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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Default Red Light Camera Ticket in Lynnwood, Washington

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Washington.

    I've got into the same situation as some others from this forum. After perusing this forum and other websites, I came up with the following plan and would appreciate any feedback on it.

    I got a notice of intfraction in mail for making a right turn at red without a complete stop (it looks like the light has just changed from yellow to red). The violation date shown on the notice is 12/30/2010. The issue date is 01/07/2011. The stamp on the envelope is dated 01/10/2011 and the notice was actually received on 01/14/2011. I’m the registered owner and, thus, listed as the defendant. However, I know for sure I did NOT drive the car that day: there are two cars in the family and I used the other one to drive to work that day. My work is ~25 minutes away from the place where the alleged infraction took place and, by pure luck, just around the time of the alleged infraction I made two calls from my office phone, which got recorded in MS Outlook Conversation History.

    I plan to contest this ticket to get a sense of how these traffic hearings are held, just in case I need to deal with a more serious infraction in the future. Here is how I plan to build my line of defense, with a few questions mixed in:

    1) Show up in the court in person and request contested hearing. I’d like to make sure they do not schedule it for a day when I’m out of town. Q: does the court have to honor my request for another date, if I do not like the one they assign?

    2) Make a request for discovery 15 days before the hearing by bringing it in person to the prosecutor and the court and getting it registered.

    3) At the hearing, check whether the timing requirements of IRLJ 2.2 are met. If they are not, move for case dismissal. Q: where/how can I learn when the notice was filed with court?

    4) Produce a written statement that I did not drive the car at the time of the alleged violation (with phone call records attached), and move for case dismissal based on RCW 46.63.075. Q1: Is the judge/prosecutor allowed to force me to identify the person who used the car instead of me? If yes, can I evade this by saying something like “I do not know for a fact and I do not want to wrongfully blame anybody by speculating here” (and I really cannot be 100% sure). Q2: Are phone call records from office software considered evidence at all?

    5) If the discovery is not provided to me by the hearing date, move of dismissal of all evidences that the prosecution comes up with. If the prosecutor says that the notice of infraction is the discovery, object and refer to IRLJ 3.1 (d). Q: Even if my move is upheld, is not the information from the notice of infraction considered evidence (I thought I stumbled across a statute saying officer’s sworn statement is always admissible, but cannot remember that statute now)?

    6) If the judge does not uphold my objections without a reasonable explanation, move for change of the judge per IRLJ 2.6 (g) / CRLJ 40 (f), and hope for a more fair trial next time.

    If none of this works, can I do anything else? The video from the camera seems to be a killer, if admitted. If it is not admitted, I guess I can request a certificate for the camera radar (without which it is not clear from standstill photos whether the car actually stopped at the stop line or not). Also, I wonder how much weight officer’s sworn statement would have if video / photos were not admitted. The statement is as follows:

    “… Based upon my review of photographs and/or a video recording made by an automated traffic camera, I have probable cause to believe, and do believe, that on the date and at the time and location indicated above, the operator of the vehicle described above was in violation of the RCW 46.61.055 as adopted by LMC 11.02.005 and enforced pursuant to LMC 11.18. The photographs and/or video recording taken together show the vehicle and its license plate, portray a fair and accurate representation of the location listed above and show that the vehicle operator was facing a steady or red arrow signal when the operator failed to stop the vehicle at a clearly marked stop line or other stopping point described in the ordinance/statute…”

    Finally, am I right that by contesting the ticket I do not lose anything except for my own time? I presume the fine cannot be increased and I should not be cited with anything else, unless I do something outrageous (contempt, perjury, etc)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Red Light Camera Ticket in Lynnwood, Washington

    If you need an adjournment, contact the court and ask their procedure for requesting an adjournment. For traffic court procedures are often quite simple, but you may be required to document your need (e.g., provide copies of your pre-paid plane tickets for the same morning as your scheduled hearing, etc.)

    If you want to know what is in the court file, check the court file. Everything in it should be time stamped. Docket entries should also be available, perhaps even online, showing what was filed and when.

    If you testify, you are expected to tell the truth while testifying. You are responsible to authenticate evidence you present; I can't promise you how much latitude the court will give you in relation to trying to submit your employer's phone records.

    If the information you claim not to have received is available to you on the ticket you in fact did receive, you will not get relief from the court. If you want relief over a discovery violation you must identify something that was not provided to you, and establish to the court's satisfaction that your inability to obtain that information materially affected your ability to present a defense.

    Courts can assess court costs.

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

    Default Re: Red Light Camera Ticket in Lynnwood, Washington

    You should read a little more carefully. CRLJ 40 (f) clearly states, "... before the jury is sworn or the trial is commenced ...." Once the hearing begins, you're stuck with THAT judge. If you don't like a ruling, your only option is to appeal.

    However, you're fretting way too much over this. I had a similar ticket a few months back. Someone, using my daughter's car (registered to me), caused me to receive a photo enforcement ticket. I simply walked in, stated under oath that it wasn't me, and walked out. The judge did ask if I knew WHO was driving. I honestly said I did not (we still don't know which of her roommates "borrowed" her car). That was it.

    Barry

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Red Light Camera Ticket in Lynnwood, Washington

    Thanks for the responses, very much appreciated.

    Barry, so the following excerpt from CRLJ 40(f) will not be applicable in my case:

    All right to an affidavit of prejudice will be considered waived where filed more than 10 days after the case is set for trial, unless the affidavit alleges a particular incident, conversation or utterance by the judge, which was not known to the party or his attorney within the 10-day period. In multiple judge courts, or where a pro tempore or visiting judge is designated as the trial judge, the 10-day period shall commence on the date that the defendant or his attorney has actual notice of assignment or reassignment to a designated trial judge.
    BTW, another piece of feedback that I received through a different discussion group was that the judge can rule that this infraction should go to the driving record, if I contest and either admit that I committed it or testify that somebody else did that. I speculate that the idea behind this is that RCW 46.63.170 (2) is no longer applicable, if there is enough evidence without the camera (i.e. my testimony). Has anybody seen this happening in court?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Seattle
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    3,577

    Default Re: Red Light Camera Ticket in Lynnwood, Washington

    Why do you think that provision of CRLJ 40 (f) does NOT apply to you. Of course it does. But, that provision does NOT apply to a judge's RULINGS in court. For example, if you were in your 80's and you overheard your judge making a wise crack about old age, that MIGHT be grounds to affidavit the judge. However, just because a judge rules against you or does not grant your motions, that does not prove prejudice -- besides, guess who decides your affidavit of prejudice?

    As far as the feedback you received elsewhere, I have never heard of such a thing. But, why on earth, would you ask for a contested hearing and then walk in and say something like, "Throw away all you photographic and video evidence, I DID IT! I ADMIT IT! LOCK ME AWAY!"? OK, I got carried away.

    Even simply saying that someone else was driving the car, even giving them the name, does NOT prove an infraction was committed. That requires your testimony along with the photo and video evidence. In that case, RCW 46.63.170 (2) still applies.

    Barry

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