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  1. #1
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    Default Is Passing a Slow Vehicle a Defense to a Speeding Ticket

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

    I recently received a speeding ticket on a two-lane (55mph) highway, clocked at 72 mph according to the officer, and was cited for violating VC 22349(b). While I was unable to talk my way out of the ticket, he did write down the speed as "65+" instead of 72 as a nice gesture, I suppose.

    Here are the circumstances and the basic idea behind my defense. I was behind a truck towing a large RV trailer for about 10 miles with no passing lane. The truck was averaging 10 mph BELOW the speed limit during that entire time, and had certainly accumulated more than 5 cars following it, with me being the first. As a passing lane appeared, I moved to the left to utilize the passing lane. With the extra space and the chip on the shoulder that people towing large objects sometimes have, this truck also sped up when the passing lane appeared. In order to execute the pass, I accelerated, unaware of exactly what speed I was going but only concerned with getting in front of the vehicle and moving to the right (as there was a line of cars behind me) to safely complete the pass. Because the truck accelerated with the passing lane, I may have exceeded the speed limit to complete the pass, but my focus was not on my speed but on executing the pass safely and to allow cars behind me to also complete the pass, as cars behind me were also moving into the passing lane. As I completed the pass, I saw the officer pull out of a shoulder and move to follow me.

    How good is my defense here? I am well aware that the 55mph on a 2-lane highway is quite absolute and harder to defend than the basic speed law, but I cannot go to traffic school and want to fight this if possible, as I don't see serious downsides to fighting it. I can also hope that my discovery request is ignored/takes too much time and/or the officer doesn't show up, but in the case the officer shows up I want to have the best possible thing to say.

    Lastly - I'm almost certain this isn't relevant - the officer transcribed my birthday incorrectly on the ticket and was off by 10 years (he wrote 93 when it should have been 83, month and date were right).

    It is clear this officer was positioned to catch people trying to pass slow vehicles after a 10 mile stretch without a passing lane. While this is not my defense I just have to say that's pretty slimy. I had just spend 1 hour with cruise control set at the speed limit. How frustrating. I did learn from all this that speed limits in California are absolute, with no exceptions made to passing, whether in a dedicated passing lane or on the left side of a 2-lane highway! Go figure. Perhaps this was one of the questions I missed when taking my driving test 15 years ago....

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: California Speeding 22349 (B) Advice

    Quote Quoting whttiger25
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    I recently received a speeding ticket on a two-lane (55mph) highway, clocked at 72 mph according to the officer, and was cited for violating VC 22349(b). While I was unable to talk my way out of the ticket, he did write down the speed as "65+" instead of 72 as a nice gesture, I suppose.
    Well, 72 in 55 is 17 over, and the fine would then be ~$360. Whereas 65+ implies a 10mph excess penalized at ~$238. A nice gesture indeed.

    Quote Quoting whttiger25
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    Here are the circumstances and the basic idea behind my defense. I was behind a truck towing a large RV trailer for about 10 miles with no passing lane. The truck was averaging 10 mph BELOW the speed limit during that entire time, and had certainly accumulated more than 5 cars following it, with me being the first. As a passing lane appeared, I moved to the left to utilize the passing lane. With the extra space and the chip on the shoulder that people towing large objects sometimes have, this truck also sped up when the passing lane appeared. In order to execute the pass, I accelerated, unaware of exactly what speed I was going but only concerned with getting in front of the vehicle and moving to the right (as there was a line of cars behind me) to safely complete the pass. Because the truck accelerated with the passing lane, I may have exceeded the speed limit to complete the pass, but my focus was not on my speed but on executing the pass safely and to allow cars behind me to also complete the pass, as cars behind me were also moving into the passing lane. As I completed the pass, I saw the officer pull out of a shoulder and move to follow me.
    So he went from 10 under, or 45 mph, to 10 over or about 65+ where you had to do 72 to pass him, and as you did pass him, you noticed a chip on his shoulder...

    Quote Quoting whttiger25
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    How good is my defense here?
    What defense are you speaking of? That was not a defense. It was an admission of guilt. Along with a few excuses that will not get you any closer to a dismissal or a not guilty verdict. I am, not sure what you would expect in discovery or if they fail to provide it. Neither has the potential to improve your odds any.

    Quote Quoting whttiger25
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    I just have to say that's pretty slimy.
    Wait... You broke the law and it was slimy of him to catch you? And you talk about chips on other peoples' shoulders? By that same logic, you'll likely think the judge is a scumbag for finding you guilty and ordering you to pay a fine...

    Quote Quoting whttiger25
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    I did learn from all this that speed limits in California are absolute, with no exceptions made to passing, whether in a dedicated passing lane or on the left side of a 2-lane highway!
    Considering that only one, possibly two states allow a driver to exceed the posted speed when passing, this is more the rule, not the exception. Not sure why you'd assume otherwise.

    Quote Quoting whttiger25
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    Perhaps this was one of the questions I missed when taking my driving test 15 years ago....
    Perhaps that was no one else's fault but your own! But judging by the fact that you aren't eligible for traffic school, I'm guessing that there was something else you might have missed on that test!

    Good luck!

    Edited to add: Let me also say that while the discrepancy in the DOB is not relevant to your guilt or innocence, although it would be in your best interest to mention it to the clerk when you're in court as it might cause some unneeded hassles for you if left uncorrected.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: California Speeding 22349 (B) Advice

    Quote Quoting That Guy
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    So he went from 10 under, or 45 mph, to 10 over or about 65+ where you had to do 72 to pass him, and as you did pass him, you noticed a chip on his shoulder...
    This is because after the passing lane ends, he would almost certainly slow back down to 10 under. It's been my experience, yours? Under these common circumstances, being forced to obey the speed limit, you will never be able to pass a slow vehicle that increases their speed only when passing lanes are available. And these drivers DO exist, in spades....

    Quote Quoting That Guy
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    Wait... You broke the law and it was slimy of him to catch you? And you talk about chips on other peoples' shoulders? By that same logic, you'll likely think the judge is a scumbag for finding you guilty and ordering you to pay a fine...
    I wouldn't find the judge a scumbag. And I have learned my lesson about passing lanes. Perhaps "slimy" was too strong of a word, brought on by my emotions, considering how I consistently drive the speed limit in all other situations except passing. I just think those passing lanes are easy targets and you won't catch the most deserving violators there. It's just my opinion and I'm not saying I'm innocent...

    Quote Quoting That Guy
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    Considering that only one, possibly two states allow a driver to exceed the posted speed when passing, this is more the rule, not the exception. Not sure why you'd assume otherwise.
    This isn't how I was taught by my parents, and yes, I don't remember it from DMV study materials and/or the written test. What can I say besides now I know...

    Quote Quoting That Guy
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    Perhaps that was no one else's fault but your own! But judging by the fact that you aren't eligible for traffic school, I'm guessing that there was something else you might have missed on that test!
    I have a speeding ticket (65 in a 55) from 10 months ago, and that is the reason that I have become so careful about the speed limit, with the exception of passing lanes.

    So fine, I am guilty, I did break the law. You seem poised and ready to rub that in. But as a law advice forum, and considering how many people get off when they are guilty, I really was just wondering if anyone had advice to that effect. For example, procedural issues that will get the case dismissed, the officer not showing up, and what to say at the trial is none of those things occur and I have to mount some kind of defense. That Guy, clearly you are not a lawyer, because it seems to me lawyers specialize in working the system to their clients benefit regardless of actual guilt or innocence. If this forum is merely about determining actual guilt or innocence, and not about how the law actually works in the real world, then it's pretty useless.

    But thanks anyway for reminding me that I sped.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: California Speeding 22349 (B) Advice

    Quote Quoting whttiger25
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    That Guy, clearly you are not a lawyer, because it seems to me lawyers specialize in working the system to their clients benefit regardless of actual guilt or innocence. If this forum is merely about determining actual guilt or innocence, and not about how the law actually works in the real world, then it's pretty useless.
    I never claimed to be a lawyer, not even a legal secretary, but if you expect any "decent" lawyer to be able to offer you a list of magic words that are likely to allow you to break the law and get away with it, then by all means, that might be a great investment for someone who appears to be consistent about the violations of law that he commits. Conversely, your investment in what you put into this forum, which arguably has been limited to the few minutes you spent typing your posts, has paid off in multiples no matter how you describe it. As for "this forum being useless", coming from someone who's been driving for 15 years yet he just learned that there is no law allowing him to exceed the limit when passing, and only after coming on this forum, the hypocrisy of such statement can only be overshadowed by the level of stupidity of the person making such declaration.

    Quote Quoting whttiger25
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    But thanks anyway for reminding me that I sped.
    Didn't know it was my duty to make you forget!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: California Speeding 22349 (B) Advice

    Quote Quoting That Guy
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    I never claimed to be a lawyer, not even a legal secretary, but if you expect any "decent" lawyer to be able to offer you a list of magic words that are likely to allow you to break the law and get away with it, then by all means, that might be a great investment for someone who appears to be consistent about the violations of law that he commits. Conversely, your investment in what you put into this forum, which arguably has been limited to the few minutes you spent typing your posts, has paid off in multiples no matter how you describe it. As for "this forum being useless", coming from someone who's been driving for 15 years yet he just learned that there is no law allowing him to exceed the limit when passing, and only after coming on this forum, the hypocrisy of such statement can only be overshadowed by the level of stupidity of the person making such declaration.
    Despite not being a lawyer, you sure write like one.

    Listen, I was never looking for "magic words" to allow me to break the law. I am fully aware that I broke the law, and that if I ended up in court, with the officer present, my case was non-existent. I just came on this forum to see if anyone has been in a similar situation, or had any experiences or advice to share.

    I've been reading this forum a lot, and it seems that the vast majority of the time, you post very pessimistic and harshly worded posts towards almost all questions. You chastise anyone who has broken the law, and even discourage those wrongly accused from fighting. Maybe you are just jaded. Maybe you are just a realist. Regardless, you're very harsh.

    I do not intend to break the law in the future, but would like to have the chance to have my ticket dropped if it is at all possible. Why not? If the cop shows up, or my defense is weak, I will pay the ticket. So why do you have to be so much on the side of law enforcement? Why can't you even discuss the possible outcomes of fighting a ticket for which one is guilty? We all know that beyond enforcing the law, these tickets generate impressive revenues for their respective local governments. Some tickets are definitely deserved. Some are borderline. Some are unfair. All raise money - and we as citizens need to force police officers to focus on the worst offenders by not making it easy for them to pick off minor offenders. Like me, possibly?

    Fine, I broke the law, but I am having trouble understanding how it is safe to complete a pass without exceeding the speed limit, ESPECIALLY on a two-lane road without a passing lane. To me, it's the letter of the law vs the meaning of the law. Why even allow passing at all? My understanding, incorrect I know, was always that you pass safely, at a reasonable speed, so that you minimize your time on the opposite side of the road, stay in control of the car, and pass in a reasonable time frame. The car you are passing should logically be traveling below the speed limit. Others have told me police officers usually allow some flexibility in speed limits when passing, so me going 72 in a 55 probably just exceeded that "flexibility", whatever it was.

    I'll stop my rant now. That Guy, with the number of posts you have here, I'm sure you've contributed a great deal. But your online persona just isn't very likeable.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: California Speeding 22349 (B) Advice

    I could care less whether you like me or not. In fact, I'd appreciate it more if you don't. Simply because that is only part of your living in the denial that you enjoy. And anyone who's living in their own fantasy world is as fake as their thoughts!

    My posts here are based on facts, the law, and correct procedures that are utilized in courts all over the state. If that is pessimistic to you then you should not be seeking advice and looking for opinions, instead, you should be looking for someone to cuddle with. Your Mommy and Daddy might help but I suspect you're too old and too big to sit in their lap. Either way, you are on your own. I could say I'm sorry I couldn't provide you with the answers you wanted, but what would I be sorry for, you living in ignorance all this time is not my issue, it is yours!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: California Speeding 22349 (B) Advice

    Quote Quoting whttiger25
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    I do not intend to break the law in the future, but would like to have the chance to have my ticket dropped if it is at all possible. Why not? If the cop shows up, or my defense is weak, I will pay the ticket.
    You have nothing to lose but time (gas money for travel, time off of work for at least a half day, etc.) so it's up to you whether or not the trade-off is worth it.

    So why do you have to be so much on the side of law enforcement? Why can't you even discuss the possible outcomes of fighting a ticket for which one is guilty?
    First, it's not the "side of law enforcement," it's on the side of the law. The officer that gave you the cite has no dog in the fight. He doesn't get a toaster if he prevails at trial, and he doesn't get a steak dinner if he writes the most citations in a month. His job is to promote traffic safety, and that includes writing citations. Since this was presumably the CHP, then traffic enforcement is about all they do so they tend to be somewhat anal about it.

    We all know that beyond enforcing the law, these tickets generate impressive revenues for their respective local governments.
    Ah, such a fallacy for CA.

    First, since this was probably the CHP, they have no connection to the "local government." Second, the CHP does not receieve any money from traffic citations.

    Local governments receive SOME money from traffic citations, but it is a percentage of the base fine - an amount that is typically about $35. After factoring in the cost of the officer and the percentage received from that base fine, the agency MIGHT make about $5 or $6 if the offender doesn't go to court. One court appearance would mean that the agency has to write 25 or 30 more that do NOT go to court in order to pay them back for the one that did.

    Bottom line is that if it were about the money, the police would be writing parking tickets. They will make about 5 to 7 times as much of a parking ticket that might cost you $40 than a moving violation that might cost you $240. So, if it were about the money, the police would be driving golf carts and be armed with chalk sticks and computerized parking cite books.

    Note ... the exception to this lack of money for citations angle is with regards to red light camera cites. Red light cameras tend to raise more money than the cost to operate the program, but even that depends on the jurisdiction. Not only must the agency pay for the cameras and maintenance, they must also pay personnel to monitor and issue cites for the violations - and even go to trial. I have been told that in some jurisdictions these programs don't quite break even as a result. But, they are certainly more likely to raise a few dollars for the city's coffers than moving violations cited by an officer on patrol.

    we as citizens need to force police officers to focus on the worst offenders by not making it easy for them to pick off minor offenders. Like me, possibly?
    And how would you consider doing this? No tickets to people that say, "Sorry?" Or, don't ticket people with a previous ticket? Well, that one wouldn't have helped YOU, but the concept would prevent anyone from getting a cite from that point on.

    Oddly enough, the number one community request to local law enforcement agencies tends to be expanded traffic enforcement!

    But, you are free to approach your city council or the police chief and ask that their officers give out more warnings. The CHP, on the other hand, isn't likely to care too much what an individual in the community has to say though many local offices are encouraged to cut more warnings for local area residents than for people passing through ... likely to keep the locals from mobbing the office with pitchforks and torches.

    Fine, I broke the law, but I am having trouble understanding how it is safe to complete a pass without exceeding the speed limit, ESPECIALLY on a two-lane road without a passing lane.
    Bottom line is that if you have to pass by exceeding the speeds limit, maybe you shouldn't pass. Yeah, it might mean that you will be traveling AT or a hair below the speed limit by following behind the miscreant who dares to travel AT the limit, but that's how to avoid a cite.

    To me, it's the letter of the law vs the meaning of the law.
    And to the law enforcer as well. But, you were not edging a little over the limit, you were headed way over. The officer cut you a huge break by writing 65+ on the cite. Keep in mind that 65+ can also include the original 72 ... if you go to trial he just might testify to that 72 MPH and the court might assess the fines accordingly. But, I'm guessing your plan here is not to go to trial, but to appear and if the officer is also present, plead guilty and pay your fine.

    Why even allow passing at all?
    because some vehicles travel UNDER the limit. In fact, cars towing trailers and multi-axle big rigs are required to travel ONLY 55 MPH in CA. Them, you can pass without exceeding 65 or 70 as the limit allows.

    My understanding, incorrect I know, was always that you pass safely, at a reasonable speed, so that you minimize your time on the opposite side of the road, stay in control of the car, and pass in a reasonable time frame.
    Common sense, to be sure. But, not founded in the law.

    The car you are passing should logically be traveling below the speed limit. Others have told me police officers usually allow some flexibility in speed limits when passing, so me going 72 in a 55 probably just exceeded that "flexibility", whatever it was.
    Correct.
    **********
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    Default Re: California Speeding 22349 (B) Advice

    Thank you cdwjava, this is very helpful.

    I've learned my lessons from this. After all this discussion I think I'm just going to pay the ticket and move on with my life. The court is about 100 miles from my house, and I don't think my chances are good enough to warrant the effort.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: California Speeding 22349 (B) Advice

    Personally I would never just pay a ticket if any other reasonable options are available, but you have to consider what’s important to you and what your time is worth. You might want to view the procedural information on this web site before making your final decision.

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