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  1. #1
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    Default Ticketed for Driving Through a Steady Circular Red Signal

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

    I'm sorry I'm reposting this. The prior thread got way off topic and turned into an argument between other members. I'd like to get back to my original question.

    I was ticketed for violation of SMC 11.50.140 at the intersection of Lake City Way and NE 75th Ave. I have recently finally received the police report, and it wasn't until I got that that I noticed that the date given of the infraction was wrong on the original notice that I received in the mail. The original notice listed the incident as being "on or about" 1/24/2013, though it actually occurred on 1/23/16. However, the police report has the correct date of 1/23/16. Is there any legal rule or code that references inaccuracy of the details as grounds for dismissal? Also, the original infraction notice did not indicate there was an accident, but there was an accident. The police report does describe the accident, but I am not being cited for the accident.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do not believe my point in contesting this ticket will be to establish cause for the accident. I was not cited for that, so from my point of view, I am only contesting whether or not I failed to stop for the red light, which the officer did not witness, and I personally have doubts actually occurred. More to the point, I believe the signal was not visible to a "normally observant driver" at that place and time and condition. Without going into detail about that, however, I'm hoping someone might have a reference for the above question regarding the mistakes on the infraction notice. If I can have the ticket thrown out instead of dealing with RCW 46.61.050, that would be ideal.

    Thank you for any help you can provide. I truly appreciate any answers that can stay on point.

    Cheers!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ticketed for Driving Through a Steady Circular Red Signal

    By police report do you mean the officer's sworn statement or the accident report. If not the former, you should apply for discovery (information is in the "procedural guide" thread stuck to the top of the forum). Post the full officer's sworn statement and ticket (with your personal info blotted out). It's impossible to determine things based on fragments.

    Not mentioning an accident occured is immaterial. The "on or about" thing isn't going anywhere either. You'll have to explain the visibility issue. Looking at Google, the traffic signals appear to be hanging over the middle of the road.

    Since the officers don't typically appear at the contested hearing, your case will usually be heard based solely on the officer's statement. If what you said was true that the officer didn't witness you running the light (and you didn't incriminate your self on the scene and make a statement to that fact which he repeated in his statement), then there likely isn't any indication that you ran the light. Again, the devil is in the details and you HAVE the details in your hand if you have the sworn statement.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ticketed for Driving Through a Steady Circular Red Signal

    "On or about" covers a range of days, not just a single day, so that one gets you nowhere. That's not a mistake. Further, you indicate that the charge has been amended to the correct, specific date.

    If you are not being cited for an accident, only for driving through a red light, there is no reason for the citation to describe an accident.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ticketed for Driving Through a Steady Circular Red Signal

    Quote Quoting pphilip
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    The original notice listed the incident as being "on or about" 1/24/2013, though it actually occurred on 1/23/16. However, the police report has the correct date of 1/23/16. Is there any legal rule or code that references inaccuracy of the details as grounds for dismissal?
    Quote Quoting IRLJ 2.1(b) (in relevant part)
    Contents. Subject to IRLJ 3.1(d), the notice of infraction shall contain the following information on the copy given to the defendant…
    (4) The infraction which the defendant is alleged to have committed and the accompanying statutory citation or ordinance number, the date, time, and place the infraction occurred, the date the notice of infraction was issued…
    So if what you just stated is true that the officer put 2013, you could attempt a preliminary motion that the notice is not sufficient per IRLJ 3.1(d) and IRLJ 2.1(b)(4). For a sufficiency motion, the judge will only consider the notice as prima facie evidence—not the officer’s sworn statement. If that motion is denied, then the hearing will continue based on the officer’s sworn statement and other testimony.

    Perhaps the prosecution will need to produce a witness to prove the infraction. As flyingron mentioned, did you make a discovery request, and if so are there witnesses identified, and what if anything did the officer say you confessed to? Also discovery must include witnesses not identified in the citing officer's sworn statement per IRLJ 3.1 linked above.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ticketed for Driving Through a Steady Circular Red Signal

    Request discovery and post the results in full after you redact your personally identifying information, case numbers, etc.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ticketed for Driving Through a Steady Circular Red Signal

    Quote Quoting searcher99
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    So if what you just stated is true that the officer put 2013, you could attempt a preliminary motion that the notice is not sufficient per ....
    The 2013 was a typo on my part. I apologize. It was only the day that was incorrectly entered in the original notice, but it sounds like either way, I don't have an argument there. Thank you for the idea though!

    Thank you one and all!

    I did not realize there would be a distinction between the collision report and the officer's sworn statement. I have A and not B. I have not requested discovery yet (life got away from me). I will go to the pre-hearing conference and ask to waive it and move to trial. I am overwhelmed with this so considering getting legal counsel instead of handling myself.

    Flyingron, you mentioned incriminating myself; I don't think I did, but the collision report states the following, "She stated that she didn't see the signal until it was too late to stop." That is basically a paraphrase of what I said, but none of the context. How incriminating is this?

    There is a witness recorded in the collision report, but no statement from her. I don't think she stuck around long enough to talk to the police. She gave her information to the other driver (which I got from him myself); but I don't think the officer ever talked to her, but I don't know. The witness is not mentioned in the "narrative" of the police report to indicate that he did. Sounds like the officer's sworn statement is more important than this collision report though.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ticketed for Driving Through a Steady Circular Red Signal

    Quote Quoting pphilip
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    Flyingron, you mentioned incriminating myself; I don't think I did, but the collision report states the following, "She stated that she didn't see the signal until it was too late to stop." That is basically a paraphrase of what I said, but none of the context. How incriminating is this?
    Extremely. You essentially confessed to running the red as well as probably driving too safe for conditions.
    Sounds like the officer's sworn statement is more important than this collision report though.
    This is what I've been telling you. The ticket itself and the sworn statement is what you will be convicted on. The accident report isn't even admissible.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ticketed for Driving Through a Steady Circular Red Signal

    Quote Quoting pphilip
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    There is a witness recorded in the collision report, but no statement from her. I don't think she stuck around long enough to talk to the police. She gave her information to the other driver (which I got from him myself); but I don't think the officer ever talked to her, but I don't know. The witness is not mentioned in the "narrative" of the police report to indicate that he did. Sounds like the officer's sworn statement is more important than this collision report though.
    If you request discovery, a list of witnesses scheduled to appear will be provided to you by the prosecution. The primary witness will be the other driver, and they will quite possibly subpoena that person for your hearing. If the other driver doesn’t show, and if the officer’s sworn statement (also part of discovery and incorporated with the ticket) does not include incriminating statements made by you to the officer that can’t be rebutted, then you might have a shot.

    Also there could be other flaws in the statement that might be useful to you. We really need to see the discovery.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ticketed for Driving Through a Steady Circular Red Signal

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    Extremely. You essentially confessed to running the red as well as probably driving too safe for conditions.
    That seems so unfair that he can take my words out of context and make it sound like I confessed, and that that's legal. I know. No one said life was fair.

    Thank you still for the clarification about sworn statement. I do not have that yet, so that will be the next step. It seems unlikely that it will say anything different though.

    On another note, I know this is a legal forum, but do any of you have experience with weighing the financial pros and cons of contesting a ticket with legal counsel? I tried to get an estimate on what my insurance rates would be if founded at fault for both the collision and for the traffic infraction, but they were zip lipped (made me super angry!), but they indicated it probably would go up and they don't have accident forgiveness. Anyway, not knowing what that would cost me per month for the requisite three years, I have no idea if the cost of paying a lawyer, which is more than the cost of this ticket, would be worthwhile, considering that the result may be a deferral, which I understand often comes with a not so small administrative fee, which would be on top of the legal fee. If this is outside anyone's area of expertise, that's cool. I just wondered if anyone here had experience with this.

    Thanks again for even being here! I'm so grateful this forum exists!


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Ticketed for Driving Through a Steady Circular Red Signal

    Quote Quoting pphilip
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    That seems so unfair that he can take my words out of context and make it sound like I confessed, and that that's legal. I know. No one said life was fair.
    Itís also legal for you to offer rebuttal testimony at your hearing and cross examine any witnesses.

    Quote Quoting pphilip
    View Post
    On another note, I know this is a legal forum, but do any of you have experience with weighing the financial pros and cons of contesting a ticket with legal counsel? I tried to get an estimate on what my insurance rates would be if founded at fault for both the collision and for the traffic infraction, but they were zip lipped (made me super angry!), but they indicated it probably would go up and they don't have accident forgiveness. Anyway, not knowing what that would cost me per month for the requisite three years, I have no idea if the cost of paying a lawyer, which is more than the cost of this ticket, would be worthwhile, considering that the result may be a deferral, which I understand often comes with a not so small administrative fee, which would be on top of the legal fee. If this is outside anyone's area of expertise, that's cool. I just wondered if anyone here had experience with this.
    You donít need a lawyer to get a deferral if eligible. You can do that yourself. Insurance is complicated because if a ticket goes on your record, it might be possible to switch to another company that is more lenient and cheaper when you have one ticket.

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