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Crime Your Rights Online

Smart Phone Gets Driver Out of a Speeding Ticket 254

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Sahas Katta writes in Skattertech that a traffic cop pulled him over while driving home and gave him a speeding ticket but thanks to his Android, he ended up walking out of traffic court without having to pay a fine or adding a single point to his record. "I fortunately happened to have Google Tracks running when an officer cited me for speeding while heading back home from a friend's place," writes Katta. "The speed limit in the area was a mere 25 miles per hour and the cop's radar gun shockingly clocked me driving over 40 miles per hour." Once in court Katta asked the officer the last time he attended radar gun training, when the device was last calibrated, or the unit's model number — none of which the officer could answer. "I then presented my time stamped GPS data with details about my average moving speed and maximum speed during my short drive home. Both numbers were well within the posted speed limits," says Katta. "The judge took a moment and declared that I was not guilty, but he had an unusual statement that followed. To avoid any misinterpretations about his ruling, he chose to clarify his decision by citing the lack of evidence on the officer's part. He mentioned that he was not familiar enough with GPS technology to make a decision based on my evidence, but I can't help but imagine that it was an important factor.""
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Smart Phone Gets Driver Out of a Speeding Ticket

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 25, 2011 @11:38PM (#35320636)

    gives you a 2% error in speed, or 25 +/- 0.5 mph

  • by LVWolfman ( 301977 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @12:42AM (#35321084)

    I went through a similar thing here in Las Vegas about ten years ago when I was working a paper route. I was driving a '92 Buick, sitting in the left turn lane of a major intersection at about 4AM. I sat through three complete cycles of the traffic lights without ever getting a left turn green light.

    I had four choices:
    1. Wait until the intersection was clear and safe and then carefully make my left turn.
    2. Go straight on the green light for straight, but doing so from the wrong lane.
    3. Back up to where I could get in the proper lane, but breaking the laws regarding reversing more than 150 feet on a public roadway or breaking the law regarding changing lanes within 150 feet of an intersection.
    4. Abandon my vehicle and find a pay phone to call 311 (non-emergency police number) for advice and to report the malfunctioning signal.

    I chose option one. Cross traffic was stopped as my direction had a green light for straight ahead.

    Of course, there was a police office sitting in traffic to my right, who promptly hit the lights and sirens as I turned and pulled me over.

    "I can't believe that you did that in front of me!" he yelled.
    I explained what happened, he handed me a ticket for making an illegal turn and failing to obey a traffic control device, telling me to "Tell it to the judge."

    It took me three appearances at the courthouse before I could see a judge just for the arraignment AND I had to pay bail BEFORE the arraignment because I was pleading not guilty.

    When I gave the judge my plea, he called me to the bench and offered to convert it to a no point parking ticket. I refused and told him "I'm not guilty your honor, taking the deal would be admitting guilt."

    He sighed and said "Ok, I'm not supposed to hear testimony at an arraignment but tell me your story".
    I did.
    He then said "And you want me to make a ruling regarding which was the proper choice? You're not getting from me. CASE DISMISSED!"

    He then told me quietly, "I'd have done the same thing in your situation."

    Yes, it cost me more in time off than the fine would have been, but it was the principle of the thing. Plus I really wanted a judge to rule on the situation.

  • by JohnnyComeLately ( 725958 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @01:07AM (#35321262) Homepage Journal
    I crossed a cop for about 3 hours in Vista County (San Diego). The judge recessed twice for a break during my cross. By the time I was done I'd gotten him to admit he had no idea how the thing operated (beam width, etc) and didn't know a single warning from the owners manual. I even pointed out his unit had been duct taped (an aftermarket modification). Still found guilty. The lack of certificate was your ticket killer.
  • Imma get that app! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tkprit ( 8581 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @01:18AM (#35321320) Homepage

    I think the state couldn't prove its case, and judges tend to respect people who at least try to put up a decent defense (road was empty and relative in ER) — showing up with an app that showed your top speed and avg speed, that's more impressive than a sob story any day, imo.

    (I always have to delete my in-car computer data when pulled over... my top speeds fall in category of wreckless driving, and I'm paranoid cops will check it out. But good for this guy staying @ or under speed limit... or 'adjusting' the data before the trial.)

  • Re:Racket (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Andy Smith ( 55346 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @05:03AM (#35322282)

    I've mentioned this incident a couple of times on Slashdot so apologies to anyone who has read it before.

    I was given a ticket for driving in an incorrectly-marked bus lane. The police officers knew it wasn't marked correctly, but they had been orderd to give tickets to everyone. Months later I received a threat of a court summons, or I could pay a fine. A lawyer advised me to just pay the fine. Why? If I didn't then I'd have to go to court TWICE in a city hundreds of miles away, which would cost a couple of hundred £££, and in the unlikely event that I won I wouldn't be able to recover expenses. And, the worst part, because it was the police that had issued the ticket instead of the council, I would get a criminal record. After all the research I had done, and my lawyer's advice, I was sure that the court would rule against me, and I couldn't risk the criminal record.

    Yes it's a racket. Yes I'm ashamed that I didn't fight it. But I was scared that a criminal record would prevent me from working abroad.

    Motoring fines have very little to do with justice or upholding the law. They have become a revenue source for governments desperate to create the illusion of low taxes.

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Saturday February 26, 2011 @05:46AM (#35322424)

    I'd say his evidence was clear enough,

    Really? I use Google Tracks on my cycling trip to work. I typically come to a full stop for about 10-40seconds at 2 red lights during my half an hour commute, and average about 25km/h moving speed. Yet when I look back on the graph of my speed vs distance traveled the graph never shows that I come to a stop, only that I've slowed down. I've also got a hill on the way to work. My record going down this hill is 56km/h for a few seconds according to my bike trip computer. Google Tracks never shows me as having reached 50 on that same trip.

    Was my bike computer mis-calibrated? Unlikely since the last 200km bike trip Google Tracks and my bike computer both showed the total distance traveled to be within 1% of each other. So I ask you, do you think that time averaged samples of speeding data is evidence to be used against a specific point sample?

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