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  1. #1
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    Default How to Fight Speeding in a School Zone, VC 22350

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

    I just got a new citation yesterday for violating 22350VC. The officer claimed that I was speeding at 40mph on a road with 25 mph posted limit. I just passed by a school when a police patrol car stopped me. He told me he had used a radar to measure my speed, which he alleged was 40mph. Although I wasn't looking at my speedometer, I estimated that my speed was somewhere between 30-35mph and not the alleged claim. But I didn't argue with the cop, thinking that it was pointless as he was claiming he had used a radar.

    Also, I specifically requested the officer for a county seat, a request he said was the very first time he had heard of such a thing. I told him if I could write it on the ticket that I had made such a request, but he warned me not to write anything on it except my signature. Not to make the situation worse, I simply complied. I also asked him if our conversation were being recorded to which he answered in the negative. He however acknowledged that he had videocam on board and that were were being filmed. I failed to ask him though if he got me on film committing the alleged misdeed.

    Conditions at the time of my stop: it was sunny (midday @ 12:40pm), visibility was clear, traffic was light (in fact, I think I was the only one on my lane at the time), and there was no pedestrians on either side of road that I saw during my stop.

    Without any question, I'm going to fight this ticket. But if you were the alleged offender, how would you fight this ticket, from beginning to the end? I appreciate your input from gathering evidence (what pieces of evidence are relevant?) to requesting discovery, filing pre-trial motions and preparing defence (what part of the cited law should be attacked?). Can I demand for a county seat venue even though the officer would surely deny that I made such a request and that the Superior Court I was asked to report isn't that too far away from home?

    Thanks for any advice..

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to Best Fight 22350vc in a School Zone

    What county is this, and what court were you cited in to? Unless you were in Los Angeles County, there will be only one traffic court in the county seat.

    Understand that at 30-35 you were still exceeding the posted limit. Although, if you search this site you will find oodles of posts on how to try and fight a 22350 citation.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to Best Fight 22350vc in a School Zone

    Tip for the 3rd time: don't get so...involved with the cop. Beyond the simple request for the county seat, all of your other questions only confirmed (to him) your intention to fight this in court and he probably took exhaustive notes; you could have gotten the answers to those in discovery anyway.

    Steps for now:

    • Post a redacted copy of the citation and the location/intersection so we can review the signage (it's probably sufficient).
    • Which county? If county seat is closer to your home/work, you can still have it changed before arraignment.
    • As you probably know, the speed trap laws don't apply if you're in a school zone. But note that the prima facie 25mph school limit is only in force "when children are present," specifically:
      Quote Quoting VC 22352
      When approaching or passing a school building or the grounds thereof, contiguous to a highway and posted with a standard "SCHOOL" warning sign, while children are going to or leaving the school either during school hours or during the noon recess period. The prima facie limit shall also apply when approaching or passing any school grounds which are not separated from the highway by a fence, gate, or other physical barrier while the grounds are in use by children and the highway is posted with a standard "SCHOOL" warning sign. For purposes of this subparagraph, standard "SCHOOL" warning signs may be placed at any distance up to 500 feet away from school grounds.
    • So, assuming the school grounds are somehow separated from the road, you need to check if it was recess at the time on the ticket, and if so, whether the school allows students to enter/leave during recess.


    Once you have this info we can talk about discovery, filing any change of venue motion, etc.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to Best Fight 22350vc in a School Zone

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    What county is this, and what court were you cited in to? Unless you were in Los Angeles County, there will be only one traffic court in the county seat.

    Understand that at 30-35 you were still exceeding the posted limit. Although, if you search this site you will find oodles of posts on how to try and fight a 22350 citation.
    See, its not like Carl to throw in the "I told you so..."... But this is way too classic to let it go by so here:

    Quote Quoting quirkyquark
    View Post
    Tip for the 3rd time: don't get so...involved with the cop.
    And the other tip, for the 2nd time is: you should have listened and learned to moderate your speed and.... Uhm, never mind, you probably will get all offended and it won't make a difference anyway!!!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How to Best Fight 22350vc in a School Zone

    Quote Quoting quirkyquark
    View Post
    Tip for the 3rd time: don't get so...involved with the cop. Beyond the simple request for the county seat, all of your other questions only confirmed (to him) your intention to fight this in court and he probably took exhaustive notes; you could have gotten the answers to those in discovery anyway.
    Yes, I sure made a mistake here. I now realize that I had unwittingly transmitted my intention to fight this ticket after making some questions regarding how he measured my speed. He even said that he had all the paperwork for his radar (I guess he was referring to the instrument's calibration report) when I asked innocently if his radar produced some kind of receipt indicating my speed. Oh well, I guess there's no use crying over spilt milk.

    Quote Quoting quirkyquark
    View Post
    [*]Post a redacted copy of the citation and the location/intersection so we can review the signage (it's probably sufficient).


    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...ar22350vc.jpg/

    I don't know if you can read the relevant info in the citation. Here's what I can make out from the original citation which is quite clearer than the uploaded one:

    Under "Code and Section" and "Description"

    22350 VC - Unsafe Speed

    41 mph by radar. at John Muir Elementary School (NOTE: Just noticed this today on the ticket. I clearly remembered him saying that I was going 40mph not 41 as he has written.)

    Details below the ticket:

    When: Date 12-8-11 Time 8:30

    Where: Superior Court

    Address: 1050 Mission Rd., South San Francisco, CA 94080

    Phone No.: 6503634300

    I have no idea at all where the cop was when he spotted me. But based on the citation, it looks like he was stationed on Yorkshire Ct before he gave the chase. The actual site where I stopped was past by Eldorado Ct. Although I live close by (some 8 miles towards San Francisco), I am really unfamiliar of this area. In fact, I got lost and trying to find my way out onto highway 280 when I was stopped. Most of my information about the area is based on Google Maps after the fact.

    Quote Quoting quirkyquark
    View Post
    [*]Which county? If county seat is closer to your home/work, you can still have it changed before arraignment.
    San Mateo County

    Quote Quoting quirkyquark
    View Post
    [*]As you probably know, the speed trap laws don't apply if you're in a school zone. But note that the prima facie 25mph school limit is only in force "when children are present," specifically:
    No I don't know that. Most of what I know about 22350VC is based on my random readings in this forum and on other websites. I had never been cited for this code violation until now. So I consider myself an uninitiated with regards to this specific law.

    I read and re-read the code you cited (VC 22352). I am wondering why the officer cited me 22350VC when 22352VC seems more appropriate? Was he wrong? Which is easier to fight (or defend against) between the two?

    Quote Quoting quirkyquark
    View Post
    [*]So, assuming the school grounds are somehow separated from the road, you need to check if it was recess at the time on the ticket, and if so, whether the school allows students to enter/leave during recess.
    Upon closer inspection of my Google map, I just found out today that there are actually two schools in the area--the larger John Muir Elementary School, which I vividly remember seeing, and a preschool called Rainbow Preschool, which is probably small. The public school apparenly was not in recess at that time because I saw little or no students on the grounds when I passed by. I didn't notice the preschool at all. I guess the presence of a second school further complicates this case.

    Quote Quoting quirkyquark
    View Post
    Once you have this info we can talk about discovery, filing any change of venue motion, etc.
    I can't thank you enough for your helpful input..

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    What county is this, and what court were you cited in to? Unless you were in Los Angeles County, there will be only one traffic court in the county seat.
    My reply to quirkyquark largely answers this question. Thanks for posting!

    Quote Quoting That Guy
    View Post
    See, its not like Carl to throw in the "I told you so..."... But this is way too classic to let it go by so here:

    And the other tip, for the 2nd time is: you should have listened and learned to moderate your speed and.... Uhm, never mind, you probably will get all offended and it won't make a difference anyway!!!
    No, I am not at all offended by your sanctimonious gloating over the misery of others. The truth is I really don't know what to make of your reaction--whether to feel appalled by it or feel pity for the person whose intellectual hubris obscures that of the highest mountain.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to Best Fight 22350vc in a School Zone

    I'm assuming you were headed north(west) on Crestmoor Dr.? If so, it seems Lady Luck may have smiled on you AGAIN. Before I explain, two notes:

    • You can't do the change of venue unless your workplace is located closer to Redwood City (you said you live closer to SF)
    • The preschool is not going to matter AT ALL


    I read and re-read the code you cited (VC 22352). I am wondering why the officer cited me 22350VC when 22352VC seems more appropriate? Was he wrong? Which is easier to fight (or defend against) between the two?
    22352 is not a "charging" statute, 22350 is. 22352 is just a bunch of definitions. After looking at Google Street View, the MANDATORY signage to enforce a school zone 25 mph limit is NOT there. Let's look at some pictures before we get to the fun parts. The images are collages because each post has a limit of 4 images.



    • Inset, top left, are examples of the signs along your direction. All "school" signs are variations of the symbol with either AHEAD or arrows beneath them. The white-out portion below the speed sign used to say "radar enforced."
    • The school/grounds are separated from the road by a fence.
    • Inset, top right: as expected for an elementary school, you have volunteers for traffic compliance when children are actually crossing/around on the road.


    OK, let's repeat the portion of VC 22352 that matters since there's a fence:

    Quote Quoting CVC 22352
    When approaching or passing a school building or the grounds thereof, contiguous to a highway and posted with a standard "SCHOOL" warning sign, while children are going to or leaving the school either during school hours or during the noon recess period.


    Signs are regulated by the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Devices (MUTCD); it used to be called the Traffic Manual way back. The traffic manual from 1996 calls the sign on the left "STANDARD" for 25 mph school zones. That 1996 manual was followed by 2-3 different editions of the MUTCD. The current one (2010) calls the "assembly" (of signs) on the right standard. The 2010 MUTCD also makes signage more explicit including a special "school speed limit" sign, but that isn't relevant here.

    Quote Quoting CA MUTCD 2010 Section 7B.08
    Standard:
    The School Warning Assembly A(CA) shall be used on streets with prima facie 40 km/h (25 mph) speed limits that are contiguous to a school building or school grounds.



    Hopefully you can see the big climax now...NONE of the signs posted are the standard signs required by VC 22352 (i.e. symbol with the word SCHOOL below). Thus, this is NOT a school zone and the speed trap laws (VC 40802, etc.) apply. Let's also take care of the recess bit, just in case. The school website shows that lunch (or "noon recess" per the VC) is from 12:05-12:45 PM. It is in the yard from 12:25-12:45 PM. You can read through their handbook if you like, but it's pretty clear that students are absolutely NOT allowed to leave the school during lunch.

    On your end, you should verify by driving through that there are no standard signs; you might also want to drop in at the principal's office and verify lunch time and lunch policies. Pick up a copy of their schedule and a copy of their handbook while you're there.




    Great, so this hopefully becomes a plain old 22350 which is by far the EASIEST speeding violation to successfully defend; you need an engineering survey, it needs to be correctly done, deadlines, etc. Just one more hurdle to cross--Crestmoor Dr. is a small two-lane road, and VC 40802 doesn't apply to "local streets or roads." That definition was updated in 2010 to:

    Quote Quoting CVC 40802
    (b) (1) For purposes of this section, a local street or road is one that is functionally classified as “local” on the “California Road System Maps,” that are approved by the Federal Highway Administration and maintained by the Department of Transportation.
    Okayyyy...those maps are here on the Caltrans website. The one you want is 05L41, which, at grids G7 & H8 very helpfully defines Crestmoor Dr. between Hwy 280 and San Bruno Ave as a magenta collector road (i.e. NOT local).




    Finally...this becomes your regular 22350 basic speed law violation. The first thing you need is a copy of the Engineering & Traffic Survey (also called speed survey) from the city. These are apparently the province of the Traffic Safety and Parking Committee (TSPC). The page has the city hall address as well as emails for the engineer and police officer in charge. I'd email the engineer on how to get a copy of the survey if I were you

    When you get the survey, I suspect you will be grinning from ear-to-ear because the minutes of the TSPC from Aug 2007 show that Crestmoor Dr. was surveyed earlier that year and here's the money quote from Page 2:

    Crestmoor Drive is a collector street with a posted speed limit of 25 mph. City staff surveyed two locations between Crystal Springs and San Mateo Avenue and the 85% speed is 37 mph, which is 12 mph over the speed limit.
    Their Sep 2007 report (Page 3) verifies this, and the "mitigation measures" listed on that page make me believe that there is no way the report for that speed survey will justify the TWELVE mph reduction.




    Get the survey ASAP; also verify the signs and school times. If the survey is less than five years old (as it should be), you won't even need to do discovery about radar calibration, etc. Keep us posted!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to Best Fight 22350vc in a School Zone

    Take a look at this policy directive: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/traffops/si...licy/09-04.pdf

    If your speed survey is dated after July 2009, it is impossible to lower the speed limit 12 mph below the 85th percentile.


    However, 25mph may be justified without a survey. Look at this exerpt from 22352

    (2) Twenty-five miles per hour:
    (A) On any highway other than a state highway, in any business or
    residence district unless a different speed is determined by local
    authority under procedures set forth in this code.
    So, if the area is a residence district, the 25mph speed limit doesn't need a survey to justify it.

    Here is the definition of a residence district:

    515. A "residence district" is that portion of a highway and the
    property contiguous thereto, other than a business district, (a) upon
    one side of which highway, within a distance of a quarter of a mile,
    the contiguous property fronting thereon is occupied by 13 or more
    separate dwelling houses or business structures, or (b) upon both
    sides of which highway, collectively, within a distance of a quarter
    of a mile, the contiguous property fronting thereon is occupied by 16
    or more separate dwelling houses or business structures. A residence
    district may be longer than one-quarter of a mile if the above ratio
    of separate dwelling houses or business structures to the length of
    the highway exists.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How to Best Fight 22350vc in a School Zone

    Quote Quoting EWYLTJ
    View Post
    However, 25mph may be justified without a survey. Look at this exerpt from 22352
    ...
    So, if the area is a residence district, the 25mph speed limit doesn't need a survey to justify it.
    No (it does need a survey), because the section you excerpted is the ONLY part of 22352 to be explicitly included in the speed trap statute:

    Quote Quoting V C Section 40802 Speed Traps
    40802. (a) A "speed trap" is either of the following:
    ...

    (2) A particular section of a highway with a prima facie speed limit that is provided by this code or by local ordinance under subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 22352, or established under Section 22354, 22357, 22358, or 22358.3, if that prima facie speed limit is not justified by an engineering and traffic survey conducted within five years prior to the date of the alleged violation, and enforcement of the speed limit involves the use of radar or any other electronic device that measures the speed of moving objects. This paragraph does not apply to a local street, road, or school zone.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How to Best Fight 22350vc in a School Zone

    Quote Quoting quirkyquark
    View Post
    I'm assuming you were headed north(west) on Crestmoor Dr.? If so, it seems Lady Luck may have
    smiled on you AGAIN.
    Thank you again for your extensive response. I need time to digest all the important points you've raised here.

    Yes, I was headed north towards San Bruno Ave. Happy to know about my good prospect!

    Quote Quoting quirkyquark
    View Post
    [*]You can't do the change of venue unless your workplace is located closer to Redwood City (you said you live closer to SF)
    I live near the BART Station in Daly City and work in Millbrae. With that info, would changing the venue still be helpful in my case?

    Quote Quoting quirkyquark
    View Post
    Get the survey ASAP; also verify the signs and school times. If the survey is less than five years old (as it should be), you won't even need to do discovery about radar calibration, etc.
    Yes, I intend to do all of that.

    Quote Quoting quirkyquark
    View Post
    Keep us posted!
    I sure will. Till then...

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to Best Fight 22350vc in a School Zone

    Quote Quoting quirkyquark
    View Post
    No (it does need a survey), because the section you excerpted is the ONLY part of 22352 to be explicitly included in the speed trap statute:
    I don't think you are reading the statute right:

    (2) Twenty-five miles per hour:
    (A) On any highway other than a state highway, in any business or
    residence district unless a different speed is determined by local
    authority under procedures set forth in this code.
    The highlighted section is what 40802 is speaking of. 25mph speed limit is statutory, therefore not a prima facie speed limit... much like a 55mph speed limit on a 2 lane highway. If there was a speed survey required, why would the statute state specifically 25mph??

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