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  • State to State speed

    Hello, this is an introduction/question post.... I am a former LEO who worked in Ohio as a patrolman for 6 years & as a Sergeant for the final 3 years I spent on the department. I left Law Enforcement in 1998 to take a job that was offered to me that I just couldn't pass up. Anyhow, here is what brings me to the forum: I am going to court to contest a citation I received in West Virginia for traveling 55 in a 40 zone. I was traveling across a bridge that is a 4 lane limited access highway that crosses the Ohio River into West Virginia. I am contesting the citation due to the fact that West Virginia law section 17C-6-1 states that on limited access highways where no speed limit is posted the speed is 55mph. There is a 40 mph speed limit sign in Ohio approx 120 yards from crossing the WV state line, but there are no signs in WV. I wonder if a sign clearly located in one state can govern a road in another state?
    I really think the road should be posted in the jurisdiction that is enforcing it (especially going from one state to another, but I really am not sure) I traveled approx. 3/4 of a mile in West Virginia without passing any speed limit sign at all before I was stopped. I think the sign in Ohio MAY have been posted by West Virginia, but it is Clearly in Ohio and there is nothing at all in the state of West Virginia to indicate a speed limit on this particular highway. I personally would not have wrote this citation, but this young fellow seemed determined to give me a ticket, so I just can't help going to court over this and seeing how it plays out. I probably issued over 2,500 citations in my career, but this is the first time I have been on the receiving end, and I gotta believe this is one that is improper. Anyone have any thoughts on this one?
    Thanks....
    Last edited by willis34; 10-06-2005, 08:19 PM. Reason: Added icon

  • #2
    dont know if this would help you or not, but on the okla - texas border, the red river, texas is responsible for the south bound lanes, and okla has the north bound,

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    • #3
      That is an awesome question. I have never worked in a jurisdiction that was so close to a state border and nowhere near the Ohio / West Virginia line. My only input would be to ask how you determined the state boundary. Are you going by landmarks (center line of the river), state line signage, personal experience with that jurisdiction, another LEO's say-so? The only true way to tell would be some kind of surveyor's marking and legal description of the border as all the other methods of determining jurisdiction would be considered less than reliable in court. Anticipating the prosecution, I would think the ticketing officer would have to establish the location of the sign to be within the jurisdiction he patrols and would testify as such. If you authoritatively establish the elements of the offense were not satisfied, I would think you have an outstanding case against this cite. If you were speeding, you were speeding and should get convicted or go to traffic school. If the elements aren't satisfied and you are right, I wish you the best of luck at your trial.
      Poor soul, he was so high-strung. Afraid the strain was more than he could bear.

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      • #4
        Different here

        I patrolled the Ohio side of this area & our jurisdiction was about 15 feet out over (into) the water. 95% of the river belongs to WV. The sign in question is clearly in Ohio, but I was stopped over in WV about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile into the state. BTW just as information :The border between the two states is marked by a large sign.
        Last edited by willis34; 10-06-2005, 05:01 PM.

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        • #5
          You have me convinced. I did not mean to question the credibility of your assessment of the border, just anticipating what a judge might require to establish proof of your testimony if it comes into play. When I was an officer in Texas, attorneys who handled traffic citations exclusively were very popular. Your legal reasoning is very sound, but without the research tools to dig into issues such as court case law decisions on the specific subject of signage posted in Ohio governing speeds in West Virginia, you may want to consult such an attorney well versed in this area if no other officers can answer your question satisfactorily in this forum. If this were a case in Texas or California, I would say your case would most likely be won based on the elements not being satisfied.
          Last edited by calsarge; 10-06-2005, 06:45 PM. Reason: typo
          Poor soul, he was so high-strung. Afraid the strain was more than he could bear.

          Comment


          • #6
            thanks

            Thanks for your relply & opinion. If I don't get a favorable result at the Municipal court level I may hire an attorney and appeal. I however loose if I do this because I will have as much in attorney fees as if I would have paid the darn thing. I just can't bring myself to pay for something where I think I'm right.
            On another topic reading these forums sure brings back alot of good (and some bad)memories that I have not thought of in quite a few years. I really miss police work, but I don't miss the politics of the job.

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            • #7
              Update

              If anyone is interested I had a bench trial today on this & was found Not Guilty.
              Thanks to everyone who took time to offer their opinions.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by willis34
                If anyone is interested I had a bench trial today on this & was found Not Guilty.
                Thanks to everyone who took time to offer their opinions.
                I'm glad it worked out as well as it did.

                I missed this thread originally, but just now read it, and had that been Va., there would have been a 40mph sign posted as soon as you stepped into Va. The law here reads such that the limit posted 120 yards prior to entering this state would not apply. As you described it, at the state line the limit would have jumped to the statutory limit for that highway until a sign posted within Va. lowered it. I have seen speed limits posted in the middle of bridges where feasable, it's usually the first thing you see after passing the state line signs.

                Hate that you had to take time and effort to go to court to contest it to get the just verdict, makes one wonder how many just "pay it" and take the hit?
                "That's right man, we've got mills here that'll blow that heap of your's right off the road."

                "Beautiful Daughter of the Stars."(it's my home now)

                >>>>> A Time for Choosing <<<<<

                Retired @ 31yr 2mo as of 0000 hrs. 01-01-10. Yeah, all in all, it was good.

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                • #9
                  Thanks

                  Thanks for the kind thoughts..... It really didn't inconvenience me too bad, so all in all it wasn't that bad.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by willis34
                    Thanks for the kind thoughts..... It really didn't inconvenience me too bad, so all in all it wasn't that bad.
                    I'm just glad that finally someone came in here with an acutal question relevant to LEO assisting them. I am tired of the same old questions of "what if and drug issues". Willis34, great questioning and I would have loved to have been in the court room. Now my question is to you, what did the judge say about the speed and no signs being posted in the proper place/state?
                    "An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded."

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                    • #11
                      He said "It looks like I have been driving too slow over that stretch of road myself. I don't want to, but I'm going to have to dismiss the citation." He later told the officer to have someone contact the state highway department to have the signs erected properly.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by willis34
                        He said "It looks like I have been driving too slow over that stretch of road myself. I don't want to, but I'm going to have to dismiss the citation." He later told the officer to have someone contact the state highway department to have the signs erected properly.
                        Great, good job!
                        "An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded."

                        Comment

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