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Thread: Speeding ticket in school zone in Georgia

  1. #1
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    Default Speeding ticket in school zone in Georgia

    Hi all-
    Long time lurker, first time poster here.

    Here's the situation.

    Earlier today, I was driving down a 2 lane road that is usually 35 and has a school zone during an hour and the speed limit is 25.

    I was driving down and shortly after the sign saw an officer come out into the street, stop the car in front of me, make a gesture to slow down and let him/her go. Then he got to me and told me to pull over. I rolled my window down, and he went to the Maserati behind me and told him to slow down and that it was his lucky day.

    Next thing I know, I'm being given a ticket for going 37 in a 25. I asked the officer to give me a warning but he said that the other driver had his lucky day and it wasn't my lucky day.

    I have a couple of questions and would like some help please.

    - The ticket says the officer hit me on laser from about 540 feet away. I have driven past the school speed limit sign and to the point where the officer was, and while I don't have an accurate distance yet, based on what my car has told me (.12 miles or so) that the speed limit sign is about 650-700 feet from where the officer was stationary and pulled me over.

    - Is there any sort of cushion zone or transition zone law in Georgia that would give me 50-100 feet to slow down?

    - Next, the school zone started at 2:05pm. The citation says the ticket was written at 2:12pm, and I have phone records of after I received my ticket and was on my way that I made a phone call between 2:16 and 2:17pm. The ticket does not have a 'time of offense' on it. While I thought the school zone started at 1:45 or 2:00, it seems pretty fishy that the officer could've already been in place and talked to the guy behind me in the Maserati, run my license and registration, and written the ticket and had me on his way in 12 minutes. Is there any chance that I can contest based on time and stating a discrepancy with that?

    - I read somewhere that there is a law that if the officer is operating a speed checking device from over 500 feet, he has to be visible. Due to a small bend/hill in the road and some tree cover, it is impossible to see the officer from over 500 feet (and he got me 500+ feet), but I am not sure if this applies to laser or not.

    - Lastly, is it true that if you're going under 14 over the speed limit, it doesn't get reported to insurance and your premium doesn't go up? Does that apply even in school zones? I have a clean record for the past 4 or so years and had another speeding ticket, but it never affected anything.

    How many points will this be and how much is the fine average (it hasn't posted yet - they say 5-10 days)

    Is it worth fighting this and pleading Nolo??

    Thanks in advance.
    Peter

  2. #2
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    [SIZE="1"]
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter00547 View Post
    - The ticket says the officer hit me on laser from about 540 feet away. I have driven past the school speed limit sign and to the point where the officer was, and while I don't have an accurate distance yet, based on what my car has told me (.12 miles or so) that the speed limit sign is about 650-700 feet from where the officer was stationary and pulled me over.

    - Is there any sort of cushion zone or transition zone law in Georgia that would give me 50-100 feet to slow down?
    No. There is a law that states that the officer can't use speed detection devices within 300 or 600 feet (depending on if it was in a city or in the unincorporated county). The courts have held that this means that the officer has to be outside of that zone. He can sit at the edge of it and shoot laser or radar into that zone.

    40-14-9. Evidence obtained in certain areas inadmissible; use of device on hill

    Evidence obtained by county or municipal law enforcement officers in using speed detection devices within 300 feet of a reduction of a speed limit inside an incorporated municipality or within 600 feet of a reduction of a speed limit outside an incorporated municipality or consolidated city-county government shall be inadmissible in the prosecution of a violation of any municipal ordinance, county ordinance, or state law regulating speed; nor shall such evidence be admissible in the prosecution of a violation as aforesaid when such violation has occurred within 30 days following a reduction of the speed limit in the area where the violation took place, except that this 30 day limitation shall not apply to a speeding violation within a highway work zone, as defined in Code Section 40-6-188. No speed detection device shall be employed by county, municipal, or campus law enforcement officers on any portion of any highway which has a grade in excess of 7 percent.

    - Next, the school zone started at 2:05pm. The citation says the ticket was written at 2:12pm, and I have phone records of after I received my ticket and was on my way that I made a phone call between 2:16 and 2:17pm. The ticket does not have a 'time of offense' on it. While I thought the school zone started at 1:45 or 2:00, it seems pretty fishy that the officer could've already been in place and talked to the guy behind me in the Maserati, run my license and registration, and written the ticket and had me on his way in 12 minutes. Is there any chance that I can contest based on time and stating a discrepancy with that?
    The standard for traffic cops is to do the whole traffic stop in 7 minutes. A lot of times, they won't even wait for a response on your license. I'm pretty slow about writing tickets, but even I can complete a stop in 10 minutes. The way I do things, a stop with a citation will generally take me 12-15 minutes. I'm in management, so I can't load my ticket book like a road cop. I've only written one citation this year that didn't involve an arrest. Traffic cops will fill in as much information as they can while they're idle. That way when they stop you, they just have to put in your information, the speed, their notes, and the date and time.

    - I read somewhere that there is a law that if the officer is operating a speed checking device from over 500 feet, he has to be visible. Due to a small bend/hill in the road and some tree cover, it is impossible to see the officer from over 500 feet (and he got me 500+ feet), but I am not sure if this applies to laser or not.
    It's a little vague if any of our anti-speedtrap laws apply to laser. The last I heard they didn't have to have all the permits that radar did. I don't know if that applies to all the distances.

    40-14-7. Visibility of vehicle from which device is operated

    No stationary speed detection device shall be employed by county, municipal, college, or university law enforcement officers where the vehicle from which the device is operated is obstructed from the view of approaching motorists or is otherwise not visible for a distance of at least 500 feet.
    Now, I don't know how he could get you on laser at 540', when you say it's impossible to see him. If he can see at 540', then why couldn't you see him at 500'?
    [QUOTE}
    - Lastly, is it true that if you're going under 14 over the speed limit, it doesn't get reported to insurance and your premium doesn't go up? Does that apply even in school zones? I have a clean record for the past 4 or so years and had another speeding ticket, but it never affected anything.
    [/QUOTE]

    It's on your record, but it's a 0 point ticket for purposes of your license being suspended. When my wife got a ticket for 14 over, my insurance company told me that the citation, by itself, wouldn't affect the rates, but if there was anything else on her record in the last three years, the citation would count against her.

    How many points will this be and how much is the fine average (it hasn't posted yet - they say 5-10 days)
    40-6-1. Observance of chapter required; punishment for violations generally; maximum fines for certain offenses


    (a) It is unlawful and, unless otherwise declared in this chapter with respect to particular offenses, it is a misdemeanor for any person to do any act forbidden or fail to perform any act required in this chapter.

    (b) Unless a different maximum fine or greater minimum fine is specifically provided in this chapter for a particular violation, the maximum fine which may be imposed as punishment for a first offense of violating any lawful speed limit established by or pursuant to the provisions of Article 9 of this chapter by exceeding a maximum lawful speed limit:

    (1) By five miles per hour or less shall be no dollars;

    (2) By more than five but not more than ten miles per hour shall not exceed $25.00;

    (3) By more than ten but not more than 14 miles per hour shall not exceed $100.00;

    (4) By more than 14 but less than 19 miles per hour shall not exceed $125.00;

    (5) By 19 or more but less than 24 miles per hour shall not exceed $150.00; or

    (6) By 24 or more but less than 34 miles per hour shall not exceed $500.00.

    40-5-57. Suspension or revocation of license of habitually negligent or dangerous driver; point system


    (a) The State of Georgia considers dangerous and negligent drivers to be a direct and immediate threat to the welfare and safety of the general public, and it is in the best interests of the citizens of Georgia immediately to remove such drivers from the highways of this state. Therefore, the department is authorized to suspend the license of a driver without a preliminary hearing upon a showing by the records of the department or other sufficient evidence that the licensee is a habitually dangerous or negligent driver of a motor vehicle, such fact being established by the point system in subsection (b) of this Code section.

    (b) For the purpose of identifying habitually dangerous or negligent drivers and habitual or frequent violators of traffic regulations governing the movement of vehicles, the department shall assess points, as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, for convictions of violations of the provisions of Chapter 6 of this title, of violations of lawful ordinances adopted by local authorities regulating the operation of motor vehicles, and of offenses committed in other states which if committed in this state would be grounds for such assessment. Notice of each assessment of points may be given, but the absence of notice shall not affect any suspension made pursuant to this Code section. No points shall be assessed for violating a provision of state law or municipal ordinance regulating standing, parking, equipment, size, and weight. The department is required to suspend the license of a driver, without preliminary hearing, when his driving record identifies him as a habitually dangerous or negligent driver or as a habitual or frequent violator under this subsection.
    (c)(1)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph, the points to be assessed for each offense shall be as provided in the following schedule:
    Aggressive driving........................................... ....6 points
    Reckless driving........................................... ......4 points
    Unlawful passing of a school bus.................................6 points
    Improper passing on a hill or a curve............................4 points
    Exceeding the speed limit by more than 14 miles per hour but less than
    19 miles per hour.............................................2 points
    Exceeding the speed limit by 19 miles per hour or more but less than 24
    miles per hour.............................................. ..3 points
    Exceeding the speed limit by 24 miles per hour or more but less than 34
    miles per hour.............................................. ..4 points
    Exceeding the speed limit by 34 miles per hour or more...........6 points
    Disobedience of any traffic-control device or traffic officer....3 points
    Too fast for conditions........................................ ..0 points
    Possessing an open container of an alcoholic beverage while driving.....
    .................................................. .....................2 points
    Failure to adequately secure a load, except fresh farm produce,
    resulting in loss of such load onto the roadway which results in an
    accident.......................................... ............2 points
    Violation of child safety restraint requirements, first offense...1 point
    Violation of child safety restraint requirements, second or subsequent
    offense........................................... ............2 points
    All other moving traffic violations which are not speed limit violations
    .................................................. ....................3 points

    (B) The commissioner shall suspend the driver's license of any person who has accumulated a violation point count of 15 or more points in any consecutive 24 month period, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained to the date of the most current arrest for which a conviction is obtained. A second or subsequent plea of nolo contendere, within the preceding five years, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which pleas of nolo contendere were accepted to the date of the most current arrest for which a plea of nolo contendere is accepted, to a charge of committing an offense listed in this subsection shall be considered a conviction for the purposes of this Code section. At the end of the period of suspension, the violation point count shall be reduced to zero points.

    (C) A court may order a person to attend a driver improvement course for any violation for which points are assessed against a driver's license under this subsection or may accept the attendance by a person at a driver improvement clinic after the issuance of a citation for such offense and prior to such person's appearance before the court, in which event the court shall reduce the fine assessed against such person by 20 percent, and no points shall be assessed by the department against such driver. The disposition and court order shall be reported to the department and shall be placed on the motor vehicle record with a zero point count. This plea may be accepted by the court once every five years as measured from date of arrest to date of arrest.

    (2) Any points assessed against an individual for exceeding the speed limit shall be deducted from that individual's accumulated violation point count and the uniform traffic citation issued therefor shall be removed from the individual's record if:

    (A) The points were assessed based on the use of a radar speed detection device by a county or municipality during a period of time when the commissioner has determined that such county or municipality was operating a radar speed detection device in violation of Chapter 14 of this title, relating to the use of radar speed detection devices; and

    (B) The commissioner has suspended or revoked the radar speed detection device permit of such county or municipality pursuant to Code Section 40-14-11.

    (d) Any person who has such points assessed against him as to require the suspension of his license pursuant to subsection (a) or (b) of this Code section shall have his license suspended as follows:

    (1) Upon a first assessment of the requisite points, the period of suspension shall be one year, provided that at any time after completion of the requirements set forth in Code Section 40-5-84, such person may apply to the department for the return of his license;

    (2) For a second assessment of the requisite points within five years, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained to the date of the most current arrest for which a conviction is obtained, the period of suspension shall be three years, provided that at any time after completion of the requirements set forth in Code Section 40-5-84, such person may apply to the department for the return of his license; and

    (3) For a third assessment of requisite points within five years, as measured from the dates of previous arrests for which convictions were obtained to the date of the most current arrest for which a conviction is obtained, such person shall have his license suspended for a period of two years. Such person shall not be eligible for early return of his license or for a limited driving permit as provided in Code Section 40-5-64 during such two-year period.

    (e) The periods of suspension provided for in this Code section shall begin on the date the license is surrendered to and received by the department, from the date a license is surrendered to a court under any provision of this chapter, or on the date that the department processes the citation or conviction, whichever date shall first occur. If the license cannot be surrendered to the department, the period of suspension may begin on the date set forth in a sworn affidavit setting forth the date and reasons for such impossibility, if the department shall have sufficient evidence to believe that the date set forth in such affidavit is true; in the absence of such evidence, the date of receipt of such affidavit shall be controlling.

    (f) In all cases in which the department may return a license to a driver prior to the termination of the full period of suspension, the department may require such tests of driving skill and knowledge as it determines to be proper, and the department's discretion shall be guided by the driver's past driving record and performance, and the driver shall pay the fee provided for in Code Section 40-5-84 for the return of his or her license.
    Militant Agnostic- I don't know and you don't know either.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Billy Mack. You are very generous and very helpful.

    Do the fines and points (including the 14 and under rule) apply to school zones as well?

    I think I may be able to fight this one. Any ideas on the best way to calculate distance and prove that he wouldn't have been able to see at that distance?

    (BTW this is in City of Alpharetta so the 300 foot rule applies and not the 600, but I'm still not convinced he got me when he said he did.)

    thanks.
    Peter

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    I'm a cop and I'm in charge of training at a metro Atlanta agency. It's helpful for me to look up laws to refresh my recollection.

    Since this is a laser case, so there's an actual measurement from his location to you. He saw you at 500 feet. Unless his car had camouflage up around it, I don't see how you can claim that he wasn't visible for 500'.

    I don't know if it's possible to beat a laser case in Georgia.

    I posted the laws for points and fines. I don't know of another law that changes any of that for school zones. The fines do increase for constructions zones.
    Militant Agnostic- I don't know and you don't know either.

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    Well Billy Mack provided the information I was going to provide on the 500ft, and it would say it applies to LIDAR since the law is not specific to any particular device..

    However it sounds like the officer was not in a patrol car, it sound like he was standing somewhere off the side of road when he tag you. If that was case, not sure how they applies to the 500 ft rule, since there could be situation where he can see and target you car with LIDAR and you can not see him, he could have been behind a phone pole at the time.

    The reason he let the others go was LIDAR is vehicle specific so he targeted you car and figure the other car was going the same speed, so he warned them.

    LIDAR ticket can be beat, there is an error with LIDAR which is call slip effect which can cause higher speed to be measured. If you research this you will see what it is all about.

    The next thing, I do not believe their is any judicial notice of LIDAR us in GA,, which means the courts can not automatically accept LIDAR as accurate and acceptable in court, the officer and state would have to show it was used properly and accurate.

    Two site to visit are

    radardetector.net a few people there knows the ins and outs of LIDAR

    http://thegeorgiaspeedingticketkille...guidelines.php this guy has lots of information in how to fight tickets in GA, it is pay site, but you can find most of the information elsewhere if you search hard enough.
    Last edited by Maestro; 10-28-2008 at 07:57 PM.

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    LIDAR is admissible by statute:

    40-14-17. Laser devices; reliability and admissibility of evidence


    Evidence of speed based on a speed detection device using the speed timing principle of laser which is of a model that has been approved by the Department of Public Safety shall be considered scientifically acceptable and reliable as a speed detection device and shall be admissible for all purposes in any court, judicial, or administrative proceedings in this state. A certified copy of the Department of Public Safety list of approved models of such laser devices shall be self-authenticating and shall be admissible for all purposes in any court, judicial, or administrative proceedings in this state.
    Militant Agnostic- I don't know and you don't know either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Mack View Post
    LIDAR is admissible by statute:

    40-14-17. Laser devices; reliability and admissibility of evidence


    Evidence of speed based on a speed detection device using the speed timing principle of laser which is of a model that has been approved by the Department of Public Safety shall be considered scientifically acceptable and reliable as a speed detection device and shall be admissible for all purposes in any court, judicial, or administrative proceedings in this state. A certified copy of the Department of Public Safety list of approved models of such laser devices shall be self-authenticating and shall be admissible for all purposes in any court, judicial, or administrative proceedings in this state.
    ****, another state like PA, they too have an approved list of devices, if it not on the list it can not be used. I would suggest getting the list and see if the device the officer used is listed. Next which happen in PA the officer or DA forget to bring the list to court and they loose since they can not provide the document to the court that device is approved for use. However, there is case law in PA on this subject so they are required to present it at the time of the hearing and most police have no clue about it.
    Last edited by Maestro; 10-29-2008 at 03:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maestro View Post
    However it sounds like the officer was not in a patrol car, it sound like he was standing somewhere off the side of road when he tag you. If that was case, not sure how they applies to the 500 ft rule, since there could be situation where he can see and target you car with LIDAR and you can not see him, he could have been behind a phone pole at the time.

    The reason he let the others go was LIDAR is vehicle specific so he targeted you car and figure the other car was going the same speed, so he warned them.
    Thanks Maestro. Yes he was on foot. There was very very little visibility, because of tree cover and traffic particularly, it was impossible to see the car until I was very close.

    Most tickets I've seen in the past show the type of laser device used, but all it says is a check mark with laser and "37 @ 598ft" and that's it. Maybe I can print the list and take it to court and have them prove it? this is very useful, Maestro. Thanks.

    I will also check those sites and see if I can pull some good info down. I want to fight this tooth and nail !

    Very interesting...

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