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Posted: 2/1/2001 7:11:52 AM EDT
Here's what happened,  a few months ago I was traveling down the Mass. pike, in the left hand lane, doing about 72 (limit 65) on my way somewhere.  This lady behind me apparently wanted to go faster and didn't want to wait for me to get out of her way, so she flys by me on the right.  As soon as she passes me she cuts over right in front of me into the left hand lane again.  At this point we had just come around this little curve/hill, and at the same second she completes her pass, we go by a trooper doing radar hiding on the left.

Suprisingly, he pulls BOTH of us over, and I'm pretty sure he gave both of us tickets for going 81 in a 65.  

First of all, I was not going 81!

second of all, I can understand how it appeared that we were both going at the same speed, because we were very close to each other and he didn't see the pass.

Next, on all citations in Massachusetts, there are two boxes for how the officer determined I was speeding; estimated and radar.  Many officers if using radar will always check off both boxes, some don't.  In this case, only the radar box was checked.

I have mailed back my ticket requesting a hearing.  In most districts, traffic tickets are heard by a magistrate, not a judge, in a closed room.  Also, the issuing officer does not have to be present, almost any cop can take his place.  My appearance is in two weeks.

My major argument will be, how could he have gotten both cars on radar, simultanously?  Radars have only one reading, right, and her car was directly in front of me, so he certainly did not actually radar me.

I have a description of the other car/occupant as well as the plate number, but obviously I don't have a citation number.

Do you guys have any advice about how to handle this, what to say, any other arguments, etc?

As a further note, I did not say a thing to the officer, I could tell he was not in a good mood and didn't want to hear any 'crap', I knew he was just filling his 'quota' for the month.


Link Posted: 2/1/2001 7:50:18 AM EDT
I would try to get the speed reduced.  In most states if you have a good driving record you can do that.  If that happens take your lumps and fork out the money.  Your word against his who will the Judge believe?
Link Posted: 2/1/2001 7:55:05 AM EDT
I agree. I dont think you will get very far on your story. Even though it is true, the judge has probably heard it a billion times before. I'd say your best bet is to get it reduced. I don't see a way to get out of it. But then again, I'm not a lawyer...
Link Posted: 2/1/2001 8:02:56 AM EDT
Spread those cheeks maybe it won't hurt as much. This is about revenue generation not justice.
Link Posted: 2/1/2001 8:09:29 AM EDT
There used to be a book called "Fight Your Ticket", maybe search Amazon and see if it's still around.

We have pro-temps here, basically failures in their law fields looking for a cushy city job.  You might loose the hearing, but there's always the appeal.
Link Posted: 2/1/2001 9:11:51 AM EDT
As soon as you say you were going 72 in a 65, not 81, most judges/commissioners/magistrates will say, "OK, I find you guilty of going 72 in a 65."

I find it unusual that the officer is not required to be present, or that any officer, even one who was not present, can testify against you,considering the requirements found in the Sixth Amendment...

"Amendment 6
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence."

The jury and defense councel you don't get for an infraction.  There should be a process for obtaining the name of the other driver, but she probably blames you for her having to speed up to pass you.

Basically you are guilty of exceeding the speed limit.  The only thing you can do is go in and hope to get the fine reduced.
Link Posted: 2/1/2001 9:57:49 AM EDT
Boy, you guys sound like sheeple willing to give up so easily!  I'm telling ya' he wrote me up a ticket for speeding with 'radar', when in fact he couldn't have got me on radar!  Does anyone else see a problem with this?  

another thing.  I really don't give a damn about the fines, its the six years of insurance premiums that really irks me!

Link Posted: 2/1/2001 10:27:44 AM EDT
When you appear in front of the magistrate, don't talk shit on the cop, or you will lose for sure.  Your best hope is that you were pulled over simultaneously with the other car on a single radar reading.  That is what you must use as your defense, anything else is extraneous.  Be prepared to lose.
Link Posted: 2/1/2001 10:48:58 AM EDT
My wife drives like that woman. GTF outta the L lane..and get a radar detector w laser capability, IMHO
Link Posted: 2/1/2001 10:51:05 AM EDT
Thats strange that any cop can stand in, but it might work to your advantage. Many people dont fight the tickets cause of time, they just pay. If your willing to stand up to a judge and say you have been wrongly accused most judges do have a sense of justice.
Fight it. Write down the facts and bring them with you. Good luck.
Link Posted: 2/1/2001 11:20:54 AM EDT
I would check out that book mentioned earlier in the post. There are a lot of technicalities that you can use to get out of  most radar tickets. Documentation and presidence is key. Most states require that the radar guns need to be calibrated at least once every 30 days. Most radar guns get one calibration a year if that. Also, radar guns are diffuse not specific. They can only read the fastest overall speed not each individual cars exact speed.

I'm just glad that radar guns are linked to higher rates of cancer and sterility. A little payback if you ask me! He He. ;)

It sucks that the officer doesn't have to be present in court. I fought a ticket a while back, the officer in question did show up to court but claimed, "non-recollection" or something like that and my ticket was dismissed. I never had to say anything in court except "here". I had all kinds of evidence to present too. I really wanted to ream him but all in all I still got my money back and got to go home early.
Link Posted: 2/1/2001 11:24:16 AM EDT
Boy, you guys sound like sheeple willing to give up so easily!  I'm telling ya' he wrote me up a ticket for speeding with 'radar', when in fact he couldn't have got me on radar!  Does anyone else see a problem with this?  

another thing.  I really don't give a damn about the fines, its the six years of insurance premiums that really irks me!

View Quote

You're saying the cop screwed you[>(], nothing new.  Don't tell me this is your first wrong ticket?  Fight it, or go to traffic school.  Even if you have been recently, tell the judge you want to go again, they can allow it.
Link Posted: 2/1/2001 11:43:25 AM EDT

You said you were guilty of exceeding the speed limit.  If you plead "Not Guilty", then tell the judge that you were going 72 in a 65 instead of 81 in a 65, you have just admitted guilt.  The violation is exceeding 65 mph, not going 72 in a 65.  If that is too subtle for you, I’ll try again.  If you tell the judge that you were going 72 mph, and the speed limit is 65 mph, he will find you guilty of going faster than the posted (or maximum) speed limit.  Period.  That the officer marked “Radar” when YOU think he didn’t get you with radar is not a factor.  He may have gotten the car in front of you on radar and observed that your vehicle was going the same speed as the car in front of you.  “Your honor, I saw two vehicles crest the hill and they appeared to me to be going the same speed, which I estimated at approximately 80 mph.  I pointed my radar device at the lead vehicle and obtained a reading of 81 mph, indicating that both vehicles were going 81 mph.”  That means that he got you, too.  Also, at the time of trial, the officer can advise the judge that he made an error and simply forgot to check both boxes.  The error is not significant enough to get the case dismissed.

Then there is the 72 mph thing.  How do you know that you were going 72 mph.  When was the last time you had your speedometer calibration checked.  I once had a numb nuts idiot claim in court that his speedometer was 16 mph off at the indicated speed of 65 mph, which happened to be the speed limit.  The citation was for 81 mph.  He told the judge that his speedo read 65 when I lit him up and while I successfully kept a straight face, he showed the judge the calibration report, confirming the 81 mph speed violation.  Guilty.  

Yes, I know…everybody speeds.  Your problem is that you got caught.  Give it up and take your punishment like a man instead of trying to whine and weasel out from under your responsibility as a citizen to obey the law.  
Link Posted: 2/1/2001 11:57:28 AM EDT
You where speeding, take it like a man.
Link Posted: 2/1/2001 12:42:47 PM EDT
You know I was feeling some remorse for you for a few seconds and then I heard that damn "quota" crap again.  The alleged "quota system" is unlawful.  Quit your whining I don't get paid any more or less for writing or not writing tickets.
Link Posted: 2/1/2001 4:32:06 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/1/2001 4:58:23 PM EDT
Do what I do...just go in and plead guilty. In my state, they always reduce the fine AND points just for showing up.   Of course the last time I gave advice about traffic court was to my wife. I told her to wear a short skirt and look good for the judge. She did....female judge  [spank]
Link Posted: 2/2/2001 8:46:06 AM EDT
...I heard that damn "quota" crap again.  The alleged "quota system" is unlawful.  Quit your whining I don't get paid any more or less for writing or not writing tickets.
View Quote

Inform your supervisor/boss/whatever that you are no longer going to write traffic tickets. Get back to us and let us know how long it took you to get fired![}:)]
Link Posted: 2/2/2001 9:07:38 AM EDT
Ok guys, I'm looking for positive advice.  If you've got something negative to add, save it for some other post.



BTW, as far as I know we don't have traffic school in this state.

Would it have made any difference if I said I was traveling with the 'flow of traffic' instead of 72?

And as far as quotas go, I didn't just fall off the friggin' turnip truck!

Link Posted: 2/2/2001 9:59:42 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/2/2001 10:11:41 AM EDT
Any positive advice or support you receive on this forum will be worth diddly as there really isn't anything realy positive to say.  All the tricks have been tried before, and they  rarely work.  The only positive thing would be if you told the truth and the judge was so shocked and surprised that he gave you a break.

The quota thing is a crutch for the caught.  In California, quotas are illegal, but if an officer write significantly below the average number of citations, there can be remediation or discipline.  You have to be seriouisly lazy not to write around the average, since at my old agency there is a general agreement between officers and management that one cite per patrol hour is average.  The fact is that it is so easy to catch violators that I only wrote 16 mph over and above and still only wrote one in four of those.

"I was only going with the flow of traffic."  The judge almost always asked, "How fast was the flow of traffic?"   That was usually answered by an illegal speed or "I don't know..."  Guilty.

Climer, you can only win this thing if the officer doesn't show up and the cite is dismissed.  Bottom line, if you can't afford the consequences of your speeding, don't speed.

Here's another one for you.  I was stopped on I-20 in Van Horn Texas for 67 in a 55.  Radar cite.  My speedo read 67 when I saw the trooper.  I was followed the trooper back to town and saw the judge in chambers, ivory handled .45 Auto and all, along with a college kid and his girlfriend that another trooper had brought in.  I went first.  The trooper was 100% honest and professional in his testimony.  The judge asked me what I had to say for myself and I replied, "Your honor, the officer told it like it happened."  He then asked me how much money I had in my pocket.  Yikes!  I counted it in front of him. $88.  He fined me $22.  As I settled with the clerk, he heard testimony from the other trooper.  As I started to leave the college kid was given his turn to speak.  "That cop is lying," was all he got out.  The last thing I heard as I walked out with my trooper was, "Nobody calls one of my officers a lier in my court.  I find you guilty!.  The fine will be $200 or 10 days..."  He had been going 67 in a 55, too.  The door closed behind me on the way out.  Didn't hit me in the butt, either.
Link Posted: 2/2/2001 10:52:53 AM EDT
I was walking in the wrong neighborhood when several gang members told me on was  "on their turf" and to come with them. I went with them to their leader and he asked me how much money and gold jewelery I have. I counted out the money and he took it. Behind me was a white boy who said "who do you think you are?" This pissed off the drug lord. I left and heard the white boy get capped.
Link Posted: 2/3/2001 5:39:57 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/3/2001 7:08:43 AM EDT
Don't know if this has anything that will help you but you can take a look http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/home2.html
Link Posted: 2/3/2001 2:37:52 PM EDT
Climber - get this straight. Magistrates are political hacks. Get their job from doing bag work for the ward leaders. What is going to happen to you has nothng to do with the law, justice or logic. Revenue generation is their primary concern. Unless you're a hottie with a short short dress and low cut top, forget about a not guilty. Now. What is the difference between 72 and 81 in a 65 as far as insurance premiums, license points, etc?
Calculate the costs. Now, if as a matter of principle, you want to fight this, get a lawyer who is "wired". Compare his fee to the previous calculation, and make your choice. If you can't afford that, try calling the local bar association lawyer referal service. Tell them that you have a traffic case where you are innocent, and who does that kind of work. They will give you some names and numbers. Most of these referals will talk to you on the phone for free. Tell them your story, and get their take on what will happen. That way you will know what you are up against when you got to court.  If you're a descendant of Don Quixote, here's some free advice.  First,find out if this is a "court of record", i.e., is there a stenographer or at least a tape recorder to take down a verbatim account of the proceedings? If not, check out the Mass wiretap laws. Some states are "one party" some "two party" to legality of recording conversations. In one party states, you do not have to reveal that the conversation is being recorded. In two party states, if you don't reveal it, you just upgraded a traffic ticket to a felony. Assuming that you are able to make a record, your first objection is to proceeding without the presence of the officer who wrote the ticket as a violation of your sixth amendment rights.
When that is overruled, object to introduction of his report as hearsay, and state that it is not covered by the "business records" exception to the hearsay rule because it was obviously prepared in anticipation of litigation. When that is overruled, tell your story and cross your fingers. Bring cash. Good luck.
Link Posted: 2/3/2001 2:46:35 PM EDT
Oops. Too quick on the trigger. Why do you want a "record" Why for the appeal of course! [:D]
Link Posted: 2/3/2001 5:16:51 PM EDT
Hey garmentless...I work for an elected official...and our supervisors underneath him have told me numerous times that they don't care if I ever write a citation.  I do work a lot of traffic and issue, on the average, 4 to 6 citations a shift when it's a slow night.  Actually, I have been told by one of my Sergeants to stop working so much traffic.  The only time I have to write a certain number of citations is when I'm working a "STEP" which is a grant funded program to enforcement traffic laws for safety.  
Link Posted: 2/3/2001 5:22:23 PM EDT
Theclimber...I'm not going to speculate on how it is in your state...but obviously you cannot speak for the State of Texas.  I have no doubt that you did not just fall off the turnip truck.  As I can really only speak for my department...WE DO NOT HAVE A TRAFFIC QUOTA FOR NORMAL PATROL FUNCTIONS.
Link Posted: 2/3/2001 8:50:10 PM EDT
Hey, Tex, chill out. Civilian who gets a ticket doesn't really care if it's because you had to make your "quota" (which they do lots of places if not Texas) or they really were doing what you wrote them up for. Main concern is the fine and insurance increase. In my state, even a civilian can go to court and talk to the municipal prosecutor and bargain down a 4 point moving violation to a no point bs fixit plea. Still have to pay, but the bite isn't as painful. DUI is the exception to the easy way out (definitely need a lawyer for that). I have seen and heard of very few successful cases for the defendant where it's the cops word against his. It happens, but so does hitting the Lotto.
Link Posted: 2/4/2001 6:06:38 AM EDT
In the county I work it's so easy to take care of tickets in court.  If only the people knew they would save lots of money on lawyers.  Even when we are set for trial they show up on that date and before a trial starts the Asst. DA will meet with every single violator and try to work something out(aka deferred ajudication).  In other words we'll drop the whole thing in 6 months if you pay court costs and a "special expense fee" at the end of the six months and recieve no other moving violations within the 6 month time frame.  Don't know how things work up that far north but here just ask for deferred ajudication and you pay a bit but it doesn't go on your record if you comply with the requirements.  
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