September 30th marked the 67th anniversary of the accident that took James Dean’s life not far from Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo (SLO) County, CA. The police say speeding was a contributing factor in that accident.
It’s also possible that the other car's driver never saw him, as he was turning onto highway 41 from 46. Many say the police speculated that he was speeding because he got a speeding ticket in Bakersfield about two hours earlier, which was 84 miles away, and they stopped for gas and dinner. RIP James Dean.
What Is Speeding in California?
Well, the “basic speed law” in CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22350, Speed Laws, states:
“No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”
That section of code leaves a traffic court judge a lot of leeway and discretion to determine whether you were speeding or not. For instance, what is “reasonable or prudent”?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines reasonable as “not extreme or excessive,” and prudence is “…marked by wisdom or judiciousness.” Therefore, if the driver’s speed isn’t excessive, and they act with wisdom and give “…due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway…” then they can determine what is speeding. If not, who determines what speeding is?
Although the law enforcement officer (LEO) can issue you a citation for speeding, you are not guilty until or when a traffic court judge says you are guilty.
That’s why rather than just paying the fine, you should hire a traffic attorney to raise the level of “reasonable doubt” and point out what the basic speed law says.
Is It Legal in California to Use Aircraft to Determine If You Were Speeding
There are several methods to measure speed in California. The most popular are RADAR, LIDAR, and Pacing. Using an aircraft is legal if there is a patrol car on the ground to pace the vehicle identified by the aircraft to determine for sure it is the right vehicle and that they were speeding.
However, both the officer in the aircraft and the LEO on the ground must appear in court to testify. Even in traffic court, you have a Constitutional right “to face your accuser.” So, despite signs posted along some highways, the CHP rarely uses aircraft to catch speeders because the fuel is expensive, and so is sending two LEOs to court. Typically, they get overtime for a court appearance.
For more information about speeding and your rights when issued a speeding ticket, check the Bigger & Harman webpage, Issued a Speeding Ticket?
Ask Bigger & Harman, APC, for Assistance with a Speeding Ticket in Paso Robles in SLO County
Call (661) 349-9300. Bigger & Harman, APC, when you are cited for speeding or another traffic violation.
We provide reliable and timely representation to CA drivers who were ticketed for traffic violations. Use our convenient contact form and include a picture of the traffic ticket and a summary of the stop.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
CVC Section 22350, Speed Laws