My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: CALIFORNIA
Hello experts, I received a 22350 (Unsafe Speed) ticket last night in a city within Los Angeles County and I am planning to contest this and plead not guilty through a trial by written declaration. I will not be getting a lawyer (a friend suggested I use TicketClinic but I don't want to pay them $200 if I can help it.) Could you please have a look at my incident overview, my evidence so far, and my plan for contesting via a trial by written declaration and let me know your thoughts and recommendations? Much appreciated!
Overview of citation incident:
- At a little past 11:00pm on 25 February 2019, I was pulled over by a police officer for 22350 V.C. Unsafe Speed. Officer’s verbal statements and the citation stated I was going approx. 47 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. ‘Laser’ checkbox was ticked, suggesting the Officer used a laser to measure my speed. Citation also shows LT (light) traffic, CLR (clear) weather, DRY street, DARK light, and BUS zone.
- The officer did not show me his laser/radar gun with the alleged 47 MPH reading.
- In my dash cam (I have front and rear footage captured), audio can be heard in which the Officer specifically identifies the stretch of road between the  freeway and Huntington Drive (see map below).
- This is my first speeding ticket and I am planning to contest this ticket and plead not guilty through a written trial by declaration.
My plan to contest this citation and my request for your advice:
- I am planning to contest this ticket with an aim to prove I was not driving at an “Unsafe Speed under the prevailing conditions”. I am also considering whether I should use a “Speed Trap” defense.
- My current evidence (whether it will help or hurt my case, I defer to your expertise) includes my dash cam footage. This footage and the timestamp shows that my average speed on the stretch of road identified by the officer (which is 0.31 miles) was 39.8 MPH. (Note, the footage shows a Speed Limit sign of 35 MPH, but I am not sure if this will affect my defense at all).
- Additionally, the video footage from my dash cam shows that the road was nearly empty with VERY light traffic, no pedestrians or buses, no obstructions and I always kept a safe distance between the car in front of me (which were very far away anyways). I traveled in a straight line on the same lane throughout the entire time and it was green light for me all the way. Please see a summary map/timeline I have provided at the end of this post.
- I am planning to request an Engineering and Traffic Survey from the city to determine whether I have a case for a “Speed Trap” defense.
- I am also planning to use the video and audio evidence (perhaps image screenshots in my written trial by declaration) to show that I was not in violation of 22350 which cites me for “Unsafe Speed” rather than specifically citing me for going over the speed limit.
- I am also planning to submit an Informal Discovery Request to the Police Department to obtain the Officer’s copy of the citation and his notes on the backside, as well as any witnesses, dash cam footage from his vehicle, etc.
- Question: Do you think I have a solid case for a defense? Are there any weaknesses in my case? Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for me to strengthen my case?
- Question: Should I use the evidence from my dash cam including pasting a few images into my written trial by declaration (see images below)?
- Question: Do you have any doubts about the Officer’s claim that he used laser to clock in my speed at 47 MPH on the specific stretch of road, and since his police lights did not turn on until 35 seconds after I passed the stretch of road? My rear dash cam also shows that the Officer’s vehicle was far behind me from the beginning – does this suggest he might have not used a laser and/or he drove at an even more unsafe speed to catch up to me?
- Question: Should I still pursue an Engineering and Traffic Survey for a “Speed Trap” defense?
Timeline of incident as supported by my dash cam footage
- 23:04:00 – I turned right from Central Avenue (after exiting the 210 W freeway) onto Myrtle Avenue traveling northbound (captured from front dash cam)
- 23:04:28 –I reached the intersection of Huntington Drive and Myrtle Avenue (captured from front dash cam). Note: Distance between the 210 freeway and Huntington Drive: 0.31 miles. Time traveled: 28 seconds. Average MPH on the stretch of the road: 39.8.
- 23:05:03 – Officer’s police lights turns on (captured by rear dash cam). Note: 35 seconds elapsed between me passing the stretch of road between the stretch of the road specifically identified by the Officer and the officer’s vehicle police lights turning on. My rear dash cam also shows that the Officer was initially very far behind me and had to catch up.
- 23:06:28 – After we were pulled over on the side of a street, Officer’s voice was captured on dash cam specifically referencing the stretch of road between the freeway (210) and Huntington Drive.
Road conditions as shown in dashcam (my video/image evidence)
The conditions on Myrtle Ave between the 210 freeway and Huntington Drive was dry, clear, dark with VERY light traffic and the footage from my front dash cam supports this.
- Immediately after entering Myrtle Avenue from freeway exit (Note: the 35 speed limit sight can clearly be seen on the right hand side of image: not sure if this will affect my defense argument?)
- 14 seconds after I began traveling on Myrtle Avenue towards Huntington Drive (halfway into the stretch of road specifically mentioned by the Officer)
- 28 seconds after I traveled on Myrtle Avenue and reached the intersection with Huntington Drive
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR ADVICE AND RECOMMENDATIONS.