Wanted to share with you and the members the results from my Fast Lane speeding ticket hearing with the Clerk Magistrate I just had. I got the ticket back in Aug/05 going east through the Allston Tolls at 5 on a weekday. It was a Lidar ticket for 35mph in a 15mph zone for $50. I appealed the ticket and got a Feb/06 hearing.
The Brighton court lobby was fairly packed with other fellow speeders. Prior to the hearing I have been perusing the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices mentioned in several stories on the Mass NMA website. I thought Sec. 2B.18 could be particularly useful for a defense. It basically says that the speed limit signs shall be located at the points of change from one speed limit to the other.
I went into hearing room with the Clerk and the Prosecuting State Trooper. The clerk read the citation, the Trooper read his facts. Then the Clerk said any place else but the toll booth this would be a $220 ticket.
I then said “but it was written for $50” and asked the Trooper at what distance did the ticketing officer hit my car. The Trooper looked at his notes and shrugged his shoulders. The clerk asked what difference this made.
I stated that approaching the tolls the limit drops to 40 then again to 30. The 15mph sign is at the Fast Lane reader and the ticketing officer pointed me over before I went by the reader (and the 15mph sign) so technically I was doing 35 in a 30 zone (although I had a copy of Sec 2B.18, I never brought it up by name or showed them the page). The clerk then said ok, but if that is a 30 zone you WERE over the limit. I said do most people who are 5 mph over the limit get tickets?
I then said that I was going east bound into Boston at the 5 o clock rush hour, so all the heavy traffic was on the other side of the highway. It was a clear bright day and the road was dry. There were no cars immediately behind or in front of me and that, given these conditions, I felt this was reasonable. I then added, humbly, that I would appreciate any break that could be given under these circumstances. The Clerk said ok, I will dismiss this and then asked the Trooper if he wished to appeal, and the Trooper said no. NOT RESPONSIBLE!
Driving back to the office I replayed the victory and could see that a couple questions and comments they said were probably to gage my willingness to accept the fine and avoid further clogging up the legal system. I had my Palm Pilot out and opened, fully expecting to schedule an appeal, so maybe that was my subtle hint I was not going to roll over. I think that the fact the Trooper did not have the distance written could’ve been issue to them. When I was pulled over the ticketing officer made a point of showing me the readout on the Lidar which had speed and the distance he shot me from.
Thanks again for your help.
Rich from MetroWest