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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    7

    Default What Course of Action to Take

    My question involves traffic court in the State of: California, Riverside County

    I was issued a citation for two things: Towing in the 3rd lane (22348C) and speed in excess of 55 mph while towing (22406B).

    This happened on I15 Northbound very near the scales + border patrol checkpoint close to Temecula. Traffic was fairly thick and I passed the BP checkpoint in the slow lane and proceeded to move over two lanes in order to make the merging of Semi trucks easier. I was stuck in a blob of traffic, trucks in the right two lanes and passenger cars (and me, pickup + small trailer) in the left two lanes. I may be moving at a slightly faster rate than the trucks, but they are, after all, merging back onto the freeway and not up to full speed.

    I get a split second view of a CHP moving across a gap in the K-rail between the Southbound lanes and the Northbound lanes. I don't think much of it until he pulls me over about 2 miles down the road.

    He wrote me up for these two citations, and I asked to see his radar to confirm that I was over 55 mph. He tells me that he does not have radar of my speed, and (basically) said that since I was in the 3rd lane, I was there for the purpose of passing semi trucks, which were traveling at their max lawful speed (55) and thus I was over the max allowable speed for a vehicle towing a trailer. I believe I was between 55 and 60 when I saw the CHP for that split second. He wrote on the ticket '65+' for speed. This 55 law is so silly....every semi truck in the state moves along at 60-65 and they never enforce it unless they get the whim.

    I get the bill in the mail today, $533. Stunning, incredible, theft. Why not make it $1000? $2000? More?

    So anyway, I would like advice on what the best course of action may be for this one. I have a clean record (can do traffic school). I do have another petty offense on my insurance record from 2 yrs ago, but I would like to keep that clean as well.

    I had a witness in the car with me that can write her version and/or come to court. $533 is a lot of money! Wow.

    So anyway, I was planning on doing WTBD first with google earth images to show proximity to the scales (trying to prove that semi trucks are not moving at their max speed at the point where I saw the CHP). Also going to include witness statement.

    Questions:

    Will a witness statement do anything for WTBD? I think WTBD is a joke in the first place, but seems like an easy enough place to start...

    Will WTBD revoke my traffic school privs in the event I lose?

    All I need to do for WTBD is to fill out the form TR-205, correct?

    I intend to plead guilty for the lane violation and not guilty for the speeding violation, any special tips for this in WTBD or do I just write it out clearly enough for your typical brain dead clerk to see?

    I would like to request the citing officers log and his WTBD response. Do I need to file for Discovery with the DA for this, or can I insert a line of legal mumbo jumbo to put the fear of God into whoever could get this for me at the clerks office?

    Thanks a lot, what a pain. So sad that CA is trying to make up for the budget crisis by legalizing theft from our state's motorists. Time to move.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: What Course of Action to Take

    Quote Quoting schmatt
    View Post
    I was issued a citation for two things: Towing in the 3rd lane (22348C) and speed in excess of 55 mph while towing (22406B).
    22406. No person may drive any of the following vehicles on a
    highway at a speed in excess of 55 miles per hour:
    (a) A motortruck or truck tractor having three or more axles or
    any motortruck or truck tractor drawing any other vehicle.
    (b) A passenger vehicle or bus drawing any other vehicle.
    (c) A schoolbus transporting any school pupil.
    (d) A farm labor vehicle when transporting passengers.
    (e) A vehicle transporting explosives.
    (f) A trailer bus, as defined in Section 636.



    22348(c). A vehicle subject to Section 22406 shall be driven in a lane
    designated pursuant to Section 21655, or if a lane has not been so
    designated, in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as
    practicable to the right-hand edge or curb. When overtaking and
    passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, the driver
    shall use either the designated lane, the lane to the immediate left
    of the right-hand lane, or the right-hand lane for traffic as
    permitted under this code. If, however, specific lane or lanes have
    not been designated on a divided highway having four or more clearly
    marked lanes for traffic in one direction, a vehicle may also be
    driven in the lane to the immediate left of the right-hand lane,
    unless otherwise prohibited under this code. This subdivision does
    not apply to a driver who is preparing for a left- or right-hand turn
    or who is in the process of entering into or exiting from a highway
    or to a driver who is required necessarily to drive in a lane other
    than the right-hand lane to continue on his or her intended route.

    This 55 law is so silly....every semi truck in the state moves along at 60-65 and they never enforce it unless they get the whim.
    I wouldn't say they "never" enforce it, because I've seen it enforced down on I-15 where you were, as well as on I-5 where I have worked for 17 years.

    I get the bill in the mail today, $533. Stunning, incredible, theft. Why not make it $1000? $2000? More?
    Because the fine plus fees is apparently only $533.

    So anyway, I would like advice on what the best course of action may be for this one. I have a clean record (can do traffic school). I do have another petty offense on my insurance record from 2 yrs ago, but I would like to keep that clean as well.
    You can go to trial and hope the officer doesn't show up, or, hope you can convince a judge that you were in a proper lane and not intent on violating 22348(c). You can always pay the fines and fees and attend traffic school to help mitigate some of the damage. You can also go to trial and hope that once you take the stand the judge will still permit traffic school afterwards, but that's the judge's call. Usually it is available before trial (if you are otherwise eligible) but not always available after trial.

    You can first try the TBWD and if that fails, THEN go for the court trial.

    So anyway, I was planning on doing WTBD first with google earth images to show proximity to the scales (trying to prove that semi trucks are not moving at their max speed at the point where I saw the CHP). Also going to include witness statement.
    Sure. It might be convincing ... it might not. It also will depend on what the officer has to say.

    Will a witness statement do anything for WTBD? I think WTBD is a joke in the first place, but seems like an easy enough place to start...
    If you think it is a "joke", then why do it?

    But, yes, a witness statement likely cannot hurt ... unless he dimes you off and essentially shows you are guilty.

    In this case you have to overcome the fact that you were in the wrong lane in addition to the speed issue. Even if you beat the speed, you still have the lane issue to address. It is possible, but it will have to be carefully addressed.

    Will WTBD revoke my traffic school privs in the event I lose?
    Legally? No. Though, I am not sure how often traffic school is granted after a failed TBWD.

    All I need to do for WTBD is to fill out the form TR-205, correct?
    Here;s a site for more info plus a link to forms:

    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/traffic/index.htm

    I intend to plead guilty for the lane violation and not guilty for the speeding violation, any special tips for this in WTBD or do I just write it out clearly enough for your typical brain dead clerk to see?
    You write it out for the JUDGE to see. If a clerk is "brain dead" then he or she is incapable of working in any capacity so no such clerk would see anything anyway.

    If you intend to eventually go to court, you had better learn to hold back the 'tude or you will find yourself slapped for max penalties and no chance of traffic school. Attitude can make all the difference sometimes.

    I would like to request the citing officers log and his WTBD response.
    You can request his "log" (if there is one) via discovery prior to trial. However, you will not likely have a chance to see his written statement unless you seek THAT in discovery prior to a trial de novo if found guilty with the TBWD.

    So sad that CA is trying to make up for the budget crisis by legalizing theft from our state's motorists. Time to move.
    Sorry to tell ya, but those fines have not risen appreciably in a few years.

    If you want to move, go ahead. Just be sure to pay your fines before you go so you can get a license in whatever new state you intend to move to.

    - Carl
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: What Course of Action to Take

    Thank you for the reply.

    First, how many instances have you heard of where a WTBD is found not guilty? What possible incentive does the court have for even looking at those claims? Let's not be naive.

    As for the rest of it....anyone else know about the possibility of losing traffic school options if found guilty in TBWD?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: What Course of Action to Take

    Oh, and as for the attitude.....I am well aware that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. This attitude will most certainly not follow me into court. I am partaking in a process called 'venting.' Surely you have heard of it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: What Course of Action to Take

    Quote Quoting schmatt
    View Post
    Thank you for the reply.

    First, how many instances have you heard of where a WTBD is found not guilty? What possible incentive does the court have for even looking at those claims? Let's not be naive.
    I do know of a few. Probably mot as many that are found not guilty at a court trial, but a few. And usually for the same reasons - the officer failed to articulate the elements of the offense properly, or there was reasonable doubt.

    The motivation to look at the declarations is that it is their job. Like any job, there are people that are more attentive than others. But, having seen a great many of these declarations, many people who send them in either confess, or do a poor job of articulating a defense. "I was going 80 in a 55 but this is why ...."


    - Carl
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: What Course of Action to Take

    Quote Quoting schmatt
    View Post
    Oh, and as for the attitude.....I am well aware that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. This attitude will most certainly not follow me into court. I am partaking in a process called 'venting.' Surely you have heard of it.
    Surely I have. But too many people try to take that same attitude with them in to court for some reason and it serves them poorly. When you build it up and express it to friends, family, and even to strangers, it sometimes continues to invade the thought process even at trial.

    - Carl
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: What Course of Action to Take

    Thank you Carl for the tips.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    625

    Default Re: What Course of Action to Take

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
    View Post
    I do know of a few. Probably mot as many that are found not guilty at a court trial, but a few. And usually for the same reasons - the officer failed to articulate the elements of the offense properly, or there was reasonable doubt.

    The motivation to look at the declarations is that it is their job. Like any job, there are people that are more attentive than others. But, having seen a great many of these declarations, many people who send them in either confess, or do a poor job of articulating a defense. "I was going 80 in a 55 but this is why ...."


    - Carl
    This is why I only write 'I am not guilty!!!' on all of my declarations.

    My guess is that, just like actual trials, 90% of TBD wins come from the officer not filing the response (the TBD equivalents of the ofc not showing up). Last year, two of my tickets got dismissed because the officer didn't submit his response. Honestly, the biggest value of the TBD is that losing it still gets you a trial de novo, AND a pretty detailed deposition from the officer that you can use to plan a possible defense. Just go to court and pick up a copy of the officer's declaration - and don't forget to file your request for trial de novo ;-).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,594

    Default Re: What Course of Action to Take

    Interesting ... my experience (confirmed by the courts in the counties where I have worked) was that the rate of returns by officers in a TBWD was higher than that of the officer actually showing in court. Go figure.

    - Carl
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

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

    Default Re: What Course of Action to Take

    Quote Quoting HonkingAntelope
    View Post
    This is why I only write 'I am not guilty!!!' on all of my declarations.

    My guess is that, just like actual trials, 90% of TBD wins come from the officer not filing the response (the TBD equivalents of the ofc not showing up). Last year, two of my tickets got dismissed because the officer didn't submit his response. Honestly, the biggest value of the TBD is that losing it still gets you a trial de novo, AND a pretty detailed deposition from the officer that you can use to plan a possible defense. Just go to court and pick up a copy of the officer's declaration - and don't forget to file your request for trial de novo ;-).
    Now that is good advice!!!

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