75 in 50 zone - how are my defense strategies?

zixiao
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75 in 50 zone - how are my defense strategies?

Unread post by zixiao on

Hi all,

First time getting a speeding ticket. I've been reading around and could use some advise:

Summary of Events
I got nicked on Britannia just east of Creditview/Queen St. For those that arn't familiar with the area, Britannia is a fairly major road with speed limits of 60 (eventually building up to 70) on either side of the tiny stretch of road where the limit is 50.

This is approximately where I was targeted by the laser
http://maps.google.com/?ll=43.592483,-7 ... 09,,0,8.22

This is where the officers set up their speed trap right under the 60 limit.
http://maps.google.com/?ll=43.593384,-7 ... 52,,0,1.01

In addition to the speeding charge, I was charged with 'No Insurance Card'. I was driving my dads car at the time and couldn't find where he kept it.

So I go to the court house and got a date of Jan 5, 2012

I've asked for disclosure and just received the ticketing officer's notes today. The officers notes seem to cover all the bases:
- describes the car
- notes I was alone
- location I was targeted
- what equipment was used (although I can't quite make out what it is)
- calibration before and after the incident
- the speed that was recorded
- the posted speed
- noted I had 'attitude' and that I 'doubted' him
- noted that I confessed to going 60
- can't make out the rest


Strategy 1
What the notes don't mention is that there were two officers on duty at the speed trap and that the ticketing officer (who walked out in front of the car) was NOT the person who was operating the laser at the time (I saw the officers way in advance and was sincerely not under the impression that I was going faster than the other cars). Surely this is a worthy point to contest?

I've submitted additional disclosure request for the laser operator's notes. But I'm guessing nothing will come back since he didn't write me a citation. Is there some way I can use this to my advantage?


Strategy 2
I think this strategy is the one that most people take in a laser related case and that is to contest the accuracy, or validity of the equipment and try to get it thrown out. I've been reading a lot and can't seem to find any definitive answers on whether or not lasers have received judicial notice.... and whether or not it even matters.


Strategy 3
Question the laser operator's judgement. I read somewhere that the laser operator must first determine with a visual inspection which vehicles appear to be speeding and then verify that with the laser, not the other way around. So I need to established that the laser would produce a result faster than the operator can determine which vehicles were speeding, and that the reading on the laser influenced the judgement of the laser operator (laser manual can help with this). Also during the cross-exam process is the officer fails to answer any basic questions correctly regarding the capability of the laser (effective range, how long it takes to read a target etc.) I'd contest the laser operator does not have the basic knowledge to use the device.


Strategy 4
It seems that the officer went out of his way to mention that I had attitude. Whether or not I did (and I don't think so), I fail to see how that's relevant to the case. Is this a way I can use this to my advantage?


Thanks
I've read somewhere that I should also request disclosure for:
- Log of vehicles pulled over
- Laser gun tracking history
- Laser gun manual
- Can I examine the laser device at the prosecutors office?

Thanks in advance to anyone that can gimmie a hand.
Attachments
officer notes.JPG
Ticketing officer's notes
officer notes.JPG (95.27 KiB) Viewed 2454 times


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Radar Identified
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Unread post by Radar Identified on

Strategy 1: Both officers will be required to attend court if one was operating the device and the other stopped you/issued the ticket. If one is not there, then you should move to have the case dismissed. They need testimony from both officers in that case. However, if they were "taking turns," ie. one guy runs the laser and then pulls a vehicle over, then the next guy goes, then they only need the one officer.

Strategy 2: Lasers have judicial notice and have been accepted as valid speed-measuring devices by the courts in Ontario. (R. v Vancrey)

Strategy 3: The officer already established that he visually observed you speeding before the device was used. "Observe vehicle at high speed, brown Toyota Sienna van, solo - observe vehicle east of Josephs E/B in lane 2 @178 metres speed obtained 77 km/h." Questioning the officer on how he used the device may be useful, however you will need to thoroughly read through the manual.

Strategy 4: No. It's reference for him and the Prosecutor to use. The Prosecutor may be less likely to offer a deal because of it.
zixiao wrote:I've read somewhere that I should also request disclosure for:
- Log of vehicles pulled over
- Laser gun tracking history
- Laser gun manual
- Can I examine the laser device at the prosecutors office?
- Log of vehicles pulled over: No. That would violate numerous privacy laws with respect to other defendants. You are not entitled to that information.
- Laser gun tracking history: A "tracking history" is the officer observing you speeding first and then activating the device. You already have that.
- Laser gun manual: Yes, ask for that. The relevant parts must be disclosed to you.
- Examine device: No. Unless you have substantial expertise in the operation of laser devices, this will not be of use to you and the JP will not grant it.
* The above is NOT legal advice. By acting on anything I have said, you assume responsibility for any outcome and consequences. *
http://www.OntarioTicket.com OR http://www.OHTA.ca


Stanton
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Unread post by Stanton on

Reading his notes, it would appear he claims to have been operating the device, not someone else. He obtained the reading from such a long distance out he may have already switched positions with the other officer when you first noticed them. It wouldn't make much sense for one officer to operate the device and another to pull over vehicles due to the fact both would need to attend Court.


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Pepsi
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Unread post by Pepsi on

How interesting. I was ticketed in exactly the same spot, exactly the same speed, just yesterday. Like you, it is my very first ticket ever. I saw 2 police officers but there could have been more. The one that flagged me down sent me to park in a driveway few meters away so I'd be out of the traffic, took my ids with him and went back to the cruiser. I didn't think I was speeding and was speechless when he showed me the 75km on the radar. The only thing i could utter is OMG. When he came back with the ticket I recovered enough to try to argue but he interrupted me by saying he'll reduce the speed to 65 because i had a clean driving record and that I'd get no demerit points that way. I didn't object any further but after I got home I began to think more about the incident and began to wonder if I was truly speeding.
1. There were other cars on the road and we were all travelling at similar speed. I wouldn't say that there was heavy traffic but there was quite a bit of volume. Were we all speeding?
2. The officer step onto the road, I believe even into my lane to flag me down. Would he do that if I was travelling at 75km? (I didn't change my speed until I saw him on the road)
3. As I was waiting for the officer in the car, I saw another one pulling other cars off the road. I think they had a good harvest that morning. It would be interesting to see how many other drivers they got and at what speed.
I was going to ask for the notes from the entire day for that purpose but judging from the replies I saw I wouldn't get it for confidentiality reasons. But if anyone else sees this post maybe we can compare notes.

Next came the question about insurance,, it appears that my premiums will jump 5% because of this single ticket! I figured even if I lose in court it is worth trying. The way I understand it, if I lose I may end up with the original speed of 75km rather than reduced 65km charge and 3 demerits. But, demerit points get wiped out after 3 years whereas that ticket will stay on my record forever, maybe not on insurance but on the record. Also, if I ever so much as sneeze on the road i could get another ticket.
Since the officer who stopped me seemed really nice I'd like to believe he honestly clocked me speeding, although I went there back today to check out the scene and take some pics and travelled at 70km on west section of Britannia where the limit is 70 and it really didn't feel like I was going anywhere near that when I was stopped. The question I have to the gurus here, if I lose the case, do I have to pay any additional fees besides my ticket? e.g. court fees or whatever? I thought my taxes would cover that...
I realize they won't make any difference to my defense but I was also wondering why is the speed limit on most of Britannia 70km and on that bridge 50? There are the same number of lanes, in fact the bridge has extra space in the middle. Is this what supposed to keep us safe or is it what is supposed to keep the city coffers full?


herculeseng
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Unread post by herculeseng on

ZiXiao, you confessed to speeding. Next time (hopefully there will be no next time), never confess to anything, it does not matter how tempting it is.

I will chance Strategy 3 in any case. You were solo so your next bet is to include traffic in the opposite direction (if there is any). At 178m, the laser beam expands and the registered reading may be contaminated by vehicles in the opposite traffic. Officer notes do not contain recollection to traffic condition at the area. This is a good thing for you. Build you case out of that if possible.

For Pepsi, if you were all travelling as a pack, this is a good thing. So long that you were not leading and gaining distance to the rest of the pack, question how the officer can single you out from a pack. If you drive a small car, even better. The further the distance from where the officer targeted you, the better chance that you can have.


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Unread post by paul1913 on

herculeseng wrote:ZiXiao, you confessed to speeding. Next time (hopefully there will be no next time), never confess to anything, it does not matter how tempting it is.

I will chance Strategy 3 in any case. You were solo so your next bet is to include traffic in the opposite direction (if there is any). At 178m, the laser beam expands and the registered reading may be contaminated by vehicles in the opposite traffic. Officer notes do not contain recollection to traffic condition at the area. This is a good thing for you. Build you case out of that if possible.

For Pepsi, if you were all travelling as a pack, this is a good thing. So long that you were not leading and gaining distance to the rest of the pack, question how the officer can single you out from a pack. If you drive a small car, even better. The further the distance from where the officer targeted you, the better chance that you can have.
The laser beam does expand, or spread out. At 100m it is the width of 30cm (size of licence plate) so at 1000m (1km) is the width of 3m (average width of one city lane).

Most Lidar units have a scope, some have a magnified one some dont. Each one have a targeting reticle, similar to a rifle scope, depending on the model. It could be a dot or a cross hair. Even if you are in a pack, it is VERY easy to target one vehicle with a scope and cross-hair considering at 178m.


paul1913
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Unread post by paul1913 on

zixiao wrote:Hi all,


Strategy 1
It is often that two officers share a lidar unit. One uses it as the other writes the ticket. From the notes it appears he was the one that targeted you and stopped you

Strategy 2
Accuracy, well it is accurate, and it has been accepted includng that said unit by the IACP International Association of Chiefs of Police and the courts as a proper speed measuring device. The unit was tested at the start and of shift, and im certain that it was in proper working order. So unless you can prove otherwise......

Strategy 3
As mentioned by someone else, he has mentioned Tracking History.


Strategy 4
Attitude might not come up in trial, but definatly would in the discussions with the court and on the side of the road if any reductions were given.



Thanks in advance to anyone that can gimmie a hand.

The equipment used is a Laser Atlanta - Speed Laser Sn 24100


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Pepsi
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Unread post by Pepsi on

zixiao,
I am in the process of researching defense options for myself and being new at this can't really offer advice but thought you might find some of the links below of value. Good luck to you in court. I would appreciate your posting the outcome once your case is over. As a general comment, I think it is really sad that police have nothing better to do than to sit in hiding with a laser pointed at the road. Technically, going even 1km over the speed limit is speeding and police officers have a complete discretion as to when to issue one. Does unsafe driving really require measuring the speed with a laser? Are we safer on the road when we constantly stare at the speedometer or when we watch the road? Are we safer when we travel at a speed similar to other cars or at the speed prescribed by a city clerk who knows when and for what reason?

http://www.gtamotorcycle.com/vbforum/sh ... -%28new%29
old but might be useful

http://www.ticketcombat.com/

http://www.buyradardetectors.com/Articl ... asics.aspx
scroll to "Preparing For Your Court Date". The tips there are for the US but might be applicable to Ontario, you would need to confirm.

http://www.phrack.org/issues.html?issue=37&id=5
scroll to "PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS". Again, don't know how applicable.

http://www.canlii.org/eliisa/highlight. ... cj246.html
a case which was dismissed, and from what I understand, a new trial was set. I've read this case and the legalise completely lost me:( It seems however that the change of speed limit signs may carry some weight which means that in your case since the 60km sign must have been visible from where you were clocked, right? Maybe being on the borderline of speed limit change would be of value.

http://www.ontariotraffictickets.com/ti ... g-FAQs.htm
some good faq about traffic tickets. I am not promoting OTT services, just the info they have. E.g. the question of pictures is interesting, I might bring some to my trial to show typical traffic flow for the area, the downhill slope, possible obstructions.
can you find out the name of the judge and check his cases? it might help to know how he handled other cases.

http://www.speedlaser.com/sl_faqs.html
I think this is the laser you mentioned being used. You might consider asking whether the unit had any errors when it was turned on/tested. Was it set on 'obstruct mode'? There is that large hydro pole right the the cruiser was, at least in my case.

http://www.speedtraphunter.net/police-l ... ion-4.html
scroll to 'Day in court' . The guy beat the ticket challenging the accuracy of the device. It was in BC and he was targetted at a farther distance than you but it may be of help if you managed to get your hands on the owner's manual. You might want to get in touch with the guy for more details.


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Pepsi
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Unread post by Pepsi on

herculeseng, paul1913
Thanks for the info. There were other cars but I can't remember if I was in front..Yes, it is a small car. I don't know at what distance I was clocked, I still didn't get disclosure. Will need that to decide on my line of defense. I will be asking for the manual to check the accuracy claims and any other info that might invalidate the reading.


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Unread post by paul1913 on

its in the notes 178 meters.

So it would be just under 60 cm's. Your vehicle is much wider than that.


zixiao
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Unread post by zixiao on

Its been a while since my original post. Thanks for everyone's input. My court date is tomorrow and I'll update this thread on how it went.

Since my original post I've asked the prosecutors office to provide me with a copy of any training material for the techniques used by the officer in obtaining the evidence the prosecution intends to used. I figure there must be some specific guidelines to follow when conducting 'speed excercises' just like there are guidelines to follow when using the laser device. Improper use of techniques could result in reasonable doubt just as improper use of the measuring device. So far the prosecutors have been firm that guidelines for the techniques employed by the police are not relevant to the case. I intend to challenge that view before proceedings actaully begin.

If the judge decides in the prosecutors favour with regard to the technique guidelines, then I might ask for a new trial date so that I may obtain the information I deem neccessary for my defence through freedom of information request. I will also state I do not wish to give up my right to a speedy trial... we'll see how that one goes. Try for a 11b or something later.

If we proceed to trial, I'll do the best I can to punch holes in the cops testimony and evidence but will probably end up getting convicted... From what I understand very few people get out of tickets once it actually goes to trial.


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Unread post by Pepsi on

The guy in BC won on challenging the equipment so don't give up that easily. You have the right to have the evidence to help you prove your innocence so personally I like the strategy. If they refuse you should be able to appeal. All takes time and meanwhile the ticket stays off your record.
GOOD LUCK!






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