Iím a relative newbie to Expert Law and I have posted before regarding using a speed trap defense. Now my elderly mom needs help for an alleged stop sign violation, CVC22450(a). She allegedly stopped past the limit line at a stop sign where the front of her car was allegedly in the middle of the crosswalk (after the stop sign limit line) when she stopped. There were no pedestrians in the crosswalk or in the vicinity and she was only cited with CVC22450(a). My mom has posted bail and has a speedy trial date set for January 2nd.
Everything I have read in Expert Law forums and elsewhere has told me that if the cop were to show at trial and the judge agrees with the cop saying my mom stopped past the limit line and the front of her car stopped in the middle of the crosswalk, my mom will lose. However, the owner of HELP! I got a ticket! Website, Geo. has emphatically told me that even if my mom did stop with the front of her car in the crosswalk, she did not violate the law, as it is written. This is because dictionaries define the word ďatĒ as in, on or near. Therefore, even if my mom did stop past the limit line and the front of car was stopped in the middle of the crosswalk, my mom technically stopped at the stop sign, and she definitely did not enter the intersection. I of course have learned to take some of Geo.ís information with a grain of salt. If there is any expert in this forum who thinks my mom has a significantly better chance than a snowball in hell of fighting and beating her ticket by arguing that she stopped at the stop sign even if her car was entered into the crosswalk you can let me know, but I donít think there is. I have read CVC22450(a) numerous times, so no one has to repost it for me unless referencing in will somehow be of any use for me to help my mom fight her ticket.
My momís alleged infraction occurred on San Marin Drive at San Carlos Way in Novato while she was heading southwest on San Marin Drive. The cop was staked out on San Carlos Way at the intersection of San Marin Drive at the opposite side of the divided road from where my mom was driving. I have a Google Maps street view of the location. Coincidentally, the Street View shows an SUV in the same stopped position that the cop alleges my mom was stopped (front of car entered into middle of crosswalk). Here is the link: http://goo.gl/maps/2Deob
The cop wrote on the ticket that it was wet, rainy. My mom has a clear memory of it being fairly dry and having barely started sprinkling. I donít know if my mom needs to be too upset about the cop exaggerating the weather conditions on the ticket, since I donít know that this will be of any help in fighting her ticket. If anyone thinks that it could be of help to her in fighting the ticket, please let me know. I also understand that poor weather conditions during an alleged violation can actually work in a defendantís favor because the copís visibility will not be as good to view an alleged infraction.
The cop also got the number incorrect on my momís street address when he wrote the ticket. This may be the reason why it took 16 days for her to get her courtesy notice, when it often normally only takes 7 days for someone to receive their courtesy notice. I know this will also likely be viewed as insignificant by a judge though. The cop also wrote his name illegibly on the ticket, but we were able to get his name through his serial number.
In the sixty years my mom has been driving she has only gotten two traffic tickets before this one and she is eligible for traffic school.
I want to discuss the encounter my mom had with the cop during the traffic stop and his unprofessionalism, since drawing attention to the copís unprofessionalism and state of mind I believe has a slightly better chance of having her ticket dismissed by a judge, if the cop were to show, than if my mom were to argue she made a legal stop.
My mom has a heart condition, a number health issues and has lived with a lot of pain over the last three years. She was pulled over by the cop at a rather vulnerable time for her. She was on her way to the hospital to have blood tests done at the time. After the cop pulled her over, he of course asked her the incriminating question ďDo you know why you were pulled over?Ē My mom may have answered in a way to incriminate herself, but I donít want to state exactly what she may have said. After my mom answered the cop, he abruptly went to his patrol car without telling her that he would be writing her a ticket. When he came back to my momís car after a few minutes and gave her the ticket, my mom was in tears. My mom said to him ďI canít afford the ticket.Ē The cop then abruptly said ďToo bad.Ē My mom told me the cop was generally rude, abrupt and strange. Before the cop left, in a desperate attempt to diffuse the situation, my mom unfortunately jokingly said to the officer ďIím on my way to have blood tests at the hospital, I hope I donít have a heart attack on my way there.Ē The cop then raised his voice while angrily replying to her ďHow dare you! How dare you! Donít you put that on me! Donít you put that on me! Iím here to protect the public from flagrant violators of the law!Ē My mom immediately regretted her comment about hoping she would not have a heart attack and wished to apologize to the cop, but the cop immediately left to his patrol car and my mom had to get to her appointment at the hospital. After my momís appointment, she went to see if the cop was still at his stake out position so she could apologize to him but he had left.
My mom certainly has never flagrantly violated the law. If she has ever stopped slightly over a limit line at a stop sign in the past it is only because she was momentarily distracted. My mom is disturbed by the fact that people routinely drive through stop signs without stopping and donít get pulled over but she allegedly stopped past the limit line, certainly did not enter the intersection, endangered no one and she got an expensive ticket, along with anger and rudeness from a cop who alluded to her being a ďflagrant violator.Ē I have told her this is not fair but that is how it is.
At some point during my momís encounter with the cop, he told her ďI held an old ladyís hand that was dying today.Ē My mom would have certainly been very sympathetic to the officer if my mom knew the officer and it were any other situation other than my mom being cited, but the copís comment about him holding an old ladyís hand that was dying seems inappropriate when he is issuing a citation. It also indicates that he was in a bad state of mind where he was not competent to be issuing a traffic ticket. He also said to my mom ďMaybe Iíll see you in court.Ē
Does anyone think the copís lack of professionalism and his rudeness towards my mom during the traffic stop can help with my mom fighting the ticket, specifically arguing that the cop was not in a state of mind to be competent to issue a traffic ticket, or would this also be a long shot?