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  1. #1

    Default When Can You Use the Speed Trap Defense for Speeding Citation

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

    I began a thread on October 1, 2012 titled When Can You Use The Speed Trap Defense for Speeding Citation. I last posted on November 21, 2012 to this thread. Since over two months has passed since I last posted and I did not do a follow-up post after two months, the thread I started is closed. However, my case is not over yet and I am in urgent need of some help and some answers still, so I will repost the facts of my case here and let others know what has happened up to this point. I will make an effort to promptly follow-up with any questions I have or new information I have from now own.

    The facts of my citation are as follows: LIDAR was used while I was driving on Ignacio Blvd at Entrada Drive in Novato, California on August 31, 2012 and cited for violating CVC 22350. I was allegedly going 55 in a 35 zone on Ignacio Blvd at Entrada Drive. Ignacio Blvd is a minor arterial, divided road with two lanes in each direction. My ticket shows the location of my violation as ďIGNACIO BL ENTRADA DRĒ with weather, road & traffic conditions as ďDAY, CLR, DRY, MEDĒ. I actually remember traffic being very light with no vehicle for the visible distance in front of me. There is evidence according to the Engineering and Traffic (E & T) Survey that indicates my alleged violation occurred at the very end of an illegal speed trap section of Ignacio Blvd. I will explain further. First, the following is some what has happened since I received my citation on August 31, 2012:
    1) I got a 30-day extension to pay or appear, extended from September 21, 2012 to October 22, 2012
    2) On October 22, 2012 I requested the paperwork for a Trial By Written Declaration (TWD) and was allowed till November 21, 2012 to turn in my Statement (Form TR-205)
    3) On November 21, 2012 I turned in my statement. I argued that my alleged violation occurred in an illegal speed trap and requested my case be dismissed.
    4) On January 7, 2013 I received Decision and Notice of Decision, dated January 2, 2013 where I was found guilty. In the Decision Notice the judge allowed for me to take traffic school, since I have a clean record.
    5) On January 22 I turned in my Request for Trial de novo, form TR-220.
    6) On January 28 I received my ORDER AND NOTICE TO DEFENDANT OF NEW TRIAL, where Iím scheduled for February 13.

    Since at least January 22 I have been worrying about how I should exactly proceed. Iím dejected and do not want to face the officer in court or the judge who found me guilty in my TWD and I donít know if it will do me any good to put in a formal request for a new judge for court trial (I don't even know the procedure for doing this). Additionally, the judge who found me guilty seems to be handling all of the traffic court cases now at Marin Superior Court.

    Per my citation, my alleged violation occurred on Ignacio Blvd at Entrada Drive while I was traveling eastbound (towards Hwy 101) while officer was parked at stop sign in patrol car at exit point of Entrada (westbound side of Ignacio Blvd) before he pulled me over. This location is precisely at the boarder of what may well be an illegal speed trap section and a non-speed trap section of Ignacio Blvd. For reference, here is a Google Map link to the sections of Ignacio Blvd I was traveling on and that pertain to my case: http://goo.gl/maps/gY1yv You can scroll and zoom in as necessary.

    Per Engineering and Traffic (E&T) survey, the critical speed for Ignacio Blvd at Hwy 101 to Ignacio Blvd at Entrada Drive (points A to B on Google Map) is 36 MPH, but the critical speed for Ignacio Blvd at Entrada Drive (point B, where my alleged violation occurred while traveling eastbound) to Ignacio Blvd at Country Club Drive (Point C) is 43 MPH, with 73% of drivers over 35 MPH limit. This section of Ignacio Blvd seems to justify a 40 MPH limit and not the 35 MPH posted. I emailed a traffic ticket lawyer a copy of the Ignacio Blvd E & T survey along with a copy of my citation and my analysis of my case. The attorney called me to tell me that my alleged violation occurred in an illegal speed trap, in his opinion and that he recommended fighting the ticket. However, my case is far from slam-dunk and clear-cut, as indicated by my losing my TWD.

    Before I was pulled over for my alleged violation, the officer was parked in his patrol car at a stop sign on the opposite side of the two-way divided roadway (Ignacio Blvd) to my left, at the Entrance/Exit of Entrada Drive when he used LIDAR on my car. My understanding is that when an officer is using the laser gun from a stationary position, he will generally point the laser gun towards an oncoming car that he sees coming towards him and typically point the laser beam at the front bumper of the car, which I believe was the case with my car. I think it is unlikely that the officer used the laser gun on my car only when I reached Entrada Drive or not until after I passed Entrada Drive, although I suppose the officer could claim this. If the officer were to claim that he only used LIDAR on my car when my car reached Entrada Drive or not until just after I passed Entrada Drive on Ignacio Blvd then I believe I have no chance of getting my ticket dismissed, since the critical speed for the section from Entrada Drive to Highway 101 is 36 MPH and only 15% of the drivers are above 35 MPH in traffic survey for this stretch of the road.

    The traffic survey is dated 4-05-07 and my citation was on 8-31-12, so the survey is over five years old. This means that the officer will have to show he has completed the necessary Radar and Laser training, which I imagine will be easy for him to do. I plan to go to Marin Traffic Court office eventually to see if I can get a copy of the officerís TWD statement and perhaps any notes that the judge made. I do not know if it will do me any good to do any informal discovery request, but maybe I should if Iím in fact going to go to court.

    Below is a copy of 4 of the 7 pages of the PDF copy of the 2007 Ignacio Blvd E & T survey. The forum will only allow me to insert up to 4 images in a post. Since the E & T survey is 7 pages, I will need to post the remaining three pages in a separate post after someone responds to this thread I started. Below, I am posting pages 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the 7 page survey in this post. I'm skipping page 1 in this post because it just certifies that the survey is valid and I'm leaving out pages 6 and 7 in this post because those are for sections of Ignacio Blvd that do not involve the sections of road I was traveling on before I was pulled over. At some point later when I have a little more time, I may also post a copy of my TWD statement (with personal info changed or left out) to see if anybody can let me know what I may have done wrong in my TWD statement. Any helpful responses to this thread are appreciated. I just donít know how I can prove to the judge beyond a reasonable doubt that my alleged violation occurred in an illegal speed trap. Anyway, here are 4 of 7 of the pages of the 2007 Ignacio Blvd E & T survey:
    http://pdf2jpg.net/picture.php?pic_index=3&presentation_method=inline

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Default Re: When Can You Use the Speed Trap Defense for Speeding Citation

    I couldn't see the survey.
    In 2007, the law allowed them to round 43 down to 40, and then take an additional 5 mph off of that for various causes, like accident rates. Did they use the accident rate excuse?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: When Can You Use the Speed Trap Defense for Speeding Citation

    If you go to his other thread on this, you can see the survey pages he posted. Yes, they cited the accident rate in reducing it to 35.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: When Can You Use the Speed Trap Defense for Speeding Citation

    Quote Quoting derekt2
    View Post
    I couldn't see the survey.
    In 2007, the law allowed them to round 43 down to 40, and then take an additional 5 mph off of that for various causes, like accident rates. Did they use the accident rate excuse?
    ^^^This^^^ is incorrect. First, there was no "law" that dictates how the speed limit is to be set back in 2007. The mandate was simply part of the procedure recommended in the 2006 Ca-MUTCD which stated the following:

    From Page 2B-7 of the the 2006 CA-MUTCD, under Section 2B.13 Speed Limit Sign (R2-1)

    Option:

    The posted speed may be reduced by 10 km/h (5 mph) from the nearest 10 km/h or 5 mph increment of the 85th-percentile speed, where engineering study indicates the need for a reduction in speed to match existing conditions with the traffic safety needs of the community.

    Support:

    An example of the application of this speed limit criteria is as follows:

    • If the 85th percentile speed in a speed survey was 60 km/h (37 mph), then the speed limit would be posted at 35 mph or optionally reduced to 30 mph. However,
    • If the 85th percentile speed in a speed survey was 61 km/h (38 mph), then the speed limit would be posted at 40 mph or optionally reduced to 35 mph.

    This method of establishing posted speed limits applies to all engineering and traffic surveys (E&TS) performed after May 20, 2004. This section, as amended for use in California, does not apply to E&TS performed prior to May 20, 2004.

    So in an example where the 85th percentile speed limit is determined to be 43mph, the nearest increment would then be 45mph at which point it can be reduced to 40mph.

  5. #5

    Default Re: When Can You Use the Speed Trap Defense for Speeding Citation

    Thanks for the replies. I was able to read the 4 images I posted, pages 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the E & T Survey on this thread with no problem, but since derekt2 mentioned that he could not see the survey, I am re-posting the images for pages 2, 3, 4 and 5 below in excellent quality, 3000 dpi, as opposed to just good quality, 1500 dpi which was what I used for my first post of this thread. Hopefully this will help make it easier for people to read. The reason why I did not post using 3000 dpi per page in my first post is because that is twice the number of Kilobytes per image or page as 1500 dpi and I thought I would only be able to post 2 pages of the E & T Survey using 3000 dpi per image. However, I’ve learned that regardless of whether I post using 1500 dpi per image, 3000 dpi per image or only 300 dpi (average quality) per image and regardless of the number of Kilobytes per image, the forum will only allow me to post 4 images, which is 4 pages of the E & T Survey. I can post the remaining pages, pages 1, 5 and 7 also in 3000 dpi when someone replies to this thread again and then I reply to the thread again. Anyway, here are pages 2, 3, 4 and 5 again of the 2007 Ignacio Blvd E & T Survey:





    - - - Updated - - -

    I have noticed that the images of the 4 pages I posted of the Ignacio Boulevard E & T Survey are not currently displaying in my original post or in my subsequent post where I posted the 3000 dpi images. All my initial post shows in regards to my images is a web address, that if you were to highlight the web address, right-click on it and select "open link", it would take you to a blank webpage with an error message that says the image cannot be displayed because it contains errors. Just a few hours ago, I could see all of the images I had posted in my 2 posts but I noticed when I reloaded the page, the images disappeared. I would like to post images again of pages of the E & T survey but this time I will use photobucket.com, which looks to be a more reliable and useful website and service than pdf2jpg.net, the website and service I used to convert the PDF copy of the E & T survey to jpeg images and to post images to this forum via the insert image button and url address. I can now simply copy and paste IMG tags from photobucket.com to post images without converting them from the PDF document. It is great that images can store indefinitely on photobucket.com and that the image files are already stored there, so I don't have to bother with converting from PDF to JPG either. At pdf2jpg.net one's images are removed from the server after about 24 hours, so Iíve had to re-convert from pdf to jpg from the pdf file on my hard drive after 24 hours any time I needed them for a post to the forum. Again, photobucket looks to be more reliable, simpler and more useful.

    The forum will not allow me to post any more images until someone first replies again to my thread. If I try to post any more images with this post, the forum considers it as just an update from my last post and I get an error message that says I have posted too many images, 8, even though Iím only posting four. The forum server counts the four images that I posted in my last post, even though they do not even currently appear when someone views this thread.

    Iím hoping people will reply to this post so that I can do a reply post to this thread that is not considered just an ďupdateĒ from my last post by the server. That way, I should be able to finally post images of pages of the E & T survey, where the images will stay up for viewing by anyone who visits this thread.

    In the meantime, I have a number of questions for the veterans here at ExperLaw. Firstly, what is the procedure for me requesting a new judge for my speeding trial? I have decided that I will likely not be worse off with a different judge. I believe a different judge is probably just as likely to find me guilty as the judge who found me guilty in my Trial by Written Declaration (TWD). However, at least a different judge will not have the bias of having already found me guilty. This technically and theoretically could be at least a slight advantage for me. Any other judges that work at Marin County Superior Court besides the one who found me guilty in my TWD apparently only work on a fill-in basis, so I donít know who any of the other judges are. I only know about the one who found me guilty in my TWD, as Iíve sat in on a couple of his traffic court sessions. He is generally fair and reasonable but like many people, he has his biases. Should I just go to the Traffic Court Office and ask for a form to fill out to request a new judge, or do I have to simply just write something out myself, using special wording and then give the request to the Traffic Court Office?

    Secondly, what exactly is the procedure for requesting a continuance? It is very important for me to do a better job in mounting and preparing a speed trap defense than I did in my TWD and see if I can't prepare a well-written, comprehensive motion for dismissal based on my alleged violation occurring in an illegal speed trap. Therefore, I feel Iím very possibly going to need to ask for a continuance (in addition to requesting a different judge than the one who found me guilty in my TWD) so that I have more time to prepare my case and write another motion for dismissal, given my court date is for the morning of February 13, just a little over a week away. To request a continuance, should I just go down to the traffic court office and ask for a form to fill out to request a continuance? Am I putting myself at any disadvantage in asking for a continuance? I donít believe I would be at any disadvantage in requesting a continuance since I believe the cop is equally likely to show up whether or not I keep my February 13 court date and do not even request a new judge or if I get a new court date which may be a month from now. Therefore, I donít think I have anything to gain by keeping my February 13 court date.

    Thirdly, how useful would it be for me to have informal discovery requests sent to the Marin County D.A.ís office, specifically for 1) the copy of the officerís ticket with notes on the back of it, 2) records of his RADAR and LIDAR training and certification, 3) a hard copy of the E & T survey (I already have the electronic copy Iíve printed out) 4) anything else I may have forgotten, where I have a friend send the informal discovery requests by certified mail, return receipt requested? If the D.A.ís office does not respond to any or all of the requests is there any hope of any procedural advantage I can obtain? Specifically, is there any chance for dismissal of my case if I requested dismisal because the prosecution has not responded to my informal discovery request after ten days, or as of the date of my court trial? Iíve read that the D.A.ís office will typically fail to respond to informal discovery requests or inform you that you need to get the information from the Police Department that cited you, but Iíve read that it is the D.A.ís responsibility to provide you with the information and not your job to get it from the Police Department. It is very unclear to me whether you can use failure of the D.A.ís office to respond to informal discovery requests as grounds for dismissal of your case. In Marin County, as well as many courts, prosecutors from the D.A.ís office are never even used to prosecute traffic infraction cases and of course never show up in court in traffic infraction cases. I get the feeling it may be a waste of time and postage to do informal discovery requests with the D.A.ís office, since a prosecutor is not even required in traffic infraction cases (per the California Supreme Courtís ruling back in the 1970s).

    The most important thing for me, as long as I am to continue with my ordeal of fighting my speeding ticket is that I obtain any and all information that would be useful to me in getting my ticket dismissed, specifically using any and all angles of the illegal speed trap defense and any procedure that would work against the court and the officer that there might be. Needless to say, I have to be as prepared and informed as possible. I plan to get 1) a copy of the officerís response to my TWD statement, 2) a copy of any notes the judge may have made in his guilty verdict of my TWD. I will just go down to the Traffic Court office and ask for these. I may call ahead of time to verify that I may obtain copies of these items and I will pay whatever fee there might be for copy charges.

    Any helpful information and insight I may receive from the veterans here at ExpertLaw is much appreciated. I urgently want to avoid having to go to court and present a ďsafe for the conditionsĒ speed defense even if I was actually going 55 MPH in a 35 MPH zone, where I would try to use the 30 questions to the officer from HELP! I got a ticket! website. This defense is virtually guaranteed to fail and will only be used as a final last ditch defense if I have to go to court to face the officer and my illegal speed trap defense or motion for dismissal based on an illegal speed trap were to be rejected again.

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