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  1. #1

    Default Rcw 46.61.140 - Illegal Lane Changing

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

    I got a ticket for improperly changing lanes, and I want to present my own case, ideally. I was driving and a car hit me as they merged into my lane, although they contend that I was at fault.

    The officer did not witness the lane change and there is no video evidence. It is my word against the driver of the other vehicle, although the officer took their side.

    I know in WA state, it is preponderance of the evidence. What types of evidence are most persuasive for me to use at my case? What are my chances of successfully contesting this ticket? My plan was to show that they do not have any evidence besides the testimony of the other driver. It comes down to a credibility assessment, which I wonder if I can try to show that they can't issue a ticket for something they didn't see? Any advice, resources, or websites would be helpful.

    I know to request discovery from the prosecution, which I will do as close to court date as possible. Hearings are remote, but I plan on going in person to show the judge how seriously I am taking the case.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Rcw 46.61.140 - Illegal Lane Changing

    Unless there's video evidence, this will come down to your testimony versus the testimony of the other driver (assuming the other driver is subpoenaed to testify in your traffic ticket case, which may or may not actually happen).

  3. #3

    Default Re: Rcw 46.61.140 - Illegal Lane Changing

    Thank you, this is helpful. Unfortunately since the hearing is virtual, I am assuming the prosecution will subpoena the other vehicles. They also had two passengers, who naturally are not going to say they were at fault, so I am assuming that I may be outweighed.

    Am I correct to assume there is no need for me to subpoena the police officer? Would someone I spoke to right after the collision be a witness that could help my case?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Rcw 46.61.140 - Illegal Lane Changing

    Is there any physical evidence that might help your case -- for example, anything about the nature of the damage to your car (or the damage to the other guy's car) that tends to support your version of the events? If there is, you'll want to present that information at trial.

    Depending on exactly what happened, it may be helpful for you to have photographs or video of the location where the event occurred. I understand that there aren't photographs or video of the event itself, but giving the judge a visual as to where the event happened could be helpful to your defense -- it may help give some context to your story.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Rcw 46.61.140 - Illegal Lane Changing

    Quote Quoting MiddlePart
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    Is there any physical evidence that might help your case -- for example, anything about the nature of the damage to your car (or the damage to the other guy's car) that tends to support your version of the events? If there is, you'll want to present that information at trial.

    Depending on exactly what happened, it may be helpful for you to have photographs or video of the location where the event occurred. I understand that there aren't photographs or video of the event itself, but giving the judge a visual as to where the event happened could be helpful to your defense -- it may help give some context to your story.
    Wow, thank you! I did not think to take videos, but maybe I can take some of the area during the time of the crash to provide visuals in addition to photos.

    Is there any chance an insurance expert would say something? Have they ever testified for free?
    I am also going to be looking up case law to see if an officer can issue a ticket without seeing anything, but I am not sure how convincing that would be. I am assuming police can issue tickets regardless of what they saw, and they can make findings of fact based on whatever they believe/whoever they think is more credible.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Rcw 46.61.140 - Illegal Lane Changing

    Is there any chance an insurance expert would say something?
    Say what? An "insurance" expert didn't witness the accident. You'll need to hire an accident reconstruction expert and that's probably going to cost you a lot more than the fine and any increase in insurance rates.

    I am also going to be looking up case law to see if an officer can issue a ticket without seeing anything, but I am not sure how convincing that would be.
    It won't. You'd be wasting your time. The whole system of traffic tickets written after an accident is based on "information and belief." Officers can, and routinely, do write such tickets and then it's up to the recipient to raise a defense.

    they can make findings of fact based on whatever they believe/whoever they think is more credible.
    Those findings lead to a traffic ticket but are likely to be irrelevant in court. Anything the officer say about what the other driver said is likely to be objected to and ruled as hearsay and inadmissable.

    Do you have photos of the damage to both cars?

    Has your liability insurance paid for the other car's damage?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Rcw 46.61.140 - Illegal Lane Changing

    Quote Quoting dylanspencer13
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    What types of evidence are most persuasive for me to use at my case? What are my chances of successfully contesting this ticket? My plan was to show that they do not have any evidence besides the testimony of the other driver. It comes down to a credibility assessment, which I wonder if I can try to show that they can't issue a ticket for something they didn't see? Any advice, resources, or websites would be helpful.

    I know to request discovery from the prosecution, which I will do as close to court date as possible. Hearings are remote, but I plan on going in person to show the judge how seriously I am taking the case.
    By speculating on a defense without first reviewing the discovery materials you are getting ahead of yourself, and also be careful not to shoot yourself in the foot by serving/filing the discovery request too late. Per IRLJ 3.1(b) you must serve/file at least 14 days before the hearing. If you mail the request per CRLJ 5(b)(2) it must be postmarked at least 17 days before the hearing and you will need an affidavit of mailing for proof of service.

    For help reviewing discovery, upload digital photos or scans (with your personal id and citation number redacted) to any free image hosting site and link them here in your thread. The discovery must provide the officerís sworn statement, a copy or link to any video they intend to introduce and the names of witnesses. That will be the sum total of their evidence and it works much more to your advantage for the officer NOT to be present at your hearing. Itís quite possible there will be no witnesses, no video and insufficient evidence on the officerís sworn statement. If so you can move for dismissal due to lack of evidence right at the beginning.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Rcw 46.61.140 - Illegal Lane Changing

    Quote Quoting dylanspencer13
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    Unfortunately since the hearing is virtual, I am assuming the prosecution will subpoena the other vehicles.
    Huh? There would be no point in subpoenaing either or both of the vehicles -- especially if the damage has been repaired.


    Quote Quoting dylanspencer13
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    Am I correct to assume there is no need for me to subpoena the police officer?
    Yes. Since the officer didn't witness the accident, just about anything he/she might testify about would be incompetent.


    Quote Quoting dylanspencer13
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    Would someone I spoke to right after the collision be a witness that could help my case?
    Depends on whether such person witnessed what happened. The fact that you spoke with someone "right after the collision" doesn't mean that person is competent as a witness.

    Quote Quoting dylanspencer13
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    Is there any chance an insurance expert would say something?
    What do you mean by "insurance expert"? Subject to how you answer that question, it would be hard to imagine such a person having anything useful to say in a case like this.


    Quote Quoting dylanspencer13
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    Have they ever testified for free?
    You're asking whether, in the 240-ish year history of the United States who might be considered to be an "insurance expert" has ever testified for free? I'm sure the answer is yes, but so what?


    Quote Quoting dylanspencer13
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    I am also going to be looking up case law to see if an officer can issue a ticket without seeing anything
    Don't waste your time. It's perfectly legal.


    Quote Quoting dylanspencer13
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    I am assuming police can issue tickets regardless of what they saw, and they can make findings of fact based on whatever they believe/whoever they think is more credible.
    Police officers don't make findings of fact. Courts do that.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Rcw 46.61.140 - Illegal Lane Changing

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    Huh? There would be no point in subpoenaing either or both of the vehicles -- especially if the damage has been repaired.




    Yes. Since the officer didn't witness the accident, just about anything he/she might testify about would be incompetent.

    No the other witness did not see anything, was only told that the collision happened after it happened.

    What I mean by "finding of fact" is that the officer said who was at fault and who hit who, but didn't witness what happened.

    Again, thank you! I am trying to do my best to learn everything and this is really helpful.




    Depends on whether such person witnessed what happened. The fact that you spoke with someone "right after the collision" doesn't mean that person is competent as a witness.



    What do you mean by "insurance expert"? Subject to how you answer that question, it would be hard to imagine such a person having anything useful to say in a case like this.




    You're asking whether, in the 240-ish year history of the United States who might be considered to be an "insurance expert" has ever testified for free? I'm sure the answer is yes, but so what?




    Don't waste your time. It's perfectly legal.




    Police officers don't make findings of fact. Courts do that.
    Thank you!

    I had a typo--I meant to say the prosecution may subpoena the drivers of the other vehicle (not the vehicle itself).

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