I always encourage everyone to fight their traffic tickets and keep your hard-earned money in your pocket instead of surrendering it to the corrupt state. I have often referenced the fact that I’ve beaten about 15 tickets since I learned how to properly fight the revenue agents in 2001. One of those victories which was particularly gratifiying was a speeding ticket I received in Upland, CA in 2002. On 11/8/02, I was cited for driving 48MPH in a 35MPH zone, “in violation of the state’s basic speed law.” At trial, I pled not guilty and was initially convicted of speeding, but appealed and won in California Superior Court of Appeals, when a panel of three superior court appellate judges ruled for me and threw out the phony conviction. This was pretty easy to do, and I encourage everyone else to do so. [See my TRAFFIC TICKET ARCHIVES here.] After many years, I finally got around to scanning my legal brief and the Superior Appellate Court ruling on the matter.
But first people must remember that we all have the right to presumption of innocence. Here is why I think that everyone should plead not guilty to every ticket- every time. The revenue agents are getting very aggressive in issuing citations for nearly everything. Oftentimes these fines and fees are upwards of $600-$1000, an obscene amount. The economy is bad, and people ought to keep as much of their own money as possible- in addition to keeping your auto insurance rates low and affordable. Valentine One Radar De... Best Price: $283.51 Buy New $464.49 (as of 12:15 EDT - Details)
The first thing people must do when they receive a citation for a traffic infraction is read the specific statue that you are charged with allegedly violating. Do not underestimate the importance of this seemingly obvious step. Many people overlook this and assume for example, that a speeding ticket is just that. However, there is no statue which simply says “Bob was speeding.” What does the statute specifically say? I will give you an example. In my case, I was charged with violating BASIC SPEED LAW, California Vehicle Code Section 22350. The code states:
22350. No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.
HelpIgotaTicket.com is a great free site where I learned nearly everything I know about fighting traffic tickets. It applies only to California, but might be helpful to others in learning basic due-process concepts which may be applicable in your state. As Geo McCalip at HelpIGotaTicket.com points out in his Basic Speed Law Defense, long-established Case law in CA reveals people can admit exceeding the posted speed limit but are not guilty of violating California Vehicle Code section 22350. In his index of case law, McCalip points out numerous relevant cases, such as this one:
People v Behjat – In a prosecution under Vehicle Code section 22350, the record must contain substantial evidence from which a fact finder could conclude either that the defendant drove at a speed that endangered people or property or that she drove at a speed that was unreasonable for the driving conditions.
In other words, even if I don’t deny going over the posted limit, if I am not endangering people or property, or if the weather conditions aren’t dangerous at the speed I am going, etc., then the state does not meet the legal criteria for a conviction of violating CVC 22350. If an officer had charged me with violating CVC 22349, on the other hand, which states “no person may drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than 65 miles per hour,” that might be a tougher charge to beat. (But still definitely worth a shot.)
- People v Earnest – Because the People did not produce either the original engineering and traffic survey or a certified copy of it demonstrating that the posted speed limits on the pertinent segments of roadway were justified by current engineering and traffic surveys, none of their evidence as to the defendants’ speeds was – admissible…
- People v Studley – This case presents the following question: where a motorist is cited, by the use of radar, for speed in excess of the state maximum speed limit on a nonlocal road with a prima facie speed limit of 50 miles per hour, and where a traffic and engineering survey is not proved at trial, do California’s speed trap laws apply to compel exclusion of all evidence of speed? We hold the answer is “yes.”
In 54 40 or Fight, Helpigotaticket.com points out
Two recent court rulings People v. Huffman (88 Cal.App.4th Supp. 1 , 106 Cal.Rptr.2d 820) and People v. Behjat (84 Cal.App.4th Supp. 1)] have held that: No conviction can be sustained unless the record contains substantial evidence supporting each element of the charged offense. These cases can seriously cut down the number of convictions based on over-reliance on technology, especially if we cite them as part of our defense.
Below is my four-page legal brief to the San Bernardino County Appeals Court and the 3-judge panel’s 7-page ruling, which reversed my phony conviction. But first, it should be noted that there was a whole lot of preliminary things I did which led to my victory, begining at my trial. You will understand why these things are very important.
When I arrived at court for my trial in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, the bailiff herded everyone into the courtroom and passed around a white “sign-in sheet” for everyone to sign. There was a paragraph at the top of the paper. A Government of Wolves... Best Price: $1.95 Buy New $3.68 (as of 07:15 EDT - Details) Unlike everyone else, I had the nerve to actually read it, and it basically said that I hereby waive my right to have a real judge hear my case and agree to have a traffic commissioner hear my case. I was reading over it carefully and the white haired, gruff bailiff agressively barked “you gonna sign it or not?” I said EXCUSE ME, YOU’RE ASKING ME TO SIGN A LEGAL DOCUMENT. AM I ALLOWED TO READ IT? OR AM I BEING STRONGARMED INTO SIGNING SOMETHING I HAVENT READ? He immediately backed off and said “oh, no, go ahead and take your time,” at which time I pushed it away and said “I ain’t signing nothin.’
When I refused to waive my rights, the commisioner said I will have to go upstairs to see a superior court judge, who would hear my case sometime that day. For some reason, I was the only person who refused to waive my rights to a real judge. Everyone else who chose to fight their ticket that day, which is a tiny minority of people to begin with, for some bizarre reason surrendered their rights and chose to help the state railroad them and nail them to the wall.
So the officer and I went upstairs and waited for Superior Court Judge Mary Fuller to hear our case. Judge Fuller had a docket full of petty criminal cases, and she was visibly annoyed that a traffic defendant had the nerve to bother her “important matters” for a speeding ticket trial. She was clearly biased from the start, sneered at me, and told the officer that this won’t take long. Against the State: An ... Best Price: $4.78 Buy New $9.95 (as of 03:55 EDT - Details)
When questioning Officer Hilliard I had printed out and asked the officer the 30 Questions. This greatly annoyed Judge Fuller, who angrily said I was ‘rambling.’ Remember, I simply read these questions verbatum to the prosecution witness (the cop.) Remember that all this testimony was being recorded on the court transcript. which also peeved Fuller, who apparently thought I was wasting her time by daring to insist my case be heard by a real judge.
Judge Mary Fuller was a very nasty character, ignored the law, and pronounced me guilty. Even though the prosecuton could not produce a real traffic survey as required by law, Fuller said I was guilty. See, this is why I fight traffic tickets. They aren’t about safety or upholding the law at all, they are about a criminal government who breaks the law daily and violates their own laws, and the rights of the people. I appealed Fuller’s phony conviction through the mail.
In my brief, I stated, in part,
Officer Hilliard failed to lay the foundation by proving an engineering and traffic survey as required by Section 40803 (b) of the vehicle code. (See People v. ESterritt (1976) 65 Cal.App3d Supp.1,135 CalRptr.2s 111; people v Earnest (1995) 33 CalApp.4th Supp 18, 40 CalRptr.2d.304.)People v. Studley (1996) Where a traffic survey is not proved at trial, California’s speed trap laws apply to compel exclusion of all evidence Amazon.com Gift Card i... Check Amazon for Pricing. of speed. Officer testified that he had a traffic engineering survey, but presented no certification by the engineer or certified signayure of the engineer, which is also required by law. Hence rendering that evidence inadmissable. In this case, as I told judge fuller at the hearing on 6/20/03, the judiciary in this case seems to be acting as nothing more than an arm of law enforcement, and as the prosecution revenue collector. ..The spirit of the law and the spirit of justice forbids conviction on such petty, bureaucratic and unproven charges.
in his proposed Statement on appeal and his Opening Brief, appellant raises several issues for our consideration. We consider only one because we find it dispositive, namely, his contention that the conviction must be reversed because the record fails to show the prosecution produced the original or a certified copy of a traffic survey justifying the posted speed limit to rebut the presumption that appellant was caught in a speed trap. A section of highway is a speed trap if radar is used for speed enforcement and the highway has a prima facie speed limit not justified by an engineering and traffic survey conducted within the past five years.
…there is no certification attached to exhibit 1, nor any indication in the record that such certification existed. …to remove a radar-enforcement case from the sanctions set forth in sections 40803a and 40805, the prosecution must rebut the presumption of a speed trap by physically producing in the courtroom either the original or a certified copy of a current engineering survey (unless a defendant stipulates that it need not be produced). the prosecution’s burden is not satisfied by producing merely a summary of current survey results. Accordingly, the officer was incompetent to testify to the defendant’s speed 40802a and the court lacked jurisdiction to convict. 40805. The conviction is reversed.
Appellant’s Opening Brief
Appeal Court Ruling In My Favor
Reprinted from LibertyFight.com.