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  1. #1

    Default Disputing SMD Calibration After Getting a Speeding Ticket

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

    I was cited for going 83 in a 70 in Kittitas County by WSP via RADAR. Here is my discovery: https://imgur.com/a/EsU91r2

    My court date is April 1st. I'm going to argue (in order):

    Pretrial motions:
    1)
    "Your honor, the officer's sworn statement does not testify to personal knowledge of the SMD's calibration. It uses the language: "The calibration of the R-2577 BEE III was checked internally...", thus showing the the officer only testifies to his knowledge of the device being calibrated, not to him personally calibrating the device. Present to Rule ER 602, I move to suppress evidence referring to or relying upon the SMD on the basis that the officer's personal testimony to its calibration is hearsay."

    If this works then:

    "Your honor, on the basis that no evidence to my speed is present, I would like to file a motion to dismiss on the basis of lack of evidence".

    If that doesn't work,

    2)
    "Your honor, the officer does not state that the SMD has been certified to be operational and in good working order by an expert in SMD's. Furthermore, the officer does not state that he has been trained or provided instructions on the use of the BEE III SMD, or the calibration thereof. I move to suppress evidence referring to or relying upon the SMD on the basis that the officer's foundation."

    I will check the court's SMD certifications and see where they get their WSP certifications. If they don't have up to date certifications I will move to suppress the statement on IRLJ 6.6 they move to dismiss for lack of evidence instead.

    What do you think? Does anyone else have any ideas? Also my judge is Paul R Sanders.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Speeding Ticket Court Gameplan

    I'm not sure what your motion #1 is trying to say. The officer doesn't need "knowledge" of the calibration. He's only performing a operation test of the unit NOT a calibration. The calibration on WSP radars is provided elsewhere (yours was done in November of 2017, which is within the two year standard).

    Again, he needs not make that statement, the calibration evidence exists outside of his testimony. In fact, it's about the only admissible evidence on the states part other than his statement.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Default Re: Speeding Ticket Court Gameplan

    The officer does not explicitly say that he did the internal and external checks of radar accuracy, but he does come very close to it. It will be the judge's call. If you have other options, such as deferral or downgrade to a non-moving violation, you should consider them. Also, I'd wait for searcher99's opinion.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2009
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    Default Re: Speeding Ticket Court Gameplan

    I’m pretty much in agreement with zeljo’s comments above. The officer’s initial description of the checks is more general, but later he did attest to personal knowledge by stating: “I checked the radar at the beginning and end of my shift. Both the internal and external checks of this unit confirmed it was functioning properly and in good working condition at the time that the speed was obtained.”

    If you are feeling adventurous, or you are not eligible for a deferred finding and no prosecutor is available to speak to before the hearing, there are a few weaker defenses you could try. Each of the following would be preliminary motions to exclude or suppress the evidence of speed:

    1. The device calibration certificate could not be found online. The exact device identification provided in the officer’s statement contains 6 characters and the state patrol website for certifications will only accept 5 characters. (As I see it, adding extra characters fails identification as required in ER 901 because the extra characters will always return an error when typed into the WSP online database for certifications.)
    2. The device calibration certificate is not filed at the court as required. (This assumes that you arrived early, checked the certificates on file and could not locate that device. If the certificate is not filed at the court, there are a few judges who will not recognize online certificates and grant an objection based on the last sentence of IRLJ 6.6(d), such as in this previous post.)
    3. It could be argued that the State Patrol certificates are not substantially compliant with the form spelled out in IRLJ 6.6(b). They cannot state beforehand that “The units were evaluated and certified” when the actual certification gets done later. If themadnorwegian is correct in this previous post, then it can be argued that the Washington Supreme Court requires an objection be granted when it relates to a defective certificate.
    4. It could maybe be argued that the electronic signature on the date of actual calibration is not sufficient. Perhaps a physical signature is required, but really I don’t know about that—just wondering. In any case, the 2 different dates/signatures would seem not to comply with the form spelled out in the rule, which looks to require a single signature after completion of specific device calibration.
    5. There is also a possibility of one other defense. I find it interesting that the officer actually stated when he did the end of shift testing (1:03 am). For electronically filed SECTOR tickets, tech support might be able to give you the “last modified” time for the ticket which would indicate when it was filed (click the link for their email). If that time was earlier in his shift substantially before 1:03 am, his statement of testing at end of shift could be called into question as he cannot attest to something in the future.

    Again I want to stress that these are iffy motions and if you want the safest outcome you might be better off not to contest at all, but if you do contest then 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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Default Re: Speeding Ticket Court Gameplan

    Quote Quoting searcher99
    View Post
    [LIST=1][*]The device calibration certificate could not be found online. The exact device identification provided in the officer’s statement contains 6 characters and the state patrol website for certifications will only accept 5 characters. (As I see it, adding extra characters fails identification as required in ER 901 because the extra characters will always return an error when typed into the WSP online database for certifications.)
    Do you really know of a single case where the addtion of a "-" in the device look up got a ticket dismissed?

  6. #6
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    Nov 2009
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    Default Re: Speeding Ticket Court Gameplan

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
    View Post
    Do you really know of a single case where the addtion of a "-" in the device look up got a ticket dismissed?
    No I don’t, but there was a thread on this forum in Spokane County where the “R” for “radar” was omitted and the prosecutor recommended dismissal after the defendant informed her that she could not find the device online. In that case the 4 digit id was still unique to the device as long as the user knew to put the “R” in front. It just makes sense to me that when dealing with a database no one should have to add or omit characters in order to get a result.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Speeding Ticket Court Gameplan

    The WSP database look-up page says,

    "Enter the identification number (tag number, for examples: A001, L1001, R2000, S001) of the speed measuring device below to view its testing and certification history."

    I could understand someone not being able to find a device because the leading R was omitted because it could be an A, L, S or R, but a "-" is simply not following instructions on the website.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    788

    Default Re: Speeding Ticket Court Gameplan

    Good point and I saw that too. I guess my question would be why the officer can’t follow instructions on the site for listing a tag number that is lookup friendly.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    2,657

    Default Re: Speeding Ticket Court Gameplan

    The officer may well never see the site and that may be how he was instructed to list the device. We are talking about the government here. The left hand often has no clue as to what the right hand is doing.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Speeding Ticket Court Gameplan

    I asked the clerk for the SMD cert. book today and was told that they only get their certifications online. I think I'm going to try speedy's suggestions 1,3,4, and 5 in order. I'm waiting to hear back from SECTOR as to when the officer signed the report.

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