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  1. #1
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    Jul 2013
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    Blaine, Minnesota, United States
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    Default Radar Accuracy and Malfunction

    My question involves traffic court in the State of: MN

    Hello, I just got a ticket in a commercial vehicle for 16 over the speed limit. I have been driving truck for some time and this is my first ticket in a commercial vehicle and even though im not contesting that i wasnt speeding i am contesting the accuracy of the statements made by the officer. I have been driving the same truck for 3 years and am well aware of the max speed the govenor allows my truck to go. In this case i watched how fast my truck was going. i used the passing lane in a 60 mile and hour zone to get ahead of traffic that was going a moderatly 55 miles and hour in a 60 mile an hour zone. I know it was a risk to go to 70 but the group of cars made it impossible for me to get in my exit lane before i had to exit. As i approached the hill, i saw the officer pulling off the shoulder. i reduced my speed and he pulled me over. He came up to the truck and asked me how fast do i think i was going. I told him 70. He goes i clocked you at 76. my govenor Tops my truck out at 74 at the most. Tried many times on 70 MPH roads and it will not reach 75. No Matter what. So when i informed the officer that the truck cannot do that speed especially going up hill. He preceeded to say well ok im lying and grabbed my information and went back to his squad. Upon return he gave me my ticket for 76, and left. my question is how accurate would it be to get a reading across 4 lanes(5 lanes including the shoulder) with a large group of vehicles in its path? What Items of proof would i need to fight this severity of the ticket?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Radar Accuracy and Malfunction

    I would imagine the burden of proof is unfortunately on your hands. Is the governor merely a throttle governor or is it something that monitors the actual speed of the vehicle and through the ECU prevents it from traveling over a certain mile per hour? If you can get a legitimate repair shop or dealer to confirm the truck is physically unable to travel greater than 75 miles per hour, the judge might consider accepting it as a fact but I wouldn't hold my breath on it. It really comes down to one thing..........$$$$$.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
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    Default Re: Radar Accuracy and Malfunction

    Quote Quoting Marc Buckner
    View Post
    my question is how accurate would it be to get a reading across 4 lanes(5 lanes including the shoulder) with a large group of vehicles in its path?
    Very accurate... Radar can be set to check the speed of the largest object in its path (and that would presumably be your truck at the time and no matter which lane you were in) or it can be set to check the speed of the fastest object in its path (and that would -again- presumably be your truck at the time and no matter which lane you were in).

    Quote Quoting Marc Buckner
    View Post
    What Items of proof would i need to fight this severity of the ticket?
    Whether it is 76, 74 or 70, the maximum speed is 60. So you would need one item of proof that shows that you were not driving in excess of the 60 mph posted limit. You can bust your back trying to prove it was 74 but not 76 and you won't get much accomplished. You already admitted to 70 and that alone can get you a guilty verdict!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
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    5,273

    Default Re: Radar Accuracy and Malfunction

    the old governor pleading? Judges seen this only about 1000x .... means nothing to them

  5. #5
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    Jul 2013
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    Texas
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    Default Re: Radar Accuracy and Malfunction

    http://youtu.be/zJ4pA89d4u0

    Here is a video showing how its used. I would watch the video and get familiar with the procedures used. I would also look at the ticket to see if its determined what method was used to indicate your speed. If a laser (LIDAR) was used, thats going to very hard to beat. If a scanner type like in the video was used especially in a multilane situation in heavy traffic, you might have a decent shot.

    I have an on going speeding ticket trial myself. I lost in the justice court but its on appeal right now. If it doesn't get thrown out, I will put forth a defense bringing into question the device used and its capability to accurately determine which vehicle was speeding.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
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    5,273

    Default Re: Radar Accuracy and Malfunction

    Has MN given judicial notice to any LIDAR unit ? Something for the OP to chk (if LIDAR was used).

    And how does MN view the right to confront? State of Mass. v Melendez-Diaz and subsequent rulings?

    Objections to supporting documentation is the best way to win such cases ... anything the OP says goes right into the garbage can, him being an interested party of the outcome of the case.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    LA LA Land
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    Default Re: Radar Accuracy and Malfunction

    Quote Quoting TXTRANSMAN
    View Post
    If a scanner type like in the video was used especially in a multilane situation in heavy traffic, you might have a decent shot.
    A scanner type like in the video means one of the first and best Radar unit manufacturers on the market. While Laser is more accurate than Radar (not by much) RADAR has been in use since the mid 1950s. (LIDAR's margin of error generally at something like +1/-2 mph - RADAR is generally at +/-2 mph, may at times (with older units) be at +/-3 mph)). In this case, with the measured speed being at 16 mph in excess of the legal limit, there isn't much one can argue!

    But that is not it... In addition to the regular training an officer might receive at the academy, and assuming s/he will be assigned to traffic enforcement, s/he will be required to be trained and certified in using Radar and LIDAR. This requirement is pretty much existent in most states. To pass the training course and become certified, an officer must estimate a certain number of speeds (usually 100) to within a margin of error of +/- 5 mph. When out in the field, an officer is typically monitoring traffic, and the way they will typically testify in court is they will first state that they visually estimated a vehicles speed at such and such mph; they will then follow up with an indication that they activated their Radar, and obtained a reading of such and such speed; more often than not they may choose to lock their Radar on that particular vehicle to ensure it is the one they measures... That is called obtaining a "tracking history"... Driver sees the cop, slows down... Or doesn't see him and continues at whatever speed, they can gauge fluctuations like that. And more importantly, if the Radar is set to detect the fastest vehicle of the pack that is approaching, it is easy to establish which vehicle that is by visual estimate again... Its easy to tell which vehicle is going fastest when you're looking at a group of cars. So that is how they establish which vehicle to pull over and cite.

    The process is not as time consuming as it sounds, and they may not need to go through all the steps described above to establish who's in violation. Often times, we drivers make it extremely easy for them to catch us... And as you can see, it seems to work regardles of whether the vehicle is alone on the highway or whether it is in heavy traffic on a multilane highway!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Texas
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    Default Re: Radar Accuracy and Malfunction

    All of these observations depends on the officers perspective, road conditions, weather, traffic volume, the rate of speed the officer is traveling if the car is moving and at what rate of speed the traffic is going. It's far easier to identify someone going +10 in a 40 mph posted speed limit than it is in a 75 mph posted speed limit. Its also easier to identify someone traveling faster if they are at the front of the pack or if the pack is smaller in size or less lanes to choose from. In any circumstance, the best defense is to present as much doubt into the jury's mind as possible but thats not an easy task when the man or woman sitting in the witness chair is wearing a uniform while you're just some guy trying to defend yourself.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    LA LA Land
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    Default Re: Radar Accuracy and Malfunction

    Quote Quoting TXTRANSMAN
    View Post
    All of these observations depends on the officers perspective, road conditions, weather, traffic volume, the rate of speed the officer is traveling if the car is moving and at what rate of speed the traffic is going. It's far easier to identify someone going +10 in a 40 mph posted speed limit than it is in a 75 mph posted speed limit. Its also easier to identify someone traveling faster if they are at the front of the pack or if the pack is smaller in size or less lanes to choose from.
    You can pretend to believe anything you want to pretend to believe. What I posted in my last post is pretty much standard operating procedure for most states; not even a seasoned attorney couldn't crack though such testimony when the circumstances are such that the charge is for 5 mph or higher over the state's statutory limit. Legally speaking, if you are 1 mph over that limit, you are guilty... And here you are trying to impress what you think is easier and/or harder.

    Quote Quoting TXTRANSMAN
    View Post
    In any circumstance, the best defense is to present as much doubt into the jury's mind as possible but thats not an easy task when the man or woman sitting in the witness chair is wearing a uniform while you're just some guy trying to defend yourself.
    Lucky for most of judicial systems around this country, a jury trial is not an option for most traffic citations. (I think that option is limited to Texas and Illinois). Whether its a jury or a judge, the evidence against you is the same. If you were in excess of the posted limit, then you are guilty regardless of how you choose to overburden and abuse the system, more often than not, you are simply delaying the inevitable!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Texas
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    Default Re: Radar Accuracy and Malfunction

    Burden of proof lies with the prosecution. Its a shame some cop's testimony is enough to convict a person of a crime especially when so many variables are in place to easily determine there is a reasonable doubt. Last I checked, cops were humans and humans make errors daily. Using a device such as a radar detection unit does increase the likelihood of the officer being correct but its not error proof. I'm sure you're a lawyer and lawyer prefer to go in, work a deferred adjudication or drivers course for the client than to actually fight it. Its quicker, easier and less work for them. I get it.

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