My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Washington, Whitman County District Court in Pullman, WA. Presiding Judge would be John Hart.
I read Barry's sticky thread on this topic, but WA state prosecution has updated their boilerplate forms (both infraction and officer's SMD affidavit) to fix many, if not all of the loopholes mentioned in the sticky. Out of naivety and taking friends' advise, I subpoenaed the ticketing officer. After researching online, I found out that it's a bad idea. Too late, the subpoena has already taken flight from the court clerk's office. I'm now lost on how to defend my case during the contested hearing. Please help.
My story goes like this:
Had a car problem with transmission mount and serpentine belt tensioner. Makes a high-pitched screeching noise when driving between speeds 20-70. To avoid producing much noise, I instinctively started driving lower than 20 in cities and higher than 70 on highways. Until one day, WA state trooper tickets me for going 71 on a 55 highway (SR 270). I've been driving for 3+ years and this is my first ticket and I want to get rid of it. Contesting the hearing to keep the ticket off my driving record. However, can't find any major loopholes. Some minor ones: a) officer's SMD affidavit states weather was clear but in fact it was overcast (can show proof from weather websites), b) officer noted my car is red color but in fact it is maroon; and c) the officer ticketed me for 190$ whereas IRLJ 6.2 clearly states that the max charge for 16 above limit (in 40+ category) is 78$. Served/filed for discovery. Also, going to observe the court and the judge on Oct 15th to get to know the environment.
At this point, if discovery is delivered in time and if the officer shows up, I'm thinking of going for a 'necessity defense'. That is, try to argue that I sped to avoid harm to myself and others. Another nooby mistake I committed was telling the officer at the time of citing that I was sorry for speeding and it was because I had car problems. I offered to show the noise problem to the officer but he didn't care. However, he didn't record the convo on the SMD affidavit either. So if the officer does show up, I gonna cross exam him and try to get him to recall the convo, which I could use a witness for my necessity due to car problems defense. I have receipts for transmission mount repair and serpentine belt repair which could also be evidence of my defense.
Idea #1 - I asked the Court Clerk for SMD certification and they said it's online. I did find it online and everything's up to date regarding certification. However, if discovery doesn't provide me with the SMD certification (I did not ask for it), can I informally ask the prosecution to show SMD certification proof during my trial? If they fail to show or ask for a continuance, can I move to dismiss? What if they ask for continuance and the judge grants it?
Idea #2 (very bad idea) - Attack officer's ability to discern and record info due to the minor mistakes he committed with filing the infraction, as given above. Attack him further by asking him to repeat the RADAR calibration process and if he fails to or makes mistake in repeating, argue that the officer lied on a sworn statement and move to disregard the affidavit as inaccurate. I don't want to do this, but if this has a good chance of getting me out clean...maybe?
Any other ideas or suggestions? Maybe tips on how I could prove prejudice? Am I not seeing something? I have a feeling that I'll lose my case, best might be reduced ticket fees. The hearing is in 3 weeks.