I received a ticket for HTA 144(18) for failing to stop at a red light on the summer of last year. I requested disclosure and recently picked up the officer's notes and DVD of the dashcam relating to the incident. Some important notes from the officer:
1."veh is approx. 5-8 meters behind white line as the light turns red..."
2."the light was red for approx 2-3 seconds"
3."veh does not make any attempts to stop and goes through the intersection on the red light"
4."other vehs stop without any issues."
5."follow veh and never lose sight"
After viewing the DVD several times, slowing down the low quality footage, and doing some calculations:
1. Honestly, the footage has poor quality you can barely make out the signal change from green to yellow or yellow to red, let alone the solid white line. Assuming the officer's estimate is right, I did some stopping distance calculations for the dry pavement and my car's tires and it gave me at least 28.1 meters (not including reaction time which would amount to approx. 31.5 meters in stopping distance). If this was a failure to stop at a yellow I doubt I could argue this, but I had full intention of going through the intersection because I believed it was the safest thing for me to do. In my perspective, the car seemed to be half over the white line when it already turned red.
2.Light was yellow at 8:12:24 turned red at 8:12:25 I was long past the intersection by 8:12:28. I was not behind the white line with a red light for 2-3 seconds.
3. Veh ahead did not make any attempts, no vehs beside, car behind me was approx. 1 sec or less away, decided it was safest to proceed.
4. No veh beside me to gauge if stopping was correct or not. Only veh in front and behind.
5. Officer loses sight of me on dash cam from 8:12:54 to 8:13:45 (almost a minute). Did not record my license plate at the time of said incident, only after regaining sight of my car.
Based on the info above and some of my defenses, is it likely that I will win this ticket? The video quality is very poor, and I can easily prove that I wasn't able to stop in that distance estimated by the officer (under the full intention of crossing the intersection). Also, the pedestrians crossing the street, did so at the same time I was completely past the intersection (8:12:28).
Is your license plate visible in the video going thru intersection?
Explain what you mean by the officer did lose site... Is it just that you are several vehicles ahead with some vehicles in between, or do you go around a corner and out of site, and then the officer takes 45 seconds to get around the corner and get you back in site?
Since you are supposed to slow down when you see a yellow, it is hard to argue that the safest thing to do was go thru a red, so if you testify you will just incriminate yourself. What everybody else around you does is also irrelevent.
You can only see the white rectangular shape of the license plate, but there is no way you can read the letters and numbers from the dash cam video.
The officer that ticketed me wasn't the one that caught me running the "red," it was his partner (I know this from the audio). By the time he decided to stop me I was already an intersection ahead of him, and it took him about a minute to regain sight of me and pull me over. Dash cam doesn't show my vehicle during this time.
I understand you're supposed to slow down on a yellow, but I know my car better than anyone else, I simply didn't feel safe stopping at the yellow with the distance I had so I proceeded with caution--I was already in the intersection when the light turned red, so I cleared it.
144(15)-Every driver approaching a traffic control signal showing a circular amber indication and facing the indication shall stop his or her vehicle if he or she can do so SAFELY, otherwise he or she may proceed with caution.
I believe I'm perfectly within the law here, I had no intention of running a red or putting anyone in harm, and there is no evidence that suggests I did not pass through the intersection cautiously (I did not speed up).
You should ask for disclosure of the notes of BOTH officers. If one saw you and the other gave you the ticket, then they both need to testify.
The only way you can beat this is to NOT testify and NOT take the witness stand and NOT admit to anything and NOT give your side of the story. You have the right to remain silent and the right not to incriminate yourself, so don't. Regardless of how well you know your car, if you say what you said here you will be found guilty.
The only way to beat this is to cross-examine the officer on the fact that the video shows them losing sight of you. If there is doubt as to your vehicle being the same one that went thru the light, then you could win.
With the video you may also be able to bring doubt to the fact that the car (which you are not admitting is yours) does not appear to go thru red light several seconds after it turned red.
Anyways giving your side of the story and saying you went thru the red light, regardless of reason, will NOT work and you will be found guilty by your own admission and the officers testimonies won't even matter.
How can I get disclosure from the other officer?
After handing in my disclosure form, the only notes I received were from the ticketing officer and the DVD. I'm assuming this is the only material the prosecutor has against me.
I can easily prove that they do lose track of my vehicle and fail to take down my license plate with timestamps of the video--bringing doubt to the fact that it was actually my veh. Will the judge be able to view the video during/before the trial to confirm my argument? If not, what's the best way I can prove this to the judge?
Thank-you for your help.
Why do you think the officer that saw you run red light and the one that gave you the ticket are two different officers?
Because the audio in the video of the officer saying "he was behind the line before it was red" was from the ticketing officer's partner. The voice of the ticketing officer is different from the person that said I was behind the white line.
So the notes you have would be from the officer that saw you then and not the one that gave you the ticket?
Is there any identifying information on the notes that say what the officers name is?
Officers name that wrote ticket should be on the ticket itself. Is it the same or different?
If the notes you have are from the officer that wrote the ticket, but that officer did not actually see you, then that is a huge issue because officer is lying in their notes.
If the notes you have are NOT from the officer that wrote the ticket, then that is actually good. Rather than ask for anymore disclosure, I would wait until trial and ask if both officers are there. If yes, then you can wait until they put the officer on the stand and then object to the officer being their because they did not give you any notes from that officer.
There's no indication of either officer in the notes. In the ticket details, after the notes, the ticketing officer's name is mentioned.
If the two officers were in the same cruiser and both saw the incident then they would only need one of them to testify.
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