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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default Excessive Speed For Conditions - RCW 46.61.400

    Description of the Event:
    I was stopped at a stoplight about to turn left onto the WB onramp of highway 16 in Gig Harbor, WA (NW in the map below). I began to turn left onto the onramp and felt a little bit of a slide and with my awesome driving skills overcorrected twice causing me to lose control and spin and hit the guard rail. So if it makes sense I spun clockwise causing my front left bumper to high the guard rail on the right side of the onramp. I didn't hit anyone or come close to hitting anyone (I'm not entirely sure who called the state patrol). While talking to my insurance agent three state patrol officers pulled up and asked me what happened. I explained and in the end the officer gave me a ticket for driving to fast for conditions(It was wet but not raining). The RCW code is 46.61.400.
    So the officer didn't see it happen she just said that she thought that since nobody else had this happen in the last 3 months I must have been driving to fast. I don't believe I was speeding I just don't think I reacted correctly in what should have been a straightforward situation. I just got my first ticket a few months back and got it deferred and am trying to keep this off my record so I don't have 2 tickets and an accident all at once. From what I've read in other posts before I worry about getting a lawyer I should go through what I believe is requesting discovery. Clarification on this would be great. Thanks in advance for any help.


    Google Map:
    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=4...02044&t=h&z=19

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

    Default Re: Excessive Speed For Conditions - RCW 46.61.400

    Hmmm. This should be interesting. The question arises as to whether getting into an accident is prima facie evidence of "Too fast for conditions". For example, consider the following scenario:

    You are sitting at a red light, waiting to make a left turn. Your light turns green, but it is not a "left arrow", so you must yield to oncoming traffic. You see a car coming the other way, but you know you have sufficient time to make your turn. In the middle of the apex of the turn, however, due to wet pavement, your rear tires start to skid.

    This has never happened to you before -- your tires are good and have always had excellent traction, even in the rain. Now, never having had to deal with a skid before, you panic and, instead of hitting the brake, your foot hits the gas -- causing your tires to spin EVEN MORE! In trying to control the skid, but with your foot still on the gas, you spin out, colliding with the guardrail.

    Now, is that a case of "too fast for conditions"? Or is it a case of a "panic reflex" or even a "mistake in judgment"?

    Anyway, if it were me, I'd plead "not guilty" and ask for a "contested hearing". If that's what you decide to do, when you get your hearing notice, call the clerk of the court and ask for two things: 1) the filing date of the ticket (must be within 5 days of the infraction -- not including weekends) and 2) have the clerk read you the officer's notes (on the reverse side of the ticket that was filed). Later, you will have to request those notes through discovery, but this will give you an idea of what you're going to be up against.

    Because you've got TWO infractions riding on this, I would also strongly suggest getting an attorney. You're probably under 21, so the impact of two tickets, along with the accident claim, will send your insurance "through the roof". An attorney will end up costing MUCH less.

    Good luck,
    Barry
    Where am I going? And why am I in this handbasket?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Excessive Speed For Conditions - RCW 46.61.400

    Two Things:

    First of all you almost perfectly listed off my situation except rather then hitting the gas I turned harder than I should have. Apparently with AWD (I have a 2007 Subaru Impreza) you want to keep the AWD engaged with the engine and a good reaction is NOT to push in the clutch and not to slam on the brakes when trying to avoid something. Both of which I did. So I do believe it was a case of just plain not having been in that situation before and I didn't have the correct reflex. Oh and by the way I am 19 so yes my insurance would probably go sky high and as it is already the same per month as my car payment ($230) I would like to keep that down.

    Second ok I will be getting an attorney. Is there any estimate to how much that should cost? I'll be fighting it in Tacoma, WA and I am a little bit tight on cash(College Student). I also through a friend of a friend know a tax attorney. Assuming I would be able to get him to help for free should I? Are there specialized traffic attorneys?

    Thanks Again

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

    Default Re: Excessive Speed For Conditions - RCW 46.61.400

    I'm not sure how much a "tax" attorney will know about traffic law. One way to find a good traffic attorney is to go listen to them. I suggest that you call the clerk of the court and find out what days the court is hearing contested citations. Go and sit, listen, and learn. Lawyers like to talk. Find one you think is good and approach them in the lobby, if you can. Ask them about your case. You might get some free advice. You can also find out how much they would charge.

    If you're going to Tacoma Municipal Court, I don't believe there will even be a prosecutor (you'll find out if you attend a hearing). If you don't subpoena the officer, she won't be there either. So the only "evidence" against you will be the officer's sworn statement (the back side of the ticket) and what's on the citation itself. That's why you need to find out what it is. I would do that first, then worry about an attorney.

    Barry
    Where am I going? And why am I in this handbasket?

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