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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    3

    Default Arguing Inaccurate Speed Measurement, Ticket Errors and the Speed Trap Defense

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

    Another car and I were cruising at 80mph on a two lane divided highway. An officer coming in the opposite direction on the other side of the divider guessed my speed in reference to the car in front of me, somehow pulsated my speed from the front of his car, and then again from the back of his car (he did not use a radar gun, but said he was able to send microwaves out of the front and rear of his car to confirm my speed of 80mph). The car in front of me and myself were both pulled over and given infractions.

    My question in this: On the ticket I noticed three errors. The state of which my car is registered in was put down as California. That is wrong. The date at which I am set to appear is an invalid date, and this was confirmed by the court in the county the citation was issued. He wrote the other driver's license number. Aside from those errors, I want to argue that his reading is inaccurate based on the fact that when he shot his "pulses" from his car before he passed me, they would hit the car in front of me, and the pulses from the rear of his car could have very well hit one of the cars behind him. I can certainly remember the cop having traffic in front and behind him. How likely is it that any of this would hold? I live out of state so I would request a trial by written declaration.

    Would it be wise of me to try and argue the speed trap defense on top of all of this as well? CVC40801. What about by CA Vehicle Code law the operation of a radar unit on a road must be justified with a Engineering and traffic survey done on the section of the road where you got caught. It must be current and within the last 5 years for it to be valid. CVC 40802 (b) Speed Zone Survey. Would any of these hold for getting a ticket dismissed? How soon should I wait to address the errors on the ticket? Should I request a trial by written declaration tomorrow and point out the errors immediately and hope it is dismissed on those alone? Or should I try and cram CA vehicle codes in, on top of the fact that the officer was in motion and could have easily read the speed of another car, seeing as how there was plenty of traffic in the area. The police officer even admitted I slowed down to the speed limit before he flipped his U turn about a mile back, so I was definitely going the speed limit before he even turned around and definitely by the time he pulled me over. How should I go about handling this?

    Thanks so much in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,670

    Default Re: Officer Made 3 Errors on My Ticket- How Should I Handle It

    The ticket errors are meaningless. You'll get a new court date issued. The state is spurious.

    Radar isn't always a gun, and it works in both directions. Even if he was measuring the other car, if he testifies that you were both going the same speed, that's all he needs. You say "guess" but the proper term is he is giving an "estimate" of the speed as an expert witness.

    What were you charged with? At 80MPH you are in violation of the max speed law which does not require an traffic survey. You're presumed to not be legal to drive over 55 anywhere without need for any justification.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: Officer Made 3 Errors on My Ticket- How Should I Handle It

    Yes, what code section were you cited for?

    Depending on the radar system the officer used in his vehicle (and the Stalker Dual is the most common here) it can be operated while the vehicle is in motion. Additionally, radar certified officers have also been trained and certified in the visual estimation of speed. And if the radar zapped the car in front of you at one speed and you were traveling at an equal or greater speed, than that is perfectly legitimate.

    As for the errors, clerical errors are rarely good cause to dismiss a citation., However, if they are enough of them and they are significant they might be used to show that the officer might not have been as attentive to detail as he should have been.

    As for the court date, you can appear at the date and time indicated and ask for a clerk to provide you some documentation of appearance as proof that you complied with the notice - in error or not. Unless you receive written documentation that changes the court date or exempts you from appearing, you need to appear in order to avoid having your license suspended for FTA.

    If not CA, what state plates are on your car?

    And when you say he put the other driver's number on the cite, did the one officer stop both you and the other guy who was doing 80?
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Officer Made 3 Errors on My Ticket- How Should I Handle It

    Thanks for your replies.

    What I was hoping to do is to challenge the officer's credibility because of the three errors, and to somehow argue because of these mistakes, there is a very decent chance that the radar could have picked up the speed of another car behind him, or stayed locked onto the speed of the car in front of me. To answer your question the office did stop myself and the other driver and put the other driver's drivers license number on my ticket. He stopped us both for doing 80mph in a 65mph zone. This was on the 395 highway.

    As for flyingron, I am charged with a 22349 (a) citation. I know this ticket is much harder to get out of so I am still on the fence as to whether or not I should comply with driving school or request a TBD and make it clear that upon being found guilty I would still like to attend driving school. What is your opinion on whether or not I should introduce an argument around CVC 40802 (b) Speed Zone Survey?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,670

    Default Re: Officer Made 3 Errors on My Ticket- How Should I Handle It

    A speed trap doesn't apply here. The limit you busted was not a posted (potentially erroneously low) prima facie limit. They don't need a traffic survey to enforce 22349.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Officer Made 3 Errors on My Ticket- How Should I Handle It

    Ah I see. Well then what I gather from your input is that my options are slim to none in fighting this. Is it entirely unheard of for a judge to dismiss a speeding ticket if I write a letter asking him to do so after I take traffic school? With nothing to lose I just figure why not. I want to be a firefighter and I just don't want a speeding ticket to automatically shun me from getting a job you know. Ron, You seem to know what you are talking about. In your experience: Is being out right honest with a judge in terms of asking for a dismissal, is that good or bad?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,670

    Default Re: Officer Made 3 Errors on My Ticket- How Should I Handle It

    The judge is not going to dismiss things over a letter or any level of contrition or honesty. If traffic school is offered (often comes with the courtesy notice), you can take it. You do know that all traffic school does is dodge the point. You still have to pay the fine as well as for the school. Depending on the court, you may be able to get a fine reduction.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,170

    Default Re: Officer Made 3 Errors on My Ticket- How Should I Handle It

    Quote Quoting Lord Kyle
    View Post
    Is being out right honest with a judge in terms of asking for a dismissal, is that good or bad?
    You'll have to forgive my sarcasm but "Being outright honest" with ANYone really and more so with a judge and especially while you are under oath is the standard expectation. Hoping to get rewarded for it by being granted a dismissal of a speeding charge (or any charge, really) is likely to leave you quite disappointed when s/he turns you down.

    As for it being a good or a bad thing, and again, in my opinion, it might depend on the alternative... If you're not being outright honest in court, what else can you be?

    There is little to nothing that can be done to change what happened now. Even a dismissal will still show up on some record somewhere. At this point in time, you automatically qualify for traffic school, take it, submit the certificate, and you'll get the citation to get concealed from your public record. While it might still appear on a thorough backgrounds check (for a governmental job or in your case a fire fighter), having taken traffic school can be looked at as having taken corrective action, which at this point, is much better that any other alternative.

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