it is impossible to view vehicles 300’ from the officer’s location because of dip in road at that western sign and the crest of hill in front of Horizon Elementary. Officer location was below crest of hill, to the east of Horizon on W. Casino. The flashing school zone sign at the west end of the Horizon Elementary school zone cannot be seen from the officer’s location within the crosswalk. "

    Case dismissed. Judge comment: "Good work with preparing your position. Officer failed to correctly prepare his affidavit."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,577

    Default Re: CASE DISMISSED: School Zone Speeding Ticket, No Flashing Lights Were Observed...

    Good job! Congratulations!

    Thanks for letting us know.

    Barry

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