Bogus speeding ticket

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by B.J., Oct 10, 2013.

  1. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yesterday, my wife got a speeding ticket for doing 54 in a 45. Only thing is, she wasn't speeding. She had just pulled out from a parking lot and was still accelerating when she noticed the police car behind her. She looked down, saw she was going 35, and that's when the cop pulled her over. Also, knowing this particular road and our car, it's highly unlikely that she would have gotten up that that speed at all. We're pretty much resigned to the fact that we're going to have to pay this $180 ticket, because it's basically her word against the officer's, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating.

    Now, one error like this is irritating, but two makes me suspicious. One of my wife's coworkers also got a speeding ticket on this same short stretch of road, only in a much shorter distance. She had also just pulled out of a parking lot, and had only gone about 100 yards when the cop pulled her over, saying she was doing 60! Her case is a bit more clear cut, considering that she has a ~25 year old POS SUV, and apparently it *can't* do 60 at all. And to get up to 60 in 100 yards, that would take ~6.8 seconds at constant acceleration, and according to this chart, that would be pretty impressive even for an SUV in excellent repair. Unfortunately, she has already been to court, and the judge ordered her to pay the ~$250 fine.

    I really doubt we can do anything about my wife's ticket, but her bogus ticket combined with her coworker's makes me feel that something's amiss. Two data points don't make a trend of course, but it does make me want to try to find out more, or call attention to it somehow. Anyone else had any experience with this kind of thing, or know what we could do or who to talk to? I don't think that talking to a lawyer is an option for us unless they're willing to do it pro-bono.

    (I hold nothing against the police department here and support them when I can, but occasionally even the best get a bad egg.)
     
  2. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry so the police don't have to provide any evidence beyond their word? Sheesh!
     
  3. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    Can you request the dash-cam video from the police car?
     
  4. Manticore

    Manticore Manticore, A moment ago Premium Member

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    I was summonsed to jury duty for a traffic violation (thankfully not chosen to serve, though), and asked this very question. At least in the State of Texas, they don't have to provide any more evidence than the word of one witness.
     
  5. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    I'd fight it in court.
     
  6. Sigokat

    Sigokat Commander Red Shirt

    Happened to a friend of mine in Louisana. Cop said he was going 50 in a 40. Problem was that he wasn't pulled over in the 40 MPH zone, he was pulled over in the 55 MPH zone.

    My friend is also notorious for driving UNDER the speed limit and had a POS car to boot. And I believe my friend over the cop because 1. I've been with him enough to know he drives uber slow and 2. the cops in Leesville were notorious for doing these things. A bunch of them were also arrested by the FBI for running a drug ring! The Cops!! LOL

    So glad I PCSed from that hell hole.

    Oh and my friend went to court and lost. Cops word won.
     
  7. Shatinator

    Shatinator Commander Red Shirt

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    Your course of action seem clear if the "legitimate" enforcers of domestic law to protect and serve see no obligation to objectively justify their actions. Then you as an individual must broadcast this questionable event. Perhaps the public pressure of many can cause an reevaluation where the question on one has not.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Sephiroth

    Sephiroth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    contest it, most police offices run speeding tickets like a scam, it's easy money for those too scared or guilty to just make the payment, and won't waste an officer's time on a court date, IF the officer shows up demand to see the dashboard camera footage of the pull-over.
     
  9. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Take the two incidents to the local media. Maybe someone will see a story in it and investigate further. They might film the location for proof of others getting bogus tickets under the same circumstances.
     
  10. Chensams

    Chensams Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Contest it. If it isn't a major offense, the officer sometimes doesn't even bother to show up.
     
  11. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I know in Georgia you have the right to see the radar reading when you're pulled over. Not sure about other states.
     
  12. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    I doubt it. Most don't preserve video footage on cases like this. Even if they did, it's often hard to tell speed just based on visual evidence. Usually it's a radar reading that matters (the radar gun can be malfunctioning and it's theoretically possible to point to the wrong car, but not likely).

    I'd say take it to trial pro se. You can ask the officer some questions that he'll probably not agree with you on and then you can testify. Worst case, you end up with the same fine you have now.

    Check both summons and see if the officer who wrote each ticket is the same.

    That depends on the state. I can speak for Virginia, where an officer gets paid to show up, has specific days for all his cases, and, if he doesn't show up, they'll just get a continuance and you have to come back on a different day.
     
  13. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Same thing happened to my friend about two years ago. He's a slow driver in an old, beat-up and equally slow car, and yet he got a speeding ticket when he went out at three in the morning once to go to a 24-hour grocery store. None of us at work believed it given how much of a turtle he is behind the wheel, but he called it a case of D.W.B.="driving while black" in an old car at night and the speeding charge was just an excuse to stop him. They checked him out, used a flashlight to look inside his car, and then let him go with a $70 dollar ticket.

    He said he'll never drive out past 9 p.m. again.
     
  14. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    If the video is of sufficient quality and the car is visible in it, there are computer algorithms that can reconstruct the scene in 3D, from which the speed of the car could be determined. It has a scale factor ambiguity but that can be resolved a number of ways. I'm not aware of any commercial software that does this yet, but the math exists.

    If an officer doesn't show up three times in a row with the same judge, it may piss the judge off enough to find in your favor. But that can be a very drawn-out process.
     
  15. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This. In Houston, the traffic court is backlogged that you could wait YEARS for a court date and the ticket is suspended for the duration. By the time you get a trial, the cop is very unlikely to show.
     
  16. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Sure, but that's not really worth it for a speeding ticket. Once again, assuming a video exists (you also don't really have a right to obtain the video anyway).

    Well, considering that officers are subpoenaed, they would probably be held in contempt of court by that point. However, you are correct that a Judge might get tired of continuances and want to try the case (in which case, it would get dismissed). Officers get paid to go to court, though, so they generally show up.

    ETA: Once again, speaking of Virginia, not generally.
     
  17. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    Might not be worth it for a speeding ticket, but might be worth it if there's a cop out there with a pattern of writing false speeding tickets....
     
  18. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So they shoot the video, and if it's incriminating the prosecution can use it, but if it's exculpatory the defense can't?
     
  19. shivkala

    shivkala Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    When I worked in a car insurance company in Boston people would sometimes call in to say they contested their ticket and the judge agreed to lower the ticket charge and drop the points if they plead "Guilty." So, just beware, you might not get the response you're looking for.

    Well, maybe in Mega-City One all you need is the word of a police officer. Most likely that word would be "Guilty." :devil:
     
  20. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    ^ Yeah, either the Judge or the Prosecutor (or the police officer even) might agree to lower the fine when you go to court.

    Technically speaking, if it's exculpatory, the defense is entitled to it because it's what's called Brady Material. Failure to turn it over would have serious consequences. That applies if either the police or the prosecutor has it.

    But if it's routine to destroy either way (neither side ever has it), then it's much harder to establish that it would have been exculpatory in your case. If things are selectively destroyed, you'd probably have a better case. Some departments preserve all videos of traffic stops, others only preserve it for things like DUI (I've seen it in a case involving a drug sniffing dog too). I agree that best practice would be to preserve everything, but that's certainly not the case in most jurisdictions.