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Old 07-02-2002, 03:06 PM   #1
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Angry Acton PD now sending citations via mail (not speeding)

I just posted this up to PPBB, but I thought it would be good to air my dirty laundry here to add some local color...black and white that would be....

Any Boston area lawyer suggestions would be most gratefully appreciated!

A week ago, I was on a local 2 lane following a car behind an extremely slow drivers-ed car. Going about 20 miles under the limit of 45 mph. After a half mile of this, I pass both cars, reach the speed limit but not exceed it, and pop back into my lane. Only thing is that a cop was on the westbound side and it happened a bit on the "tight" side. I instinctively check my rear-view mirror to see if the cop is slowing down or putting on his lights--nothing. So I chuckle to my wife, who is sitting in the passenger seat, "I don't know why I felt guilty, it was a legal pass and under the speed limit."

Today I get a $100 citation in the mail, "Failure to use care in passing more than one m/v w/o at least 400 feet of visibility."

Obviously this sounds like something I should fight! It really bothers me that, a) How do they know I was the driver; b) If I was commiting this act of reckless driving, shouldn't they get me off the streets rather than file paperwork?

Well, I'm not naive and I know this is just a revenue item. But what do you guys think my chances are based on this? And how do they have their evidence? Is it a camera tape from the car? Did they just scan the computer for red Porsches in my neighborhood? Yikes!

-Charlie
Allegedly in an 2.7 '01 GR/BLK/BLK
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Old 07-02-2002, 05:37 PM   #2
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This is too frightening Orwellian!

Charlie, I don't really have any suggestions for metro Boston attorneys, but I do think this situation certainly warrants (oops, bad terminology) one. You've hit the nail on the head with "revenue generator". Just how reckless must the trooper have been to get your license plate number at speed, going the opposite direction from you. Surely he didn't just scan the registry for GR Boxsters, and as you said, how DID he really know you were operating the "offending vehicle"?

Recently, I have experienced so many examples of inattentive, poor, and truely RECKLESS drivers (was nearly T-boned today by some jerk turning right-on-red -- who didn't even slow down, much less stop -- as I was beginning to go through on green). Where's the police when real infractions occur?

Hope this gets rectified favorably for you (and us) soon.

John
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Old 07-02-2002, 06:12 PM   #3
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This one I definitely have to fight...

...even if it proves a futile or even humiliating day in court. That "400 feet" rule sounds like they made it up just for me...and I doubt I could have even pulled off the entire pass in that limited amount of space--thus I must have had more like 1,000 visible feet in front of me.
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Old 07-02-2002, 06:42 PM   #4
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Charlie,

Sorry to hear the bad news! I can't remember anything in the Mass General Laws about space requirements for passing being so specific. 400 feet is what, ~25 car lengths? Unless you're driving when everyone else is asleep you'll rarely find that amount of free space on a road in greater Boston...

I fought a parking ticket in Boston once, and despite my having the pictures, measurements, etc. to back up my case I still ended up stuck with paying it -- a real 'catch 22' experience, as the 'hearing' is with a city employee. Plus, I lost a vacation day to the effort.

As I understand it, the actual policeman that wrote the ticket no longer has to show up at court in MA anymore (any representative can cover), so the old 'he didn't show' reprieve apparently can't be counted on anymore. If you're up to it though, you should fight it as any ticket brings point$ on your insurance .

Best of luck! I guess I'll be watching more carefully now when passing through Acton!
-Don

Last edited by donv; 07-02-2002 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 09-12-2002, 03:43 PM   #5
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Thumbs up At last, a happy ending...

Today I confronted the district magistrate with my attorney, and was able to get a "not responsible" ruling which avoids the nasty business of having to go to court and talking things to the next level. The next level being that my attorney would force the police officer to positively identify me as the driver, etc. And would of course entail my taking another day off work.

I can't tell you how nice it was to join a group of clueless civilians trying to defend themselves but have an attorney by my side! All I said the whole time was "hello," and "thank you." There is no way I could have done this by myself. The magistrate made it abundantly clear that she didn't like me ("Dangerous passing is much worse than speeding, and you don't deserve this, but...") but was dismissing my case to save the courts for dealing from what my lawyer would have made into a pretty weak case for the prosecutor in court. My attorney had the necessary connections to push this ugly thing in my favor. For this his high fee was absolutely worth it!

Feel free to email me if you have any questions; I'm now "in the know" about this particular process and I'd be happy to help other responsible drivers victimized by the local revenue system.

Hope to see some of you at the PCA "Porschefest" in Brookline this Saturday!

-Charlie
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