Are Police Officers Allowed to Hide to Catch Speeders in California?
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You are driving on the highway and suddenly, you see flashing lights behind you. Where did the police officer come from? You never saw a police car. So you pull over, the officer comes over and hands you a speeding ticket. You are left sitting there wondering are police officers allowed to hide to catch speeders in California. So let’s discuss. We’ll also go over speed traps and the common misconceptions and lack of awareness that lands us into paying for an unjustified speeding ticket.
Vehicle Code 40801 very clearly states “No peace officer or other person shall use a speed trap in arresting, or participating or assisting in the arrest of, any person for any alleged violation of this code nor shall any speed trap be used in securing evidence as to the speed of any vehicle for the purpose of an arrest or prosecution under this code.”
Any evidence of a driver’s speed secured using a speed trap is not valid either and it is illegal for a police officer to present such evidence forward for any reason. Despite this law, many officers still issue countless speeding tickets to drivers using a speed trap and may pressure you to pay, often leading to their desired result due to the lack of awareness the general public has on these rules and rights. This doesn’t mean you should pay, though, as you’re well in your right to fight that ticket.
A speed trap’s prevalent goal is to generate ticket revenue or meet prosecution targets rather than to promote safety and well-being of the public. What comes to mind when you think of a speed trap is most probably an officer parked out of view of the driver behind a bush or curve, who then catches you with a radar gun. This is a frequently occurring misconception of what a speed trap really is.
A speed trap actually is police officers calculating how long it takes your vehicle to get from one marked point to another, and using that to determine if you were speeding. Or a speed trap is when there is not a valid engineering survey to justify the speed limit on that road. For example, if the speed limit suddenly changes on a section of the road without warning or reason. Under law, drivers must be given clear marked changes in speed limit and speed limits must follow California speed laws.
In short, yes, police officers are allowed to hide to catch speeders using a radar gun. They can even hide out in a private driveway too as long as they’ve been granted permission; though even if they weren’t granted that permission, the ticket stands. Even so these traffic tickets can still be fought and dismissed.
It’s vital to know how to decipher a speed trap situation. Here are some ways to know if you received a ticket based on a speed trap:
A good way to spot these traps is by using apps that can warn you about them, such as Waze, or you can make a search online about the known speed trap areas where issues have arisen before.
There is no doubt that you should be fighting an unjustified ticket for the sake of yourself and to promote others not falling victim to these greedy speed traps. In the likely event that you didn’t have a clear view of road signs, you’re in your rights to fight that ticket.
There can also be issues with the radar gun such as inaccurate aim, wrong vehicle, poor visibility or interference. For example, false readings can happen if the officer is hiding at a bad vantage point, too far away or has an obscured view of the vehicle. Or the most common error is an officer accidentally clocks the speed of the vehicle next to the target vehicle. In any case, if you were victim to a speed trap or believe that the radar gun reading is wrong, always fight the ticket and exercise your right.
Police officers continue to use illegal ways to give out speeding tickets because drivers are unaware and just pay the tickets handed to them. Instead of paying for a ticket, a traffic ticket dismissal service can help you protect your driving record, save you time and money. At GetDismissed, we have 18 years of experience with successfully handling traffic offenses such as speeding, red light camera, cellphone, sign violation, red light and other violations.
We use a process called “trial by written declaration”. A trial by written declaration is a way to fight a traffic ticket through writing instead of in-person. This is the best and easiest way to contest a traffic ticket in California. Don’t waste your time fighting your traffic ticket in court. Regardless of the moving violation, GetDismissed is ready to fight your traffic ticket!
GetDismissed produces results in fighting all kinds of tickets. Unfortunately, this list does not include exhibition of speed citations. Your best bet in fighting one of these infractions, is to contact an attorney. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf to try and reduce fines, or even to reduce the charges to a lesser infraction which could possibly qualify for traffic school.
We do however, contest infractions revolving around speeding, red lights, red light cameras, cell phones, signs (primarily stop signs), carpool violations, U-turns, out of lane violations, and commercial violations. If you receive a citation and have questions, contact us today.