Hi. I was found guilty in my gen dist court case of Va. $46.2-830 - Failure to Obey Highway Sign. OK.
Policeman tracked me via his speedometer and said I was going 60 but only cited me for $46.2-830. That may have been kind.
However, there is no Speed Limit 45 sign anywhere (only in other direction). OK. I appealed to Circuit court by myself and on 05/08/2013, OK, where you had a new trial...
the officer/witness stated there is a Speed Limit 45 sign. OK, so it was his word against your word.
I informed judge that I challenge that since there was no speed limit sign It sounds like he felt the officer was more credible than you. Credibilitiy determinations are part of the duty of the factfinder, be that factfinder a jury or a judge.
and by 46.2-830, I should not be found in violation since it should not be enforced "against an alleged violator if. at the time and place of the alleged violation, any such sign, signal, marking, or light is not in proper position and sufficiently legible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person". Here is the problem I am seeing is that you did not prove the part of this rule that would prohibit enforcement - ie. you failed to prove the absence of the speed sign. You submitted evidence (your own testimony) and so did the prosecution (the testimony of the officer), the Judge found the evidence of the state to be more believable. It would have been helpful if you'd submitted proof that was not so easily rebuttable by mere testimony of another - such as video of the roadway you were traveling, showing a lack of signage, and/or the additional testimony of a very credible person who drove that road that day and could testify that NO, there was no signage -
Judge simply disregarding my reading of the statute and my testimony He need not regard a statute that doesnt apply to the determined facts. here he found via the evidence that there was a sign on that day. As such, your statute doesn't apply. (I am not saying that his finding was accurate, only that it was the court's finding.)
that no speed limit sign existed. Despite my argument, judge still said I was guilty and fined me $100. Unfortunately, that is his job. They generally do not believe everyone who denies committing an infraction - else we'd all get off.
I did talk to 1 attorney who felt my appealing to the next possible level was not of value He is probably considering whether you have any appealable issues, which there doesn't seem to be and possible the fact that even if you did have an appealable basis, would the cost of appealing be worth the $100 fine reversal?
so it seems best way is to do a Motion to Reconsider. I would tend to agree. Unfortunately, Recon generally does not allow for submitting new evidence, but of convincing the judge that he didn't look at it the right way, or missed something presented or failed to read the statute right, etc. What I'd love to see is you ability to go get that video and show it to him - but that likely won't be allowed.
Any further advice would be appreciated as I have to submit by Wed since I think that is the last day of the 21-day period of which I can file a Motion to Reconsider. Here is what I am thinking - perhaps you can argue that the state did not prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. There was only two pieces of evidence on the element of whether a sign was visible: 1) the officer's testimony 2) your testimony. All else being even, did the officer's testimony so solidly prove that fact of signage beyond a reasonable doubt? If that officer's testimony was "more likely true than your testimony", that only means it is 51% likely that his version is accurate and yours is not. It leave 49% likelihood that yours is accurate - so close in likelihoods! That being the case, could it really be said that you were found guilty BEYOND any reasonable doubt? I'd argue that there IS reasonable doubt, even if from a court standpoint, for the sake of argument, it is more likely than not that the officer may have been accurate. This is a somewhat difficult concept at times to wrap one's mind around - but I'd probably be trying to convince the judge that the state's evidence simply didn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt, but only something far less, and that the VA law says it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, since this is not a mere civil matter.
I know I would also list me in the motion that I am preparing as the defendant but what would I list for the plaintiff (would it just be "County of Arlington, VA")? Thank you very much for your help. If you can find a caption heading, perhaps on a Judgment or Order of conviction, it may say, State of VA vs. YOU. Usually if the statute violated is a State statute, the prosecuting party is the state. As opposed to an alleged violation of a town ordinance, then it could be Town v. you.
Found guilty in Gen Dist. Appealed to Circuit Ct by myself but found guilty on 05/08. In addition to what I stated already, the judge asked if I had "any more questions" for the other side. I had wanted to view the speedometer calibration certificate That is something that you should have asked for but if you didn't ask for it via a Discovery demand, if they didn't happen to bring it to court, you'd be out of luck. Rememember to always secure as much evidence before court, not in court.
but since he asked if I had any "questions", I didn't think my wanting to eventually look at the calibration certificate was proper out of respect to the court to mention at that time. Nothing improper about it.
He said I already had my chance and it was too late, guilty Hey, you gave it a shot, being inexperienced and not trained in what the standard is for proof and cross examination of that officer. If there is ever a next time, you will have learned from this experience, and everytime we learn, we get better and better.