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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    WA
    Posts
    2

    Default School Zone Speeding Ticket Defense

    I was pulled over in a "sting" (they pulled over many cars) for going 31 in a school zone. the speed in the zone is 20mph WHEN CHILDREN ARE PRESENT. There were no children. The time of the ticket was 3:02pm and the area schools get out at 2:35 and 3:15. Found this info out after the fact since I do not have any children who attend school. So I was between the two release times. I have chosen to fight this ticket as I do not believe that I did anything wrong since I was not speeding. The sign says 20 when children are present so I feel that if I do not see children than the regular speed is implyed. Am I correct. Or if they want the speed to be 20 during school hours than the sign should say those hours. Do you think that I have a valid arguement? any pointers that I should be aware of?

  2. #2

    Default

    The WA legislature seems to yield to local authorities when it comes to school speed limits. Nonetheless, I did find some info from the motor vehicle code. Here is, I believe, the pertinent part:

    (1) Subject to RCW 46.61.400(1), and except in those instances where a lower maximum lawful speed is provided by this chapter or otherwise, it shall be unlawful for the operator of any vehicle to operate the same at a speed in excess of twenty miles per hour when operating any vehicle upon a highway either inside or outside an incorporated city or town when passing any marked school or playground crosswalk when such marked crosswalk is fully posted with standard school speed limit signs or standard playground speed limit signs. The speed zone at the crosswalk shall extend three hundred feet in either direction from the marked crosswalk.

    (2) A county or incorporated city or town may create a school or playground speed zone on a highway bordering a marked school or playground, in which zone it is unlawful for a person to operate a vehicle at a speed in excess of twenty miles per hour. The school or playground speed zone may extend three hundred feet from the border of the school or playground property; however, the speed zone may only include area consistent with active school or playground use.

    (3) A person found to have committed any infraction relating to speed restrictions within a school or playground speed zone shall be assessed a monetary penalty equal to twice the penalty assessed under RCW 46.63.110. This penalty may not be waived, reduced, or suspended.

    Even assuming that the location of the speed limit was in compliance with this statute mentioned above, if the sign explicitly says "when children are present" as a caption to the speed limit, the appropriate authorites have yielded discretion to observe the scene and drive a just speed to the driver.

    All you have to do to win this case is to take a picture of the sign in question and present it in court. There is a responsibility of the driver to know the rules, but misleading signs that contradict state rules takes precedence over the code. If the normal speed limit on that street is higher than the 31 you were going at, there really is nothing the court can do but to throw out the ticket.

    They CANNOT prosecute on the grounds of speeding within a certain time limit without that time range being posted on the sign. The driver is not responsible (and is practically impossible) for memorizing the times at which students are leaving schools.

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

    Default

    Police in my area (Kent) will enforce the school zone speed limit, even if there is only ONE child ANYWHERE within sight -- however, you could read the sign as "when children are present at school", meaning anytime school is in session, as well. And, of course, it will be your word against theirs as to whether or not there were actually any children present.

    I would NOT subpoena the officer(s), then they may not show up for the hearing. When you receive the copy of the officer's notes, check to see if there is any mention of how many children were present. If there is no mention of children, and the officer isn't present, you should get it thrown out, as V331311 mentioned.

    Good luck,
    Barry

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    WA
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Well I went to court last night and argued my case and it was dismissed. the cop did not put any info in his notes except that he was using a lazer radar and I was tagged at 344 feet going 30mph. I just told the judge the times of everything that happened and the times the schools are let out and had my witness who was in the car with me handy and the judge said that based on my testimony and a lack of officer notes that he had to rule on my side.

    I feel vindicated since I felt the whole time that I had done nothing in the wrong and it felt great to be agreed with.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2

    Question Re: School Zone Speeding Ticket Defense

    Just got the same ticket today in SW Seattle. Going 32 in a just marked School Zone of 20 mph limit. This sucks. 32 is not fast and I haven't had a ticket since 93.

    What did you do to get the deferal? Was it in Seattle? Did the cop show up at the trial. Did you check the box that you are "contesting" the infraction or that you are "mitigating" the infraction? Did you use a lawyer? Did you have to produce a record from the DMV? Any details you can provide would help.

    I am tempted to pay the lawyer, even though it will cost more than the ticket because I don't want this on my record. Also my insurance would go up 50% just for one stupid ticket.

    Does anyone know where to find out the times that Seattle has their school zones in enforcement? My ticket was at 8:01 am.

    Thanks.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,577

    Default Re: School Zone Speeding Ticket Defense

    First, if you thoroughly read that above posts, you could answer many of your own questions.
    Quote Quoting bwilkerson
    View Post
    Just got the same ticket today in SW Seattle. Going 32 in a just marked School Zone of 20 mph limit. This sucks. 32 is not fast and I haven't had a ticket since 93.
    The above posts are about getting a school zone ticket when there were NO children present (as required by the sign). If you were, indeed, going 32 in school zone WITH children present, you'll get no sympathy from me.

    Quote Quoting bwilkerson
    View Post
    What did you do to get the deferal?
    There was NO deferral in the above case -- read it again.
    Quote Quoting bwilkerson
    View Post
    Was it in Seattle?
    Don't know.
    Quote Quoting bwilkerson
    View Post
    Did the cop show up at the trial.
    Apparently not, since it was the lack of information in the officer's NOTES that helped get the dismissal. The court would not rely on notes if the officer was present.
    Quote Quoting bwilkerson
    View Post
    Did you check the box that you are "contesting" the infraction or that you are "mitigating" the infraction?
    Since DAWNNA76 got a dismissal, it must have been "contested", since if you check "mitigated" you are pleading guilty. You cannot get a dismissal in that case.
    Quote Quoting bwilkerson
    View Post
    Did you use a lawyer?
    The above doesn't really say, but I would guess not.
    Quote Quoting bwilkerson
    View Post
    Did you have to produce a record from the DMV?
    You don't need to do that. The court has full access to your DOL record -- more than would be contained in any report you can get.

    Quote Quoting bwilkerson
    View Post
    I am tempted to pay the lawyer, even though it will cost more than the ticket because I don't want this on my record. Also my insurance would go up 50% just for one stupid ticket.
    The lawyer may be a good idea. Why would your insurance go up 50% for just one ticket in the past 14 years? I've never heard of such a thing.
    Quote Quoting bwilkerson
    View Post
    Does anyone know where to find out the times that Seattle has their school zones in enforcement? My ticket was at 8:01 am.
    Every school has different start and stop times -- it's all based on bus schedules. If the sign says "when children are present" then the important thing is whether or not there were children present ANYWHERE in sight, not what time it was.

    Good luck,
    Barry

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: School Zone Speeding Ticket Defense

    Considering I already had a discount of about 7% for being a good driver, then add Pemco's penalty of adding 40% to my premium that is looking darn close to a 50% hit for receiving one ticket in 14 years for going a whopping 32 MPH!

    Also as it says above in the RCW...

    (3) A person found to have committed any infraction relating to speed restrictions within a school or playground speed zone shall be assessed a monetary penalty equal to twice the penalty assessed under RCW 46.63.110. This penalty may not be waived, reduced, or suspended.

    Looks like I'm hosed. I will talk to a lawyer just the same though.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,577

    Default Re: School Zone Speeding Ticket Defense

    You still haven't answered the $64,000 question -- were there children present?

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