You see folks, this isn’t Matt’s first rodeo. I’ve beaten a traffic ticket before. And this time it shouldn’t be that hard.
Let me set the scene: A well traveled (meaning medium to heavy traffic) urban street with multitudes of hills. The speed limit is 35mph. As I crested a bridge (large hill) there was a speed trap (cop standing outside his car with radar in hand) immediately at the bottom of the hill. He “clocked me” going 45 in that 35.
Here’s the catch. The hill, while tall, is significantly short, probably no more than 500ft per slope/side. By LAW, in the state of Texas, police officers are required to a) make a visual assessment (guess your speed) before using their radar AND b) be able to provide a stable “radar lock” or between 3 and 5 seconds as a “backup” for their visual assessment. Now, physics tell us that at 1mph a car will travel 1.47 feet a second. At the 45mph I was allegedly traveling I would have traveled 200-330ft before the office would have legal been able to provide a radar lock. Note, this also doesn’t take into account the second or two it would take the officer to see me, select his target and “paint it”. We’re up to about 400ft now. Remember I said that the bridge was no more than 500ft. Yeah, he was at the bottom of it. So, in 100ft, at 45mph, the officer was able to put down the radar, signal me to pull over AND I had the room left to actually stop in time. Remember our math equation… 100ft is about a second and a half. I don’t think so.
Here’s what really happened. The officer never made a visual (with his eyes) assessment of my speed, which he’s required to do. He was also already looking through the radar (illegal) and he painted me as soon as I crested the hill. If he had done all this by the book I would have been with 100ft of his car before even beginning to stop.
I should also mention that, since the hill is rather steep, the reading is probably BS anyway. 99% of radar doesn’t work accurately at anything greater than 25 degrees. Going down that particular hill, it probably was about 25 degrees. It’s quite steep.
I feel more confident about that part of my ticket. That speed was bogus. He was just guessing.
Now for the other fun part. Here in Texas, there’s a state law banning license plate covers. The law, designed to battle those ricer-kids who have the metallic/blurry plastic license plate covers since they would defeat photo-speed-detection devices like those at toll-booths. The law was not meant to ban license plate holders, like the kind that EVERY car dealership puts on your car. I happen to have one. It neither covers, obscures or interferes with my license plate. It’s a border around my plate. This one is going to be hard. The law is VERY vague. The crappy part is that this particular offense is $200. Pathetic. I’m still working on a way to get past this one.
I hate to stereotype, but the county is just out for money on that plate law. It’s complete crap. I’m not even sure of its legality.
Anyway, my court date is the 21st. I’m going to see how the judge is feeling that day, if he’s letting people go or handing out probations left and right, and see how to play it.
I hate court.
was the border cover provided by the car dealership? if so, i’d give them a call and ask them for legal advice…or ultimately…to pay the bill.