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Old 04-11-2014, 01:29 PM   #1
Ziggyrama
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Default Cited for 90-17 in area with posted speed limit

OK, I'll start by saying that I was sited for speeding few months ago. So, why am I starting this thread? Well, I challenging the ticket as I believe the speed limit in that area is unreasonable and I think what I have learned so far can be very informational to others since we all drive and knowing your rights and regulations is always a good thing

So, as I stated, I think the speed limit is too low, clearly posted at 35mph. So I went to town and tried to obtain the engineering study that certifies the speed limit. There was nothing in the town of such sort. The whole idea is that according to MA general law Chapter 90, section 18, every speed limit posted has to be certified by the state with an engineering study and approved by a few organizations. You can read the law here:

Chapter 90 Section 18

Well, I went in front of the magistrate and he argued that since the state certifies the speed limits, I should have worked with the MA DOT and therefore I am found responsible. So, let's recap, I was found responsible of speed according to section 18, in reference to a posted speed limit. But hold on a second, towards the end, the cop in the room actually corrected both of us and said that the ticket is marked as a 90-17, which refers to section 17 of the same chapter that governs areas where there are no posted speed limits. The link to the law:

Chapter 90 Section 17

So, I received a ticket in a clearly marked area which implies section 18 but I was marked for section 17, which quite honestly, is much easier to defend against, as it requires a prolonged measurement of speed. Anyways, I am appealing the decision since:

- the reading was done as a spot check which is clearly not enough
- the magistrate that argued with me at the end using section 17 sited himself as an expert and then proceeded to quote the law incorrectly (I know that now, I didn't have the doc in front of me as I prepared a different defense)

Let this be a lesson to us all. First, if you get a ticket, read the actual number listed on the ticket, for example, 90-17 or 90-18. That will tell you which law you should prepare yourself against. Second, bring materials and definitely study it before you go in.

Lastly, question to you, what are legal implications here considering that it seems that the wrong section is being applied to this ticket? Is this alone enough to argue that this ticket be dismissed since the wrong law is being applied? If anyone here has experience with this and specifically referencing either one of these laws, I'd be interested to see what you have to say.

Final note, I am by no means advocating that you go out, drive like an dope and then try to weasel your way out of it by sighting a technicality. This thread is for reference purposes as I found that lots of folks do not actually understand how the law works and how it is supposed to be enforced. From my research, there are a lot of speed limits out there that are illegal in MA and people are just paying tickets, not knowing any better.
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Last edited by Ziggyrama; 04-11-2014 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 04-11-2014, 03:13 PM   #2
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Pretty impressive you actually argued that the speed of the road was too low. I have never actually seen someone use that before. The problem is all they need to show is the established speed limit at the time you were pulled over. If you were exceeding it you get a ticket for speeding. Even if you successfully argued that this speed limit is unreasonably low for the area they aren't going to simply raise the speed limit to accommodate you. A new engineering study would be done and only then will the speed limit be changed having zero effect on your ticket since your ticket would not be grandfathered in. I have heard tons of arguments from people trying to get out of speeding tickets and typically find the ones who are apologetic tend to fair better. Typically a technicality like the one you have pointed out won't get you out of the ticket either. How fast exactly were you cited for and what kind of area was this in? Under section 17, 2 if you were exceeding 40 mph you would still be in violation of the law. If you applied section 17, 3 if you exceed 30 mph it would be in violation, however since it is posted 35 this wouldn't apply. This is all merely opinion/speculation and in no way constitutes legal advice.
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Old 04-11-2014, 03:38 PM   #3
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Pretty impressive you actually argued that the speed of the road was too low. I have never actually seen someone use that before. The problem is all they need to show is the established speed limit at the time you were pulled over. If you were exceeding it you get a ticket for speeding. Even if you successfully argued that this speed limit is unreasonably low for the area they aren't going to simply raise the speed limit to accommodate you. A new engineering study would be done and only then will the speed limit be changed having zero effect on your ticket since your ticket would not be grandfathered in. I have heard tons of arguments from people trying to get out of speeding tickets and typically find the ones who are apologetic tend to fair better. Typically a technicality like the one you have pointed out won't get you out of the ticket either. How fast exactly were you cited for and what kind of area was this in? Under section 17, 2 if you were exceeding 40 mph you would still be in violation of the law. If you applied section 17, 3 if you exceed 30 mph it would be in violation, however since it is posted 35 this wouldn't apply. This is all merely opinion/speculation and in no way constitutes legal advice.
Well, I believe the speed limit is too low given that most people drive around 40mph or higher in that section of the road. Engineering studies take into account various items before a recommendation is made and one of the major factors behind determining speed is the 85th percentile of speed that people are traveling at. So, people's speed actual has a factor here. But, regardless of that, the recommended speed for this road is either 30 or 40. I need to go back and actually eyeball the density of buildings in that area, and extend it in 1/4th of the mile in the direction that I was traveling at to see if average density is above or below 200ft to get a guideline. But, even if I do that, and it sounds like fun (there aren't that many buildings there), the primary factor that we're dealing with is that under 90-17, my speed has to be recorded for at least 1/8th of a mile which did not happen, obviously. Law is the law. It clearly states that requirement. I don't see how a judge could interpret this particular clause any other way.

BTW, I was doing 45, at 6am, empty road, driving to the gym.

Is it a technicality? Well, not really. I imagine the law was written this way to account for ambiguity that comes from areas where speed is not posted. If one drives down the road and momentarily speeds up to 40 and slows down to 30, this clause protects us from cops that can hit you right at 40 and write you a ticket even though your average speed for some distance, sat 1/4th of a mile, was actually much lower. So, if you apply this to my case, my average speed was well below what was recorded as a spot check. I was actually speeding up after crossing an intersection and got a little carried away. I was intending to slow down and as I was about to hit the brakes, the cop nailed me around the corner. This section of the road is a great camp site for cops to write tickets like this unfortunately. Anyways, since the cop did not perform the required measurement, as stated by this law, should I still be held responsible? Remember, since this is a 90-17, there is no 35 speed limit anymore

What is interesting about this case is that the limit posted is 35, so you'd think 90-17 doesn't even apply, but I was cited for that violation. I think the cop made a mistake which I believe will be in my favor since it seems much easier to defend against it than 90-18. For that, I'd have to go to Boston and get the records to prove that the limit was never backed up by an engineering study or the study did not adhere to established engineering standards. This page summarizes the process for determining this:

LINK

Lastly, I agree, going in with a good attitude goes a long way but I found that if you come in asking for leniency and you have nothing to back up why you should be let of, it ends with you being held responsible. I ofcourse asked politely to give me a break given my good driving record but all I got was: "you were speeding, pay the fine". This is in Clinton court where I find the magistrate to be very unforgiving. I understand he has a job to do and sees jokers every day trying to weasel their way out of a ticket. But, I actually presented a reasonable case, backed it up with some evidence, did the leg work and respectfully argued my side and he just said, tough, pay the fine. In the end, I am confident that I can win this but:

- $25 to get a hearing in front of the magistrate
- $50 to now get an appeal

Seems wrong that one has to pay $75 just to get any time in court, in front of a judge. I know, they want to reduce the number of frivolous cases but what if they raise it to $500. Would that be better? What if I was hard up for money and could not afford $75? This seems shady. Ok, now I am ranting

Last edited by Ziggyrama; 04-11-2014 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 04-11-2014, 03:58 PM   #4
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Good luck with your endeavor I was simply giving my humble opinion from my experience.
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Old 04-11-2014, 04:01 PM   #5
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Good luck with your endeavor I was simply giving my humble opinion.
it's all good. I appreciate the input. I've learned a few things while doing the research on this ticket, figured I'd share and solicit the feedback. In the end, I don't want to pay this ticket
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Old 04-11-2014, 04:18 PM   #6
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All that really matters in not having points on your license. If it's your first offense you get a break and none are applied.
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Old 04-11-2014, 04:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ziggyrama View Post
- $25 to get a hearing in front of the magistrate
- $50 to now get an appeal

Seems wrong that one has to pay $75 just to get any time in court, in front of a judge. I know, they want to reduce the number of frivolous cases but what if they raise it to $500. Would that be better? What if I was hard up for money and could not afford $75? This seems shady. Ok, now I am ranting
I let one ticket stick in all my years, it cost me over $1200 in increase insurance premiums over six years in MA, let alone the ticket penalty. Never again. Also helps that we have a legal plan through work that provides legal representation, including speeding tickets.
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Old 04-11-2014, 04:50 PM   #8
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To be honest $75 isn't that bad it's $200-$300 to file most civil cases. I Just noticed your last part going in front of the judge is different than the magistrate. Basically what happens you present your side on the stand then the judge might ask some questions. The officer gets up says his side and you are allowed to question him on the stand. In no way shape or form argue with the judge from the witness stand. They get pissed when you do that. Also dress presentable. Some jackasses this morning came into court wearing dirty ripped jeans with matching dirty ripped t-shirt. Not a good look and they won't take you serious. Luckily he was only there for a continuance on another civil matter. Also if you can talk to the court officer if he's around they can give you an idea how the judge decides on matters like this.
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Old 04-12-2014, 07:18 AM   #9
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*cited
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Old 04-12-2014, 07:51 AM   #10
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hahaha. Thanks for beating me to it!
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Old 04-12-2014, 07:58 AM   #11
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What road were you on?
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Old 04-12-2014, 01:15 PM   #12
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I'll be honest, I didn't read the whole thing...45 in a 35 - your best options are to:

1. Do nothing, if this is your first ticket you won't get any points and it won't raise your insurance costs.
2a. If this isn't your first ticket and will impact your insurance costs appeal the magistrate's decision and go to court. Hope you win by default for the issuing officer not showing up to trial.
2b. If issuing officer does arrive fight it based on a, hopefully, clean-ish driving record and make the case that this is not a typical occurrence and you will slow down in the future.

In all reality, I believe any reasonable magistrate would have let you off for 10mph over if your record is average or better and you weren't endangering anyone. Having fought a few tickets I can say that the magistrates/representative officers really don't care for excuses or technical facts/proof and won't entertain them - that's not to say they are heartless or unreasonable, they just don't care and don't really have to as their decision is in no way a final verdict unless you agree with them. Trying to convince them to redo an engineering study for a speed limit is just not going to happen, it's easier for them to tell you to pay up. I've gone in and used physical evidence that proved I wasn't speeding (I truly was not, and could prove it, the officer was using radar improperly in conditions that caused it to have a grossly inaccurate reading) - magistrate basically told me to get lost and that the officers are "trained," yet the representing officer couldn't even explain how to properly use the device their department was issued.

Anyways, the whole idea of officers giving speeding tickets is outrageous to me, surely there is more productive work for them to do since we're all paying them to be productive. But, my point is that asking the town, city, magistrate, judge, officers, or anyone related to the local government to do more work for your benefit is a surefire way to have to pay the ticket.

Just my two cents.
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Old 04-12-2014, 10:42 PM   #13
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I'll be honest, I didn't read the whole thing...45 in a 35 - your best options are to:

1. Do nothing, if this is your first ticket you won't get any points and it won't raise your insurance costs.
When did this start? It certainly wasn't the case in MA a few years ago.
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Old 04-13-2014, 09:24 AM   #14
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What road were you on?
I was stopped and cited on River Road in Berlin, near Hudson line. I drive down this road frequently, never seen them camping out in this spot before. Oh well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinned View Post
I'll be honest, I didn't read the whole thing...45 in a 35 - your best options are to:

1. Do nothing, if this is your first ticket you won't get any points and it won't raise your insurance costs.
2a. If this isn't your first ticket and will impact your insurance costs appeal the magistrate's decision and go to court. Hope you win by default for the issuing officer not showing up to trial.
2b. If issuing officer does arrive fight it based on a, hopefully, clean-ish driving record and make the case that this is not a typical occurrence and you will slow down in the future.

In all reality, I believe any reasonable magistrate would have let you off for 10mph over if your record is average or better and you weren't endangering anyone. Having fought a few tickets I can say that the magistrates/representative officers really don't care for excuses or technical facts/proof and won't entertain them - that's not to say they are heartless or unreasonable, they just don't care and don't really have to as their decision is in no way a final verdict unless you agree with them. Trying to convince them to redo an engineering study for a speed limit is just not going to happen, it's easier for them to tell you to pay up. I've gone in and used physical evidence that proved I wasn't speeding (I truly was not, and could prove it, the officer was using radar improperly in conditions that caused it to have a grossly inaccurate reading) - magistrate basically told me to get lost and that the officers are "trained," yet the representing officer couldn't even explain how to properly use the device their department was issued.

Anyways, the whole idea of officers giving speeding tickets is outrageous to me, surely there is more productive work for them to do since we're all paying them to be productive. But, my point is that asking the town, city, magistrate, judge, officers, or anyone related to the local government to do more work for your benefit is a surefire way to have to pay the ticket.

Just my two cents.
You would think they would be reasonable. This is not my first ticket. I got one over 10 years ago in Lancaster for 40 in 30. Went to the same court, it was the same magistrate, same outcome. Could not be reasoned with, when I walked in, he was having a jolly conversation with the cop, seemed really biased. I knew I didn't have a fair shot and eventually paid that ticket which did cost me over the years. This is really the issue. If it were just about the ticket, I'd pay the amount and move on. The problem is the amount this will end up being over the next few years. I am prepared that I may not win and end up paying but I may as well try and contest the charge. I have beaten tickets before, each one has its own dynamics and I always end up learning something along the way.
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Old 04-13-2014, 12:25 PM   #15
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When did this start? It certainly wasn't the case in MA a few years ago.
It's always been like this since I could remember. But, I can't back it up at the moment. (ie. I'm too lazy to look it up.)

PS. Paying $500 for a lawyer is much easier.
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Old 04-13-2014, 02:24 PM   #16
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It's always been like this since I could remember. But, I can't back it up at the moment. (ie. I'm too lazy to look it up.)

PS. Paying $500 for a lawyer is much easier.
The wording here is clear as mud, but IME any moving violation will drop you from a 99 to a lower rating (98, 0...). I had one out of state ticket, went from a 99 to 98 and paid $1200+ for it.

http://www.massrmv.com/MeritRatingBo...ourPolicy.aspx

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No surcharge points for the first minor traffic law violation in five years
No surcharge points are assigned to your first minor traffic law violation in the 5 years immediately preceding your policy's effective date (determined by the surcharge date) if:

(1) it is the first traffic law violation in the five year period, and
(2) the disposition of the violation is non-criminal
I think the logic here is if you are already a 0 or 1, your score won't get worse if you've been clean for five years, but 98 and 99 are considered discounts and you will still lose part of that if you get a ticket. Fight it.
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Old 04-13-2014, 03:11 PM   #17
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In front of a magistrate, either party can appeal. If you win, the cop can appeal and you have to go to court to win. There is no level where the state has to prove you guilty. It only has to show that you may be responsible.

If you have safe driver discount, over the period to get them back, it's (for me) $900. So yes, you lose money.

In court, listen. It is different from in front of a magistrate. The state has to prove that you are guilty. If the state does not read the speed, you win. If the state does not say you were speeding, you win. If the state does not say the speed limit, you win. If nobody shows up to prosicute (the cop), you win.

Example, if the cop used vascar and gives the distance, his training, the time that the vascar recorded and you use your calculator and figure out that the speed is incorrect for what was on your ticket, you win. Why? Because he did not state the speed. The court doesn't do math.

Remember that in court, the state goes first. When they're done, they're done. You then present your case. If they remember that they forgot to mention the speed, it's too late.

Would a lawyer help? Yah. They're going to know everything I just said. They'd know that a 17 or 18 is or is not relevant. They do this for a living. Keep in mind $1000. If a lawyer is cheaper than that, you're ahead.
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Old 04-13-2014, 04:58 PM   #18
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I worked in Marlborough for years, and have bagged on that road before too.
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Old 04-13-2014, 09:30 PM   #19
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got a $150 ticket a few yrs ago on rt 88 in westport. seeing as it was my first ticket i decided to fight it, i paid my 25 bucks and missed half day of work and put $50 worth a fuel in my truck. needles to say they knocked it down to $100 saying that was the state minimum. so for me it would have been cheaper to just pay...
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Old 04-14-2014, 12:42 PM   #20
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In front of a magistrate, either party can appeal. If you win, the cop can appeal and you have to go to court to win. There is no level where the state has to prove you guilty. It only has to show that you may be responsible.

If you have safe driver discount, over the period to get them back, it's (for me) $900. So yes, you lose money.

In court, listen. It is different from in front of a magistrate. The state has to prove that you are guilty. If the state does not read the speed, you win. If the state does not say you were speeding, you win. If the state does not say the speed limit, you win. If nobody shows up to prosicute (the cop), you win.

Example, if the cop used vascar and gives the distance, his training, the time that the vascar recorded and you use your calculator and figure out that the speed is incorrect for what was on your ticket, you win. Why? Because he did not state the speed. The court doesn't do math.

Remember that in court, the state goes first. When they're done, they're done. You then present your case. If they remember that they forgot to mention the speed, it's too late.

Would a lawyer help? Yah. They're going to know everything I just said. They'd know that a 17 or 18 is or is not relevant. They do this for a living. Keep in mind $1000. If a lawyer is cheaper than that, you're ahead.
Thanks. Good advice. The question is, given that I was written up with 90-17, there is no way that they can do a switcharoo on me in court and say that 90-18 applies since the speed limit is posted. This is what I am worried about. It doesn't seem that that can be done, otherwise how can you prepare a defense? In fact, since 17 is the charge, there is no speed limit. So, how can I get a ticket against the speed limit that is not there? According to rules, the speed guideline would have to be 30 or 40 mph, not 35. This ticket is all over the place.

I know a lawyer goes a long way. I have hired one about 15 years ago to defend against a school bus stop sign charge that I allegedly ran through. The lawyer easily demonstrated that there was no way a cop could have seen me do it. Amazingly, once he was cross examined, he admitted to not being sure. Cost me more than $1000 back than to prove that the cop needed to have his eyes checked. This was back in the day when I was young and stupid. It's been quiet in this department for me for over a decade and now this.
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:40 PM   #21
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I was stopped and cited on River Road in Berlin, near Hudson line. I drive down this road frequently, never seen them camping out in this spot before. Oh well.
dude that blows, they gotta pay for that nice new gray explorer somehow..I work at Gillis...Was he at the top of the hill across from the 55 plus neighborhood (fossile stone pit)?....
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Old 04-14-2014, 10:17 PM   #22
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dude that blows, they gotta pay for that nice new gray explorer somehow..I work at Gillis...Was he at the top of the hill across from the 55 plus neighborhood (fossile stone pit)?....
Not sure, I think there is some stone related business in that area.

BTW, I shop at Gillis all the time. Well, it's my wife really, I just come along, do all the heavy lifting and put whatever we get in the ground When you guys get that uber ginormous pile of mulch in the spring, we know you're getting ready to open. I am sure I will be stopping by the place on the weekend to pick up a few things for the garden.
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:10 AM   #23
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Opened on the first, getting real crazy with the nicer weather. I play truck driver on the weekends.
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Old 04-20-2014, 08:35 PM   #24
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I got a ticket for doing 50 in a 35. The speed limit on the stretch of road I was on is posted at 45. However, further back it is posted at 35. The officer didn't tag me nor did he follow me to get an estimate. He jsut told me that "his car shook" (I'm guessing it was my exhaust? it was a cool day and I was probably doing 4k RPM?) when I passed and that he had to do "60 mph to catch up to me". Obviously if he was stopped in traffic he'd have to go faster than me to catch up.

He got the 50 mph number because I told him that there was no way I was doing over 50mph (I wouldn't go faster than that on a public road in the afternoon.)

I wonder what I should argue when I appeal it. I mean he pulled me over at the stretch that is 45 MPH but he claims I was doing 50 in the 35. Does he have alot against me? Theres no way I could speed in the 35 stretch because its an intersection with traffic.

FWIW It was on highland ave in salem

Last edited by tico556; 04-21-2014 at 02:17 AM.
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Old 04-22-2014, 12:23 PM   #25
Ziggyrama
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Originally Posted by tico556 View Post
I got a ticket for doing 50 in a 35. The speed limit on the stretch of road I was on is posted at 45. However, further back it is posted at 35. The officer didn't tag me nor did he follow me to get an estimate. He jsut told me that "his car shook" (I'm guessing it was my exhaust? it was a cool day and I was probably doing 4k RPM?) when I passed and that he had to do "60 mph to catch up to me". Obviously if he was stopped in traffic he'd have to go faster than me to catch up.

He got the 50 mph number because I told him that there was no way I was doing over 50mph (I wouldn't go faster than that on a public road in the afternoon.)

I wonder what I should argue when I appeal it. I mean he pulled me over at the stretch that is 45 MPH but he claims I was doing 50 in the so35. Does he have alot against me? Theres no way I could speed in the 35 stretch because its an intersection with traffic.

FWIW It was on highland ave in salem
Did he actually measure your speed with a radar gun or laser? Did he write you up for 90-17 or 90-18?
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