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  1. #1
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    Nov 2018
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    Default Speeding Ticket with Visual Estimate and Pacing

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

    The PO states that he checked his speedometer for accuracy using RADAR within 6 months and it appeared to be working properly. He identifies the RADAR unit but he doesn't identify his patrol car so there is no way I can verify his speedometer.

    He also says he "visually noticed my vehicle appeared to be traveling faster than the posted speed limit of 35 mph" and after pacing me at 52 mph says "this speed was consistent with his visual estimate of the vehicles speed." Well his visual estimate could be anywhere from 36mph to 70+ mph..

    The only reason I was speeding was because he was tailgating me. He made me nervous which "pushed" me into speeding up.

    The road was very dark with no street lights, and raining heavily. He was directly behind me the entire time. I find it highly doubtful he could visually estimate my speed at all under those conditions.

    Do you think any of these arguments would hold up in court?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Visual Estimate and Pacing

    First things first, the proper response to a tailgater is to slow down.

    Next, the lack of identification of the patrol car is usually a good argument in WA. It may depend on what court though. Do you know which one you were summonsed to?

    The estimate argument probably won't work but they don't normally specify what speed they visually estimated, just that it was in excess of the speed limit.

    I would stick with the first argument. You may want to scan and post the officer's statement, redacting any identifying information, for the WA experts to take a look at.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Visual Estimate and Pacing

    Your image link refers to a file on your computer that we can't see. You need to put it on a public site and provide a link to it.
    The "within six months" sounds a bit nebulous to me anyhow. Anyhow, even if he had identified the police car, that doesn't likely prove calibration. Unlike the RADAR guns that have a state inventory of certificates, I don't think patrol cars do.

    Did the statement say he used the Radar?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Visual Estimate and Pacing

    Sorry, new to this. Let me try again.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/nsdtstieZ1J6U59eA

    He used RADAR to calibrate his speedometer in the past 6 months. He used pacing to justify his speeding ticket.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Visual Estimate and Pacing

    I think the lack of identification of the patrol car is about all there is to work with in that statement, unless you check the certification for the radar and there are issues.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Visual Estimate and Pacing

    That and just saying "six months" is kind of nebulous as to when it happened. It's one thing to say I checked the Radar at the beginning of my shift and to check the radar calibration records, but there's no way to correllate his alleged verification of the speedometer vs. the radar calibration not having actual dates.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Default Re: Visual Estimate and Pacing

    You can't say both "his speed measurement was wrong" and "I was only speeding because he was tailgating me", so I'd forget about the latter argument. I think you have a good chance with the first one though. As people have already mentioned, the speedometer may have been checked as much as 6 months prior... that does not assure it is accurate now. And, secondly, the officer says "RADAR was checked", but does not say HE checked it. You should object to that as hearsay and thus inadmissible.

    As for the visual estimate, the officer said you "APPEARED" to be speeding. That is fine as a reason to pace you, but is not proof on its own, especially given the visibility was poor due to the dark and rain.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2018
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    Default Re: Visual Estimate and Pacing

    OK, those were helpful comments. Thanks.

    On the actual ticket, there are 3 boxes (SMD, PACE, and AIRCRAFT). The PO checked the box for SMD, which I assume stands for speed measuring device. Since his statement clearly says he paced me, that means he checked the incorrect box on the ticket. Could that get the ticket dismissed? Or will they just amend the ticket?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    181

    Default Re: Visual Estimate and Pacing

    Actually you have a good way out on this one. He states that the radar was checked with tuning forks but not that HE checked it or has other personal knowledge of the test. Therefore the testing of the RADAR is hearsay and anything to do with RADAR is suppressed, including verifying the speedometer. So at the start of the hearing, move to suppress the use of RADAR to verify the speedometer because the required tuning fork tests are hearsay since the statement demonstrates no personal knowledge of the that test and then move to suppress the speedometer reading due to no accepted testing on it's accuracy. That leaves the state with no technological evidence of your speeding.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    778

    Default Re: Visual Estimate and Pacing

    Quote Quoting FishEKat
    View Post
    On the actual ticket, there are 3 boxes (SMD, PACE, and AIRCRAFT). The PO checked the box for SMD, which I assume stands for speed measuring device. Since his statement clearly says he paced me, that means he checked the incorrect box on the ticket. Could that get the ticket dismissed? Or will they just amend the ticket?
    I think itís quite possible you could get a dismissal based on that since thereís no evidence he measured your speed with a radar or laser device. His written statement contains ďPace Speed AffidavitĒ in the title and only discusses the pacing. You could try moving for dismissal due to lack of evidence since the officerís statement has no evidence that your speed was measured with a radar or laser speed measuring device as indicated on the ticket.

    Regarding the pacing, it must be done with a certified speedometer according to the standard set by Spokane v. Knight. If the officer was the certification expert, he would need to attest to personal knowledge of testing per ER 602, or if someone else certified the speedometer away from his presence he would need to identify the patrol car/speedometer per ER 901(a) so the certification document can be looked up at the court. If there is no evidence of certification by an expert, then speed evidence should be suppressed for lack of foundation pursuant to IRLJ 6.6 and ER 901(b)(9).

    Itís also important at the court to find the calibration certificate for the radar used to check the speedometer since this is a municipal ticket. Unlike the state patrol, cities sometimes have a 1 year calibration standard and sometimes donít recalibrate on time. The calibration interval should be specified in the document. If the cert expired during the last 6 months you could also move for suppression of the pacing statement as joef pointed out above. Additionally the tuning forks on the ticket should match the calibration document for that radar.

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