Got a Ticket, Need Info on Speed/Radar Laws & Out of State Stuff

I just got a ticket (goddam pigs). I want to appeal it because I think I can get rid of it.
However, I need info on speed/radar stuff, particularly the margin of error on the radars.

Second, and more important, I was pulled over during break from college. I live in Massachusetts but go to school in New York so I need to know how I can appeal a ticket I got at home. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Hire a lawyer. BTW, your attitude sucks. Drive the speed limit and you won’t get tickets.

Generally, radar readings are sufficient to create a rebuttable presumption of the speed they show. You don’t offer nearly enough facts to say anything definitive one way or another about your circumstances, except that you seem to have a poor attitude towards law enforcement.

My legal advice is: hire a lawyer licensed to practice in the relevant jurisidiction, which itself is unclear to me.

  • Rick

PIGS??? Pray you never Need One…

Speed limits? Tickets? Huh?
What are we talking about here?

It’s been proven that farm animals really have no idea how to operate high tech equipment such as radar guns, F-16 fighter jets, and mp3 players (sorry, can’t find the study online at the moment). I would start with that point and work your way from there.

Horseflesh, you wouldn’t believe what farm animals can do. Pick up any collection of ‘Far Side’ cartoons.

Regarding the OP, you may wish to select a course at college which will help you see the bigger picture, and become less of an invective-spewing twit.

i was a juror in a court case where a chicken was a witness
at first i and the rest of the jury was skeptical but after the chicken beat most of us in tic tac toe we had no choice but to believe the chicken and sentence the defendant to death

Let’s hope you didn’t get the ticket in a small town, where there is only one judge and he and the cops are all drinking buddies. I did once, and collected copious info on how radar could be interferred with by RF-emitting equipment at a hospital (it happened in front of one). I even got the cop to admit on the stand that the radar wasn’t connected to his car’s speedometer (if it wasn’t, and both he & I are moving, the radar would show the SUM of our speeds if converging, and the DIFFERENCE if diverging). I got the cop to admit that he wasn’t sure just where the gun had been pointing, and he might have been reading another vehicle.

Nevertheless, the Judge said (exact quote):


I thought an appeal might not be worth my time, either. It would just go to the judge’s brother.

Take it easy, the pig thing wasn’t meant to be serious and not an expression of hatred to all cops, though I suppose you can’t always tell on the internet.

Its not worth the time and effort to get a lawyer for one ticket. Like I said, I think I can get the ticket appealed (a friend told me pictures of the road are the key) plus the ticket says the speed was detemined by radar, but also estimation. Now, I remember from my drivers ed class that the radars do have a margin of error, but I can’t remember it or find it. I also need to find out what the case is with my going to school in another state. Now, unless I’m looking in the wrong place the Mass DMV site has been useless (though I haven’t been able to the drivers manual part because my pc is a piece), so I’m just wondering if anyone knows where I can find this information.

Well, if a friend told you, it’s hard to imagine how THAT could be wrong.

In baseball it’s pretty well accepted that a jugs gun can have up to a 5MPH margin of error.

And none of that will avail you. You’re still going to have to pay.

Write a nice letter to the magistrate in the jurisdiction where you were ticketed. Explain your version of the circumstances and offer to plead to a lesser offence. Chances are he will allow you to, unless you gave the LEO a bunch of attitude.

I’m familiar with a similar case where the radar was screwed up but the driver lost the case because he’d admitted to being over the speed limit. The driver testified in his own defense. After the driver presented his defense about all the problems with the radar, the prosecutor asked him, “How fast were you going?” The driver said, “About 65.” The prosecutor said, “What was the speed limit?” The driver said, “I don’t know.” The cop had already testified that the speed limit in that area was “55 mph.” The driver lost the case, obviously.

You want to know how to get out of a ticket?

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider: this is Chewbacca…”

Works every time. :smiley:

Interesting. You must have very different radar units than any I have ever seen in 17 years of law enforcement experience. I’ve never seen one connected to the speedometer. The radar units that I’ve used all emit two signals while in moving mode: one to read the speed of the patrol car and one to read the speed of anything approaching or moving away (that’s only for the rear antenna of a two antenna system). The radar unit calculates the difference and displays the patrol car speed and the target speed.

As to the OP: request from the police agency and the court a copy of the radar unit certification and calibration records. These will show what tolerances (what you call the “margin of error”) are allowed. It is usually very small and probably won’t make any difference, but it’s worth checking.

Badge, now we’re talking physics here. Just how is the radar unit going to measure the speed of the host vehicle unless you’re suggesting it be pointed at a fixed object as well as the subject vehicle? And why would it, if there is a readily available speed data signal in the car already from the speedometer?

A basic radar unit can only tell relative speed. If a car traveling at 20MPH is coming towards the radar unit, and the radar unit is travelling at 30MPH, the relative speed is 50MPH. To give an accurate value for the subject car only, it needs to subtract the speed of the cop’s vehicle. Not a problem if the cop has a speedometer.

Also remember, radar (or any other signal bounce/sense concept) measures the time it takes for a pulse to be returned, and using simple mathematical calculations, displays the speed of whatever it is pointing at. And there’s the rub. If the beam is not pointed correctly, or is so wide that more than one vehicle is included, the measurements will not be reliable.

So, DaPearl, this info might be useful, although in my experience, no reputable prosecutor would come to a court case without the “radar unit certification and calibration records” as Badge mentioned. Your request for them might still be useful; if the prosecutor checks them and sees they are old or out of tolerance, he may prefer to drop the case. Every little bit helps.

Bricker, my friend’s advice might help, since he’s been given five tickets and only had to pay for one (for the record and before anyone asks, this was my first).

SpectBrain, I was very polite to the officer and didn’t give him any trouble, so I think that would help.

Badge, thanks for telling me how to get the radar stats. As a member of law enforcement, you wouldn’t have any idea how to resolve my school problem by any chance (maybe its as simple as a letter, but I’ve never been to court so I don’t know)?

Thankyou everyone for the advice, but Airman, yours might just be the best suggestion of all.


Warning: The following post contains second hand information which may or may not be factual.

Well, in the late 90s, the New England states (as well as NY, I would assume) didn’t really have an easy way to send ticket info to each other. My roomate received a couple tickets in VT while he still had MA plates, and no points were ever added and his insurance company never found out. The common rumour was that it took a lot of paperwork to send the ticket info to another state, so if you just paid the fine and didn’t cause trouble the officer wouldn’t bother. (Badge, any comments?) So, my advice would be to pay the fine and slow down a bit. YMMV

Ask the court for a jury trial. They probably (three out of four times or so) will just blow it off rather than go to all that trouble for a speeding ticket.

If they go ahead with it, plead nolo and pay the fine.