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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    4

    Default Ticket Was Changed By Officer After It Was Issued

    Hi,

    I recently got a citation for speeding in Bellevue, WA (speeding ticket capital of WA) and the citation had only one officer's name on it. A copy of the citation filed with the court which I received from the DA's office as part of the discovery indicates the names of two officers.

    Is this fairly normal when more than one officer is present at the "speed trap" ? I was wondering if there is any technicality I can potentially exploit in my favor.
    Also, in this situation does it make sense to subpoena two officers ?

    Thnx,

    - S

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

    Default Re: Ticket Modified / Changed

    It would seem to me that, since only one officer issued the citation (based on info provided by another officer pursuant to RCW 46.63.030(b)), it would proper for the second officer to sign the ticket after the fact.
    Also, in this situation does it make sense to subpoena two officers ?
    Well, it doesn't make sense to subpoena only ONE officer. But remember that in WA the officers don't have to show up in court -- unless you subpoena them. According to RCW 46.63.060:
    A notice of traffic infraction represents a determination that an infraction has been committed
    So, I'm not sure which way you should go. If the notes on the back of the citation (or additional officer's notes) don't do a good job of describing where they were, how you were sighted, etc., I'd probably just attack the citation and not subpoena either officer. But I don't have the specifics, so you'll have to decide for yourself.

    Good luck,
    Barry

    BTW, was this Bellevue police or WSP? And what was the infraction -- RCW 46.61.400?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Ticket Modified / Changed

    Thanks Barry.

    The infraction is 46.61.400 / speeding - Cited for 37 mph in a 25 mph zone by the Bellevue Police Department. It was an early morning commute up a hilly road with almost no traffic and within yards of a 40 mph road. I have sent out a long laundry list for discovery from the DA office. Officer report page is all blank but they sent a stationary radar affidavit reporting a visual estimate of 35mph. Where it says driver was identified via ________ driver's license. They left it blank.

    Is anyone aware of the law or a case that can be leveraged to question this citation ?

    Thnx,

    - S

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

    Default Re: Ticket Modified / Changed

    Hmmm. If your ticket was filed with Bellevue Municipal Court, you have an interesting argument. RCW 3.66.060 gives District Courts the jurisdiction to
    (5) to hear and determine traffic infractions under chapter 46.63 RCW
    However, RCW 3.50.020 states
    The municipal court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over traffic infractions arising under city ordinances....
    Bellevue is a Municipal Court -- not a District Court. There is no legislation that gives Municipal Courts the power to hear and determine traffic infractions arising from STATE law. RCW 46.61.400 is a state law. Therefore, Bellevue Municipal Court has no jurisdiction to hear the case. Here's a citation you can use:
    Volume 2 Linda S. Portnoy & Eileen P. Farley, Washington Criminal Practice in Courts of Limited Jurisdiction § 31.04 (2004), (Citing AGO 1981 No. 4) (bold added):

    A municipal court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine traffic infractions based on alleged violation of local law, ordinance, or regulation. A municipal court does not have jurisdiction over traffic infractions based on alleged violations of state law….
    I used this argument myself. Naturally, I lost -- you really can't expect a judge to rule that he has no jurisdiction over your infraction (and the 20 people waiting behind you with similar tickets). But I appealed and the ticket was, indeed, dismissed. Oh, if you're going to use this argument, be sure to file a pre-trial motion with the court and serve a copy on the prosecutor. Don't "pop" this on them at trial -- it's considered ill-bred.

    Of course, if your ticket was filed with District Court, the above is not relevant.
    Good luck,
    Barry

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Ticket Modified / Changed

    Thanks, Barry.

    I cannot use this argement as the ticket was filed with King County District Court, East Division, Bellevue Courthouse located 585 112th Ave. S.E., Bellevue, WA 98004

    - S

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Ticket Modified / Changed

    A follow-up question:

    If I contest the citation itself and the court disagrees at the time of hearing can I then request a motion for continuance based on the fact that defense had no way of knowing which officer(s) to subpeona ?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    643

    Default Re: Ticket Modified / Changed

    You need to raise that issue and any others related to the validity of the citation at a pre-trial hearing and not at trial. Though you may not prevail in either instance, a judge is more likely to reject it out of hand if you bring it up at the trial itself. If you handle it in this manner the continuance issue should become moot.

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