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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    813

    Default Re: Shoreline Contested Hearing

    Quote Quoting justiceforus
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    Regarding contacting the prosecutor's office - do you mean calling them before the meeting and asking who will be the prosecutor for the traffic tickets that day? Or actually discussing it by phone ahead of the hearing (I didn't try that because didn't think they'd be interested in spending time discussing it)?

    The ticket isn't for speeding - it's for another infraction in which the law leaves it open to interpretation whether the action was preventable. So I didn't upload the ticket because I figured that'd just be a waste of your time.
    There is no harm in trying to call the prosecutorís office. One thing you can do is ask either a clerk for the prosecutor or court whether someone will represent the prosecution at the hearing, or if you will only be dealing with a judge.

    If you donít mind uploading the officerís statement (redacted of course) Iím always interested and you would not be wasting anyoneís time. Probably you will do best to seek a non-moving amended charge or deferred finding, but thereís a small chance that someone can make useful suggestions or even spot a possible defense.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Shoreline Contested Hearing

    Wasn't able to get on again until today. Here's the link to the officer's statement: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1kk9...ew?usp=sharing

    My hearing's coming up so any input is appreciated.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    813

    Default Re: Shoreline Contested Hearing

    What code section were you charged with? You’ve consistently avoided mentioning that. Also you have redacted the location, which might be helpful and does not identify you. What elements in the officer’s statement do you disagree with?

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Shoreline Contested Hearing

    Fair point, I thought I'd noted it earlier. It's for RCW 46.61.212 (failing to yield to emergency vehicles). The location was Eastbound I-90. The reason for the lane change was to avoid a collision as the truck ahead of me was braking quickly (and lane 3 was occupied). I didn't see the officer until after the lane change (more large trucks ahead of me blocked my view).

    I disagree with the statement that I could've moved back to Lane 2. As I neared the officer, that lane was then obstructed by the slowing trucks. As written, the officer mentioned no vehicles behind me, but didn't mention the other vehicles near near me. So it sounds like I was free to move about as I pleased, but I was blocked. He does note that I stated I was passing the car vs. a car, which perhaps implies he saw it but I don't know if that's enough to argue that he agreed I was actually avoiding another vehicle (or if it makes a difference).

    The second point of disagreement is about slowing down. I did. However, that doesn't seem material to this. The law notes reducing speed on a highway with less than 4 lanes, but it doesn't state that for a highway with 4 or more lanes (as was the case here). As I think this through, I wonder how relevant that is.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    186

    Default Re: Shoreline Contested Hearing

    Quote Quoting justiceforus
    View Post
    The second point of disagreement is about slowing down. I did. However, that doesn't seem material to this. The law notes reducing speed on a highway with less than 4 lanes, but it doesn't state that for a highway with 4 or more lanes (as was the case here). As I think this through, I wonder how relevant that is.
    Section 1. i references 4 or more lanes and you need to move over. Section 1. iii says if you canít move over, yield and slow down. How much to slow down is not defined and usually drivers and officers who are at risk have different opinions. Obviously 65 to 60 is not enough, but is 50 enough, 40?
    Since the standard for conviction is not reasonable doubt but preponerance of the evidence I expect you to have trouble prevailing since the officer felt you did not do enough to keep him safe to pursue and ticket you.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Shoreline Contested Hearing

    Thanks joef. I early on expected this would be based on preponderance of evidence. For all the years I've been driving I've stayed clear of any vehicle pulled to the side of the ride (whether emergency or not). I never had any infractions. Sometimes there is no best option - cause an accident or stay in the lane and slow down. That's why I think the law is written the way it is (to balance safety of the people on the side of the road with others that may be endangered by someone taking an action to avoid a ticket at all costs). I did what I thought was the safest for me and all those around me. I hope that I'm able to resolve it with the courts with that in mind, and if not, then I feel ok that nobody was hurt.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    813

    Default Re: Shoreline Contested Hearing

    Thanks for posting the officer’s statement. This information, plus any follow-up you can provide helps to improve this forum over time. I don’t know very much about this kind of ticket, but it looks to me like you might have a shot with some judges after offering your version of the facts. Here are a few of my observations:

    1. The officer stated that you passed him without slowing down. This requires a visual estimate of your speed, but he does not attest to being trained in visual speed estimation.
    2. The officer stated that his location was on a hill. This corroborates your description about the slowing trucks preventing you from moving over as you approached his location.
    3. The officer stated that you took the exit before he pulled you over, meaning that it was prudent for you to stay in the right lane.
    4. The officer makes no statement as to how close you passed the shoulder, so perhaps there was some margin of safety.

    Regarding point #1, you can also try a preliminary motion to suppress or exclude the officer’s statement about your speed due to lack of foundation, because he does not attest to any training in visual speed estimation. If your want to do that, announce that you have motions 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 your motion is granted, you can argue that RCW 46.61.212 section (iii) applies to the situation due to the officer’s statement about the long grade and your testimony about slow moving trucks. Then you can argue insufficient evidence about your speed, and that the officer’s statement lacks necessary elements to prove the charge.

    If a prosecutor is present just before the hearing, you can try presenting the above since there is a small chance he/she might agree and ask the judge to dismiss, or offer to amend to a non-moving violation. If an amended charge is offered, your decision should be based on whether you want to risk a possible finding of “committed” or pay some money to keep it from affecting your insurance. If nothing is offered, or no prosecutor is in attendance, and if you don’t want to risk losing then the safe option is to immediately ask for a deferred finding.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Shoreline Contested Hearing

    Big thanks to Barry and to searcher99 - the overall doc and your replies really help me be prepared. I was able to use this information to explain my position with the prosecutor who agreed to amend to non-moving violation (that seemed to be the standard for amendments for me and others - so this ended up being a seat belt infraction; the judge explained earlier that was a nmv that was not reported by the court). The fine was reduced (to what I assume is an amount for the seat belt infraction). I didn't get a confirmation on my receipt that I paid for that infraction so hopefully the system works and is updated accordingly (and I expected that the lower fee is also proof that it matches the nmv).

    Shoreline court was run very well. The prosecutor was very attentive ensuring that those coming into the court had a chance to speak with him. The judge provided a clear overview of the process and what to expect. There were a lot of attorneys representing clients and I can see where that would be a good alternative for someone that didn't have the time for research and going to court. Personally, I enjoyed learning more about the law and also observing our courts in action operating as I would hope them to operate.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    813

    Default Re: Shoreline Contested Hearing

    Thanks for the update and court information. Iím glad you were able to come up with an acceptable resolution. You can look up fines for all types of infractions on the Bail Schedule for Washington State courts. That way you can confirm that the fine you paid was for seat belts, which is on page 43.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    7,409

    Default Re: Shoreline Contested Hearing

    Quote Quoting searcher99
    View Post

    The officer stated that you passed him without slowing down. This requires a visual estimate of your speed, but he does not attest to being trained in visual speed estimation.
    Nor would that attestation be needed, in my view. That statement is not one regarding the speed the OP was traveling. It is statement regarding a change in speed. And one need not be trained in estimation of speed to see if a vehicle is slowing or gaining speed relative to your own vehicle.

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