Saturday, September 22, 2007

To Speed Trap... Or Not to Speed Trap

I hate it when I'm working radar and I stop someone, then the driver loudly proclaims (in his or her best internet lawyer voice) that "speed traps" are illegal, and I was hiding, so I should just let them go without a ticket. I have heard many excuses for speeding. Some are amusing, and some are downright asinine.

People who try to tell me the law really torque me off. People who tell me how to do my job really torque me off. People who refuse to accept responsibility for their own mistakes, or try to blame their own stupidity on me really torque me off.

For the record, a speed trap is defined by the California Vehicle Code as a stretch of roadway with markings or landmarks set at a known distance apart, through which an officer can time the passage of a vehicle with a stopwatch and determine its speed. As such, speed traps are illegal. A speed trap IS NOT an officer who is crafty with his or her hidey holes.

I have become very creative when it comes to hiding for the purpose of working radar. I've been known to hide behind trees, bushes, buildings, and even other cars. Sometimes I hide in plain sight. I often stand outside my car with a hand held radar unit, and still people fail to see me and slow down.

The moral of this story is, DO NOT try to blame me for catching YOU speeding. I am not responsible for your irresponsibility. If you're going to tell me the law, you'd better be sure YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, because it's my job to know the laws I am sworn to enforce. Trying to "scare" me or "intimidate" me out of giving you a ticket is a sure fire way to EARN that ticket and a curt "Tell it to the Judge". If everyone would limit themselves to five miles per hour over the speed limit, or 25 in a school zone, we would never have to have these conversations.

On the other hand, I do not necessarily cite every driver I stop. I have heard some excuses that were so amusing, I simply could not write the driver a ticket. The best way to talk your way out of a citation is to BE POLITE, and NOT ARGUE. State your case and don't be condescending and I MIGHT not write you that ticket. It's not sure fire, but it's worth a shot.

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