Looks like I owe you all a round. Used ticket assassin and my own b.s. to draft up a declaration and contest the ticket. Was notified a few weeks ago that the ticket has been dismissed!
For anyone who's interested,
Citation Number: __________
Request for Trial By Written Declaration
DECLARATION OF FACTS
I respectfully submit this written declaration to the Court. I plead
Not Guilty to the charge of violating C.V.C. §22349(a).
At 9:45 a.m. on April 23, 2009, while driving northbound on Newport Coast Drive, I was stopped by Newport Beach Police Officer _________ (Badge #____) and was charged with violating California Vehicle Code §22349(a) – “Exceeding Max Speed Limit of 65 mph.” The Officer alleged that I was driving 82 mph in a 60 mph zone based on “lidar” evidence. I contend that I was driving well below this speed at the time of the stop and that my speed was safe for the prevailing conditions. As noted on the citation, the weather was “clear,” traffic was not heavy, and the road conditions were “dry.”
I contest the violation on the following grounds:
(1) The Officer failed to demonstrate that the laser he was using had been recently calibrated and that he had been trained to use the laser;
(2) A Handheld Laser Is Not Likely To Have Accurately Detected My Vehicle’s Speed;
(3) I Was Travelling At a Speed That Was Safe And Appropriate For Given Conditions.
The Laser Was Likely Not Recently Calibrated
A laser is a precision instrument, and the testing, calibration, and operation in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications is very important. In this case, the Officer failed to demonstrate that the laser was recently calibrated or that he had any knowledge regarding the proper testing and calibration of the instrument. Based on this failure, it is likely the laser was not recently calibrated so as to accurately detect my vehicle’s speed.
A Handheld Laser Is Not Likely To Have Accurately Detected My Vehicle’s Speed
Even assuming the laser’s proper calibration, its use in this instance is unlikely to have resulted in an accurate reading. Lidar measures a vehicle's speed by calculating the changing time it takes to catch sight of reflecting pulses of light over a certain time period. The effectives of a lidar gun is determined by factors such as surface area of the lights on the car; the amount of chrome areas on the vehicle; shape of the vehicle; and the color of the vehicle. Lasers require precise aiming. To be accurate, lasers have to be stationary and steady. Sweeping Errors occur when the laser is aimed at one part of the vehicle and, due to an officer’s movements, switches to another part of the vehicle. Sweeping Errors add to the target vehicle’s speed and cause inaccurate readings. Aiming a laser from a distance exacerbates Sweeping Error.
In the instant case, the officer was positioned at the top of a hill, several hundred feet away from my vehicle (982 feet per the ticket). The lidar gun used by the officer was not stationary, but held in his hand and thus subject to Sweeping Error. This error would likely have been exacerbated by the great distance from which the officer “shot” my car. Given the position of the laser with respect to my vehicle, and the lack of evidence that the laser was in proper working order or that the Officer had been adequately trained to use the laser, there is strong likelihood that the laser was not used properly and did not accurately detect my vehicle’s speed.
I Was Travelling At a Speed That Was Safe And Appropriate For Given Conditions.
California law states that no person shall drive a vehicle “at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of the [road] and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.” (C.V.C. §22350.) Moreover, California allows a ticketed individual to establish by “competent evidence that the speed in excess of said limits did not constitute a violation of the basic speed law at the time, place, and under the conditions then existing.” (C.V.C. §22351(b).)
As Noted by Officer __________, Newport Coast Drive – a straight, well maintained three land boulevard – was dry and not heavily traversed at the time I was stopped. Furthermore, there are no intersections or cross-walks on the stretch of Newport Coast Drive where I am alleged to have been speeding nor are there shops, residences, or other public spaces immediately adjacent to the road. Finally, the relevant section of Newport Coast Drive ascends steeply so that the speed of a vehicle is constantly (and dramatically) impeded at all times. Given these favorable weather and road conditions, it was quite safe to proceed up Newport Coast Drives at the speed I was travelling. As such, and pursuant to California Vehicle Code §22351(b), I was not in violation of the basic speed law at the time and place of my citation.
For the above-stated reasons, I respectfully request the Court dismiss my citation.
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.
Date: [Insert Date] _______________________