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: