My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: California
I was driving down San Vicente Blvd at approx 8pm. I was driving behind a white sedan & began a lane change to turn right on the upcoming street. A yellow car was in the #1 lane (that I was changing to) going significantly faster than I was. As I changed lanes, I noticed a LASD motorcyle officer in a construction area (closed since it was after hours), presumably attempting to tag speeders. I instantly got a bad feeling & glanced at my speedo to make sure I was within the legal limit (no posted speed limit). I noted my speedo reading approx 40-42mph. I run a smaller, yet wider, tire than stock on my RED car coupe & have noted the speed difference between what the speedo reads & what my actual speed is. Under 50mph, it's approx 5-7mph faster than actual speed. Over 50mph it's approx 7-11mph faster than actual speed - dependent on speed. I do not have documentation from a shop to note this, just the word of my mechanic. (Though it is knowledge anyone who knows about tires/wheel size would be aware of).
As I was preparing to turn right, I noticed the motorcycle office coming up behind me with his lights flashing. I proceeded to pull over at the 1st safe place I could. While asking the usual questions, I explained my destination was 1 block from the location I pulled over. He asked if I knew how fast I was going to which I said I had an idea, as I had glanced at my speedo prior to initiating the lane change & told him my tire/speedo story. I also explained that the week prior, I was told by my mechanic that my throwout bearing in my clutch was starting to go & that I should drive very cautiously to extend the life of the bearing until I could get it in the shop. I told the Deputy there was no way I would willingly be driving in any manner that could cause harm to my clutch/throwout bearing. He claimed he tagged me at 50mph with Lidar. I asked him why he didn't tag the car ahead of me or the one next to me going the same speed. I also asking if he carried calibration records for the device. He stated he wasn't sure if he had them with him, but it didn't matter since he didn't have to show them to me either way.
After issuing the ticket, he said "just for shits & giggles, c'mon out of the car, let's see if I have those papers". He did indeed have calibration records for a Lidar device last calibrated over 1 year prior to this date, though it is unknown if it was in fact the device he used for the ticket as he pulled it away before I could read anything more.
Is there a chance, with the explanation I've provided about the tire size, etc, of winning this via a Trial by Declaration or a Court Trial? I spoke to several deputies at LASD (after my GF's apt was broken into (maybe a week after this ticket)) who have all said this officer is always in court & is known in the dept for being a bully & writing what 1 called "bogus traffic tickets". I didn't even mention a name to 1 of the deputies who came to do fingerprints, just the "shits & giggles" line & they knew exactly who he was & told me I should fight the ticket after hearing my side of the story.
I have already requested an extension of this ticket as it occurred in April 2012. Am I screwed or is there a chance of beating this? I plan to do a Trial by Declaration, simply stating I am not guilty & presenting evidence in court if I lose the Trial by Declaration. Should I explain the tire size to speedo readout difference & the clutch/throwout bearing on it's last leg in the declaration? What, if any discovery should I request? (I do plan to request at a minimum: A list of all witnesses, A copy of the engineering and traffic survey - and any other documentation necessary to prove that this is not a speed trap as defined in Vehicle Code section 40802, A copy of all records regarding the maintenance and calibration of the laser unit used in this case, A copy of each and every certification issued to the Deputy involving the use of said laser unit, A copy of all of the Deputy's notes on this case including copies of the front and back of the officer’s copy of the ticket). Should I bother to request this info prior to the submission of the Trial by Declaration, or wait until a court trial if that's the outcome? Will a statement from the property owner disallowing officers to use their property for such purposes help? Does it matter if he wrote the wrong block # on the ticket?
I did write a lengthy Trial by Dec, with lots of photos, maps & drawings, but I heard from several friends who have done similar, that it gave the officer all the info they needed to refresh their memories & present the judge with a convincing argument.
On a side note, I am not currently working & paying the fine + traffic school is way more than I can afford at the moment (or the foreseeable future, unfortunately), so any and all help is greatly appreciated!! Thanks!!
P.S. Sorry if this is long or slightly jumbled. It's late & I'm exhausted, but eager to do what is needed to fight this ticket