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Anybody beaten a traffic ticket representing themselves at trial?
Old 03-14-2015, 12:10 AM   #1
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Anybody beaten a traffic ticket representing themselves at trial?

I am nearing my initial appearance in court for a ticket I plan to contest. It was for turning right on red from a non-curb lane (lane was marked right-turn-only) and there were no "No Turn on Red" signs posted. In my state, this is perfectly legal as long as the red light is circular and not an arrow.

If I plead Not Guilty, then a trial date will be set. Just curious if there's any of you out there who have taken your cases to trial and won?
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Old 03-14-2015, 12:24 AM   #2
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Do you have lots of photos of the intersection ? Pick the best ones , but just a few as Judges (unlike tv) are too busy to even read stuff.

Why would you not just pay the fine and maybe there is a online course to take so insurance does not get notified and does not go up.

By the way, did you come to a full stop at the red light or just roll through it ? Your post is not clear.
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Old 03-14-2015, 12:27 AM   #3
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I had backended someone but they didn't show up. The prosecutor (Arlington County) dropped the charges.
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Old 03-14-2015, 10:03 AM   #4
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Take a photo and make a phone call to the DAs office. I've had the DA drop tickets without dealing with a court date.


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Old 03-14-2015, 10:07 AM   #5
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If whether or not you came to a stop is in question, my thinking is it is a he said/she said issue and tough to prevail unless the officer doesn't show up or admits that you stopped.

If the issue is whether a right-turn after a full stop is permitted at that intersection, then I think pictures of the intersection and that there is no signage prohibiting a right on red would be sufficient.

Many years ago DW beat a speed trap ticket because the signage leading up to the speed trap did not meet the statutory requirements (speed ahead warning sign but no subsequent speed limit sign as I recall).
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Old 03-14-2015, 12:02 PM   #6
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Yes - 35 in a 25 zone (just past where the limit reduced). Did lots of preparation, research, took photos, and was ready for the battle. Police officer did not show up in court, so I won a default judgement due to "lack of prosecutorial evidence." I thought I had a better than 50% chance of winning, because the reduced limit sign was completely obscured by trees/vegetation, but I'll never know...
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Old 03-14-2015, 01:09 PM   #7
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Yes, maybe 20 years ago. I was ticketed for not stopping at a stop sign. $100 and it wouldn't go on my record but into the town's coffers. I took a lot (a dozen, from every angle) of Polaroids of where the policeman's car had been, and where I was, and the intersection, to show that he could not have seen me as shrubbery obscured his view. The officer showed up at the trial but I won. Looking back, I should have just paid the $100 as it would have been a lot more if I had lost, but at the time it was the only ticket I had ever gotten and I was steamed because he really could not have seen me (that was my defense, not that I had actually come to a full stop, although I had).

I have received two Cook County camera-generated "failure to come to a complete stop before right turn on red" tickets in the past couple of years. One was bogus (the time stamp was fishy), the other completely valid. I just paid both rather than dive into Cook County's red tape bureaucracy, but they didn't go against my own record. I don't know how one could argue against them without arguing against the method, which would never fly in Cook County.
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Old 03-14-2015, 01:22 PM   #8
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In my working days, we were hired by individuals to prepare surveys/drawings to be used as court exhibits. An accurate site plan with photos can help defend your case.

I was once pulled over for turning left from a left turn lane after the arrow had turned red. I claimed to the officer that the timing set for the green and yellow segments of the left turn light did not meet highway standards. He checked and found that I was right and did not give me a ticket.


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Old 03-14-2015, 01:44 PM   #9
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If the issue is simply that there was no sign prohibiting the right turn then a few photographs documenting that should result in a "not guilty" verdict. Talk to the state's attorney beforehand if you can and they may drop it on the spot.

If the issue is the allegation that you didn't stop then that is a "he said/she said" situation and you will probably, but not always, lose.
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Old 03-14-2015, 02:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
If the issue is simply that there was no sign prohibiting the right turn then a few photographs documenting that should result in a "not guilty" verdict. Talk to the state's attorney beforehand if you can and they may drop it on the spot.

If the issue is the allegation that you didn't stop then that is a "he said/she said" situation and you will probably, but not always, lose.
Further details. When I got stopped, the only thing officer mentioned to me was that I had made an illegal right turn on red from the non-curb lane. I respectfully responded that I though it was legal, reminding him of the large number of "No Turn on Red Except Curb Lane" signs in our area. This intersection was a very rare exception because there were no such signs posted. (My thoughts: If it wasn't legal in the first place, why have those signs? I have since found the actual statute indicating they are legal).

Anyway, he listened and then told me that he would go back to his car and make a call about it. That's what I'm hanging my hat on if he comes back saying that I didn't stop; that he was unsure of the law. If he instead believed I hadn't stopped first, he certainly wouldn't need to call anybody to discuss it. For some reason, after about 20 minutes of waiting, he returned with a ticket.

I contacted the prosecutor and she told me to contact her in a couple of weeks with the case gets docketed and she will listen to my concerns.
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Old 03-14-2015, 02:33 PM   #11
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Further details. When I got stopped, the only thing officer mentioned to me was that I had made an illegal right turn on red from the non-curb lane.
I'm interpreting this as you "made a turn from the lane left of the right turn only lane". This isn' t the same as "No Turn on Red" violation.
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Old 03-14-2015, 02:34 PM   #12
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I contacted the prosecutor and she told me to contact her in a couple of weeks with the case gets docketed and she will listen to my concerns.
Do that then. Take the photos soon if you don't already have them lest gremlins put up the sign in the meantime.
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Old 03-14-2015, 02:36 PM   #13
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Where can you turn right from a non curb lane? Aren't you cutting in front of people in the curb lane possibly causing an accident?
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Old 03-14-2015, 02:45 PM   #14
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Where can you turn right from a non curb lane? Aren't you cutting in front of people in the curb lane possibly causing an accident?
A lot of the exits of Lake Shore Dr in Chicago have these lanes.

Just like when you see someone do the cross 3 lanes of the highway because I need to exit strategy. It doesn't stop drivers here from doing it illegal or otherwise. It's the "Traffic rules don't apply to me, I'm more important than anyone else" attitude.
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Old 03-14-2015, 02:46 PM   #15
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Many traffic tickets are merely fundraising in disguise, and simply showing up to contest one gets it promptly dismissed.
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Old 03-14-2015, 11:36 PM   #16
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Where can you turn right from a non curb lane? Aren't you cutting in front of people in the curb lane possibly causing an accident?

At this intersection, there are 2 right turn lanes. The receiving street is 2 lanes in each direction. So, no crossover necessary.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:47 AM   #17
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Find out if this agency has dashboard cams, as is getting more prevalent. If so, subpoena the video. The agency will likely not be happy about producing the video footage. That would settle any "he said - she said" issue.
The video and audio recordings are mainly for protection of the officer and agency. It can also be used to reveal sloppy work.
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Old 03-15-2015, 11:43 AM   #18
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Coming back from Oatman Az to La Quinta I took Rt 177, a long stretch of pretty deserted two lane through the desert. In the middle of that about 2 in the afternoon I got tagged by a cop sitting in the bottom of a dip in the road. Nice guy, I took my speeding ticket and went on. Had some back and forth with the California judicial system, wrote a letter explaining the time/weather/traffic/equipment circumstances and noting that my speed at that time was unlikely to endanger anyone but me. Said if that had any effect on the fine I'd appreciate it. Was astounded to get my prepaid fine back in full several months later with a cancelled ticket. My guess is the officer was a no show. Got lucky I guess. It happens.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:06 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by gindie

At this intersection, there are 2 right turn lanes. The receiving street is 2 lanes in each direction. So, no crossover necessary.
Based on what you're describing, this would be a violation. You're not allowed to do a right turn on red unless you're in the right curb lane. That's how I understand the rules in my state. You could show up and hope the officer doesn't
show. Last time I went to court, they were adding an extra court fee of $75 on top of the fines of $50-100+ if you were guilty. I think this was to entice a guilty, no contest plea before getting a trial in front of the judge. After the 1st guilty w/the judge, a huge group changed their mind and happily pled no contest to avoid the extra court fee.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:17 PM   #20
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It s either legal or not legal in the OP's state to turn right from a designated right turn lane that is not closest to the curb if not otherwise marked. If it is legal in his state, the OP should present date-stamped photos showing there is no sign.
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