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Posted: 9/3/2010 6:43:35 AM EDT
My truck has been running like crap the past week, so I stayed home an extra hour this morning to replace the spark plug wires and coil. Unfortunately, that didn't fix my rough running problem, so I put the truck back together and limped into work.

Hopped onto the Taconic and sputtered my way up to 55mph. After 1/2 mile, I see a trooper zoom up behind me and start following me for a mile. I'm wearing my seatbelt, driving the speed limit, and my license/tags are in order, so I should have nothing to worry about. He throws his lights on just short of my exit and I pull over. I ask him what the problem is and he says:

Trooper: "I clocked you doing 70 on laser and you weren't wearing your seatbelt"

Me: WTF???

I had not removed my seatbelt when I pulled over, so I pointed to it.

Trooper: "Well, that doesn't mean you didn't just put it on"

I explained to him that I just hopped on the Taconic and the truck was running rough and I was struggling to maintain 55mph. He goes back to his cruiser and starts yacking on his cell phone. A few minute later he comes back with a ticket.

He said he decided to drop the speeding charge, but he still gave me a seatbelt ticket.

What should I do?




Link Posted: 9/3/2010 7:11:59 AM EDT
Sounds like a fishing expedition. Weve got a couple of fine, upstanding and altruistic lawmen and lawyers here in the HTF who might be able to give you some advice on how to handle it. Im sure theyll ring in shortly




Originally Posted By GTwannabe:
My truck has been running like crap the past week, so I stayed home an extra hour this morning to replace the spark plug wires and coil. Unfortunately, that didn't fix my rough running problem, so I put the truck back together and limped into work.

Hopped onto the Taconic and sputtered my way up to 55mph. After 1/2 mile, I see a trooper zoom up behind me and start following me for a mile. I'm wearing my seatbelt, driving the speed limit, and my license/tags are in order, so I should have nothing to worry about. He throws his lights on just short of my exit and I pull over. I ask him what the problem is and he says:

Trooper: "I clocked you doing 70 on laser and you weren't wearing your seatbelt"

Me: WTF???

I had not removed my seatbelt when I pulled over, so I pointed to it.

Trooper: "Well, that doesn't mean you didn't just put it on"

I explained to him that I just hopped on the Taconic and the truck was running rough and I was struggling to maintain 55mph. He goes back to his cruiser and starts yacking on his cell phone. A few minute later he comes back with a ticket.

He said he decided to drop the speeding charge, but he still gave me a seatbelt ticket.

What should I do?






Link Posted: 9/3/2010 7:34:57 AM EDT
Take your truck to a friendly auto repair place immediately, explain the situation and have one of the mechanics drive it and sign a statement saying it is running rough and barely reaches 55 mph. Even though you didn't get the speeding ticket, it could demonstrate to the judge the trooper's credibility is flawed, thereby putting a big question mark on the seatbelt ticket. Otherwise, it is your word against the trooper's and you know already how that will go.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 7:58:43 AM EDT
Welcome to Patterson's State Revenue Enhancement Program

I am surprised they don't just start sending made-up administrative infraction tickets out to all licensed drivers randomly from out-of-the-way locations so that people just pay up instead of fighting. They might actually generate some extra money. You live on Long Island? We'll issue you a no-points ticket from Rouses Point that can only be fought in person. I see the day coming...
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 8:29:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/3/2010 8:30:20 AM EDT by rkbar15]

Originally Posted By GTwannabe:

What should I do?


In my experience Trooper's usually don't play games unless you're an asshole which I don't believe you were in this case. It sounds to me he might have mistakenly mixed you up with another vehicle. Your only course of action is to plead not guilty and pray he doesn't appear on the return date. It's also possible that the town attorney might offer you a deal for a reduced fine.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 8:32:05 AM EDT

Just be glad you didn't have a dog with you.


Link Posted: 9/3/2010 8:58:12 AM EDT
Thats the Taconic for you...
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 11:28:18 AM EDT
This is the best advice yet. Since the trooped didn't write the speeder, which is easily the more expensive of the two tickets, you can argue that he made a mistake. Don't forget to mention the fact that you already had your seat belt on when you were stopped. What part of the Taconic were you on?

Originally Posted By Tahawus:
Take your truck to a friendly auto repair place immediately, explain the situation and have one of the mechanics drive it and sign a statement saying it is running rough and barely reaches 55 mph. Even though you didn't get the speeding ticket, it could demonstrate to the judge the trooper's credibility is flawed, thereby putting a big question mark on the seatbelt ticket. Otherwise, it is your word against the trooper's and you know already how that will go.


Link Posted: 9/3/2010 11:32:26 AM EDT
I think I flew past a truck being pulled over this morning while doing about 85mph
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 11:37:06 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Sgt_Gold:
This is the best advice yet. Since the trooped didn't write the speeder, which is easily the more expensive of the two tickets, you can argue that he made a mistake. Don't forget to mention the fact that you already had your seat belt on when you were stopped. What part of the Taconic were you on?

Originally Posted By Tahawus:
Take your truck to a friendly auto repair place immediately, explain the situation and have one of the mechanics drive it and sign a statement saying it is running rough and barely reaches 55 mph. Even though you didn't get the speeding ticket, it could demonstrate to the judge the trooper's credibility is flawed, thereby putting a big question mark on the seatbelt ticket. Otherwise, it is your word against the trooper's and you know already how that will go.




I tried the local garages; one shop pulled codes (lean cylinder bank) and checked for obvious problems (vacuum leaks). I couldn't get a road test/signed statement from anyone because they were either too busy or thought it wouldn't make any difference. I'm going to leave the truck at one of the garages to get it diagnosed and/or fixed, but they can't work on it until Tuesday.

This happened on the Taconic southbound between Hibernia road and the Route 44 exit (Troop K).

Link Posted: 9/3/2010 11:58:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Sgt_Gold:
This is the best advice yet. Since the trooped didn't write the speeder, which is easily the more expensive of the two tickets, you can argue that he made a mistake. Don't forget to mention the fact that you already had your seat belt on when you were stopped. What part of the Taconic were you on?

Originally Posted By Tahawus:
Take your truck to a friendly auto repair place immediately, explain the situation and have one of the mechanics drive it and sign a statement saying it is running rough and barely reaches 55 mph. Even though you didn't get the speeding ticket, it could demonstrate to the judge the trooper's credibility is flawed, thereby putting a big question mark on the seatbelt ticket. Otherwise, it is your word against the trooper's and you know already how that will go.



The Trooper will simply testify that he was speeding in addition to his direct observation of failing to wear a safety belt prior to being stopped. The Trooper will state that he used his discretion to give a warning instead of a speeding ticket. I really doubt you'll get any brownie points from the Judge for using that strategy. If he actually goes to trial the judge is most likely going to find him guilty no matter what he testifies to.



Link Posted: 9/3/2010 12:01:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GTwannabe:

This happened on the Taconic southbound between Hibernia road and the Route 44 exit (Troop K).


Is that the town of LaGrange?
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 12:31:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/3/2010 2:16:31 PM EDT by GTwannabe]
Originally Posted By rkbar15:

Originally Posted By GTwannabe:

This happened on the Taconic southbound between Hibernia road and the Route 44 exit (Troop K).


Is that the town of LaGrange?


It's either Town of Pleasant Valley or Town of Washington

Town of Clinton
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 1:11:49 PM EDT
Originally Posted By rkbar15:

Originally Posted By GTwannabe:

What should I do?


In my experience Trooper's usually don't play games unless you're an asshole which I don't believe you were in this case. It sounds to me he might have mistakenly mixed you up with another vehicle. Your only course of action is to plead not guilty and pray he doesn't appear on the return date. It's also possible that the town attorney might offer you a deal for a reduced fine.


He was on his phone calling the laser detail car that engaged you, get ahold of an ADA for the town court and explain.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 1:53:47 PM EDT
In that case see if you can get a hold of the radio traffic log or other official records to see if the plate # and vehicle discription matches your vehicle.

Originally Posted By 762DM:
He was on his phone calling the laser detail car that engaged you, get ahold of an ADA for the town court and explain.


Link Posted: 9/3/2010 1:54:41 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Sgt_Gold:
In that case see if you can get a hold of the radio traffic log or other official records to see if the plate # and vehicle discription matches your vehicle.

Originally Posted By 762DM:
He was on his phone calling the laser detail car that engaged you, get ahold of an ADA for the town court and explain.




Won't be on a log, all comms are car to car on a detail.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 2:06:38 PM EDT
Whatever the format, cell phone, radio, whatever, I know of at least one person who beat a ticket because the data from the radio traffic didn't match the court testimony. Get as much info as you can.

Originally Posted By 762DM:
Originally Posted By Sgt_Gold:
In that case see if you can get a hold of the radio traffic log or other official records to see if the plate # and vehicle discription matches your vehicle.

Originally Posted By 762DM:
He was on his phone calling the laser detail car that engaged you, get ahold of an ADA for the town court and explain.




Won't be on a log, all comms are car to car on a detail.


Link Posted: 9/3/2010 2:21:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GTwannabe:

It's either Town of Pleasant Valley or Town of Washington


The appearance date and town/village court location will be listed on the ticket.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 2:23:16 PM EDT
ETA: Ticket shows "Town of Clinton"

Immediately South of where I entered the Taconic (Hibernia road) is a "Welcome to Pleasant Valley" sign. So unless my truck is somehow capable of 0-70 in 100 feet...
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 2:32:13 PM EDT
Did he give you a supporting deposition and if so what does it say?
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 2:34:48 PM EDT
Originally Posted By rkbar15:
Did he give you a supporting deposition and if so what does it say?


No supporting deposition. There is a box to check on the ticket if I want to request one.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 3:00:39 PM EDT
You're pretty much screwed. Your choices are:

Suck it up and pay the fine. It's a no-point ticket
Plead not guilty and the Town Attorney or the P/T prosecutor who handles traffic cases might give you a break
Take it to trial yourself but unless you're experienced you'll be at a severe disadvantage
Hire a local attorney who knows everyone involved but it won't be cost effective
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 3:01:32 PM EDT
If the UTT was computer generated the SD should be included, the old "go to court the trooper won't show" doesn't work anymore.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 5:53:36 PM EDT
Originally Posted By rkbar15:
You're pretty much screwed. Your choices are:

Suck it up and pay the fine. It's a no-point ticket
Plead not guilty and the Town Attorney or the P/T prosecutor who handles traffic cases might give you a break
Take it to trial yourself but unless you're experienced you'll be at a severe disadvantage
Hire a local attorney who knows everyone involved but it won't be cost effective


That's what I figured...

I don't want to plead guilty to something I didn't do. Is there any downside to going to court (court fees, etc)?
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 6:41:51 PM EDT
I would mail it in and wait for a court date to be set by the magistrate, when you appear ask to speak with the prosecutor and explain to him the events. Believe me the Trooper doesn't give a crap.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 6:44:00 PM EDT
Originally Posted By rkbar15:

Originally Posted By GTwannabe:

What should I do?


In my experience Trooper's usually don't play games unless you're an asshole which I don't believe you were in this case. It sounds to me he might have mistakenly mixed you up with another vehicle. Your only course of action is to plead not guilty and pray he doesn't appear on the return date. It's also possible that the town attorney might offer you a deal for a reduced fine.


This.
He got you mixed up with another vehicle
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 6:44:41 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Mech2007:

Just be glad you didn't have a dog with you.




Now THAT was some funny shit right there !!
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 6:55:47 PM EDT
Also, how were you wearing the seatbelt? Under the arm is a no-no and writeable. I would put the finger wag emoticon but it seems to offend.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 6:59:07 PM EDT
I have to agree. It does seem that modern technology is taking all the loopholes out of beating tickets these days.

Originally Posted By SigSauer228:
Originally Posted By rkbar15:

Originally Posted By GTwannabe:

What should I do?


In my experience Trooper's usually don't play games unless you're an asshole which I don't believe you were in this case. It sounds to me he might have mistakenly mixed you up with another vehicle. Your only course of action is to plead not guilty and pray he doesn't appear on the return date. It's also possible that the town attorney might offer you a deal for a reduced fine.


This.
He got you mixed up with another vehicle


Link Posted: 9/3/2010 7:10:08 PM EDT
Originally Posted By 762DM:
Also, how were you wearing the seatbelt? Under the arm is a no-no and writeable.


I've been wearing my seat belt that way as far back as I could remember. I got pulled over once in NC...got issued a "warning ticket" for "improper use of a seat belt". Whatever !!!

Link Posted: 9/3/2010 7:46:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/3/2010 7:47:25 PM EDT by GTwannabe]
Originally Posted By 762DM:
Also, how were you wearing the seatbelt? Under the arm is a no-no and writeable. I would put the finger wag emoticon but it seems to offend.


I was wearing the belt properly. I did not unbuckle at any point between leaving my house and arriving at work (including the traffic stop). I was wearing a green shirt (gray belt), so it's not like it blended into my clothing.

I'm confident the trooper had me mixed up with another truck. The logical spot to run a speed trap in that area would be the Salt Point Turnpike overpass. The Taconic was perfectly clear when I pulled out (being extra cautious due to limited engine power) and I traveled 1/2 mile before I saw the trooper fly up behind me. I had my radio off (listening to the motor) and was watching my gauges like a hawk, so I am absolutely sure I did not exceed 55mph.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 8:30:39 PM EDT
Originally Posted By SigSauer228:
Originally Posted By 762DM:
Also, how were you wearing the seatbelt? Under the arm is a no-no and writeable.


I've been wearing my seat belt that way as far back as I could remember. I got pulled over once in NC...got issued a "warning ticket" for "improper use of a seat belt". Whatever !!!



Did one fatal accident where that was cause of death, heard of others.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 9:09:59 PM EDT
Originally Posted By 762DM:
Originally Posted By SigSauer228:
Originally Posted By 762DM:
Also, how were you wearing the seatbelt? Under the arm is a no-no and writeable.


I've been wearing my seat belt that way as far back as I could remember. I got pulled over once in NC...got issued a "warning ticket" for "improper use of a seat belt". Whatever !!!



Did one fatal accident where that was cause of death, heard of others.


Yup.

That diagonal strap is called the "shoulder belt". It is meant to be worn over the shoulder. If you do not wear it correctly, it will not work correctly.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 9:53:26 PM EDT
Seems like this is what traffic attorneys are for.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 2:42:23 AM EDT
Originally Posted By JBlitzen:
Seems like this is what traffic attorneys are for.


Maybe, but you will pay an attorney more to perhaps beat the ticket than if you just paid the fine and forgot about it. That is what the State is counting on. My advice is to plead not guilt and make a deal with the local prosecutor just before trial. Most of them will plead it down to an offense that gives most of the revenue to the Town instead of the State thereby giving you the satisfaction of screwing NYS.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 4:39:21 AM EDT
Here's the reality of the situation. If you want the amount of police in this state to provide the level of services that they do, this is the cost of doing business. I know it sucks, I don't agree with it, but the "judge believing cops in court" is what keeps alot of shitheads off the street. Sometimes innocent and upstanding people get mixed up into the sauce. He didn't write you for the speeding, he hit you with a BS seatbelt ticket, pleading guilty doesn't make you a bad person, criminal, or anything else but an unfortunate victim of mistaken identity. I'm sure that you have broken many V&T laws many times(like anyone of us that drive), and not gotten pulled over and/or written up for them. Just look at the ticket as what it really is in NY, an undisclosed, unofficial road tax.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 5:05:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Bushman_269:
Originally Posted By JBlitzen:
Seems like this is what traffic attorneys are for.


Maybe, but you will pay an attorney more to perhaps beat the ticket than if you just paid the fine and forgot about it. That is what the State is counting on. My advice is to plead not guilt and make a deal with the local prosecutor just before trial. Most of them will plead it down to an offense that gives most of the revenue to the Town instead of the State thereby giving you the satisfaction of screwing NYS.


I agree. I know of a town that does this to pretty much every ticket. The worst part of this ticket will be the surcharges most likely.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 5:29:28 AM EDT
SOP for NYS. Pull the car over for speeding. Then write the ticket for a no point seat belt violation and the "grateful citizen" will pay the ticket glad they did not get any points on their license. This is a very common occurrence in NY. Not only done by troopers. He was merely following SOP.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 5:45:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2010 5:51:23 AM EDT by rkbar15]

Originally Posted By GTwannabe:

I don't want to plead guilty to something I didn't do. Is there any downside to going to court (court fees, etc)?


Some states require you to post a bond or pay the ticket in advance and if you lose there are additional court fees. NYS has no such fees or additional penalties so there is no "official" downside to pleading not guilty and going to trial. If you decide you really don't want to go to trial plead NG and see if the town attorney will allow you to plead guilty to § 1201(a) - Parked on Highway. You'll most likely still get banged $135 but the parking violation shouldn't appear on your driving record as a conviction even though there are no points associated with either ticket. AFAIK a "no seat belt - driver" conviction will appear on your DMV driving record.

Unless you can convince the town attorney to move for dismissal "in the interest of justice" due to the questionable circumstances associated with the ticket you're likely going to end up paying a fine+surcharge for the belt violation.

If you feel lucky take it to trial and see if you can get the Trooper to admit that it's possible he pulled the wrong truck over based on where the truck was directly observed and where you entered the highway. You're going to need the depositions from both Trooper's and map out everything including all distances in advance. I'm not 100% convinced it was a tag team of observer and chase car although is most likely was.

Good luck.


Link Posted: 9/4/2010 6:08:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By gaweidert:
SOP for NYS. Pull the car over for speeding. Then write the ticket for a no point seat belt violation and the "grateful citizen" will pay the ticket glad they did not get any points on their license. This is a very common occurrence in NY. Not only done by troopers. He was merely following SOP.

Another gift from Pataki that keeps on giving since he prohibited Trooper's from reducing the charge when you plead not guilty and appear for trial. Unfortunately it requires the Trooper to make a false sworn statement on the UTT/STI and deposition. It occurs but I don't think it's really SOP for Trooper's.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 6:15:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2010 6:16:12 AM EDT by rkbar15]
wrong thread.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 6:16:20 AM EDT
Originally Posted By gaweidert:
SOP for NYS. Pull the car over for speeding. Then write the ticket for a no point seat belt violation and the "grateful citizen" will pay the ticket glad they did not get any points on their license. This is a very common occurrence in NY. Not only done by troopers. He was merely following SOP.


Ok, since we have so much road experience here let me set a few things straight. Troopers DO NOT pull over cars haphazardly just to issue UTT's, for the most part they hate V&T. IF a break is given roadside they are doing it out of kindness, not out of some sense of subterfuge. I used to let 80% of the people I stopped go with nothing, those I did right were the liars. There is no grand scheme going on.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 10:50:21 AM EDT
Originally Posted By 762DM:
Originally Posted By gaweidert:
SOP for NYS. Pull the car over for speeding. Then write the ticket for a no point seat belt violation and the "grateful citizen" will pay the ticket glad they did not get any points on their license. This is a very common occurrence in NY. Not only done by troopers. He was merely following SOP.


Ok, since we have so much road experience here let me set a few things straight. Troopers DO NOT pull over cars haphazardly just to issue UTT's, for the most part they hate V&T. IF a break is given roadside they are doing it out of kindness, not out of some sense of subterfuge. I used to let 80% of the people I stopped go with nothing, those I did right were the liars. There is no grand scheme going on.




That's just what we would expect you to say.




Link Posted: 9/4/2010 11:46:17 AM EDT
762DM knows what he is talking about, we believe him on the gun laws well he is on the money on this one, I don't know him past this board, but the truth is the truth.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 11:46:57 AM EDT
OK, I don't want to be "that guy", but since I legitimately did nothing wrong I contacted my roommate from college who is a Troop K trooper. He offered to come to court and talk to the prosecutor and the trooper who issued the ticket. He strongly advised me to NOT request a supporting deposition when I plead not guilty.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 11:52:24 AM EDT
perfect answer
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 2:06:16 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GTwannabe:
OK, I don't want to be "that guy", but since I legitimately did nothing wrong I contacted my roommate from college who is a Troop K trooper. He offered to come to court and talk to the prosecutor and the trooper who issued the ticket. He strongly advised me to NOT request a supporting deposition when I plead not guilty.


Can you say "dismissal in the interest of Justice"? Having a Rabbi is better than having a good attorney.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 2:18:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GTwannabe:

He strongly advised me to NOT request a supporting deposition when I plead not guilty.


Years ago before officer's had computers the purpose of requesting a sup dep was if the officer didn't send out one before you appeared for trial the ticket would almost always be dismissed. These days it takes only a few minutes to fill in and print out a boiler plate sup dep for any offense so they are almost always sent it out in a timely manner. Trooper's usually give you one at the scene when they hand you the UTT/STI.

There is no point in requesting a sup dep if you don't have any intention of going to trial which it appears you aren't going to do.

Link Posted: 9/4/2010 2:25:51 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Bushman_269:

Having a Rabbi is better than having a good attorney.


Word.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 5:31:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By rkbar15:

Originally Posted By GTwannabe:

He strongly advised me to NOT request a supporting deposition when I plead not guilty.


Years ago before officer's had computers the purpose of requesting a sup dep was if the officer didn't send out one before you appeared for trial the ticket would almost always be dismissed. These days it takes only a few minutes to fill in and print out a boiler plate sup dep for any offense so they are almost always sent it out in a timely manner. Trooper's usually give you one at the scene when they hand you the UTT/STI.

There is no point in requesting a sup dep if you don't have any intention of going to trial which it appears you aren't going to do.


My cousin received a speeding ticket from NYSP in Westchester –– the UTT indicated a supporting deposition was provided, but none was given to my cousin.
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 7:59:59 AM EDT
You have the option of pleading innocent or guilty. YOur choice.
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