Photo Enforcement P6: Trial Date

Um, I thought that I asked to have this case dismissed? The court case tracking system http://apps.supremecourt.az.gov/publicaccess/caselookup.aspx shows that they recieved the letter on January 12th, 2011 as a “Not Guilty/Not Responsible Plea”. While I was disappointed that the case not simply dismissed, I think that it’s important to pick apart the letter that I received in conjunction with the information fro the court case website. Here’s some more information from the message board, “Fighting Photo Radar for Dummies“.

“With a traffic ticket the cause of action is the alleged violation of the relevant ARS title 28 statue. It is important you understand this. On a civil matter, the burden of proof is less that with criminal. On a civil matter, who ever has the preponderance (51%) of the evidence wins. You should also understand the legal language of your case- on a civil traffic citation you are either “responsible” or “not responsible”. Try not to use the terms guilty or not guilty, that is only for criminal matters and the court will correct you if you use those terms.”

So here’s the letter from the Star Valley Magistrate Court dated Jan. 14, 2011.

“The Court has received your not guilty plea and a trial date has been scheduled for you on 2-25-11 @2-25-11 for the violations of 28-701A. 1/2 hour has been set aside for you hearing. Advise the court immediately if you have multiple witnesses or you feel this is not ample time to present your case. Your trial will go forward in your absence should you fail to appear.” The document goes on to talk about the process for continuances and my rights to an attorney as well as my right to attend traffic school. It is then unceremoniously signed by court supervisor Tina.

I submitted a motion to dismiss the case. There was nothing about the plea of Not Guilty that they referred to. But wait, my CIVIL traffic court hearing date has been set, not a CRIMINAL hearing. The wording doesn’t seem to jive. So here’s another bit from the “Fighting Photo Radar for Dummies“.

“You need to start thinking about your citation as a civil matter. Lose the idea that you have done something wrong, or that the police are involved. To most law abiding people this is a hard thing to do.
Let me give you an example: Your next door neighbor files a small claims suite against you alleging your motorcycle makes too much noise and is disturbing his peace. He wants you to pay $180 to him. Would you just go write him a check? More than likely you would be outraged and you would certainly go to court over it.
So why then would you allow the state to just send you a letter telling you to send them $180? I will tell you why; most people think of it as a police matter (very scary) and have no idea of how civil traffic citations work in Arizona.
So- if you think that you were driving in an unsafe manner and need to pay $180 or spend four hours in traffic school and pay higher insurance rates; then read no further. However, if you are ready to stand up and fight the revenue machine known as photo radar this information will be helpful.”

So now I need to study a bit more about ARS title 28-701A and prepare myself to present 51% of the evidence. With all this being about a photo of me driving my car, I REALLY wish that I would have taken a picture of me sitting and waiting for them to show up in court!

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