Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 21
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    18

    Default Ticketed for Driving Through a Steady Circular Red Signal After an Accident

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

    I received an infraction notice in the mail citing SMC 11.50.140. This is following an incident at an intersection where I collided with another vehicle crossing my intersection at NE 75th and Lake City Way. I have a few questions.

    1) I am wondering how "intersection control area" can be known, or how it is defined.
    2) I am wondering how or what laws allow a responding officer to cite a driver for running a red light if the officer was not at the scene when it happened, i.e. not a witness.
    3) Does it matter that the officer marked the box 'NO' for "accident" when there was an accident? Would I be making it worse for myself by bringing this up if I were to attempt to fight this?

    The truth is, I do not know if I ran a red light myself. I think there is reasonable doubt (though I'm not sure if reasonable doubt applies for traffic infractions); But i cannot afford to have this on my driving record if I am not guilty.

    Would RCW 46.61.050 apply if I can make an argument that this particular light is not sufficiently visible to a normally observant driver? To this question, I have posted some pictures of the intersection. I had just turned left onto 75th Street from Roosevelt Way travelling southbound. As you can see from the pictures, the intersection with Lake City Way comes up immediatly after the intersection with Roosevelt, so if I'm travelling at normal speed from Roosevelt onto 75th, and the weather conditions were poor (which they were--it was raining...which also meant neither of us could stop as fast as we could have in dry conditions), is it reasonable that I could not have had enough time to observe a red light coming that fast after my green light at Roosevelt?

    Additional questions:
    Does the very worn white line constitute ambiguity of the "intersection control area", especially if the road were covered in water.

    Also since it's not safe for me to go out in the street and measure the distance between those two intersections, and might not be admissible evidence anyway, is there a place where such data is kept, or can you call an appropriate city employee as a witness for that?

    And is there documentation or precedence for safe stopping distance?

    Thank you so much for any insight into any of these questions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,941

    Default Re: Regarding Smc11.50.140 - Steady Circular Red Signal

    Let's start with the Seattle Municipal Code section:

    11.50.140 - Steady circular red signal.
    Vehicle operators facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection control area and shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown. However, the vehicle operators facing a steady circular red signal may, after stopping proceed to make a right turn from a one (1) way or two (2) way street into a two (2) way street or into a one (1) way street carrying traffic in the direction of the right turn; or a left turn from a one (1) way or two (2) way street into a one (1) way street carrying traffic in the direction of the left turn; unless a sign posted in accordance with the provisions of this title prohibits such movement; but vehicle operators planning to make such turns shall remain stopped to allow other vehicles lawfully within or approaching the intersection control area, or approaching pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk, to complete their movements.


    Quote Quoting pphilip
    View Post

    1) I am wondering how "intersection control area" can be known, or how it is defined.
    That question is likely irrelevant since there are stop lines clearly delineated on the pavement at that light. However, in the absence of those lines, the stopping point would have likely been defined (for that location) as the corner of the grassy area where the light pole is.

    Quote Quoting pphilip
    View Post

    2) I am wondering how or what laws allow a responding officer to cite a driver for running a red light if the officer was not at the scene when it happened, i.e. not a witness.
    It's called "upon information and belief" and an officer can use a variety of factors to conclude that a driver committed an infraction. Get the police report to find out how he reached that conclusion. If you want to plead not guilty, you can request his notes in discovery.

    Quote Quoting pphilip
    View Post

    3) Does it matter that the officer marked the box 'NO' for "accident" when there was an accident? Would I be making it worse for myself by bringing this up if I were to attempt to fight this?
    No. Doesn't matter. Clerical errors are easily corrected and the police report and his testimony will be what counts.

    Quote Quoting pphilip
    View Post

    The truth is, I do not know if I ran a red light myself.
    That works against you and you certainly don't want to say that in court.

    Quote Quoting pphilip
    View Post

    i cannot afford to have this on my driving record if I am not guilty.
    Wish I had a buck for every time I've read that.

    Quote Quoting pphilip
    View Post

    Would RCW 46.61.050 apply if I can make an argument that this particular light is not sufficiently visible to a normally observant driver?
    You can argue it but nobody is going to believe it.

    Quote Quoting pphilip
    View Post

    To this question, I have posted some pictures of the intersection. I had just turned left onto 75th Street from Roosevelt Way travelling southbound. As you can see from the pictures, the intersection with Lake City Way comes up immediatly after the intersection with Roosevelt, so if I'm travelling at normal speed from Roosevelt onto 75th, and the weather conditions were poor (which they were--it was raining...which also meant neither of us could stop as fast as we could have in dry conditions), is it reasonable that I could not have had enough time to observe a red light coming that fast after my green light at Roosevelt?
    I don't know what you mean by "normal speed" in terms of mph and I don't know what the speed limits are on those streets but that whole paragraph works against you because driving at "normal speed" in poor weather conditions when you can't stop as fast as you could in dry conditions just means you were driving too fast for conditions and you don't want to say that in court either.

    Quote Quoting pphilip
    View Post

    Additional questions:
    Does the very worn white line constitute ambiguity of the "intersection control area", especially if the road were covered in water.
    I don't see where that is even an issue. If you turned the corner and the light was red and you couldn't see the white lines you should have stopped at the corner or at least before the end of the double yellow line on your left.

    Frankly, that you couldn't see lines on the pavement because of the rain doesn't have anything to do with you running a red light and getting hit.

    Quote Quoting pphilip
    View Post

    Also since it's not safe for me to go out in the street and measure the distance between those two intersections, and might not be admissible evidence anyway, is there a place where such data is kept, or can you call an appropriate city employee as a witness for that?
    I'm sure there is. But I doubt that it will do you any good.

    Quote Quoting pphilip
    View Post

    And is there documentation or precedence for safe stopping distance?
    Yes.

    All over the internet.

    Just google braking distance.

    Also won't do you any good if you plan a defense based on "I couldn't stop in time."

    Bottom line, we don't know why the officer cited you instead of the other driver because you haven't told us what's in the police report nor have you told us who hit who where. In other words, what part of your car connected with what part of the other driver's car.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Regarding Smc11.50.140 - Steady Circular Red Signal

    Thank you adjusterjack for your input.

    It sounds like you don't think I can argue this in court without bringing up the accident.
    Bottom line, we don't know why the officer cited you instead of the other driver because you haven't told us what's in the police report nor have you told us who hit who where. In other words, what part of your car connected with what part of the other driver's car
    I didn't think the accident would be relevant since I wasn't cited for that. In fact, it seems like who hit who would not be a very good indicator of who ran a red light as who hit who just depends on who entered the intersection first, regardless of who had a red or green light. A person can run a red light with no traffic in it and then be vulnerable to being hit by the cross traffic that does come, or a person can run a red light with traffic in it already, and hence, probably hit that traffic, and vice versa. But maybe you asked about that for another reason, so please let me know.

    It sounds like the responding officer would have had to have pretty good reason for citing me for running a red light since he didn't witness the accident. I think there was a witness, but I didn't talk to her much because I was in shock and on the phone most of the time trying to get a tow. I will certainly request discovery, but I have hesitated to send in my response in order to decide if I should contest the ticket or not, because the officer told me that if I were to request mitigation instead of refuting it, I would have a better chance of a deferral or a reduction in the fine. It sounded like if I contested it and lost, that I would have no recourse for mitigation at that point, so I wanted to make a good decision up front. Since I do not really know that I am guilty, I have a harder time simply accepting responsibility-given the consequences on my driving record.

    So my last question for now: If I choose to contest this and then get discovery in a few weeks or however long it takes, and find based on the police report that I would most likely be unsuccessful in making my case, can I change my plea before or during the hearing?

    Thank you again. Super appreciate it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Regarding Smc11.50.140 - Steady Circular Red Signal

    A ticket does not assign fault nor does a lack of ticket mean you were not at fault.

    Who ran the light is usually pretty important in determining fault since the person that ran the red light did not have right of way.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: Regarding Smc11.50.140 - Steady Circular Red Signal

    Quote Quoting pphilip
    View Post
    I didn't think the accident would be relevant since I wasn't cited for that. In fact, it seems like who hit who would not be a very good indicator of who ran a red light as who hit who just depends on who entered the intersection first, regardless of who had a red or green light. A person can run a red light with no traffic in it and then be vulnerable to being hit by the cross traffic that does come, or a person can run a red light with traffic in it already, and hence, probably hit that traffic, and vice versa.
    Actually, the area of impact and the location of damage on the two vehicles can tend to be a very accurate indicator of who was more likely to have run the light. And, it appears that the reason you were cited was BECAUSE of the collision. So, the collision is important as it would appear that the investigation (statements, physical evidence, etc.) is what allowed the officer to determine that you ran the light. Without a collision, he would never have known.

    It sounds like the responding officer would have had to have pretty good reason for citing me for running a red light since he didn't witness the accident.
    Hence the investigation and the conclusions mde as part of that investigation.

    So my last question for now: If I choose to contest this and then get discovery in a few weeks or however long it takes, and find based on the police report that I would most likely be unsuccessful in making my case, can I change my plea before or during the hearing?
    I am sure the court would be happy to accept a guilty plea instead of tying up the court's time pursuing a trial.

    But, given the possibility of civil liability (depending on damages or injuries to the other party) you might want to consider consulting an attorney before pleading "guilty" or "no contest."
    **********
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Regarding Smc11.50.140 - Steady Circular Red Signal

    But, given the possibility of civil liability (depending on damages or injuries to the other party) you might want to consider consulting an attorney before pleading "guilty" or "no contest."
    I'm confused about this. As far as I can tell, there's no record of any accident. I've searched the online police report for the incident number I as given and nothing comes up, and since I was cited for running a red light and it says "no accident" on the citation, I don't feel like there is any dispute about the accident itself. Is it possible the other driver could surprise me with something? He walked home from the incident and aside from a dangling bumper, which my insurance was going to cover I'm pretty sure (I haven't even heard from them again), I don't know why he would. ugh. this is so confusing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: Regarding Smc11.50.140 - Steady Circular Red Signal

    Quote Quoting pphilip
    View Post
    I'm confused about this. As far as I can tell, there's no record of any accident. I've searched the online police report for the incident number I as given and nothing comes up, and since I was cited for running a red light and it says "no accident" on the citation, I don't feel like there is any dispute about the accident itself. Is it possible the other driver could surprise me with something? He walked home from the incident and aside from a dangling bumper, which my insurance was going to cover I'm pretty sure (I haven't even heard from them again), I don't know why he would. ugh. this is so confusing.
    If the officer did not witness the violation, there are only two ways that you could be cited for the offense. One, someone else observed it and signed a "citizen's arrest" (if this is permitted in your state for such things). Or, two, the officer conducted a collision investigation and came to the conclusion that you ran the light.

    As mentioned before, you can plead "not guilty" at the initial hearing and then seek any reports, notes, etc. via discovery. Don't count on online reporting systems to have a record of everything as there are many reasons why it may NOT be publicly available yet, or not in a particular database.
    **********
    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Regarding Smc11.50.140 - Steady Circular Red Signal

    A ticket does not assign fault nor does a lack of ticket mean you were not at fault.

    Who ran the light is usually pretty important in determining fault since the person that ran the red light did not have right of way.
    You're talking about fault of the accident right? I'm asking about contesting the citation for running a red light, wherein the question of fault for the accident does not 'appear' to be in question...the accident is not mentioned on the citation. Am I missing something important here, and where should I be looking to see if I have an accident on my record?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: Regarding Smc11.50.140 - Steady Circular Red Signal

    To find out about any accident report, CALL the police department during work hours and ask them.
    **********
    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    1,055

    Default Re: Regarding Smc11.50.140 - Steady Circular Red Signal

    The most important difference a "No Contest" plea can make for you is that it can't be used against you in a civil action. If you plead "Guilty" that could be used against you in a civil action.

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    Actually, the area of impact and the location of damage on the two vehicles can tend to be a very accurate indicator of who was more likely to have run the light.
    I can understand how this could resolve direction of travel but really, I don't see it indicating who ran the light or even whether the light was functioning.

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Traffic Lane Violations: Ticketed for Unsafe Lane Change, Failure to Signal
    By Huai in forum Moving Violations, Parking and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-19-2014, 06:19 PM
  2. Careless Driving: Ticketed for Careless Driving After a Traffic Accident
    By motleykrueger in forum Moving Violations, Parking and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-02-2014, 05:31 AM
  3. Other Violations: Ticketed for Avoiding a Signal by Passing Through a Private Parking Lot
    By meensu in forum Moving Violations, Parking and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 02-06-2014, 07:18 AM
  4. Traffic Lane Violations: Ticketed for Failing to Signal, Not Insured
    By mikeb12 in forum Moving Violations, Parking and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 04-05-2013, 08:42 AM
  5. Defective Equipment: Ticketed for No Turn Signal
    By 10andersona in forum Moving Violations, Parking and Traffic Tickets
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 12-07-2011, 01:54 PM
 
 
Sponsored Links

Legal Help, Information and Resources