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Speeding Ticket in Hollister - Question

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Picking the thread from the SW forum: http://www.nsxprime.com/forums/editpost.php?do=editpost&p=427228

Originally Posted by Hrant
Thanks. But if the radar was on say all the time, which one would he pick first? The car that is in direct line in front of him (but behind me on my left) or my car that is about to pass him (the officer) coming at me? As for the visual, it was pitch dark ... ;-)

Edit: Let me get a little more technical with info since I don't know how exactly radar guns read which signals first. If the speed of the passing car (which would be behind me on the left at direct sight to the officer) is different from the speed of my car, will the radar gun pick the faster speed always even if the distance is longer or the closest car (to him, me in this case) irrespective of speed due to the wide angle field of the radar?

--------------------------------


The judge in the trial by declaration sided with the officer without any explanation. I have asked for the officer's declaration and the judge's rationale. I know I will get the officer's declaration not sure about the latter though!

Does anyone know the answer to the question above regarding which vehicle the radar will pick, and the accuracy (besides the "when was it calibrated")?

Also, does anyone know where I can find any laws regarding how far apart the speeding limits whould be posted on HWY 156 going through Hollister? Last trip I noticed that the distance between the two posts were about 9-10 miles. One post was south of 25 on 156 either at San Juan or Buena Vista, and the other just before the intersection with 152.

Anyone know a good traffic lawyer practicing in that area?
 
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Here's my advice (coming from a cop),

Sorry to say, it's a losing battle for you. Better to just attend traffic school and put it behind you. Don't waste good money on an attorney. Learn from your mistake.

I would guess that you were cited by the CHP for speeding. Those guys are very proficient at what they do and are considered "experts" with traffic enforcement.

btw...how fast were you going?
 
Hrant said:
Edit: Let me get a little more technical with info since I don't know how exactly radar guns read which signals first. If the speed of the passing car (which would be behind me on the left at direct sight to the officer) is different from the speed of my car, will the radar gun pick the faster speed always even if the distance is longer or the closest car (to him, me in this case) irrespective of speed due to the wide angle field of the radar?

Does anyone know the answer to the question above regarding which vehicle the radar will pick, and the accuracy (besides the "when was it calibrated")?

Also, does anyone know where I can find any laws regarding how far apart the speeding limits whould be posted on HWY 156 going through Hollister? Last trip I noticed that the distance between the two posts were about 9-10 miles. One post was south of 25 on 156 either at San Juan or Buena Vista, and the other just before the intersection with 152.

Radar works on a frequency that reflects off an object and bounces back to the unit. It's easier for the frequency to hit larger object, so it tends to reflect of them first. As far as speed goes, the units are calibrated to display the highest speed first. For instance, a car may be going 70 and the car behind him is doing 80....if the radar has a line of sight on the second car, it may give a reading of 80. However, it's because of these "what ifs" why officers are also trained to estimate the speed of a vehicle. So that when he gets that reading of 80....he can estimate the car is doing 70 (+ or -) and the car behind him is gaining at around 80 (+ or -). Just like PBTs....officers cannot rely on their accuracy, so we are trained to do field sobriety tests.

Radar is more accurate then any speedometer. It’s just a calculation of Point 1 (X) minus Point 2 (Y) divided by duration of time between X and Y. It’s not rocket science, so the reliability factor is very good. It would be very difficult to prove his radar unit was wrong.

As far as the sign posting…..come on, you are grasping for straws here. First of all, I’m sure the state does have a law and unless a sign fell down somewhere along the way I’m sure the Highway department follows the laws to the “T”. I’m not sure what California’s laws are, but in MN some highways are not even posted with speed limit. Because in MN, all 2 lane highways are 55 and 4 lane divided are 65…..no ifs ands or buts. I can see where that can cause confusion for tourists; however it shouldn’t take long to figure it out by watching the speeds of your fellow motorists…

Good luck with whatever you decide….. You’re only costing the court a couple hundred dollars plus the department another $100 for the officers OT….. tax dollars at work!!
 
Don't ask how I know (you don't want to know the answer), but when an officer testifies to a radar ticket he testifies to his visual estimation of the speed. The radar is only for comformation. You can be cited for speed base on visual estimation only (no radar needed) particular if the officer is trained in speed estimation and current on his certifications. CHP requires officers to certify in speed estimation (both moving and stationary) each year. Additionally, if the officer observed you passing or overtaking another vehicle even if his radar was locked on the other vehicle, your speed would obviously be faster.
As far as the signs go...How fast you were going is important because maximum speed laws apply. 65 mph is the maximum speed in California. 70 mph is an exception {see 22356(a)vc}. If you were traveling over 70, you don't have much of a leg to stand on as far as the signs go. Also keep in mind that just because the officer may have given you a brake on the speed he wrote in the box on the ticket his testimony would be to the true speed.
Traffic school seems like a good idea to me.
 
Thanks to all the suggestions. I talked to an attorney that "Chromatose" from the NSX lists referred me to. Very knowledgeable attorney. He too said no case worth pursuing.

Two things worth noting. (1) Never be candid with info to the judge in a tiral by declaration as once you admit to anything, you lose the case because they will hang you on that irrespective of all the other valid issues. (2) Hollister is the a place where you do not want to argue a case, waste of time and money ....... small town need the revenues.

The issue is not whether I was speeding or not. I confessed I was doing about 65-68 mph in what turned out to be a 55 mph zone; I passed a slower car before a 90 degree turn, the car was driving quite unsafely at 8:30 pm pitch dark. The issue was whether the reading on the radar was mine or the car behind me completing the pass right after the turn at a higher speed. Since the speed he clocked on the radar exceeds the 20 mph over 55 mph, traffic school is not an option. I asked the judge for traffic school noting the scenario of the passing car, my speed and thus the reason for appealing the ticket with trial by declaration. He declined without explanation and apparently he doesn't owe an explanation either.

Yep, my first point in almost 30 years!
 
Well at least it's done with right? I know our judges will sometimes just make a decision with nothing to justifiy it. It's frustrating because it would help just to know how they came to that conclusion. Unfortunately....that's very realistic of our judicial system as a whole. All the power in so few hands.

first points in 30 years is pretty damn good. I wish I could say that.

take care
 
Just an update. For $1.50, I received the officer's trial by declaration statement from the Superior Court.

He pretty much said what I said, regarding a car passing a slower car but ascribed it to me rahter than the other car behind me. But he did state correctly that the car I was driving was an Black ACURA NSX ... :biggrin:

But in his declaration, the officer notes that he used both visual and radar in his estimation of the speed at 700 feet away (there was no laser use). The radar was calibrated back on 11/21/2002, that is 2.5 years ago! Then he also checks that the "Equipment accuracy check" was conducted on the same date the ticket was written, once earlier that afternoon, and then later that night after the ticket issue time. But he did not submit any such documentation. He also did not submit any documentation regarding when he completed a radar operator course. At the time, his exclusive duties were traffic enforcement.

Well, I have also asked from the CHP based in Gilroy a record of the radar's calibration as well as the officer's training. Interestingly, initially they said this was no problem and they will fax it in a few days, a week has passed and they haven't responded while the slower court did. Hmmmmm, ....

And by the way, the judge continued to refuse to provide his reasoning when I asked for all the papers under Public Records Act.

Oh, we drove the same road about a few weeks ago as we were caravaing to Laguna again, a CHP was sitting/waiting in the same area. Entrapment heh .....
 
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