Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Do you give drivers 10MPH over?"

Recently a friend asked a police officer if he gives drivers 10MPH over the limit before ticketing. His answer was that his chief told the officers not to ticket anyone for less than 10 over. (That department, however, has a rep for writing tickets at 2-5MPH over the limit.)

I tried to explain that the speed limit is the speed Limit; i.e., the posted speed limit is the maximum speed he should drive on the roadway. "Well, but, the cop said ..."

It doesn't matter what the cop says. Will he go to court with you? I asked an Illinois State Police trooper exactly that, after he had told me over the phone to just "go with the flow" on the Tollway, even though I had just complained that the "flow" was going 72MPH in a 55MPH zone.

And even if a cop did go to court with you, it wouldn't matter. And shouldn't matter.

The speed limit is the speed Limit. If you drive faster than that, you do so at your own peril.

The minimum fine now is $120, and that's if you can mail it in or pay it without a court appearance. If the cop marks that little box "Must Appear", then he has just arranged for it to cost you another $150 or so (or more), unless you can beat it completely.


Sam said...

I abandon this blog but ventured back just for a brief moment, but then back into oblivion I go.

The cop can not just mark the box MUST APPEAR for spite. Mandatory court is set by the Il. Supreme Court Rules. See how little you know.

EVERY STATE gives a variance and it is based upon the highway speed engineering, using the 85th Percentile. I won’t expound on the entire methodology but simply said;
highways were engineered for higher speeds than are statutorily allowed. Remember that all roads used to be 65 and some tollways 75.

The 55 MPH National Maximum Speed Law (NMSL) in the United States was a provision of the 1974 Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act. It was repealed in 1994 but most highways remained at 55mph. the 85th percentile of 65mph is 55.25 MPH. Are you catching on?

Where posted 55, engineers intended people to drive at or below the 65 MPH limit but did not encourage issuance of tickets until 65 MPH is exceeded. In town the grace can be lower but generally ranges greater than 6 MPH. Such as a 45 zone the 85th percentile is 38 or a 7 mile grace.

This same methodology is used when lowering or setting a limit. Traffic Engineers conduct a speed study and use the 85th percentile to set the speed accordingly. Contrary to some misinformation COPS DO NOT SET SPEED LIMITS.

Historically there was a reason in McHenry County why the dictated the grace was set. I will not disclose nor will I give the history surrounding it. I'd only share with a COP that was curious.

That was today's engineering lesson. I won’t give you anymore info because you can just continue to be a traffic Nazi, and do your own research. Now crawl back under you bridge.

Gus said...

Sam, what part of the following are you having a hard time understanding?

"No person may drive a vehicle upon any highway of this State at a speed which is greater than the applicable statutory maximum speed limit..." 625 ILCS 5/11-601(a).

As a matter of fact, the cop CAN mark the box just for spite. It just happened in Woodstock for a $15 skateboarding ticket.

Sam said...

Look it up Gus...ur wrong!

Mandatory court is set by the SUPREME CT rules and the COP requiring an appearance contrary to such rules is subject to censure or penalty by the court.

Rule 503 also requires a court appearance for MULTIPULE Citations issued from one stop.

Rule 551. Traffic and Conservation Offenses for Which a Court Appearance is Required

A court appearance is required for:

(a) All alleged Class A and Class B misdemeanor violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code, as amended (625 ILCS 5/1–100 et seq.).

(b) All alleged violations of the following specified sections:

ILCS Description

625 ILCS 5/3–707 Operating Without Insurance

625 ILCS 5/3–708 Operating When Registration
Suspended for Noninsurance

625 ILCS 5/6–101 No Valid Driver’s License

625 ILCS 5/6–104 Violation of Classification

625 ILCS 5/6–113 Operating in Violation of Restricted
License or Permit

625 ILCS 5/6–301 Unlawful Use of License or Permit

625 ILCS 5/11–409 Making False Report

625 ILCS 5/11–504 Drag Racing

625 ILCS 5/11–601(b) Speeding–Only when more than 30
mph over the Posted Limit

625 ILCS 5/11–1414(a) Passed School Bus–Loading or

625 ILCS 5/15–112(g) Refusal to stop and submit vehicle
and load to weighing after being
directed to do so by an officer, or
removal of load prior to weighing

625 ILCS 5/15–301(j) Violation of Excess Size or Weight

(c) All alleged violations of the Child Passenger Protection Act, as amended (625 ILCS 25/1 et seq.).

(d) Any traffic offense which results in an accident causing the death of any person or injury to any person other than the accused.

(e) Conservation offenses for which more than $75 $120 bail is required under Rule 527, or for which civil penalties are required under section 20–35 of the Fish and Aquatic Life Code, as amended (515 ILCS 5/20–35) or section 3.5 of the Wildlife Code, as amended (520 ILCS 5/3.5).

(f) Offenses arising from multiple charges as provided in Rule 503.

(g) Violation of any ordinance of any unit of local government defining offenses comparable to those specified in subparagraphs (a), (b), (c), (d) and (h) of this Rule 551.

(h) Any minor traffic offense where the statutory minimum fine is greater than $95, except those offenses involving truck violations under Rule 526(b)(1) or similar municipal ordinances.

Tyler said...

You need to read the Illinois Supreme Court Rules. Specifically rule 503 and 551. The police can not punish someone by marking it MANDATORY. They would then incur court costs etc. Must appear tickets are set by SC Court rules.

Was this a JUVENILE? Then the officer will require appearance with a parent. This sounds to be an ADMINISTRATIVE charge. Don’t mix apples and oranges. This stuff is obviously above your pay grade.

Unless you want to set up an ABSOLUTE police state and have robots issue tickets there is no way that an absolute limit can be enforced. If the traffic moves safely at 65 or 75 the idea is to let the traffic flow. NO JUDGE would accept a ticket in his/her court for nitpick issuance like you would want. The COP would be scolded and then laughed out of court.

Even the radar camera trailers are set at 11 over. I’m glad YOU are not in any position of authority.

If you fish, do you throw the small ones back or do you FRY them all.

Gus said...

Too bad the 19 y/o kid who got the skateboarding ticket did not know about Rules 503 and 551. The punitive checkmark in the Must Appear box appears to be exactly that - punitive.

My point about the speed limit is that the LAW is the posted limit. Some towns post Zero Tolerance signs under Speed Limit signs.

The Illinois State Police troopers seem to allow at least 15MPH over on the Tollway, unless a driver is reckless. Bad decision.

Gus said...

Not sure why you are piling on me for criticizing the cop who marked Must Appear on a skateboarding local ordinance $15 violation and sent him to Circuit Court, where it cost him $15 fine + $136 court costs.

How about helping persuade the Woodstock (Ill.) Police Dept.? I suspect the parent had no idea that court costs would be $136! Even so, who can afford a lawyer to fight it?

And you think the PDs don't know that?

Gus said...

Here's the deal.

It's not okay with me that a cop tells someone, or infers, that it's okay to violate the law - any law.

Sure, most people speed. 99% of drivers speed. The cops gave up enforcing the speed limit years ago. But for drivers to "think" they get 5-10MPH over the limit is wrong.

Drivers need to acknowledge that they are violating the law, if they speed. If they get caught, they have nothing to gripe about.

SnidelyWhiplash said...

I read these comments and agree with the two posters above. Both are correct.

As far as piling on about making it mandatory, I read it that they are correcting you for saying that the officer can do it. Maybe he did do it, but that does not make it legal. I can say that I have made the mistake of failing to mark something MUST APPEAR and get a CC: letter from the court clerk telling the defendant that their appearance is required.

In life everything has a fudge factor. Judges will not find anyone guilty if the margin of error is too close. I have seen judges dismiss cases if the officer did not give what the judge felt was a satisfactory grace.

Gus said...

Tyler, will you please help a little more here?

I've read the applicable Illinois Supreme Court Rules. I see where a court appearance is required, but I don't see a prohibition that keeps a cop from ordering a person into court on a minor charge, just to run up his court costs.

Can you cite a Rule, please?

Tyler said...

Can't highlight text on you blog but the highlighted portion would be: "No court appearance shall (emphasis shall) be required under this rule where all charges are traffic offenses which may be satisfied without a court appearance under Rule 529"

The JUDGE would have to admonish the officer and IF the JUDGE felt it was not just an oversight or if repeated instances for SPITE, the Judge could find the officer in contempt. I also believe that the officer could be civilly liable. Again, there may be an exception under the administrative court that this ticket was returned to. It doesn’t sound like it meets the criteria but I’m not going to quibble for some skateboard issue.

I have seen a JUDGE ream out an officer for wasting the courts time for improperly marking a ticket, and then DISMISSED the ticket citing the person’s unnecessary appearance.

Rule 503. Multiple Charges under These Rules
(a) Amount of Bail–Hearing Date
(4) No court appearance shall be required under this rule where all charges are traffic offenses which may be satisfied without a court appearance under Rule 529, the separate bails required for all such charges do not exceed $300 $500, and the accused has deposited an approved bond certificate in lieu of bail; in such event, if the accused does not appear on the date set for appearance, or any date to which the case(s) may be continued, it shall be presumed he has elected to post separate bails and consented to the entry of ex parte judgment on each such charge (see Rule 556(b)).

Gus said...

Thanks, Tyler.

On this skate-boarding ticket, the cop wrote it into Circuit Court with the "Must Appear" box check. Since it's not a "traffic" ticket, I wonder if that Rule applies.

The cop could have (should have) written it into the local Administrative Adjudication Court in Woodstock. It was a local ordinance violation.

Why did Woodstock set up this court, if not to handle exactly this type of ticket???

Tyler said...

What was the exact State ILCS Violation written on the ticket? Was it a local ordinance charge? There must be something that is not being communicated ( fancy that).
Is the local municipal code online? Many towns have online access.

The defendant could inquire why this was made a must appear. Maybe a simple call to the Chief or Deputy Chief would answer this question once and for all. Ask them why this was not payable by mail to avoid the court costs and specifically why the officer made it must appear.

SnidelyWhiplash said...

WoW...All this over some skaterhead. Get off the sidewalk or wherever you were and you won't get a ticket. I'm not 100% sure the rule applies.

COULD IT BE a glitch in the law? Last year all petty traffic Conservation fines were increased from $75 up to $120.

Under Rule 551 (H) if the fine is more than $95 for an administrative charge it is must appear.

To me that seems possibly an oversight at the State Supreme Court administrative level. The SC Rule was not updated to reflect the new and higher fines and $95 should have been raised to a higher amount such as $150.

Also what was the actual offense? Provide the ILCS statute please. Something doesn’t add up here.

Gus said...

The kid was charged with violating a local Woodstock ordinance, not ILCS.

It was issued on a Non-Traffic Complaint of the Woodstock Police Dept. The box for "in violation of Local Ord." is checked. But then it reads Ord. 20, Art. 6, Sec./Par. 2A". There isn't any such animal.

In the Woodstock City Code, the ordinance is under Title 6, Chapter 2, Section 6, Article B, Subsection 2A. A designated streets are named, and then prohibited activities are stated.

One of them is skateboarding, but (B) in the ordinance indicates that the prohibited activity is skateboarding (and other named activities) "IN (emphasis added) the park on the Square."

This causes me to wonder if the kid really violated the ordinance, since he was on a sidewalk in front of a business, not IN the Square.

Maybe the kid should seek to have the conviction vacated and go to trial over it - just on principle (and law).