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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    11

    Default South Carolina Speeding Ticket, 51 in 35

    My question involves a speeding ticket from the State of: South Carolina. I received a ticket on March 17 for speeding 51 in a 35. The officer marked the ticket down to 44 in a 35 ($81 and two points).

    The officer was on a Motorcycle coming towards me up a hill then did a U turn to pull me over. When he pulled me over he said, "The reason I pulled you over for going 51 in a 35. Is there a reason why you were speeding?" I said, "I honestly didn't realize I was." He asked for my license, registration and insurance. I gave him the license and registration and told him that my insurance was in the glove compartment and that I had a pistol in there as an FYI. He told me not to worry about the insurance, but asked me to get out of the vehicle. I assume for his own reassurance.

    My question is does the officer have to state how he estimated my rate of speed? He never said how he was able to verify it and unfortunately I didn't ask. I was trying to be as forgettable as possible. Also, on the ticket there is a box where he wrote down the Latitude and Longitude of the location where I got the ticket. I've looked up these coordinates and they are nowhere even close to where we were at? Could that be used as part of my defense?

    Finally, how does a moving motorcycle officer use radar. Is there a device mounted on the dash of the motorcycle?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,577

    Default Re: South Carolina Speeding Ticket 51 in 35

    Actually, there are several "moving" radar units that can be fitted to motorcycles. One of the more popular is the Kustom Talon II, which can the handheld or placed in a mounting bracket for moving mode. Another that I've seen is permanently dash mounted on the bike with two antennas (or antennae, if you like), one aimed forward, one backward.

    As for as the lat/long location, is that the ONLY indication. In other words, is there a street location also listed? If not, is there any way to prove that that was NOT the location (a witness, for example).

    Barry

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    11

    Default Re: South Carolina Speeding Ticket 51 in 35

    The ticket also has the Highway number on it, but right now I'm not sure what number is says. The actual road I was on was called Fork Shoals Road and looking at Google maps they also call it State Hwy S-23-146.

    I'll check if they match when I get home.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    11

    Default Re: South Carolina Speeding Ticket 51 in 35

    Another question. The place where I was pulled over had the posted speed limit of 35. I am assuming it could be because there was an elementary school located there, but the school closed a little over a year ago. I read that traffic and engineering surveys are supposed to be done on the roads. Should a new survey have been completed since the school is no longer there?

    I'm really not worried about the $81 ticket. My biggest worry in this is the two points. Last time I got a ticket (4 years ago) my Insurance premiums went up nearly $600 every six months. I guess I could ask to pay the fine but receive no points, but not sure how that would go over since the officer already marked the ticket down once.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    11

    Default Re: South Carolina Speeding Ticket 51 in 35

    Hate to necro a thread, but something new came up in all this. The court date on my ticket is on April 23, but I'll be on military orders at that time. I went to the court house to see about changing the date. I talked to one of the judges there and they said they could try my case tomorrow. She said that if I was planning to plead not guilty that I should keep in mind that if I am found guilty then the judge will bump the ticket back up to 51/35 instead of the break that the officer gave me of 44/35. She also said that the officer who cited me wouldn't be there tomorrow, but one of his "cohorts" would be filling in his place. Is this aloud? Doesn't the actual officer who wrote the ticket have to be there, even if they are going to move the date for me? Would it be hearsay if this cohort was speaking for that other officer since he wasn't there at the time?

    Also, I've recently request a copy of the traffic and engineering survey for the road I received the ticket on. I wasn't sure how to word the FOIA request. The way I worded it was "I am requesting copies of the most recent engineering and traffic study for Fork Shoals Road (State Hwy S-23-50) in Greenville, SC. Specifically the stretch of road between the North Old Fork Shoals Road intersection and White Horse Road Extension." The SCDOT Engineering office in Columbia, SC, sent me a letter back saying a study has NEVER been done on this road and specifically the location I am talking about. Did I request this the right way?

    And finally, if I do plead not guilty tomorrow. I don't have to prove my innocence, correct? The officer has to prove my guilt? So basically if the judge asks was I traveling at 51 mph, I should say No and that was traveling at a speed that was reasonable and prudent under the conditions?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,206

    Default Re: South Carolina Speeding Ticket 51 in 35

    Since the ticket was written for going 44 MPH, how does the 51 MPH have any relevance and how did the judge even know about it?

    I also find the part about the judge suggesting that another officer might testify curious....what could he say that would incriminate you?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    11

    Default Re: South Carolina Speeding Ticket 51 in 35

    The ticket was written for "Speeding 44/35" but next that it has 51 circled. I guess that's the officers way of showing that I was actually going 51 but he cut me a break by dropping it to 44. The judge who talked to me also said that I would have to prove that I wasn't going 51. I thought the law basically says that I am not required to prove my innocence, the cop has the burden of proving my guilt right?

    As for the cohort that is supposed to be there tomorrow. That guy wasn't even at the traffic stop. There was only one officer at the location because he was on a motorcycle.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Seattle
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    Default Re: South Carolina Speeding Ticket 51 in 35

    The "cohort" would only be able to read into the record a sworn statement made by the citing officer. Any additional testimony, including what the citing officer might have "told" the substitute, would, indeed, be hearsay. You should object to any such testimony -- and object immediately, since a hearsay objection which is not made in a timely manner is deemed to be waived.

    In addition, I would move for dismissal if the citing officer does not show up, because you cannot cross-examine a sheet of paper.

    Good luck,
    Barry

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    11

    Default Re: South Carolina Speeding Ticket 51 in 35

    Awesome. Thanks for the help guys. I'll post how this all goes tomorrow.

    I really wish I had gone to law school. I'm enjoying learning about all this. Heck I'm only 28, I could try to make a career change.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    1,622

    Default Re: South Carolina Speeding Ticket 51 in 35

    I think you have a clear cut case of an activist judge who overtly shows his bias. He has basically threatened you not to appear in his court as he would find you guilty of an offense you were not being charged with. The court does not have the authority to change the charge on its own motion. That is an act of prosecution... one the court cannot perform. Furthermore, the statements of the fellow officer testifying is just stupid. You don't even need to be a first year law student to know that... all you have to do is watch a couple episodes of Law and Order!!!

    It really pisses me off the way traffic court judges blatantly abuse the law since they feel that no one will really hold them accountable. You should follow blewis's advice and quickly object to any affidavit or testimony from another cop.

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