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Posted: 12/12/2003 10:41:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/12/2003 10:44:08 PM EDT by BlackMountainArmory]
I got a speeding ticket a week ago - 74 in a 65 on the freeway is what is on the ticket.

I was virtually the only car on the freeway, and the limit dropped from 75 to 65 as I got closer to town. I had been driving a while with the good ol' cruise control on and didn't bother to change my speed the moment the signs changed.

As my lack of luck would have it, I passed a Highway Patrol car. The officer promptly pulled me over and requested that I sign on the X and donate a bunch of money to the state, even though they don't have a "quota".

I was written up for violating Utah Code 41-6-47. Just for fun, I decided to see exactly what that section says. Hooray for the internet!!

41-6-47. Speed limits established on state highways.

(1) The Department of Transportation may determine the reasonable and safe speed limit for each highway or section of highway under its jurisdiction. Each speed limit shall be based on traffic engineering and safety studies for each highway or section of the highway including:
(a) the design speed;
(b) prevailing vehicle speeds;
(c) accident history;
(d) highway, traffic, and roadside conditions; and
(e) other highway safety factors.
(2) In addition to the provisions of Subsection (1), the Department of Transportation may establish different speed limits on a highway or section of highway based on time of day, highway construction, type of vehicle, weather conditions, and other highway safety factors.
(3) (a) A posted speed limit may not exceed 65 miles per hour except on limited access highways which may not exceed 75 miles per hour.
(b) This subsection is an exception to the provisions of Subsections (1) and (2).
(4) When establishing or changing a speed limit, the Department of Transportation shall consult with:
(a) the county or municipality prior to erecting or changing any signs within the county or municipality's political boundaries; and
(b) the Department of Public Safety and the Transportation Commission.
(5) The speed limit is effective when appropriate signs giving notice are erected along the highway or section of the highway.

Amended by Chapter 49, 1996 General Session




I figure that since I'm not the Dept of Transportation, it's not possible for me to violate this code section. I think the section the officer should have written was 41-6-46, which starts out:

41-6-46. Speed regulations -- Safe and appropriate speeds at certain locations -- Prima facie speed limits -- Emergency power of the governor.
(1) A person may not operate a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the existing conditions, giving regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing, including when: ...



I think the vast majority of speeding tickets are mere revenue enhancement for the state, and therefore theft and not safety issues.

This is my first plan of attack when I take it to court. My guess is that either the judge will dismiss the ticket right then and there, or he may allow the prosecutor to simply "restate" the code # to the proper one, which I will then have to find a new way to fight.

Any comments?



Edited to add dancing banana. And another
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 10:45:11 PM EDT
I find it odd that a highway patrolman wrote the wrong code on a speeding ticket. If that is the case.
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 10:48:34 PM EDT
As I researched the Utah code, it looks like the legislature made changes to the code sections. In all likelihood, the section he wrote was the correct one a couple years ago, but not now. Another thing I noticed - he wrote my social security number on the ticket. I didn't give it to him, and it's not printed on my DL, so he must have gotten it from the computer and decided to write it in anyway.
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 10:50:07 PM EDT
...he may allow the prosecutor to simply "restate" the code # to the proper one, ...
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I don't think that's possible, you were cited for "41-6-47" not "41-6-46". If you did not violate -47, then they must dismiss it (but what do I know?) good luck!
Link Posted: 12/12/2003 11:08:25 PM EDT
Originally Posted By RED_5:
...he may allow the prosecutor to simply "restate" the code # to the proper one, ...
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I don't think that's possible, you were cited for "41-6-47" not "41-6-46". If you did not violate -47, then they must dismiss it (but what do I know?) good luck!
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Sure is possible, especially if BMA made any admission of guilt. If you say "I was only going 60", then [i]bam[/i], the prosecution can amend the ticket to reflect that charge and you are instantly guilty. The court won't put up with trying to get out of the ticket using a typo, because the officer will testify that you were speeding; they will just amend the charge on the ticket to reflect that.
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 12:42:58 AM EDT
Originally Posted By BlackMountainArmory: Another thing I noticed - he wrote my social security number on the ticket. I didn't give it to him, and it's not printed on my DL, so he must have gotten it from the computer and decided to write it in anyway.
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That doesnt matter, but the wrong code is interesting. But.....
(3) (a) A posted speed limit may not exceed 65 miles per hour except on limited access highways which may not exceed 75 miles per hour.
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This little section of the law you quoted may be your violation.
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 12:47:28 AM EDT
AZ-K9, thats what may be posted for a speed, it has no bearing on his offense.
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 2:08:41 AM EDT
Section (5) [b]The speed limit is effective when appropriate signs giving notice are erected along the highway or section of the highway. [b] may be an issue too. However, I would say you have a colorable claim. Raise your objection at trial, but expect to lose as a local court only wants revenue and cares very little about the law. However, I highly recommend you pursue it with an appeal as your chances are much better at a higher level.
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 2:37:45 AM EDT
Originally Posted By BlackMountainArmory: I think I found a way out of this speeding ticket
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Pull your gun and sneak up to the door? [;d]
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 3:38:48 AM EDT
Originally Posted By BlackMountainArmory: I got a speeding ticket a week ago - 74 in a 65 on the freeway is what is on the ticket. As my lack of luck would have it, I passed a Highway Patrol car. The officer promptly pulled me over and requested that I sign on the X and donate a bunch of money to the state, even though they don't have a "quota".
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The first "unwritten rule" in operating a motor vehicle is NEVER pass a police car while going over the speed limit. Incidentally, you admit going over the speed limit and passing the car but you want to blame your getting a ticket on a "quota" What did you think was going to happen?
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 3:55:58 PM EDT
Originally Posted By sydney7629: The first "unwritten rule" in operating a motor vehicle is NEVER pass a police car while going over the speed limit. Incidentally, you admit going over the speed limit and passing the car but you want to blame your getting a ticket on a "quota" What did you think was going to happen?
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Well, I pretty much had to pass the cop because he had slowed down to around 55. The freeway was virtually empty, and the limit had just dropped from 75 to 65. Actually, I didn't technically admit to anything, I just indicated what I was written up for. Also, I don't believe speeding is wrong in any case. What is wrong is being a danger to other cars. So if I had been driving 55 or 95 at that time, I wouldn't have endangered anyone because there was no one else around. Speeding may be "illegal", but it's not wrong. I see all speeding tickets as merely a way for the state to make money.
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 6:00:37 PM EDT
if you plea not guilty, don't try to argue your case there. Some states allow the cite to be modified by the officer up to the time of trial, so if you tip your hand, he might still be able to fix it. If the Utah code does not fit, then you must acquit. Jay
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 7:09:58 PM EDT
Maybe its just me, but I don't see where you think you have a leg to stand on here. You were speeding and he cited you for a section that clearly specifies what the maximum allowable speed limit is. Here in NYS we have a section on speeding that actually contains 5 subsections, each of which deals with specific instances of prohibited speeding. The section he cited you for (not being familiar with that states way of wording its sections) appears to fit the scenario you described. If I had written you the wrong section in error, I would simply withdraw the improper ticket at court and reissue you a proper ticket. As for fines, well, its a civil offense. Whether you personally agree with it or not, you are obligated to abide by that law and work to get it changed if you don't. In the meantime, go over to caranddriver.com's driving and the law section and post there for advice from drivers in your state on how to best deal with the ticket.
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 8:09:44 PM EDT
Many a year ago I actually got off on this same kind of deal. A plainclothes LEO did a harassment stop on me a couple of buddies one night. With the lifestyle we lived this was kind of a regular occurrence. When he searched everybody and our motorcycles and found nothing he decides to write us a speeding ticket. We took it to our legal eagle and he came back laughing. The cop had used the wrong code. Instead of a regular speeding ticket he used a code that made it illegal to ride a motorcycle with less than 5 hp at more than 35 mph without a headlight that shown less than xxx feet. It was essentially a law for mopeds. We were all on Harleys. In S. Carolina, at the time, the code had to be correct as that was what the defendant used to formulate his defense. The judge threw out all of the tickets and chewed on the cop a little. He also told us that he was pretty sure we were guilty of speeding that night and for us to be very careful that we didn't show up in his courtroom again or we wouldn't be so lucky the next time. Hoppy
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 8:41:44 PM EDT
I had a ticket here where the officer made enough mistakes on the ticket. For instance he had me going Northbound and we were Southbound. It was a tailgating ticket. After asking him how he determined distances between the vehicles, he replied "I mentally rotate the white lines to determine distance. I preceeded to hammer him on department policy for determining distances and how he knows if this is accurate. The pro-temp judge looked and me and said " I don't understand a word you said, guilty". I won during the appeals process. So, basically you have an excellent case, and don't let the judge bend the rules. Also, if it's not dismissed, consider an appeal.
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 10:48:53 PM EDT
In 32 years as a LEO I was in court enough to notice that our judges seemed to bend over backwards to find for the defendant in minor traffic cases. At a social gathering I once asked one of the judges(in a roundabout way) why this seemed to be happening. I remember his response was, "the average citizen supports our efforts with his taxes and perhaps once in his life comes before us. I will give him or her the benefit of any doubt."
Link Posted: 12/13/2003 11:21:56 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Webby: In 32 years as a LEO I was in court enough to notice that our judges seemed to bend over backwards to find for the defendant in minor traffic cases. At a social gathering I once asked one of the judges(in a roundabout way) why this seemed to be happening. I remember his response was, "the average citizen supports our efforts with his taxes and perhaps once in his life comes before us. I will give him or her the benefit of any doubt."
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I see pretty much the same thing here in our court. I have no problem with it. Most of you would be surprised how many tickets get thrown out. I for one don't take it personally. The one thing that does piss me off is when the citizen makes a snide comment to me outside the court after winning a case.
Link Posted: 12/14/2003 12:03:51 AM EDT
I think you have the right idea. Tell the court three things and then rest your case. 1. That you think Tickets are revenue enhancement and therefore theft. 2. That you think speeding is OPK, especially how you do it. 3. You know the Cop wrote the wrong section cause you looked it up on the Internet. Then sit down and smile at him. Be sure to let us know what happens. You might want to fart or belch a few times, spill your lunch on your bowling shirt first. You know the other things that will impress him too.
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