Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1

    Default Speeding Ticket Defense, No Speedometer Calibration for Police Vehicle

    My question involves a speeding ticket from the State of: California

    Submitted a discovery request to the DA of the county:

    DA in their cover letter shows that no calibration is on record for the vehicle the officer used.

    Officer in his statement says exactly "that the patrol vehicle was in service on September 2009 and the speedometer was factory calibrated." Citation received June 2010.

    Not a CHP ticket. Sheriff Department ticket.

    Citation is for 22349a - Excessive speed in a 65 zone. Cited for 80/65. Officer claims his speedometer said 82 and he paced me for a mile.

    My argument at this point is that his determination of my speed based on the pace method is inadmissible since no calibration is on file according to the DA's office. I am not sure what the proper time requirements for calibration of a police vehicle are, or even if a calibration is needed by a third party calibration firm (not factory). With no reliable evidence of my speed, the officer cannot argue beyond a reasonable doubt of what my speed actually was, and therefore the citation has no merits.

    Officer's statement of service has no proof (no record on file for calibration), therefore cannot be reasonably justified on.

    Other than that, only thing I have to hope for is a hail mary of a no-show.

    Thoughts?

    Advice is much appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,274

    Default Re: Speeding Ticket Defense, No Speedometer Calibration for Police Vehicle

    http://www.expertlaw.com/forums/show...214&highlight=

    an earlier posting of mine
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


    I found this method used by the US Army for measuring a car's speed by the pacing method. It does not go into the errors involved or expected but at least it is a method you can reference, Field Manual Chapter 19-25:
    ************************************************** *******

    Chapter 6
    Traffic Law
    Enforcement
    Principles and Policies
    ....
    Pace Method

    In this method, the MP driver positions his vehicle behind the suspect vehicle and matches the driving speed. A constant interval should be maintained between the two vehicles for a minimum distance of 3/10th mile (.48 km). The MP should note the speed when this process first begins, and again when the distance is completed.

    To employ this method the MP vehicle must be calibrated to insure that its speedometer gives a true indication of speed. Only the driver should note the speed since he is looking directly at the speedometer. The MP rider will get a false reading due to his angle of sight.

    The driver should read the speedometer after his catch up speed has stabilized and is the same as the suspect vehicle. The matching speed must be maintained, and the driver should call out the speedometer readings to the partner during the pace.

    Speedometers should be calibrated at least quarterly. A chart must be maintained in each patrol vehicle listing any speedometer deviation from true speeds up to the top speed at which excessive speed arrests can be expected. Speedometer more than 2 or 3 mph (4 or 5 km/h) off should be repaired.


    Anyone else have a written method from an authority ?

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    The spedo likely needs to be calibrated every 3 months. You can do a FOIA request to the police (write to your local, county, and state police depts-maybe one will provide it to you) & ask for theirs (method and any spedo calibration certificates if you know the veh.#-or ask for all from the county); file a request for documents with the DA asking for the method too & follow up with them; hound them if you have to; also ask for any documents that they would produce at trial (post your discovery request here to take a look). You may need to find an Army Field Manual to bring to court if the police do not provide a different written method. You are correct that the pacing results would be inadmissible. Be ready for the officer to testify that he "checked his spedo" via radar, a common ploy. "checking is not calibrating", object and ask that it be stricken as not relevant; object to the question if asked - he is not an expert in calibrating a car spedo. Did you request a list of expert witnesses the DA intends on calling? You have a good case for an acquittal - be prepared also for the cop to say he measured your speed by eye (check CA law to see if that can support a conviction).

  3. #3

    Default Re: Speeding Ticket Defense, No Speedometer Calibration for Police Vehicle

    Sorry for the self-reply, I couldn't bring up the "edit" option.

    Seems after reading some of the responses on the board. The court will turn to certification of LIDAR/RADAR detection since it includes visual estimate of speed training. Should I attempt to get this data through discovery or question the officer during trial, either way, it'll be a yes/no (most likely yes).

    Once again, this is the Sheriff's department and after some research, I cannot find any documented policy on calibration of vehicles.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,274

    Default Re: Speeding Ticket Defense, No Speedometer Calibration for Police Vehicle

    Quote Quoting chibichanman
    View Post
    Sorry for the self-reply, I couldn't bring up the "edit" option.

    Seems after reading some of the responses on the board. The court will turn to certification of LIDAR/RADAR detection since it includes visual estimate of speed training. Should I attempt to get this data through discovery or question the officer during trial, either way, it'll be a yes/no (most likely yes).

    Once again, this is the Sheriff's department and after some research, I cannot find any documented policy on calibration of vehicles.
    You mean calibration of speedometers, not vehicles. Now, did they measure your speed via Pacing or with a LIDAR or with RADAR? You can ask for anything you want in discovery really. But you will likely need to follow up with the DA to get him to say "I have nothing to give you" (ask in writting) & then also ask the agencies via a FOIA request (A FOIA request and response documentation is admissible in court).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,170

    Default Re: Speeding Ticket Defense, No Speedometer Calibration for Police Vehicle

    Quote Quoting chibichanman
    View Post
    My question involves a speeding ticket from the State of: California

    Submitted a discovery request to the DA of the county:

    DA in their cover letter shows that no calibration is on record for the vehicle the officer used.

    Officer in his statement says exactly "that the patrol vehicle was in service on September 2009 and the speedometer was factory calibrated." Citation received June 2010.

    Not a CHP ticket. Sheriff Department ticket.

    Citation is for 22349a - Excessive speed in a 65 zone. Cited for 80/65. Officer claims his speedometer said 82 and he paced me for a mile.

    My argument at this point is that his determination of my speed based on the pace method is inadmissible since no calibration is on file according to the DA's office. I am not sure what the proper time requirements for calibration of a police vehicle are, or even if a calibration is needed by a third party calibration firm (not factory). With no reliable evidence of my speed, the officer cannot argue beyond a reasonable doubt of what my speed actually was, and therefore the citation has no merits.

    Officer's statement of service has no proof (no record on file for calibration), therefore cannot be reasonably justified on.

    Other than that, only thing I have to hope for is a hail mary of a no-show.

    Thoughts?

    Advice is much appreciated!
    While most officers will present such proof as part of their testimony, there is no legal requirement for the prosecution to support the officer's testimony (relating to a pace speed measurement) with a calibration certificate.

    You can read this case and understand why: People v. Lowe, 130 Cal. Rptr. 2d 249 - Cal: Appellate Div., Superior 2002

    Quoting:
    Appellant contends the officer's testimony cannot be considered reliable evidence of speed because it is uncorroborated by speedometer calibration test results. However, appellant offers no authority supporting this assertion. While we are aware of no California case directly on point, courts in other jurisdictions have permitted the fact finder to consider testimony of speedometer readings even absent calibration results. The courts reason that the general accuracy of speedometers is a matter of general knowledge and although speedometers "like other machines, may get out of order ... they may be relied upon with reasonable certainty to determine accurately the speed at which a vehicle is driven." (State v. Tarquinio (1966) 3 Conn.Cir.Ct. 566, 221 A.2d 595, 596-597; see also People v. Tyler (Ct.Spec.Sess. 1952) 109 N.Y.S.2d 756, 757.) In Tarquinio, the court held an officer's testimony concerning a speedometer reading was admissible prima facie evidence of speed. The officer's failure to present evidence of calibration would go to the weight of that evidence. Similarly, in (Village of Schaumburg v. Pedersen (1978) 60 Ill. App.3d 630, 18 Ill.Dec. 99, 377 N.E.2d 252, 254), the court held that even absent proof of calibration, the accuracy of a speedometer was a question of fact. As one court observed, "our courts receive evidence daily of readings on watches, scales and other measures without affirmative proof of their testing; the defendant is, of course, at liberty to attack the readings through cross-examination and otherwise and the ultimate determination is fairly left to the trier of facts." (State v. Dantonio (1955) 18 N.J. 570, 115 A.2d 35, 41.)


    Point is, it is up to the trier of fact (the judge) to determine whether the speedometer is sufficiently accurate for a conviction (with or without a calibration certificate). With the officer pacing you at 17mph over the limit and citing you for 15mph over, and even if you can show that the speedometer was off by a few miles, you were still driving in excess of the 65mph MAXIMUM speed limit.

    Quote Quoting chibichanman
    View Post
    Seems after reading some of the responses on the board. The court will turn to certification of LIDAR/RADAR detection since it includes visual estimate of speed training. Should I attempt to get this data through discovery or question the officer during trial, either way, it'll be a yes/no (most likely yes).
    If the officer stated that he used "his speedometer said 82 and he paced me for a mile" then I am not sure whether his Radar/Lidar certification is relevant in any way!

    A "visual estimate" certification is part and parcel of an officer P.O.S.T Radar/Laser training. Had you been cited in violation of a prima facie speed limit, and had the officer used Radar/Laser/Lidar to measure your speed, then he would be required to provide proof that he is trained in the use of those devices and also testify that he passed the visual estimate test required for the Radar/laser certification.

    In this case, it is neither a prima facie speed limit, nor did he obtain your speed using Radar or laser for that matter.... So even if you ask for that info through discovery, I am not sure it will do you any good in court.

    If the officer testifies that he visually estimated your speed prior to conducting the pace, then you can indeed cross examine him with regards to that aspect of his certification. But to suggest or assume that if he is not Radar/Laser trained, that his pace speed estimate is inadmissible or invalid... Meh... I'm not feeling it!

    Quote Quoting chibichanman
    View Post
    Once again, this is the Sheriff's department and after some research, I cannot find any documented policy on calibration of vehicles.
    Those policies are usually considered internal documents and in no way establish the legal precedence of what "burden of proof" must be shown in a court trial. Meaning, just because a particular law Enforcement Agency (CHP, for example) calibrates their vehicles' speedometers every so often (typically every 6 months), that by no means becomes the standard nor does it become the legal requirement in a court of law.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,274

    Default Re: Speeding Ticket Defense, No Speedometer Calibration for Police Vehicle

    A good reasoned & well cited case, the Lowe case. However, during the 50's the speedometers were directly hooked up to the transmission and the speedometer was pretty much a mechanical device. The Lowe court never considered the differences in design & application of today's speedometers. So I think that the court made an error in its decision in this regard. Do you know that your speedometer today does not measure your speed all the time? Its true. So the OP should be ready to argue this point of defect in the Lowe case; I don't know if it is legally binding w/i her venue. The OP will have to read up on newer speedometer designs. Also if the officer simply says "I paced her" this is not sufficient as it is a legal conclusion so the OP should object if he said this. The OP should cross with the need for calibration & if he does not know the time requirements then pop out a method & ask him to look at it (saying you are just presenting it to the witness to lay a foundation for its admittance into evidence - the judge should allow this - if he does not then an appeal point is on the record) and if he then says it is 3 months then he is up a creek. The calibration of the speedo is a question of it the pacing method was done correctly, per the pacing method so it goes to the admissibility of the officer's statement that he paced the OP .. a different angle I think; so that the OP can object and say that his statement is not relevant

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Similar Threads

  1. Speeding Tickets: Improper Speedometer Defense
    By jrankin229 in forum Moving Violations, Parking and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 07-15-2010, 08:22 AM
  2. Speeding Tickets: Wrong Speedometer Calibration in Discovery Items
    By Torturella in forum Moving Violations, Parking and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 03-10-2010, 12:39 PM
  3. Speeding Tickets: Are Radar Calibration Records a Viable Defense in Washington State
    By Drive1 in forum Moving Violations, Parking and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: 06-15-2009, 08:39 PM
  4. Speeding Tickets: My Speedometer is Broken, Should I Fight the Speeding Ticket?
    By rpearson in forum Moving Violations, Parking and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-02-2008, 04:40 PM
  5. Speeding Tickets: California Speeding Ticket with LIDAR Calibration and Certification Issues
    By ca_wings in forum Moving Violations, Parking and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-15-2007, 11:15 AM
 
 
Sponsored Links

Legal Help, Information and Resources