My question involves a speeding ticket from the State of: Ohio (wow sorry for the huge essay, didn't realize it was so long till after I was done)
The relevant state statutes:
4511.21 Speed limits - assured clear distance.
(A) No person shall operate a motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar at a speed greater or less than is reasonable or proper, having due regard to the traffic, surface, and width of the street or highway and any other conditions, and no person shall drive any motor vehicle, trackless trolley, or streetcar in and upon any street or highway at a greater speed than will permit the person to bring it to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.
The speed limit I was breaking:
(3) Thirty-five miles per hour on all state routes or through highways within municipal corporations outside business districts, except as provided in divisions
The presumption of unreasonable speed:
(C) It is prima-facie unlawful for any person to exceed any of the speed limitations in divisions (B)(1)(a), (2), (3), (4), (6), (7), and (8) of this section...
My Situation and proposed defense:
I was doing 47mph in a 35mph zone. The street is a 4-lane road, flat, and very wide in a primarily business area of town. There is a golf course on the right which does not have its entrance on the road, therefore there are no driveways on the side of the road I was traveling. On the left, there is one driveway to an office park, but I was cited at 6:30pm, after business hours. The ticket has listed: dry pavement, light traffic, clear visibility, no adverse weather.
I am considering arguing that my speed was reasonable, even though it was in excess of the posted speed limit. My understanding of the law in Ohio is that the speed limit is the presumed safe speed, but if you can prove that you were traveling at a safe speed, then you haven't broken the law. I'm not even going to try and get into the lame "has your radar been calibrated" arguments. I know I was speeding, but I honestly think that my speed was reasonable. In 11+ years of driving, I've never even been pulled over for speeding, let alone gotten a ticket for it. My record is spotless.
It's also my understanding that the posted speed limits are purely statutory, and no actual traffic engineering study is done to determine the speed unless the city requests one. The road in question has had no study done according to the traffic engineer's office.
I'm considering taking pictures of the area, and then using the ODOT Traffic Engineer's Manual's "Speed Zone Study" checklist (it's a manual for local municipalities to conduct studies to alter the statutory speed limit) to show that the road in question would rank highly in every area that I can personally observe. Beyond that, I'm not sure how else to prove that my speed was reasonable without actually having the city conduct a study to increase the speed on that road.
I observed traffic court procedure today and, unfortunately, if you plead not guilty, you simply get a court date at the municipal court since the 'Mayor's court' can't hear your case. So it's two separate trips to the courtroom.
My ticket would only be $96 if I just paid, however I'm concerned about my insurance rates going up. Mainly however, it's just a matter of not believing I did anything wrong.
Does this defense ever work? I've seen case law that says it has, but I would like to hear from people who see these kinds of cases on a frequent basis, or have some sort of street knowledge of how this argument normally goes in court.
On a side note, I felt kinda embarrassed for the people who appeared in the mayor's court. Almost all of them pleaded no contest, and less than 5% actually had any sort of evidence with them, or legal defense. Almost all the speeders said "I didn't see the sign" or "I was going with the flow of traffic" or "I might have been speeding, but it wasn't no 40mph, maybe 35", etc... just zero concept of what is or is not a defense to speeding. 5 minutes on the internet would have given them a better defense.
Thanks in advance for any help.