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VIC Challenging Police Assessments on your Speed

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' at netrider.net.au started by Mr Christopher, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. Hi All,

    Had an incident this morning on a freeway that I can only describe as bizarre and I would like some feedback from anyone who has had a similar encounter.
    • Moving across lanes in traffic I notice a KTM motard in the far right lne (soon to be revealed to be a cleverly disguised cop).
    • After making about 6 (safe) lane changes in the slow traffic over about half a km I notice the KTM in my lane some distance behind.
    • A few seconds later the ktm is alongside me - in my lane despite the 2 empty lanes on either side - with the rider pointing excitedly at his handlebars. At first I think he is alerting me to a problem and I look around to see what's wrong with my bike - he then does it again (still in my lane) - at which point I assume he must be road raging me for some reason and I try to focus back on the road.
    • He then pulls in behind my where I can see 2 (tiny) flashing lights near the headlight and the penny drops that I'm getting pulled over.
    • Usual routine - I give him my licence politely and wait for the inevitable green bit of paper that will earn my wife's ire - when he returns and hands me my licence back saying "you'll get a ticket in the mail" and turns to walk back to his bike.
    • I ask him to wait and tell me what the penalty is, he replies "you were about 15-25km over the limit" I ask the penalty amount"About $240" and goes to walk off again.
    OK at this point it's all getting a little strange. So I take my helmet off and state that I think this is unusual and that he needs to be a bit more specific than that. He then pulls himself up a bit and thinks for a moment. eventually saying $244. I ask how many points and he says 3. I repeat that I'm not comfortable with this very casual manner in issuing a ticket and take sown the specifics myself in my diary - including his name and station - before he jumps back on the bike and leaves me bemused still standing on the side of the freeway.

    So I've done some research and yes I know that police can and do have the authority to do this - but it strikes me as an unusual case. All I have is the offhand estimate of a officer in traffic who was :
    A. some distance behind and in another lane with his vision obscured by cars.
    B. then frequently changing lanes in a short space of time to come up to me.
    C. Claims to be able to be assess my speed in these conditions yet only places me in an infringement "band".

    MY QUESTION: I know that courts will accept police estimates on your speed, I would think that police are expected to be a little more diligent than making a rough guess in the conditions I outlined. How specific do they have to be for a court? I want to know if anyone else has had any luck challenging an officers "assessment" in court as I'm seriously considering challenging this.
  2. Not very. He got your speed in a range, not an exact km/h, which would be near impossible.

    In court, it would come down to the fact he has honed his speed estimation skills over many years, which actually qualifies him as an 'expert' in the area.

    If you want to take it to court, good luck. You will end up paying the ticket, and costs.
  3. That they're allowed to do this is pathetic on so very many levels. I can't offer any helpful advice but if your post is true then I hope you're able to beat it, and I hope the cop's life is short.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Get a lawyer if you want to challenge and need the points.

    Police bikes have radar mounted to their dash but I have no idea about unmarked bikes
  5. In NSW to get a speed following up in court they generally need to supply evidence that they followed you for a period of time at a constant speed. They list the intersections you (they) passed and how many meters they followed you for.

    On the other side of the coin is the recent trend of allowing cops to speed estimate. I'm not sure if anyone has gotten away with this with a speed follows in court.

    I think it's worth a chat to a lawyer, if you don't mind the expense. I can imagine he'd be asking for the speedo calibration certificate on a bike like that as well.

    Problem is you don't have a witness that can verify he didn't follow you at a constant speed for a while.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. They don't have to be specific, and their case may be stronger if they aren't.
    He's 'estimated' your speed exactly in a range where any reasonably expected error (on his part) will not change the outcome in your favour. Even if the magistrate allows you 5km/h tolerance, the outcome will be the same.
    You would need documentary evidence or expert witness testimony to stand any chance, IMO.
  7. Yeah thanks guys. I accept that it's unlikely to beat a cop in court (although it has happened), but it was just the strangest most half-arsed infringment I've ever been "given" (or promised ) which is making me wonder if it will hold up to scrutiny if it got challenged. From what i can see it's about $70 to go to court so it may be worth a test. Not really worth getting a lawyer involved though.
  8. I don't mean to be rude, but to put it frankly, if you intend on self representing in court over a traffic infringement, the magistrate will laugh at you (non literally of course).
  9. I've never been stopped for speeding but would have assumed that he would have been able to issue the infringment (or something for you to take) on the spot and you not have to make your own notes in your diary.

    Is this the normal course of events? Could it be that he was just trying to give you a bit of a misplaced warning - sort of this will keep him on his best behaviour for the next few days?
  10. This is part of the problem. Conceited assholes on the bench don't take people seriously unless they're rich enough to pay some other asshole's ridiculous fees.

    There is only justice for those who can afford it.
  11. I suspect he was caught without his ticket pad - I don't know. But his attitude was almost cavilier, like he was telling you he was going to return your borrowed DVD sometime next week. Very different from the by-the-book script I've been read before.

    The thought did occur to me that maybe this is a warning - don't know if I'm that lucky though. ;)
  12. The derision you will often receive from a magistrate is more about wasting the courts time than looking after their mates. The chances of an untrained individual defending themselves against a trained court officer is extremely low.

    but agree that it sucks there isn't a more cost effective way of defending yourself.
  13. Again, part of the problem. The whole system is fuсked.
  14. Last time I got pinged in the bike lane he gave me no paperwork (just jotted it down on his notepad). It came in the mail a few days later.
  15. This ticket in the mail thing is a complete joke.Whats to stop you being sent ANYTHING from J walking to running a Red light.Why cannot this be done at the time of the alleged offence,cut and dryed.The cars in NSW have cameras and the last time I was pulled over he started with my name is Constable Bla Bla and I need to tell you this is being recorded,speak into this breath tester.Then there is a record of the charge and where it happened and when.We are going down a slippery slope with this ticket in the mail joke.There is zero accountability with this situation.
  16. I guess the question to be asked is were you speeding? It sounds pretty difficult to have been speeding in the conditions. Personally I wouldn't bother taking it to court if I knew I was speeding between 15 and 25 km/hr, despite only being given an estimation. This smacks of getting caught and just trying to beat the system. But if I wasn't speeding or had been seeding in a lower bracket, than I would take it to court for sure.
    And don't answer that.
  17. The whole thing is bullshit.

    The cop had to be going FASTER than you to catch up, irrespective of your speed. This is the law of physics.

    Speed Kills. Unless you're a police officer, in which case it doesn't. 'cos, you know, the government said they could speed. & use a mobile phone while driving. :tantrum:

    Disgusting hypocrisy.

    I'm off to get a cupcake.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Red velvet or ban.
  19. If you object, i.e., take it to court, the summons will arrive with a stat dec brief and it should state how he estimated your speed. Normally it needs to be a minimum of 300m uniterupted metres distance (TTBOMK). As part of your defense preparation, you could subpoena the SOP for speed estimation using a vehicle. A good lawyer might be able to sow doubt in such a brief given the traffic and the police rider having to manage that traffic and hazards and taking their eyes off you in the process. If the riding was consistent with maintaining your safety but you exceeded the speed limit in doing so, you could ask the court to waive the fine. You will get the demerit points though, there's no out.

    In preparing your defense, you could ask for the speedo's calibration certificate and procedures. If there was anything out of stanard, the speedo could have over estimated the speed. There could be a nice technical get out there alone (small chance though).

    If you did NOT admit to speeding on the side of the road, you have a chance. If you did, you have NO CHANCE in court as your admittance will be in the policeman's brief.

    If you do take it to court and you believe you weren't speeding as high as the alleged speed, you might be able to argue a trade off with the prosecutor - a reduction to the next lowest speed range in exchange for an uncontested guilty plea. It saves him a lot of hassle. You might ask the court to consider a guilty plea with applicable demerit points with no recorded conviction.

    It's not all good though - there's always the chance that the cop will accept the objection, expunge the infringement and re-issue with lane changing infringements if he saw you split any cars. But then, that might also be arguable if he broke eye contact with you.

    Before you take on any of these options - how much is your time and effort worth to you? Is principle driving you or are you innocent? If you choose to represent yourself, take some days off to soak up the magistrate court experience as an observer. Trust me, if you walk in cold you will do yourself a disservice. The magistrate has seen a million of you. You hold no fear to him/her. They will concentrate on you with a narrow focus and disect your words - most seem to get up on the wrong side of the bed. The stereotypes are true. They also won't help you if they can see you're about to make a basic mistake and cook your own case. So you will need to get prepared. trafficlaw.com.au might be a good place to start. Google "your day in court" to get some other magistrate court proceedings advice.
  20. I've had a "You'll be getting a ticket in the mail" only to end up with no ticket

    Which came as a surprise since he seemed pretty serious about booking me at the time.

    Mind you - this was in the ACT and their attitude to speeding isn't quite as anal as in VIC (Though it looks to be heading that way these days)