Ticketed by City Cop on State Highway. - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Ticketed by City Cop on State Highway.

Got a speeding ticket today by a Mesa City motorcycle cop on U.S.60. 80 in a 65 zone. The ticket says my speed measurement was "visual." No radar.

I'm thinking of contesting the ticket on the grouds of:

1) Jurisdiction. I looked at Mesa City's "duties" for policie officer and it refers to "street" regulations.

2) Visual measurement: The police officer came up from my 4 or 5 o'clock which meant he had to come through traffic. Given the size of the Elise, a "visual" measurement may not be as accurate as with a normal sized car.

Do you think I can win? Obviously, I'm just looking for regular opinions and won't consider it as "legal advice."
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post #2 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 10:41 AM
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I wouldn't go after the jurisdiction argument, but attacking the visual measurement is a good one. Request documentation showing what training the officer had in visual speed estimation. Maybe even ask for records showing how often s/he used that technique in practice. You can probably show that the officer was not well trained in that technique and therefore the data cannot be considered accurate. However, you may still be found guilty of speeding, this will just create doubt as to the '80' (you might end up with 70 in a 65 if you're lucky).

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post #3 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 10:47 AM
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I don't know what your courts are like around there, but I would probably go to court and plead no contest. I did that for a 99/55 ticket and the judge withheld adjudication as my driving record was clean for a few years prior. I still had to pay the full fine though. Driving school is another option.

As far as whether you could get off by contesting it, remember it is your word against the officer's and I tend to think the officer's carries more weight with the court. Jurisdictionwise, I would think that if the highway goes through the city limits, it is fair game for a city cop. I had a similar situation where I had left work and was taking a bridge across the bay and was 'visually clocked' at 82mph in my BMW. There was no way he could have clocked me like that in rush-hour traffic unless he was immediately behind me. What it boiled down to was the fact that he saw me switch lanes a couple of times (which was necessitated by someone changing lanes without looking) and because I had the nice car I had to have been speeding. It just was not worth fighting - took the school.
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post #4 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 10:54 AM
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I allways allways get a lawyer. I figure its going to save me a boat load in increased insurance costs. I have three cars so increases in my rates is x3. if you want a good lawyer in the Phoenix area PM me.

what ever route you end up taking good luck!

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post #5 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 10:55 AM
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find a cheap lawyer, the last ticket i got was $60 for the laywers fees and about $100-150 for the fine/court fees. i didn't have to go to court and i got it amended to some non-moving violation.
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post #6 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 11:02 AM
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Around my neck of the woods, if a city cop gets ya, the judge usually "deffers" (spelling?) the sentance, and you just pay a fine, no record is taken of your ticket unless you get in trouble again in the next few years... however if you come in with a lawer, the judge usually gets pissed, cause its just traffic court.

(information taken from a city judge friend)
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post #7 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 11:05 AM
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If the officer couldn't catch up with you at 65 mph and say he had to go over 80 mph to catch up with you, then you'll loose. Visual measurement might mean he was looking at his speedo and taking into account how long it took to catch up with you at that speed.

Bottom line, if you were doing 80 mph or more the officer will be able to prove it.

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post #8 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sempai
Around my neck of the woods, if a city cop gets ya, the judge usually "deffers" (spelling?) the sentance, and you just pay a fine, no record is taken of your ticket unless you get in trouble again in the next few years... however if you come in with a lawer, the judge usually gets pissed, cause its just traffic court.

(information taken from a city judge friend)
That's exactly what I was talking about with the 'adjudication withheld'. Like I said, around here they're a bit lenient as long as you have a relatively clean record and plead no contest.
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post #9 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 11:23 AM
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A buddy of mine got a speeding ticket from a state fish and game officer. He decided to fight it on the grounds the officer had on jurisdiction. The judge informed him that any sworn officer in the state could write a ticket on any public road.

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post #10 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 11:57 AM
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Jurisdiction doesn't matter. A cop is a cop. The Jurisdiction is just where they are assigned to patrol. Think about it, if a city cop see you commit a murder outside of the city, should he let you go? Of course not.


If the officer was pacing you, the ticket should read pacing. Visual should me that he observed your car and estimated your speed. I'd challenge this simply on the basis that the Elise is a very small car, and as a result it appears to be traveling faster that it is. Of course, if other cars were around you, then this argument tends to loose it's effectiveness too.

I'd go to court and strongly question exactly how he estimated his speed. How much other things was he doing at the same time. What other cars were around (hard to follow an Elise through a maze of SUVs), etc. Difficult driving a motorcycle through traffic, avoiding other cars, while keeping an eye on a car he can't see. That kind of thing.




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post #11 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 12:03 PM
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While in court, toss a ball to the cop and see if he can estimate the speed it was going. If you want, you could measure the actual speed with a radar gun, and compare it to his estimation.

If you want to really get anal, find out how far off his estimation was (in percent), and use this as your basis for his inaccuracy to determine your speed.

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post #12 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.woolery
While in court, toss a ball to the cop and see if he can estimate the speed it was going. If you want, you could measure the actual speed with a radar gun, and compare it to his estimation.

If you want to really get anal, find out how far off his estimation was (in percent), and use this as your basis for his inaccuracy to determine your speed.
i like the way you think.
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post #13 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 12:17 PM
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Allan,

I was a Mesa Cop for about 3 1/2 years. I will tell you that as an Officer he does have jurisdiction in the entire State of Arizona. As far as speed estimate goes I doubt you will have much luck there, depends on the Judge. We had one that let everyone off that showed up for court, had another that hammered everyone.

Your best bet is if the Officer fails to show, then you win. But they are pretty hard on Officers missing court dates. Usually the judge will give you the option of traffic school but he does not have to. I'm not sure if bringing a lawyer for a simple traffic ticket would be a good thing, I would only suggest it if the ticket were criminal in nature (i.e. more than 20mph over or above 80mph total).

Good luck I hope things work out well, let me know if you have any other questions.

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post #14 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 12:17 PM
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But what if he guesses too slow?
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post #15 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azskycop
I'm not sure if bringing a lawyer for a simple traffic ticket would be a good thing, I would only suggest it if the ticket were criminal in nature (i.e. more than 20mph over or above 80mph total).
I hope you don't get put in the Tent City jail for an above 80mph traffic ticket

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post #16 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 01:02 PM
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A few years ago, a group of friends and I got ticketed in Scottsdale by visual. Although we thought the tickets were BS, 3 of us elected to go to school. How could the cop estimate 4 of our speeds and write us for the same speed over when we were all travelling at different speeds? The one who fought lost and got the fine + points even though he had what we thought was an excellent case. Visual speed determination is just as real in AZ as radar, vascar, etc.

If you have your free pass to elect school, I'd take it. Fight the cases only when you don't have another option.

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Last edited by milcher; 09-26-2005 at 01:05 PM.
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post #17 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miguel
I hope you don't get put in the Tent City jail for an above 80mph traffic ticket
If you ask politely and get a cool judge, sometimes you get the option of electing school even when you were busted doing 120 in a 65.

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post #18 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 01:41 PM
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check out the national motorists site www.motorists.org I have used their information successfully.
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post #19 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milcher
If you ask politely and get a cool judge, sometimes you get the option of electing school even when you were busted doing 120 in a 65.
Cool thing, I used to live in Tucson AZ for 12 years and was happy to live far away from Maricopa county and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Not that I ever got in trouble with the law (knock on wood).

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post #20 of 44 (permalink) Old 09-26-2005, 02:05 PM
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Man is that ever BS. If you are "innocent until proven guilty" (yeah right, more like vice versa) than he should have actual data on which to convict you on. My friend just got off on a DUI. She was drunk but refused everything. They had no evidence to convict her on, well she didn't get off totally, but it was reduced.

Even if he had extensive training in visual speed detection try to argue that the unusual size and shape (and exotic looks) of the elise make it appear faster than it is. It looks fast standing still! Show a picture of it next to a "regular" sized car like a Jetta or a haha Crown Vic. Or put it by a Hummer and say it's like a hummingbird next to a seagull, it just looks like it's covering more ground because it's smaller.

If they have to prove thier radar guns were calibrated when you fight a speeding ticket, how do they prove their "visual estimation" was calibrated. Take in some optical illusions and prove things aren't always as they seem visually. If you really are innocent until proven guilty, they should have to have something on which to hang you, although we know that isn't always the case.

And don't wear this shirt to court even though I'd really want to:
http://www.northernsun.com/images/th...05LandFree.jpg
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