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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Default Speeding in Washington - SMD

    My question involves a speeding ticket from the State of: Washington.

    I was traveling southbound on a state highway, the officer in question was traveling north at the point he measured my speed. He then did a U-Turn and pulled me over. My ticket is marked as SMD, which I'm pretty sure means Radar.

    To my knowledge, Radar requires a cop to be stationary; it can't be accurately used from a moving car, much less one traveling in the opposite direction. Am I right? Is this enough to have my ticket dismissed?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Default Re: Speeding in Washington - SMD

    SMD means Speed Measurement Device and can be radar, lidar, vascar, etc. Radar comes in many flavors: stationary, moving - same direction, moving - opposite direction, or both. Some can be used either stationary OR moving. Some come with multiple antennas -- one facing forward, one facing aft.

    So, NO, that will not be grounds for dismissal, unless you can prove that the particular SMD used on you is designed to be used ONLY in stationary mode. You should probably consider a deferral, if you're eligible.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Default Re: Speeding in Washington - SMD

    No, I am not eligible for a deferral. Which leads me to questions 2 and 3:

    2) I'm planning on submitting a FoIA request to get the RADAR logs and hope they weren't calibrated recently or that there is some other sort of discrepancy. Is there anything in particular I should be looking for?

    3) I was ticketed for going 49 in a 35. The stated violation code is RCW46.61.400, which states the maximum speeds for several road types (ex: state highway, which I was on, has a maximum speed limit of 60MPH). Based upon my reading of the laws, This particular law has nothing to do with driving based upon the speed of the signs (that would be RCW46.61.405, or 415). Is this grounds for a dismissal?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Tacoma, WA

    Default Re: Speeding in Washington - SMD

    No need for an FoIA request....
    Make a discovery request via certified mail(there are numerous posts about how to do so in here), and see what you get back. For an SMD speeding ticket, you'll usually get back the officers statement with his description of the infraction, and the model and serial number of the device he used. In some courts, they'll be nice and send you a copy of a document entitled something like "Certifications Concerning Design and Construction of Radar Speed Measuring Devices" explaining how the device works, somewhere in the document there will be a page with serial numbers (including the one he used on you) and the date it was last tested. If they don't send it to you in discovery - just go to the court the ticket was filed in, it should be public record.

    Your best bet to winning this case is to carefully analyze his report (post it here without identifying details) and the affidavit for the SMD involved, and hope there's an error you can use to have either of these suppressed from evidence, and get a dismissal for lack of evidence. Other than this, hope the ticket wasn't filed within 5 working days of when it was written OR that the the prosecution doesn't send you discovery...

    I wouldn't try arguing against 46.61.400...and here's why:
    (1) No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. In every event speed shall be so controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle or other conveyance on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.

    (2) Except when a special hazard exists that requires lower speed for compliance with subsection (1) of this section, the limits specified in this section or established as hereinafter authorized shall be maximum lawful speeds, and no person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed in excess of such maximum limits.

    (a) Twenty-five miles per hour on city and town streets;

    (b) Fifty miles per hour on county roads;

    (c) Sixty miles per hour on state highways.

    The maximum speed limits set forth in this section may be altered as authorized in RCW 46.61.405, 46.61.410, and 46.61.415.
    RCW 46.61.415 states:
    RCW 46.61.415
    When local authorities may alter maximum limits.

    (1) Whenever local authorities in their respective jurisdictions determine on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that the maximum speed permitted under RCW 46.61.400 or 46.61.440 is greater or less than is reasonable and safe under the conditions found to exist upon a highway or part of a highway, the local authority may determine and declare a reasonable and safe maximum limit thereon which

    (a) Decreases the limit at intersections; or

    (b) Increases the limit but not to more than sixty miles per hour; or

    (c) Decreases the limit but not to less than twenty miles per hour.

    (2) Local authorities in their respective jurisdictions shall determine by an engineering and traffic investigation the proper maximum speed for all arterial streets and shall declare a reasonable and safe maximum limit thereon which may be greater or less than the maximum speed permitted under RCW 46.61.400(2) but shall not exceed sixty miles per hour.

    (3) The secretary of transportation is authorized to establish speed limits on county roads and city and town streets as shall be necessary to conform with any federal requirements which are a prescribed condition for the allocation of federal funds to the state.

    (4) Any altered limit established as hereinbefore authorized shall be effective when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected. Such maximum speed limit may be declared to be effective at all times or at such times as are indicated upon such signs; and differing limits may be established for different times of day, different types of vehicles, varying weather conditions, and other factors bearing on safe speeds, which shall be effective when posted upon appropriate fixed or variable signs.

    (5) Any alteration of maximum limits on state highways within incorporated cities or towns by local authorities shall not be effective until such alteration has been approved by the secretary of transportation.
    Unless you're trying to prove that the speed limit was unlawfully changed...and I'm pretty certain it was lawfully changed, that argument wouldn't help you.

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