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Over Limit with no posted speed limit?

Discussion in 'Speeding Tickets, Traffic & Moving Violations' started by Mike1492, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. Mike1492

    Mike1492 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    Hi,

    Before I waste anyone's time in court, I'd like to get a better understanding of how strong my case is. Hopefully you guys can help me out.

    So, here's what happened:
    I was driving down a country road in California when a car came up behind me pretty fast and started tailgating me. I sped up because I felt like I could but they were so aggressive behind me that I felt unsafe and sped up more trying to get them off my bumper and I knew my turn was coming up so it wouldn't be for long. Before my turn came up the car served around me, passed and took off. The next thing I know, a police officer pulled me over for speeding. He said he was going after the other guy but since I was right there and speeding too, then he got me. I calmly told him what happened and he said that I driving fast so he didn't buy it and handed me a ticket a few minutes later. The citation is for "Unsafe Speed for Prevailing Conditions Over Limit". I don't have the citation in front of me but I think I was clocked at 62 MPH in what he says is a 45 MPH zone.

    When I was driving the road the following week. I noticed that the last speed limit sign on my route before the area where I got the ticket showed: END 45 SPEED LIMIT. So, I took a video of the whole route. The video shows the following signs over the span a 5 minutes:
    45 SPEED LIMIT
    45 SPEED LIMIT
    45 SPEED LIMIT
    END 45 SPEED LIMIT
    45 MPH TURN
    Google Maps corroborates this information and it was before the 45 MPH TURN that I was captured on Lidar.

    It seems to be that there is no posted speed limit for that area of the road since the last sign shows END 45 and a 45 MPH Turn sign clearly shows that one should slow down to 45 for a turn, suggesting a higher speed limit. What does the law say here? What is the speed limit here if the last sign says END 45?

    Also, does the argument that I was fleeing a tailgater have any value in court? I clearly panicked and should not have let a tailgater push me faster and faster. At the same time, I felt like I was in danger and was fleeing from it. Does that mean anything in court?

    Any advice on what I should do?

    Thanks for any and all comments,
    Mike
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Always and ever the absolutely wrong move. The right move is slow down and let them go around you. Pull to the side if you have to.

    You wish.

    Assuming for a moment that you were in a residential area (correct me if elsewhere) the prima facie speed limit is 25 mph. See CA Vehicle Code Section 22352 (b):

    Law section.

    Not a bit. Judges hear that excuse every day and will also tell you it was absolutely the wrong move.

    Pay your fine. It's your tuition for a life lesson from the school of hard knocks.
     
    justblue likes this.
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Arguing that you were forced to break the law because someone allegedly tailgated you would do nothing to convince a judge that you weren't speeding.

    If someone was tailgating you, you could have pulled off the roadway into a parking lot, or on the side of the road and stopped.

    You would have then had an opportunity to call "911" if you believed your life was in jeopardy.

    Okay, let's address CA law regarding "speed limits".

    The maximum speed limit on most California highways is 65 mph.

    A motorist is allowed to drive 70 mph where posted.

    The maximum speed limit is 55 mph on two-lane undivided highways (unless signs say otherwise) and for vehicles towing trailers.

    Speed limit signs are posted for the type of roads and traffic in each area.

    If you are driving within 500 to 1,000 feet of a school while children are outside or crossing the street, the MAXIMUM speed limit is 25 mph, unless signs say otherwise.

    California also has a “Basic Speed Law”.

    The “Basic Speed Law" mandates that a motorist may NEVER drive faster than is safe for current road conditions.

    In any business or residential areas the speed limit is 25 mph, unless speed limit signs indicate otherwise.

    You can investigate the possibility fo attending traffic school.
    That is a sure fire winner, if the judge and the law permits it.
    Once you complete the school, the citation is dismissed, and you can even get a discount on your automobile policy for completing a safe driver course with MOST major insurers.
     
  4. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Wrong reaction. Show down and allow them to pass.

    This is probably a yellow and black sign rather than a white and black sign. The speed limit at this location, according to your description, was likely 55. It seems you should have been cited for 62 in a 55 and could likely argue that in court and get the fine reduced, but not dismissed. Taking the matter could result in the officer failing to show which would get you a dismissal.

    55

    Nope. You should have slowed. Don't even try this argument. You will make eyes roll.

    Show up in court and plead not guilty. You will be assigned another court date..With luck the officer will fail to show to that second date and you will be dismissed. If he does show, present the evidence of signage you mention here, which indicates the speed limit after the "end 45" was 55 and that the fine should be reduced to 7 puffer the limit. Whether or not you get the reduction you can still r to attend traffic school (for an additional fee) which will keep the violation off your record.
     
  5. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    That is a good argument to make as well. If you were cited under the basic speed law the officer will have to offer evidence that your speed was unsafe/unreasonable for conditions. If clear, dry, and minimal traffic, no visual obstructions, etc. 7 over the limit may not be so unsafe/unreasonable.
    The officer will go first and explain the reason for the citation. If he fails to explain how your speed was unsafe/unreasonable and instead simply indicates that an electronic device detected your speed, you can question him about it and try to get the judge to buy it. If not you can still angle for the reduction and traffic school.
    Do not waste your opportunity to question the officer.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  6. Mike1492

    Mike1492 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks everyone. I have the option to do traffic school, but it sounds like I should take the opportunity to see the evidence and talk to the officer in court. Best case, he isn't there, worst case I pay to do traffic school.
     
  7. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Your best course of action here is to go to court. With the signage evidence you have you should at minimum significantly reduce the fine.
     
  8. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    You don't get a chance to "talk to the officer" in court.
    Just so you know - officers rarely miss court. It's overtime for them. Also, if they are unable to attend court, it's quite possible that it will be rescheduled. Finally, judges are sometimes reluctant to offer traffic school once you have taken the matter to a hearing.
     
  9. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    It happens all the time. Maybe it happens less in some areas compared to others, and less in some agencies, but citations are dismissed every day for the officer failing to appear.
    A judge in this case would be unlikely to prohibit traffic school if the offender is correctly arguing for a reduction due to officer error.

    Remember- the officer will not be at the initial appearance and you will not be arguing the citation there. In fact, on the date given in the citation you may not even get in to a court room. The clerk may give you another date to return for arraignment, then on that date you are rescheduled for a traffic trial. The officer will not be expected to show until you are scheduled for a traffic trial.
     

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