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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    6

    Exclamation Going to Trial for a Speeding Ticket Without a Lawyer

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

    I have a contested hearing in 2 days, and am representing myself.

    I received a speeding ticket 2 months ago from a state patrol officer. He said in the report that I was going 58 in a 40 mph zone, which was a highway.
    He listed it as S. SR 3 m.p. 34. H
    He didn't state where in m.p. 34 it was, and from looking at this map https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/mapsdata/to...03/003X034.pdf of the m.p. 34 on sr 3 it is unclear which speed point it is to me.
    SR 3 turns into highway 16, and one part of it is 40 mph, another is 50mph, and another is 60 mph.

    When he stopped me, I told him that I thought the speed limit was 60 (I did) and did not see any posted signs. He wrote this in the report. "The defendant advised that she did not see any speed limit signs. She also advised that she thought the speed limit was 60 mph."

    He wrote that he obtained the radar reading using the front antenna, that the defendant's vehicle was the only moving vehicle on the radar's beam (which I also find debatable, since there was other traffic at the time near me), and the defendant's vehicle passed my patrol car.

    He used the radar in the moving mode, and my vehicle was receding his location.

    He signed and dated it. I checked the radar certificates and they look current, th radar listed was BEE III radar #R2217

    Although, on the next page it says he used assigned tuning forks #856712 -20 mp and #856753 -50 mp to check his smd devices at the beginning and end of his shift.
    There was also a paragraph with the Pro Laser III SMD #L1544 but I am not sure if he used it since none of he boxes in that paragraph were checked and nothing was listed for the mph, so I think it waas just the bee radar.

    ****SO, the only things I think I could argue is that I saw the 60 mph sign (maybe), either that or didn't see any posted signs (which probably won't work). And that there were other cars at the time and a lot of traffic with my car, so it would have been hard to have my car be the only moving vehicle in the radar's beam.

    I don't think or don't know how to prove anything about the radar, since the certificates were current.

    I'm not subpoenaing the officer, and the prosecuting attorney will be present since this is in Kitsap County at the Kitsap Court.

    Are any of these arguments good?

    I have not had any tickets on my record. I have been advised that I can try to get this down to a non-moving violation, and the clerk at the prosecutor's office said I would probably get inattention to driving, which she said doesn't go on your record ( but she could be wrong).

    I would prefer to get it either dismissed, if anyone can see any arguments for that, or get it reduced to a non-moving violation like a parking violation that won't go on my record.

    I also can't afford to pay the ticket since I'm a student at the moment, but the court clerk said that they do sometimes offer community service options which I would request for whatever fine I end up getting.

    I don't think I want to do a deferral, since it costs $210, which is a few dollars more than my ticket, and I want to try to avoid paying anything at all. A deferall also means you have to be really careful for an entire year not to get another ticket, and it goes on your driving record.

    I'm also thinking maybe I should write a letter to the judge and to the prosecutor in advance, so I have what I want to say written out in case I get nervous.

    ***Does anyone have any suggestions for me for what to say in court, or if there is anything that can help get my ticket dismissed? Or if anything I said above is valid, or is wrong?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    862

    Default Re: Trial in 2 Days, What Should I Do

    It’s much better if we can see the exact wording and checkboxes on the officer’s sworn statement plus the ticket, and the way you do that is to upload digital photos or scans (with your personal id and citation number redacted) to any free image hosting site and link them here in your thread.

    Based on information you have provided so far I’d be inclined to suggest that you arrive a little early and ask the prosecutor if he/she can amend to the Kitsap County ordinance 46.02.050 Inattentive driving, which is local and will not go on your state record (clerk is correct on that). It carries a fine of $138 which is less than a deferred finding.

    I would definitely NOT write a letter to the judge and prosecutor. As to your argument about speed points, perhaps others can comment but I sort of doubt that will work.

    You will get the most help if you can post your discovery materials. There might be a possibility for a preliminary motion to suppress the radar but we need to see the discovery firsthand.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Trial in 2 Days, What Should I Do

    If you drove through the section near the SR16 interchange, that is the 40mph stretch he clocked you in. That section is well marked in both direction on streetviewmap so if you did not know the speed limit that is your fault. He states your car was the only one in the beam. You would need compelling evidence, besides your testimony that this is untrue. Also, the standard for conviction is not reasonable doubt but preponerance of the evidence which makes it harder for the defendant to win. As Searcher said we would need to see the officer’s statement to see if other defenses are possible.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Trial in 2 Days, What Should I Do

    Thank you guys so much for your quick responses!

    Here is the discovery:

    Page 1: http://i64.tinypic.com/2lx74hc.jpg

    Page 2: http://i64.tinypic.com/3312lw8.jpg

    Page 3: http://i66.tinypic.com/rjf7yv.jpg

    Citation: http://i67.tinypic.com/vsjqzk.jpg

    Thank you searcher99 for your quick reply and good advice! How would I go about getting a motion? As far as the letter, I just meant a letter I bring with me to the hearing to give to the judge so they could read it first.

    Here is the discovery:

    Page 1: http://i64.tinypic.com/2lx74hc.jpg

    Page 2: http://i64.tinypic.com/3312lw8.jpg

    Page 3: http://i66.tinypic.com/rjf7yv.jpg

    Citation: http://i67.tinypic.com/vsjqzk.jpg

    searcher99, you said that the Kitsap County ordinance 46.02.050 Inattentive driving would not go on my state driving record, but would it go on my record at all? I don't know much about driving records, since I've never had to pull mine up and don't have anything on my record other than a good driving history. Does the driving record include counties or cities? Would it still be something an insurance company would see?

    I consulted with an attorney today and he said that the Inattentive Driving could now be reportable, since companies are mining court convictions, and an insurance company could ding me, and there may be a law that it will be reportable, so it might be best to get a nonmoving violation such as a mechanical failure.

    Does anyone know if this is correct?

    I found an error on my citation. Could this be grounds for dismissal?
    Where he put my address on the line under my driver's license, it had the wrong letters. I have a po box with a PMB and a number next to it, and it said PMD with no number next to it.
    Under the address setion where it said owner/company if other than driver, he did put the correct address, he put the po box with the pmb number and the number, as well as just the po box by itself listing it.

    However, since he got my address incorrect on one line, directly under the top line of my driver's license, would that be grounds for dismissal?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Trial in 2 Days, What Should I Do

    No, there's 0% chance the corrupt judge dismisses any ticket for errors on a ticket. They don't let you off that easy since you're revenue to them.

    I think this will be an uphill battle since there's a sign saying 40 and you admitting you thought it was 60. Next time take the 5th and don't answer any questions cause they will always use them against you.

    Good luck though!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    862

    Default Re: Trial in 2 Days, What Should I Do

    A motion is preliminary to the hearing, and is instigated when you “move” for the judge to decide about matters such as court rules or admissibility of evidence. In Washington State, successful defenses to traffic infractions often involve getting a dismissal before any evidence (such as the officer’s statement or your testimony) is presented. You should announce that you have a motion immediately when your case is called, before the officer’s statement is read into the record and before you are sworn in for testimony. If granted, you can move for dismissal due to lack of evidence.

    The problem with you presenting a letter is that it probably will be regarded as evidence by the judge. Your best chance is to win before the evidence phase even starts, or make a prior deal with the prosecutor to amend, in which case you will not need to say much of anything except agree to the lesser charge.

    The information given to you by the attorney regarding inattentive driving is new to me but could well be a recent trend with insurance companies. For whatever its worth, one of our long-time posters has a recent comment on that subject.

    The officer’s statement is boilerplate but otherwise looks to be fairly thorough. It’s probably a gamble but there is one thing I saw that might have a shot with a sympathetic judge:

    Preliminary motion to exclude or suppress the evidence of speed due to lack of foundation: The officer states: “The speed indicated by the radar was verified with my patrol vehicle’s certified speedometer and they corresponded.” Since this was part of a required test for moving radar, authentication of that evidence should include identification of the patrol vehicle pursuant to ER 901(b)(9) in order to check the validity of the speedometer certification similar to the identification of the radar and tuning forks.

    The error you pointed out regarding your address could also be possibly used as a long shot defense. IRLJ 2.1(b)(2) requires that a moving violation notice of infraction include “The name, address, date of birth, sex, physical characteristics, and, for a notice of traffic infraction, the operator's license number of the defendant…”

    The above is a sufficiency defense based on IRLJ 3.1(d) but the problem is that you must show that the error prejudices your substantial rights, which seems unlikely. Probably the judge will consider it to be inconsequential. A foundational defense such as the one I mentioned earlier is more likely to work.

    It’s your call whether to contest or make a deal with the prosecutor, but there is one more possibility. At the beginning you could ask the judge whether a deferred finding would still be available after preliminary motions are heard. If he/she agrees, then you can always fall back on the deferral.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,393

    Default Re: Trial in 2 Days, What Should I Do

    Quote Quoting acai
    View Post
    No, there's 0% chance the corrupt judge dismisses any ticket for errors on a ticket.
    So judges who do not cancel tickets are corrupt?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7,875

    Default Re: Trial in 2 Days, What Should I Do

    Quote Quoting acai
    View Post
    No, there's 0% chance the corrupt judge dismisses any ticket for errors on a ticket. They don't let you off that easy since you're revenue to them.
    Not familiar with WA traffic court are you? That happens all the time. Well, mostly on their statement but the citation itself as well.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Trial in 2 Days, What Should I Do

    Would speeding while passing also be a good defense? The officer's statement said I was passing his vehicle, and at the time I remember that I sped up to pass a slow moving vehicle. I don't have any video/photo evidence though. Under RCW 46.61.425

    So searcher99, you are saying that the officer should have put his patrol vehicle and did not, and this could be a preliminary motion to exclude or suppress the evidence of speed due to lack of foundation that I will say to the judge before the prosecutor examines me or the judge looks at the evidence?

    Also, when speaking to the prosecutor before court begins, I was thinking I was going to tell her that I am currently a student and cannot afford to pay any fines, and will be asking the judge for community service which the court clerk told me they grant. Therefor, I would like to negotiate and amend my charge to a nonmoving violation that will not appear on my record, such as a parking violation, which is in a reasonable fee range for me. Is that appropriate to say, or how should I word it?

    I was also told I can request a continuance if the prosecutor is unwilling to amend anything and seems unreasonable, but at what time and how would I request this? Like, would I request this near the end of the trial or in the middle if I'm in over my head? I'm assuming I would request this so I can have more time to build a better case or hire an attorney.

    Also, do you think I should request a continuance of my trial now, since it is tomorrow 12/12 in the afternoon, or go through with it based on the arguments I have?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Trial in 2 Days, What Should I Do

    Read all of RCW 46.61.425. It must be a road with one lane of traffic in each direction. That is not the case here, so it does not apply. You must also demonstrate that the officer's car was going less than the 40 mph speed limit. You have no evidence of that.

    I can't help you with your other questions and will let more knowledgeable folks answer them.

    And to Acai, a couple of year's ago my wife had a speeding ticket dismissed because of a mistake in the radar unit's serial number on the officer's report. So yes they do dismiss tickets when the mistake is significant.

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