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"Do You Know Why I Pulled You Over?"

Does a rose by any other name still smell as sweet? Or, more to the point, if CHP officers are “encouraged” to increase their “enforcement contacts,” is the system an illegal quota?

The current controversy arose during a police brutality lawsuit in Sacramento. During his deposition, Officer Jay Brame claimed that his supervisors told him he must pull over at least 100 motorists a month, adding that these evaluations went on for years and were commonplace among patrol sections. One of these reports said an average of five contacts per day was “not acceptable” and he “will need to pick up your enforcement activity the second half of the month and use the [motorcycle] for what it is intended to be used for.” A dismayed U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb opined that “the CHP should be ashamed of that document.”

Los Angeles County has paid roughly $10 million in recent years, to settle quota and whistleblower lawsuits.

Ticket Quotas

police pull overFirst, it’s important to understand that a settlement in a civil matter is not necessarily an admission of guilt. It’s like plea-bargaining in a traffic ticket case: if the prosecutor offers a good deal, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and it may be better to take the favorable offer than to risk a trial.

Second, VC 41602 is written very narrowly. It prohibits an “arrest quota,” and in the context of the Vehicle Code in Mono County, that means writing citations. If the number of “enforcement contacts” includes verbal and written warnings, which it normally does, the system is not illegal.

Basically, the quota law exists because Inyo County motorists should be pulled over because they violate the law, and not because the officer needs to fill out a statistical sheet. When the officer asks, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” you should suspect that the real answer is “speeding” and not “so that your supervisor Is happy with you.”

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive lawyers at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-859-1177 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-376-0214.