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LawGirl, Attorney
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 4606
Experience:  I have litigated and advised clients on various legal matters involving vehicles and traffic.
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Can my son win in court in defending a speeding ticket

Resolved Question:

My son got a speeding ticket in los angeles on olympic blvd. near avenue of the stars at about 4 pm last friday. i do not have the ticket with me at the moment and have not read it --- my son said the cop came out of nowhere and the cop said he radared my son. cop said my son was going 55mph (i don't now the speedl limit but it must be less than 55 since he got the ticket) --- my son said at that time of day (major traffic time -it's so congested in that area (century city) that it would be impossible to drive 55 mph. do you think he has a defense if he goes to court? and what issues can he bring up? or is the cop always right as usual. i think the court will be beverly hills. i don't know if you have an option to go to court in downtown los angeles or if there would be any benefit as far as fighting the ticket. aren't you entitled to have your ticket heard at the county seat?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  LawGirl replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for your question.

Generally there is a legal presumption that the officer is telling the truth about what he witnessed. Your son has the burden of proving that either the cop is mistaken and/or the radar gun was not calibrated correctly. He is entitled to have the matter heard in traffic court. If, after a trial, the outcome is not favorable, he may have the ability to appeal the decision.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for the reply. I am sorry but I did not find your reply helpful. Perhaps I did not state my issue clearly.


My issue is that my son wants to get the speeding ticket dismissed. How does a person defend himself against a speeding ticket? I do know that the presumption is that the officer is telling the truth about what he witnessed.


However -- the officer cannot just "estimate" the speed can he? For speeding doesn't the officer have to actually "clock" the driver? Or, "radar" the driver?


In this case, as I told you, the officer said he "radared" my son's car. Isn't it the case that a radar gun has to be regularly calibrated and that there has to be proof that the radar gun used was properly calibrated and that the calibration was recent? Does the officer use a hand held radar gun?


Also - what about using a Declaration?


And what about discovery?


I need to know how my son can defend against the ticket.










Expert:  LawGirl replied 6 years ago.
I am sorry I provided information you already knew. I had no way of knowing what information you know or would find helpful.

Your son can request a trial and can request any discovery that he feels may be helpful to his case.

Your son will have the burden of showing that the radar gun was not calibrated correctly. Your son in discovery can ask for the gun's calibration records. To the extent those are not available, your son can cross-examine the officer about the method the officer used to calibrate the gun.

Some officers testify that they know someone is speeding because they are driving faster than the flow of traffic and/or because they know how fast they are driving and the speeding individual is passing them. There are a number of ways an officer can determine that someone is speeding that does not rely on a radar gun.

It is possible to fight the accuracy of the radar gun and defeat the ticket or have the charge dismissed, but many times that is a very technical argument that requires proof that the gun was either miscalibrated or misused.

If your son plans to get the charge dismissed, then trial by Declaration is not the best idea unless the evidence is clear cut. To the extent that your son needs to argue his case or argue the evidence against him, this is probably best done in a trial wherein he is able to cross-examine the officer who will be testifying against him.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

OK Thank You. I think it is impossible for a layperson to cross examine a police officer in a trial because how would a layperson know any technical arguments -- and the police officer is trained and has (taxpaper paid) support for the documents he brings etc.


So re a trial: my son should first pay the fine is that correct? and then ask for a trial? and is the trial date set at the time he pays the fine?


Expert:  LawGirl replied 6 years ago.
No, he should attend the hearing, please not guilty and ask for a trial if he wants one. At that time the court will make him pay a bond or bail (probably in the amount of the fine). The court will likely (at that time) set the matter for trial (for a future time).
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