Speeding tickets and North Carolina

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by sk1wbw, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. sk1wbw macrumors 68040

    sk1wbw

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    #1
    So who here lives in North Carolina? Did you know that the police aren't required to have speed detection devices which are ANSI certified, aka radar detectors, in their cars?

    Seems that they are "trained" to accurately determine your speed with just their eyeballs, even if going the opposite way on a two lane road with a huge median between the lanes.

    My wife had her cruise control set at 55 here on Hwy 17 near Jacksonville. A state trooper was on the other side of 17 going north while she was going south. He turned around and gave her a speeding ticket for doing 63 in a 55. He admitted he didn't have a radar gun and wasn't required to have one in order to give tickets.

    Now I ask anyone here, are eyeballs ANSI certified to accurately determine the PRECISE speed of a moving vehicle, even one going south while you are going north, separated by a median?

    I was in the Navy for 20 years, been on 7 surface ships and 4 subs and even I can't accurately determine the speed over water down to the precise knot of a ship, especially one that I am deployed on, and I consider myself very knowledgeable in surface ships and submarines, even foreign navy ships.
     
  2. 184550 Guest

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    #2
    The upside is it ought to be easy to get overturned in court. Though 8 mph over is a little harsh. When I did ride alongs they almost never pulled anyone over on a highway/ 55+ zone unless it was 12+ over the speed limit.

    Similarly, I was in Shelby two years ago and a State Trooper pulled me over for not wearing my seat belt. It was a two lane road, 50 mph zone and the Trooper was sitting in the parking lot of a NCDOT building. Somehow he saw I wasn't wearing my seatbelt.

    Maybe we've got the best Troopers in the US. :p
     
  3. sk1wbw thread starter macrumors 68040

    sk1wbw

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    #3
    I've only lived here since March so I haven't ever had any interaction with them. Now Virginia on the other hand had some good ones. I had lots of job related interactions with them doing AAA stuff and they were nothing short of helpful.
     
  4. bladerunner88 macrumors member

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    #4
    Something similar happened to me once Traveling on 17 from MCAS Cherry Point to Langley AFB to catch a ride on USMC C-130 that was TAD. The Trooper was traveling south and I was headed north in a green bag, the speed at which the crossed the median was impressive...cant remember the exact outcome......but was in a hurry to catch the C-130.
     
  5. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #5
    Maybe OnStar squealed on you? ;)
     
  6. mikeyredk macrumors 65816

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    #6
    Get a lawyer and just pay the fee don't get dinged for the points; all they want is your money...
     
  7. einmusiker macrumors 68030

    einmusiker

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    #7
    This seems HIGHLY unconstitutional. Plead not guilty and see what the DA says at the pretrial. Theres no way she should get any points
     
  8. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #8
    Show videos of cars, both speeding and not, and have this 'officer' display his alleged skill. :rolleyes:
     
  9. sk1wbw thread starter macrumors 68040

    sk1wbw

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    #9
    I am going to propose to the attorney that we get that we should conduct a field test. Me with my iPhone videotaping the speedometer readout on cruise control along with a certified third party in the car and then pass the state trooper to see the results. I never knew eyeballs could be ansi certified...
     
  10. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #10
    He'll just have someone in the bush, with a radar gun, whispering sweet nothings in his ear piece. ;)
     
  11. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

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    #11
    No. Well yes, but no. Don't just pay it. Appear in court and fight it because there is no certified proof of speeding and I think it should be easy to get it overturned.
     
  12. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #12
    Yes, easy because he lives there.

    Not so easy for those from out of state.

    I mean, who chooses to go back to NC? They just pay remotely.

    :rolleyes:
     
  13. bearbear macrumors regular

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    #13
    yeah, that's pretty weird. I'd definitely challenge that. If she has a clean driving record, request a PBJ (probation before judgement).
     
  14. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

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    #14
    This is the sort of thing I just don't understand about the USA. Why is there not just one consistent standard for speeding tickets, speed limits and procedures throughout the whole country?

    Also it reminds me a lot of the whole cell phones for making calls while driving is not ok, but texting while driving is fine.

    Ridiculous!
     
  15. sk1wbw thread starter macrumors 68040

    sk1wbw

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    #15
    Because in the US, in the case of speeding tickets, you are guilty. There's no innocence or mistake by the police. They don't have to prove that you were speeding, or even prove that they saw your particular car amongst a group of others who were speeding. And in the case of automated ticketing systems, they don't even have to prove that it was YOU who was driving at the time. Tickets are a major source of revenue for the city and state.

    From DC

    I was in court for a traffic ticket one day and another guy was found guilty of speeding because the state trooper said he paced him. So basically, a state trooper's speedometer is proof of speeding. No other speed detection devices that store the results are needed to prove guilt.

    As in sexual harassment claims, traffic tickets are just guilty, there's no proving innocence.
     
  16. einmusiker macrumors 68030

    einmusiker

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    #16
    Not sure if thats accurate. If it was they wouldnt have a pretrial with the DA where you can negotiate a lesser offense. In fact they wouldnt have a trial at all
     
  17. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #17
    The US is really supposed to be a tight union of independent states; with the federal government running national issues such as immigration, national military, minting money, regulating commerce and any international diplomacy. In the past the individuality of the state was much more strongly emphasized than it is now.

    So think of the US as more like the European Union with the US Federal government being the EU governing bodies and each state a member state. The EU more closely resembles the original Articles of Confederation where the power of the individual state is much more strongly emphasized than the central governing body.

    Any traffic laws are supposed to be beyond the Enumerated Powers of congress. Which is why they differ. Really though traffic laws between the states are very similar. Though one annoying and confusing difference is that some states allow right turns on red lights while others don't.
     
  18. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #18
    I checked. Nothing in the US Constitution says anything about radar guns. :)
     
  19. sk1wbw thread starter macrumors 68040

    sk1wbw

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    #19
    I think he's talking about the fact that everyone knows that speeding tickets make you guilty at the start. Without proof of speeding, and I'm talking physical proof from certified speed detection devices, you are found guilty. End of story. And the Constitution says you are innocent until proven guilty.
     
  20. r3dm4lcz macrumors member

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    #20
    That's absolutely insane. I tell you, there'd be public riots in the UK if that were proposed here.
     
  21. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #21
    Did I really need to add a humour tag to that?

    Besides, at least where I am - and with my non-professional experience - A speeding ticket is initially not a criminal offence (i.e. covered by the constitution) but an administrative offence. My vague understanding is that you are accused of breaking a law, and then given the option to pay some money to make the accusation go away. It's only when you take it to court that it get upgraded to being a criminal matter. In some places where I've lived just showing up to contest a ticket was practically a guarantee that it would thrown out since the cop was usually a no-show since the force wouldn't cover cost of paying another cop to cover their beat. In other places the cops would spare no expense to get a conviction since they didn't want people to go through the trouble of contesting.

    It's still a messed up system... and I don't disagree that it is open to abuse... just that dragging the US constitution into it at this point seemed a bit premature, and that post just invited zinger... :)
     
  22. sk1wbw thread starter macrumors 68040

    sk1wbw

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    #22
    In my understanding, the phrase "guilty until proven innocent" isn't strictly regarding criminal offences, just a measure of either guilt or innocence, right? So the fact that the system upholds police accusations of non proven speeding and then the courts "letting" you pay a monetary amount to make the offence go away sounds a bit like extortion. But that's just me.
     
  23. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

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    #23
    I guess I'm going to be the bearer of some unpopular news here.

    Remember, I'm just the messenger here. I don't agree with most of what I'm about to write, so I'd appreciate it if people don't get snippy with me about it. I'm just telling you how it is.

    First off, if people had taken the time to search for the phrase "visual estimate of speed" they would have seen that, yes, in many states police can and do give tickets simply based on visual observation, with no LIDAR, radar, VASCAR, pacing or other speed detection equipment.

    Again, I don't like this. But on the other hand, I understand where such laws come from. It's a tool meant to be used in cases where the officer does observe someone speeding but for whatever reason, he/she can't measure the speed involved. Any honest person can think of times when they saw a car obviously speeding and said to themselves, "hey, they're really moving." Well, here's the tool for law enforcement to pursue that speeder even without clocking them.

    Where this falls apart for me is somehow assigning an actual speed to the violation. But then again, I could see that legislators wanted to use the existing graduated speeding penalties, so they get the police to (arbitrarily, to me) assign it to one of the levels by giving it an actual speed.

    What training police get in this visual estimation I don't know.

    So there's that part of the story. Yes, if a cop sees someone they think is exceeding the speed limit, they can write the a ticket just based on observation. It's the law, and more than a few state supreme courts have upheld the laws. So it's best to just accept it, it's not going to change.

    On the other hand, these laws have been around for a long time too, and they're not used frequently. So I'd say in most cases, the laws aren't abused, which is good.

    Just a note on "ANSI" - yep, not a requirement. Not sure where that came up. Devices do at some level need to be certified and calibrated though. But I won't get into that because it doesn't apply here.

    Next part of the story: the "guilt before innocence" feeling. Yeah, no.

    That is, I've fought tickets and won. In fact I usually win or get at least an agreement which is in my favor. By the way, this is over a very long driving experience, so don't assume I'm getting tickets at a high clip, I'm not.

    So, you get stopped. Cop gives you a ticket. You sign for it (just a receipt, not an admission of guilt), then you have something like ten days to 2 weeks to figure out what to do - pay it and admit guilt, or fight it.

    If you're just paying the ticket (and thereby entering a guilty plea), well, that's your choice, right? You could choose to fight the ticket - which you might guess I recommend, in pretty much all cases.

    Before I go further, let's be honest here: a huge portion of the population speeds on a regular basis. In addition, a large proportion of those people will get upset that they were caught. Cops, DAs and traffic court judges run into these people many times a day. They've heard every excuse in the book, repeatedly. In many ways, the system is set up to process tickets through in a fairly quick manner, simply because the vast majority of people that are stopped are, in fact, guilty. So I'm sure it can feel like there's a huge scam going on here, but in reality it's the justice system being efficient. Could you imagine everyone getting a trial jury for speeding tickets? Get real...

    OK, back to fighting it.

    First off, get a ticket in state X, first thing to do is to find out if they have a program for you. By this, I mean a program whereby if you haven't had a previous ticket in (say) 12 months, you can "enter" this program and have the ticket effectively dropped.

    The names for these programs vary from state to state. My state calls it "supervision" while I've heard names like "Prayer for Relief" and so on.

    Here's how a lot of these deals work (details vary state to state): if you're eligible, you enter the program. The program could be nothing but waiting, or it could mean taking an hour-long drivers safety class over the internet. If you don't get another ticket for (say) 6 months, then the ticket is dropped entirely. Poof. Here's the catch for my state: If you DO get another ticket inside the timeframe, then the deal is off and IIRC (I may not) there are actually accelerated penalties for the second ticket.

    Note, of course entering these programs cost money. As you might guess, yes, speeding tickets can be huge revenue sources.

    If such an option is available to you in the state where you got the ticket, generally that's the option to take. You may not be eligible if you're from out of state. But you might be.

    Second option is to hire a traffic ticket lawyer. Oh, they're not going to represent you in court, not if they can do anything about that. That would be defeat. Nope, they're going to sweet-talk the DA in question and see what deal they can get for you.

    Of course, the DA probably won't know a thing about your case, and they probably won't care, it's a freaking speeding ticket. They have better things to follow up on, you know, like actual crime. So right off the bat they might agree to change the ticket to a non-moving violation - no points, no impact to insurance and likely a smaller fine. That's a win.

    But maybe the DA is in a bad mood, so they decide to look into the case a bit before caving to your lawyer. They might talk to the cop to see how the stop went (were you a dick when pulled over?) Then again, they might see it's a cop that writes a boatload of marginal tickets. So even after talking to the cop they might decide to cut you a break, or if the cop is adamant that you were in total violation, then it's game on - but I think this is rare. In my experience (again over many years, not a few months) is that the DA will agree to something lower, or even drop it.

    So, here's where the moving estimation of speed comes in. The DA will see that, and if he doesn't get more corroborating information from the cop, then you're probably going to get the ticket dropped. However, only you know how guilty you were. Were you doing 80 in a 55, and it took the cop a mile to catch up with you, and you actually had multiple violations (excessive lane changes, loud muffler, talking on a cell phone, not wearing a seat belt, etc)? Anything that makes you stand out in a bad way is going to get discussed.

    But if it's simply a cop pulling you over with a visual estimate of speed - and it's not excessive - I'd say your chances are good.

    I'm going to stop there. I've never gotten past the process in the DA stage. One last comment is that judges are likely more sympathetic to citizens than you might think - as long as your record is generally clear and your behavior in court is appropriate. However, the opposite can happen quite quickly if you're a serial violator.
     
  24. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #24
    I agree that it is more than just bit like extortion - but the US constitution also protects free-speech. So, accusing you of speeding is also protected...(I will add the "tongue in cheek" just in case).

    In seriousness... that "Innocent until proven..." thing applies to be convicted of a crime. Anybody is free to accuse somebody of a crime - it's the whole going to court, giving evidence, being judged thing where the constitution kicks in.

    The constitution does not, as far as I know, protect citizens from administrative penalties... like parking tickets. It sorta kicks in when you are actually accused, in court, of a crime. It's a serious document, that constitution, and really only applies to serious things...

    If your wife wasn't speeding, then she has to right to not plead guilty (i.e. appear in court) and make the State prove it's case. It will end up being her word - as someone with a motive to lie about how fast she was driving, against the word of an "expert" with no direct motive for lying. And you can be sure the cop will have a certificate from cop school showing that he has successfully passed a course in estimating by eyeball how fast an oncoming car is travelling. And several cops will attest that they can confirm officer so-and-so's eyeballs since they have in the past been radar tracking a car that he just coincidentally was eyeballing.

    Not the way it should be perhaps - but that is what your wife is up against. To fight this kind of systemic "cards are stacked against you" process you will need some money, time, and patience. Good Luck.
     
  25. sk1wbw thread starter macrumors 68040

    sk1wbw

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    #25

    You said the magic word, "evidence". The state trooper told my wife that "it looked like you were going 63". "Looked like" is not evidence. Otherwise, you could be given citations for "it looked like" you were trying to buy dope or "it looked like" you were looking for a prostitute...

    If I had said "well, Captain, it looked like" a certain sub or a certain surface ship, I would have been kicked off the boat.

    Now, I never see state troopers at the NHRA giving the speed that a funny car was going on the mile. There's no way in hell that someone can judge 63 in a 55 or 62 in a 55 or 178.543 vs 178.887 in these cases.
     

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