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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    5

    Default Fighting Red Light Violation Received in Person

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Arkansas

    A couple months ago I drove trough a busy intersection (entered when light was yellow and it may have turned red before I exited the intersection entirely).

    Two motorcycle officers were on the opposite side of the intersection to my right and one pulled out to give me the ticket a few blocks down.

    I received a "Red Light" ticket listed as Violation of 27-52-107 which in regards to a yellow light states (taken from page 685 of http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/bureau...tle%2027.pdf):

    "(2) Steady yellow alone means:
    (A) Vehicular traffic facing the signal is warned that the red or “STOP”
    signal will be exhibited immediately thereafter, and vehicular traffic shall not enter the
    intersection when the red or “STOP” signal is exhibited;"

    I read this to mean that as long as I enter the intersection when the light is yellow, it is legal. I understand city laws can be stricter than state laws in some cases, but I have not been able to access anything on the city law.

    My evidence for the light being yellow when I entered are my own testimony and from the notes I took immediately after the incident which include the following quotes from the officer:

    1.) "That light you passed through was almost red back there"

    2.) When he returned from writing the ticket I inquired on the legality of entering an intersection while the light is yellow to which he responded:

    "The light could turn red quickly and you could be hit by traffic from the side"

    Things that have happened since the ticket that may be relevant:

    -I showed up and plead not guilty; they gave me a court date of mid-October

    -I requested it be extended for work-related reasons and they extended it out to mid_November

    -I dropped off a discovery request to the Police Station, the Traffic Court Clerk, and the City Attorney's Office and the only evidence they seem to have is the ticket itself


    Do I have any chance of winning this? Any tips for strategies I can use?

    I assume the officer won't remember much if anything about the incident and there is no video evidence.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    5

    Default Re: Fighting Red Light Violation Received in Person

    So, lets say I can't get the officer to admit to his quotes, or he says he doesnt remember. Since he was presumably looking at the light going the opposite way could I question him about if they turn red at the same time?

    I know my notes taken right after the incident aren't proof, but I was hoping that would outweigh his memory if he has no notes. Would I have to have a witness to verify when I took the notes?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    LA LA Land
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    9,170

    Default Re: Fighting Red Light Violation Received in Person

    Quote Quoting jimdrang
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    So, lets say I can't get the officer to admit to his quotes, or he says he doesnt remember. Since he was presumably looking at the light going the opposite way could I question him about if they turn red at the same time?
    Sure you can... However, simply posing a question (without providing some evidence that the lights do not change at the same time) is not likely to meet the burden to show he was wrong! You might want to request a copy of the engineering report (or whatever it is called in AR) to establish whether they do change at the same time or not.

    Quote Quoting jimdrang
    View Post
    I know my notes taken right after the incident aren't proof, but I was hoping that would outweigh his memory if he has no notes.
    It is also possible that he took notes too immediately after the incident. You can question him about that first and then ask him if he remembers saying "That light you passed through was almost red back there"...

    Quote Quoting jimdrang
    View Post
    Would I have to have a witness to verify when I took the notes?
    You can try... But keep in mind that the witness testifying that you took notes immediately after the incident does not necessarily mean that the content of those notes are accurate or true (not suggesting you'd lie, I'm just saying).

    I'm not too familiar with AR's laws or court procedures so I couldn't answer your other questions. Also, that link you posted is a dead link. I tried to access the "AR Transportation Code" but for some reason, I was unable to.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    5

    Default Re: Fighting Red Light Violation Received in Person

    Thank you for the info. Here is the main link and then when you click on section 27 for transportation you should get to the area I was referring to:

    http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/bureau...odeMainDoc.pdf

    Looks Like I had a parenthesis in there which messed it up the first time.

    Any other tactics you guys recommend in my situation?

    I got a copy of the Officer's notes and they only thing he wrote was "drinking a coke".

    Presumably this is not illegal but the prosecutor can argue I didn't have full attention on the road I guess.

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

    Default Re: Fighting Red Light Violation Received in Person

    Quote Quoting jimdrang
    View Post
    Thank you for the info. Here is the main link and then when you click on section 27 for transportation you should get to the area I was referring to:

    http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/bureau...odeMainDoc.pdf

    Looks Like I had a parenthesis in there which messed it up the first time.

    Any other tactics you guys recommend in my situation?

    I got a copy of the Officer's notes and they only thing he wrote was "drinking a coke".

    Presumably this is not illegal but the prosecutor can argue I didn't have full attention on the road I guess.
    I read the statute and as far as I can see, entering the intersection yellow does not constitute a violation. So it will mainly depend on whether you can get the officer to commit to the light being "almost red" when you entered, and frankly, I have a difficult time expecting him to do so.

    As for the "drinking a coke" note, I guess it could depend on what context it is brought up under...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Fighting Red Light Violation Received in Person

    Not sure what context it could be other than saying it shows I wasn't paying full attention to road.

    Is there a place I can research the legal questioning lines I can use in court? Like if I said something like "When you told me the light was almost red, can you describe how close to red it is before you write a ticket normally?" or is that cause for some kind of Leading the Witness objection.

    The only other thing I can think of is if he says he was looking at my light and not the opposite light, then show a photo from where he was sitting showing that he could not possibly see my light and with that plus him "not remembering" anything he said, maybe discredit his testimony.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Fighting Red Light Violation Received in Person

    Update: Officer said nothing other than light turned red, then vehicle went through. I made a mistake apparently by estimating I was 50-75ft from the entrance to the intersection when it turned yellow. Judge said it would be safe to stop with 60 ft, but gave me court costs only so $115, half the price of the ticket and I didn't have another official chance to argue at that point.

    I'm not sure what it being safe to stop has to do with the law which only states I can not enter when red, but oh well.

    Also, the person before me made him pretty mad when they continued to talk while he was trying to offer them the same thing.

    Tickets before and after me were both red lights going to trial from same officer.

    Thanks for the help That Guy

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