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Thread: Need some legal advice regarding a ticket.

  1. #1
    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    I hope this isn't too off topic, but the forum guidelines mention discussing freedom and liberty, and I'm trying to find out if mine was just infringed on.

    I was being tailgated by a soccer mom type, and I mean really tail gated. She was about 2 feet from my bumper in a mini van while I was doing 5 over. I'm working at fixing my Crown Victoria, and I was in my brothers little Escort which he has loaned to me. I decided that enough was enough, so I started swirving around my lane to shake the tail gater. I stayed completely and totally inside of the lane, but I used most of it, going left to right at what I would describe as a medium pace. This cop then pulls me over, and lectures me about how high school kids who were getting out of school were around. Mind you, they were, but between me and them there was a bike lane, a grass hill, and a curb. They were in no danger, and insinuating that they were was ridiculous.

    After an incredibly long time, something like 15 minutes, he gives me more lecture, says he should have given me a ticket for wreckless driving, but instead he was giving me a ticket for "Improper lane use". I tried googling that, but I can't find any Michigan legal definitions. (You guys tend to be good at that)

    If there was an actual law I broke, that's one thing, and I will pay the ticket. If I deserve it, I deserve it. But I don't see where I did. I slowed to the speed limit, and occupied most of the lane with a compact car to stop someone from tailgating me. Yes, I was being a jerk, but what did I do legally wrong? Anybody have a definition of this "Improper lane use" law?

    I'm trying to decide whether or not I want to take this bastard to court. I guess the obvious problems that have to be balanced out are time spent waiting for a hearing, an infraction on my license, and whether or not they have me dead to rights anyway.

    Any thoughts?
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    Just a few thought's, you could have asked for a warning at the time which is a reasonable request if they are in a good mood will do. You did not say if it was city, county or state police. But then this is 20/20 hindsight.

    You can go and do a search at the Michigan legislature web site anddo a Michigan Compiled Laws Search http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(jst...aspx?page=homefor theMichigan Compiled Law you want.

    Possible options;you can go to the appropriate prosecuting attorney for the jurisdiction and have a chat about what happened with them and ask for a dismissal, they will talk to you, and all they can say is no.

    Or you can give a plea of not guilty go to court and hope the officer does not show up, which the judge will dismiss the case, and do the legal part your self, (no lawyer)

    Or take a plea bargain to a lesser charge if he does.

    Or Contact a lawyer and pay a lot to fight it.

    Advice: you can get the books that have been written by those that have been there and done that, and give them a good read first, but what ever you do if you end up in court Never call the judge a judge always refer to them a "Your Honer" if you do slip and call them "Judge" you will incur their wrath and likely loose real fast.

    Just an opinion here... you did not exactly use the best judgment on a tail gaiter in how you handled it, think about it there were better options to your zig zag routine, my personal favorite is to dial a 911 on them and let a cop pull them over.


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    It's a city PD, and the officer who pulled me over was in a really bad mood. I think at first he assumed I was drunk, and since I wasn't he was just in the mood to be an *******. In any case, he seemed to be one of the "Us against them" cops. He was quite rude to me, and I was quite rude right back. At first I was surprised he didn't throw the book at me as much as possible, but now I think I'm realizing that it's probably because I wasn't actually guilty of violating any traffic laws.

    I look forward to arguing with the SOB in court.

    I can't find any law that defines what I was cited for, but I guess it won't matter, because I'll be calling up the court tomorrow to ask for specifics. One thing I won't be doing is taking a plea bargain if I didn't actually violate any laws.
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    Sheldon wrote:

    Advice: you can get the books that have been written by those that have been there and done that, and give them a good read first, but what ever you do if you end up in court Never call the judge a judge always refer to them a "Your Honer" if you do slip and call them "Judge" you will incur their wrath and likely loose real fast.
    This may be good advice, but you say it like it will always happen. I've been in court and have used sir..yes sir...no sir... and did not "incur" his "wrath". The best advice is to be polite and respectful. Sheldon stop using the word "always", The only thing that is always is that things are never always...given time and circumstances.

    Judges have too much power. I find it frighting that a judge can put you in jail for contempt, without a trial and keepyou there indefinitely. For example if youthreatenedto kill him in his court, you are in contempt and go to jail for as long as the judges desires. YET if you actually did kill him you have the possibility of bail, a trial, and a defined sentence if found guilty. Just a rant.
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    *The information contained above is not meant to be legal advice, but is solely intended as a starting point for further research. These are my opinions, if you have further questions it is advisable to seek out an attorney that is well versed in firearm law.

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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Well, I called the traffic lady at the court and left a message, but nobody has called back yet. Being as I'm out of work, I don't mind as much as I might have. I'm about to try again, and if I don't get a call back, I'm going to go to the court tomorrow, right when it opens, and sit there until someone will answer my questions. Given my past experiences in court as a victim of asbuse with a car, I'm thinking if I go there, I will wait 4-5 hours for a 40 second piece of information. But oh well. It beats letting that cop walk all over me.
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    Michigander wrote:
    I hope this isn't too off topic, but the forum guidelines mention discussing freedom and liberty, and I'm trying to find out if mine was just infringed on.

    I was being tailgated by a soccer mom type, and I mean really tail gated. She was about 2 feet from my bumper in a mini van while I was doing 5 over. I'm working at fixing my Crown Victoria, and I was in my brothers little Escort which he has loaned to me. I decided that enough was enough, so I started swirving around my lane to shake the tail gater. I stayed completely and totally inside of the lane, but I used most of it, going left to right at what I would describe as a medium pace. This cop then pulls me over, and lectures me about how high school kids who were getting out of school were around. Mind you, they were, but between me and them there was a bike lane, a grass hill, and a curb. They were in no danger, and insinuating that they were was ridiculous.

    After an incredibly long time, something like 15 minutes, he gives me more lecture, says he should have given me a ticket for wreckless driving, but instead he was giving me a ticket for "Improper lane use". I tried googling that, but I can't find any Michigan legal definitions. (You guys tend to be good at that)

    If there was an actual law I broke, that's one thing, and I will pay the ticket. If I deserve it, I deserve it. But I don't see where I did. I slowed to the speed limit, and occupied most of the lane with a compact car to stop someone from tailgating me. Yes, I was being a jerk, but what did I do legally wrong? Anybody have a definition of this "Improper lane use" law?

    I'm trying to decide whether or not I want to take this bastard to court. I guess the obvious problems that have to be balanced out are time spent waiting for a hearing, an infraction on my license, and whether or not they have me dead to rights anyway.

    Any thoughts?
    I did a quick look at this site and found one reference to the term lane use, and it referred to commercial drivers. You can search more at the link below. So the term exists, but I couldn't find a definition. It usually can't hurt to fighta ticket. It just takes some of your time and effort.


    MICHIGAN VEHICLE CODE (EXCERPT)
    Act 300 of 1949



    257.319b Suspension or revocation of vehicle group designations on operator's or chauffeur's license; notice of conviction, bond forfeiture, civil infraction determination, violation of law, or refusal to submit to chemical test; period of suspension or revocation; denial, cancellation, or revocation of hazardous material indorsement; notice of security risk; applicability of conditions; definitions.

    Sec. 319b.

    (a) "Felony in which a commercial motor vehicle was used" means a felony during the commission of which the person convicted operated a commercial motor vehicle and while the person was operating the vehicle 1 or more of the following circumstances existed:

    (i) The vehicle was used as an instrument of the felony.

    (ii) The vehicle was used to transport a victim of the felony.

    (iii) The vehicle was used to flee the scene of the felony.

    (iv) The vehicle was necessary for the commission of the felony.

    (b) "Serious traffic violation" means any of the following:

    (i) A traffic violation that occurs in connection with an accident in which a person died.

    (ii) Careless driving.

    (iii) Excessive speeding as defined in regulations promulgated under 49 USC 31301 to 31317.

    (iv) Improper lane use.

    (v) Following too closely.

    (vi) Effective October 1, 2005, driving a commercial motor vehicle without obtaining any vehicle group designation on the person's license.
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    *The information contained above is not meant to be legal advice, but is solely intended as a starting point for further research. These are my opinions, if you have further questions it is advisable to seek out an attorney that is well versed in firearm law.

  7. #7
    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    I just got done talking to the court, and the nice lady who picked up the phone informed me that it was indeed covered by that act, more specifically, Section 257.642. It doesn't contain that term, but that is the law they are referring to. I put the part that applies to me in bold letters. Essentially, this charge is bogus since I didn't veer out of the lane.

    I know it will be the cops word against mine, and if the judge likes him I just might be screwed, but I still for some reason look forward to debating it in court. I figured the cop shouldn't be the only one with notes, so I wrote up a report of what happened, and just now completed it with the information of what the charge is and why it doesn't apply to me.




    MICHIGAN VEHICLE CODE (EXCERPT)
    Act 300 of 1949

    257.642 Roadway divided into 2 or more marked lanes; applicable rules; violation as civil infraction.
    Sec. 642.
    (1) When a roadway has been divided into 2 or more clearly marked lanes for traffic the following rules in addition to all others consistent with this act shall apply:
    (a) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until the driver has first ascertained that the movement can be made with safety. Upon a roadway with 4 or more lanes which provides for 2-way movement of traffic, a vehicle shall be driven within the extreme right-hand lane except when overtaking and passing, but shall not cross the center line of the roadway except where making a left turn.
    (b) Upon a roadway which is divided into 3 lanes and provides for 2-way movement of traffic, a vehicle shall not be driven in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction, when the center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance, or in preparation for a left turn, or where the center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the same direction the vehicle is proceeding and the allocation is designated by official traffic control devices.
    (c) Official traffic control devices may be erected directing specified traffic to use a designated lane or designating those lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction regardless of the center of the roadway and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of the traffic-control device.
    (d) Official traffic-control devices may be installed prohibiting the changing of lanes on sections of roadway, and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of the traffic-control devices.
    (2) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.

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    Venator wrote:
    Sheldon wrote:

    Advice: you can get the books that have been written by those that have been there and done that, and give them a good read first, but what ever you do if you end up in court Never call the judge a judge always refer to them a "Your Honer" if you do slip and call them "Judge" you will incur their wrath and likely loose real fast.
    This may be good advice, but you say it like it will always happen. I've been in court and have used sir..yes sir...no sir... and did not "incur" his "wrath". The best advice is to be polite and respectful. Sheldon stop using the word "always", The only thing that is always is that things are never always...given time and circumstances.

    Judges have too much power. I find it frighting that a judge can put you in jail for contempt, without a trial and keepyou there indefinitely. For example if youthreatenedto kill him in his court, you are in contempt and go to jail for as long as the judges desires. YET if you actually did kill him you have the possibility of bail, a trial, and a defined sentence if found guilty. Just a rant.

    I too have used "Yes Sir and No Sir" in response to questions from the bench, and use of those words with a "Your Honer" tends to gain their respect. My point is that you must speak with total respect tothe judgeat all times and the use of the word Judge really seems to PO them off.

    I have seen it in trials (was onjury duty a police officer did it during testimony, and on a second trial where an idiot was his own legal representation), whenin small claims court while afterrenters for back rent and damages, they think they have it won then they call him "Judge" and you cantheir his face turn red.

    The basicissue here is to not PO the Judge as you said they have way too much power and that can be scary if you are on the receiving end of their wrath.

    Oh one more thought if you go to court on this... Wear nice clothes no wore out blue jeans, orT shirt with some anti establishment logo that will not win you any points from the bench.

    But a clean shirt and pants with a tieas a nice touch will. Have your paper work and thoughts organized, think about what you are going to say, say it in as few words as possible and then shut up, then listen very carefully to anything the judge has to say. Respond as needed and do not ever interrupt. Be calm not argumentative, never use any 4 lettered additives, AKA swear words.

    My primary point is you need to show as much respect as possible tothemandtheir office, this will earn you points, ones that will help you win.


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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Yep, that's my plan. Only thing is I'll be going in a suit and tie with nice dress shoes.
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    (b) Upon a roadway which is divided into 3 lanes and provides for 2-way movement of traffic, a vehicle shall not be driven in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction, when the center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance, or in preparation for a left turn, or where the center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the same direction the vehicle is proceeding and the allocation is designated by official traffic control devices.
    I think I just gave myself a headache reading that 5 times at 3am trying to figure it out....and still don't get it. If there are three lanes for two way traffic, what's the center lane for. Doesn’t really matter I guess. What does seem to matter is this: Where you in the center lane and not passing someone? If so, you are guilty and are wasting your time, regardless of your swerving or tailgater. Again, I'm very tired and could be misreading this very easily. I have hear though, as Sheldon suggested, that going to court and hoping the LEO doesn't show up is usually your best chance at getting out of it (although it seems you want to prove a point or act on principle, which is absolutely fine).

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    Michigander wrote:
    This cop then pulls me over, and lectures me about how high school kids who were getting out of school were around. Mind you, they were, but between me and them there was a bike lane, a grass hill, and a curb. They were in no danger, and insinuating that they were was ridiculous.

    I would take some photos/or videoof the area the LOE is referring to here to show how far away the school is and what the road looks like. You might wait until the weather improves. The school may not be an issue but it can't hurt to have the photographic evidence.
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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    KMCdowel, that's just it, I didn't swerve into the turn lane.

    It was about half a mile away from the school, maybe even 3/4 of a mile. The thing was the students. But they were on the sidewalk, 15+ feet from me. The street was bone dry, and I was in a very maneuverable car. Saying they were in any danger was an absurd comment which was rather insulting to my driving capabilities. It seems rather immaterial anyway, because the charge itself has nothing to do with pedestrians.

    What I am going to do for further evidence, after the snow is plowed, is go back and take measurements. The area is well known enough so pictures probably wouldn't help, but the measurements of the lane width vs the tiny width of that Escort will more than prove how much space I had to be obnoxious within that lane.
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    Michigander wrote:
    KMCdowel, that's just it, I didn't swerve into the turn lane.

    It was about half a mile away from the school, maybe even 3/4 of a mile. The thing was the students. But they were on the sidewalk, 15+ feet from me. The street was bone dry, and I was in a very maneuverable car. Saying they were in any danger was an absurd comment which was rather insulting to my driving capabilities. It seems rather immaterial anyway, because the charge itself has nothing to do with pedestrians.

    What I am going to do for further evidence, after the snow is plowed, is go back and take measurements. The area is well known enough so pictures probably wouldn't help, but the measurements of the lane width vs the tiny width of that Escort will more than prove how much space I had to be obnoxious within that lane.
    Well you might want to check out this site for a satellite image of the area. You can zoom in and print a copy. It's always nice to have a good image to present to a judge. Describing something is one thing, but a picture is worth a1000 words...


    http://maps.yahoo.com/index.php#mvt=...etroit%2C%20MI
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    If there was a middle passing lane, why didn't he just go around you? ...maybe it was a turning lane.

    Maybe next time you should just slam on your breaks, and he will get the ticket for an unsafe following distance.

    Do you know if the guy called the PD, or if he just saw you? ...not that it really matters

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    If you need legal advice, get a lawyer. Musings from anonymous amateurs on the Internet is not the place to get quality legal advice.

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    The point was not so much legal advice as it was I needed help finding relivant code.

    There is no way I'm getting a lawyer. Especially for a 110 dollar ticket. It's not exactly a serious thing, and it appears I may be able to prove I was in the right on my own. I am out of work and about to make a cross country move, so I don't see a reason to spend hundreds of dollars on an attorney for something so tiny.

    It was dry then, but it's snowy now, so I will be taking some pictures when the snow melts, and I'll bring a couple people so I can get action shots showing how far away the car is from pedestrians, which again, isn't relivant to the ticket, but the officer could bring it up. I took the measurements earlier, and it was 18 feet between me and the pedestrians.
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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    I've decided to make a request to get copies of all of the officers notes regarding my stop. I wrote up a memo and took it to the department, but the desk sergeant said I'd need to get that information from the records dept, which will be closed until monday.
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    kmcdowel wrote:
    Maybe next time you should just slam on your breaks, and he will get the ticket for an unsafe following distance.

    Do you know if the guy called the PD,

    Two thoughts on this, first isn't that referred to as a "Brake Job" and is there specific code making that illegal?

    N the second should be on the officers report as to if he received a complaint or not.

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    Sheldon wrote:
    Two thoughts on this, first isn't that referred to as a "Brake Job" and is there specific code making that illegal?
    Well, unless you thought it would be a good idea to tell the cop that you did this, it would be your word vs the a$$hole tailgaters word, in which case you will most likely win. Is it the best idea? I don't know... The best may be to call the cops while driving and let them know. Seems like it would teach a better lesson to scare the sht out of them when they almost run into you (or actually do run into you, if you decide to hit your breaks really hard, or if they really aren't paying attention). It would just be awful if you decided to call the cops, and they tailgater turned off before they showed up and suffered no consequences for their actions. Or,if a deer ran across the road and Michigander needs to make a quick, safe stop, but a$$hole ran into him, causing law abiding Michigander serious injuries. At least if youpush your brakes and then they run into you, you'll be ready for a nudge.

    Let us know how things go on Monday Michigander..

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    Wasn't it a Clint Eastwood movie where he reached down and hit the headlight switch to flash the tail lights and fake out the BG into thinking he had hit the breaks? Now that you could legally do... but I like the 911 them better.


    Good luck and one last bit of advice, always look the judge in the eye when addressingthem, don't stare just look directly at them.



  21. #21
    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Well, I've got the PD's clerk working on copying me "all relevent notation and/or evidence regarding my stop", and I've got the court claiming to be scheduling a hearing. It's rather annoying being an out of work construction worker who is eating away at his savings just waiting to move to a place with jobs, but what can I say, he pissed me off.

    I'm pondering writing a complaint and giving it to the officer's Lieutenant after the hearing. My suspicion is that a guy like that will probably have messed up before, probably enough so that others will have complained, and it would be good to make a recorded addition to it.
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    Michigander wrote:
    Well, I've got the PD's clerk working on copying me "all relevent notation and/or evidence regarding my stop", and I've got the court claiming to be scheduling a hearing. It's rather annoying being an out of work construction worker who is eating away at his savings just waiting to move to a place with jobs, but what can I say, he pissed me off.

    I'm pondering writing a complaint and giving it to the officer's Lieutenant after the hearing. My suspicion is that a guy like that will probably have messed up before, probably enough so that others will have complained, and it would be good to make a recorded addition to it.



    Slightly off topic,

    Sorry to hear about your loss of work. I'm in the same boat now...the unenjoyment (sarcasm off) thing. Been late on my last two mortgage payments. And I am going to be pissed off if I have to sell my XD


    On topic,

    I have never done the FOIA thing, but, from what I gather from previous cases on OCDO the FOIA requests are strongly recommended before any filing of complaints.

    So yes, I agree, do go with your complaint after the hearing.








  23. #23
    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    I'm certainly sorry to hear you're having job issues too Springer. The economic outlook around the country is bad, but it's the worst here.
    Answer every question about open carry in Michigan you ever had with one convenient and free book- http://libertyisforeveryone.com/open-carry-resources/

    The complete and utter truth can be challenged from every direction and it will always hold up. Accordingly there are few greater displays of illegitimacy than to attempt to impede free thought and communication.

  24. #24
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Battle Creek, ,
    Posts
    559

    Post imported post

    Michigander wrote:
    I'm pondering writing a complaint and giving it to the officer's Lieutenant after the hearing. My suspicion is that a guy like that will probably have messed up before, probably enough so that others will have complained, and it would be good to make a recorded addition to it.
    You can always file a FOIA on their work records, that usually scares the heck out of them.

  25. #25
    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Mulligan's Valley
    Posts
    4,830

    Post imported post

    Sheldon, do you mean request records of everything that cop has been written up for? I am not familiar with the definition of "work records", however I like the sound of it. :celebrate

    In other news, I'm going to go to the court tomorrow or the next day to sit in on some trials and get a better feel for the judge and the way things are run there.
    Answer every question about open carry in Michigan you ever had with one convenient and free book- http://libertyisforeveryone.com/open-carry-resources/

    The complete and utter truth can be challenged from every direction and it will always hold up. Accordingly there are few greater displays of illegitimacy than to attempt to impede free thought and communication.

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