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what can I do if cited incorrectly?


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  • what can I do if cited incorrectly?

    I was ticketed back on the 4th apparently for ignoring a stop sign on a right-hand turn and taking the corner at 15 mph. What the ticket says specifically is "22450(a) V.C STOP SIGN VIOL" (near as I can read it) and under "Speed Approx." the officer wrote "15", and under "Radar/Laser" he also wrote "15".

    It's possible that I didn't come to a full stop (though I believe I did) -- but if I didn't come to a full stop, I went around the corner at no more than 1 or 2 mph.

    It's also possible that I was over the line before I came to a full stop -- in fact I thought that's what I was being ticketed for. As best I can recall, the officer said he'd "observed me approaching the intersection at 15 mph" and "crossing the line". I believe I was driving safely, and assumed it was just a case of me violating the letter of the law by stopping beyond the crosswalk, and so be it.

    It wasn't until I got home and started reading the ticket that I began to wonder if I'd been cited for something that simply hadn't happened.

    Am I correct that on the ticket the officer is claiming I went around the corner at 15 mph? If I'm reading the ticket incorrectly then probably nothing that follows is relevant.

    Is this a more serious offense than stopping past the line or (possibly) failing to come to a complete stop? I'm thinking if no then I might not bother contesting the ticket, but if yes then maybe I should.

    If my reading of the ticket is correct, and the officer is "upgrading" (or possibly even manufacturing) my offense, then what can I do? Obviously I can contest the ticket, but I don't much like the idea of going to into court when it's simply my word against a police officer's (but if that's all I can do then that's all I can do).

    Would it be appropriate to try to call the officer directly and ask for clarification and/or express my concern? If I understand the citation correctly and the officer is modifying or inventing an offense, would it be appropriate to try to contact the officer's supervisor?

    Any response will be appreciated, and I'll be happy to provide more info if anyone thinks it'll be helpful.

    Other things that MIGHT be relevant:

    The incident happened at the corner of an elementary school. In fact I was returning to the school after lunch -- I volunteer my time once or twice a week in one of the classrooms.

    I looked around at the corner to see if there might be a security camera I could maybe get a tape from, but no luck.

    There was no traffic, motor or pedestrian, at the time of the incident (though I notice the officer checked "MED" under "Traffic" on the ticket).

    This is really more of an impression than anything else, but as I passed the officer (before he did a U to pull me over) I looked toward him and thought he was eating a sandwich. At least he had SOMETHING white-ish in his hands close to his face, maybe it was a radar gun. The only reason I even bring this up is it's been nagging at me that perhaps if he was on his lunch break he wasn't focused on my vehicle the entire time before he pulled me over, and made an assumption about whether or not I stopped.

    I have several traffic violations (mostly speeding) on my record from my reckless youth, but my record has been (as best I can remember) spotless for at least about fifteen years now (I'm not sure how this would be relevant other than the possibility that I could've been profiled based on old history).

  • #2
    He didn't upgrade anything, you ran a stop sign and he cited you for running a stop sign. You were cited for speeding, and that's what the citation says. The rest (traffic, how fast you were going when you were going around the corner, so on and what not) is all irrelevant.


    • #3
      First, a couple of observations

      1. There are so many traffic violations committed daily in front of us that it is pointless to "make up" a false one.

      2. Most violations are not intentional. Instead, they are the result of inattention. In other words, most people don't even realize they have committed them - that's why they think their ticket is bogus. In the case of stop signs, most folks hit the brakes just long enough to feel the car lurch forward, creating the false belief that they actually stopped. It's only when you feel the car lurch backwards after lurching forward that you know the car has really come to a halt.

      More than likely the officer will not answer your questions until you go to court, where you will then be free to ask him anything relevant to the event. However, in the case of traffic citations, you are entitled to what is known as Informal Discovery, where you are told ahead of time what evidence they have against you should the matter go to trial. In most cases, officers keep notes as to what they observed that caused them to cite you and what you may have said during the contact. This is usually written on the back side of the officer's copy of the citation. Often their contact with you is recorded as well.

      Simply write a letter addressed to the Custodian of Records at the police department, enclose a copy of your citation and advise them you are asking for Informal Discovery. Tell them that you were the person cited and ask for a copy of the officer's copy of the citation, including the back side of the ticket. Also ask for a copy of any notes prepared by the officer in connection with the matter along with a copy of any audio and video recordings of the event. These items should address many of your questions. You may also discover from this information that you really did run the stop sign.

      A word of advice. Once you get it, consider the Informal Discovery evidence carefully. If you actually ran the stop sign, don't let your ego interfere with common sense. If you contest the citation and lose in court, the violation usually goes on your driving record, points are added to your license, your insurance company finds out and your rates go up. OTOH, if you opt to pay the fine and go to traffic school, the whole thing usually goes away,
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


      • #4
        You are being charged with a stop sign violation. The speed approx is just that...what the officer estimated your speed to be. Wether it was 1 mph or 15mph it is a violation. As L-1 stated....there is no need to manufacture a citation as you suggested. I urge you to go to any stop sign, stand on the sidewalk for about 10 minutes and watch the people roll through all the time. Ifyou dont think you ran the stop sign.....then go to court as that is what it is there for. If you are just questioning details on the cite then your best bet is to take traffic school and mail it in.


        • #5
          The section you were cited for was 22450 cvc, correct. That section is failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign BEHIND THE LIMIT LINE. By your own admissions that is what you did. Pay the fine and ask for traffic school.
          Today's Quote:

          "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
          Albert Einstein


          • #6
            Originally posted by mdrdep View Post
            The section you were cited for was 22450 cvc, correct. That section is failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign BEHIND THE LIMIT LINE. By your own admissions that is what you did. Pay the fine and ask for traffic school.


            Stop Requirements

            22450. (a) The driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the entrance to, or within, an intersection shall stop at a limit line, if marked, otherwise before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.

            If you decide to contest the cite, I suggest you produce something better then the "sandwich" defense.
            "Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought" ~Henri Louis Bergson



            • #7
              The law requires that you come to a full and complete stop at a posted stop sign. The decision to fight the citation is yours, and ample advice concerning that has already been posted.


              • #8
                Like everyone else said above......

                I know its frustrating when you are held accountable for being human and making an error when operating a motor vehicle. Embrase your falability, forgive yourself, try and do better next time and move on with your life.


                • #9
                  I'm trying to figure out what the question is here? You self admittedly stopped AFTER the crosswalk, IN A SCHOOL ZONE...ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ZONE, where children will run out in the street to chase a butterfly. An estimation of 15 MPH through the crosswalk is not out of the realm of impossibility, and in fact has ZERO bearing as to the offense committed, 'Failing to stop behind the limit line'. IMO you need to turn that pointed index finger away from the officer and in towards your own chest.

                  Ohh, and drive safely. Be sure to look before merging back on to the roadway.


                  • #10
                    Paying no attention to traffic laws in school zones is something that every adult is guilty of, until they see a child get run over. Then they obey the laws for a week or so, then if they see another child get run over, the cycle continues.

                    I have no remorse for someone who I cite in a school zone. Especially an elementary school. None at all. You don't like the ticket, or you think I was unfair to you? Learn how to drive properly.


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