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Wrongly Accused of Speeding

Discussion in 'Speeding Tickets, Traffic & Moving Violations' started by wronglyaccused, Jan 25, 2010.

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  1. wronglyaccused

    wronglyaccused Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am quite convinced that I have been wrongly accused of speeding on the San Francisco Bay Bridge. I was given a ticket that states my speed at 70 to 73 mph. I and my passenger both think my speed was about 55 mph. I never looked at my speedometer as it never occurred to me that I was being pulled over for speeding. I am quite sure that I wasn't going anywhere close to 70 to 73 mph.

    When I first noticed police lights in my rear view mirror they were several hundred yards behind me and behind another car. I couldn't tell if it was a police car or ambulance. A few minutes later I notice the police car much closer to me and closing on me fast. He must have been going around 75 mph. It appeared to me that he might have been pulling someone else over and then changed his mind and decided to go after me perhaps because I was driving a red sports car (Honda Civic).

    Why would I be wrongly accused? The posted speed limit was 50 mph and I estimate that every last person on the bridge was going about 55 mph like me. So we were all technically speeding. Secondly in September 2009 the "S curve" section of the bridge that I was heading for was re-routed and since that time there have been over 42 accidents in the S curve including a fatality. The safety issues of the new S curve have been major news items and Caltrans and the CHP have been under lots of pressure to slow traffic down before it enters the S curve. There is no break down lane on the bay bridge so the only way to pull someone over is to get them to exit at the Yerba Buena Island exit. In my case I can only imagine that this officer was driving in a loop between Oakland and Yerba Buena Island and his goal is to write one ticket every time through the loop. In my case Yerba Buena Island exit was fast approaching and I was his most convenient victim.

    I intend to go to court to fight the ticket. I am also considering filing a complaint against this officer. However, I am worried because the CHP web sites warns that if the complaint is found to be baseless that the CHP officer has the right to bring a civic action against the person filing the complaint. The case comes down to my word against his which I have to assume will go against me. My reason for filing the complaint is so that it doesn't happen to the next person. So my question is what do I have to fear from a civic action?

    Thanks
     
  2. Proserpina

    Proserpina Moderator

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    The fact that you admit you did not look at your speedometer sort of puts paid to any reasonable chance you may have had of fighting the ticket.
     
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Yep-- you are admitting that you don't know how fast you were going. Your argument is already lost. if you were just keeping up with traffic, it is quite possible that you were over the speed limit since most traffic is at least 5-10 over the limit.

    You might have a small chance though. Does your ticket actually say 70-73mph rather than give a specific speed? Did the officer use radar? Did he pace you? Was aircraft used, or cameras?

    You need to verify how your speed was determined, and if you want to make an issue of it in court you can possibly make an argument that even the officer didn't know how fast you were going as he wrote a range of 70-73. Maybe it was 67-70? How can they assess the proper fine if they don't know the correct speed?

    It's a bit of a stretch, but is the only loophole I see in what you are presenting. Don't bother with the complaint against the officer. Unless there was unprofessional conduct it will be quickly dismissed. His writing you a citation doesn't amount to immoral or unbecoming conduct.
     
  4. wronglyaccused

    wronglyaccused Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for the replys.

    This officer knew what he was doing because after he gave me the ticket he asked me when I first saw him and if I ever looked at my speedometer. I told him I had no reason to look at my speedometer as I didn't think I was doing anything wrong. But as I had seen his lights three minutes or so before he approched me, I do know that he wasn't immediatly behind me for most of that time as I was monitoring the flashing lights. I may skip the compalint thanks to your advice but I will hold on to the ticket with the badge number in case anyone else has a similar experience and reads this.

    Thanks again for the help.
     
  5. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    There is no way in the world he had his lights on three minutes before pulling you over. That statement makes it seem your time perception is quite a bit off. Your statement that you had no reason to look at your speedometer did nothing but hurt your argument. You should be monitoring your speed at all times.
    You don't know how fast you were going, and the argument you are trying to make will get you nowhere if you contest the citation.
     

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