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50 Freak
05-13-2009, 11:19 AM
Hi guys, I'd like to pick your brains if possible.

Recently I was driving down the very busy section of the 80 freeway at around 65-70 in a 65 mph zone. Passed a section and noticed about 3 CHiPers (motorcycles) sitting on the side waiting, then I saw like 3-4 cars that had been pulled over by other CHiPers. The officers were obviously citing everyone.

I continued driving and one of those CHiPers pulled me over, said he "didn't see me, but an airplane clocked me at 80". I asked how and where did the airplane clocked me as I had just got on the freeway one or two exits prior and had only been on the highway 2-3 miles before being pulled over (I had just pulled over to get gas and have receipts to prove it). He answered "I don't know, all I got over the radio was to look for the black car behind a white truck".

My mouth dropped, black car behind a white truck, that's the entire basis for this ticket? What a crock. Of course I didn't say this, just thought it. Told him I will take the ticket and signed it, wished him to stay safe and drove off.

Of course I am going to fight it because I think they got the wrong "black car". It's not like my "black car" is the only one on that short stretch of the highway.

I have to say the officer was very polite and almost apologetic. And in return I was very polite back. Although, he did get a little "puffy" when I started asking who the officer was in the airplane, and whether or not it was one plane, two or ???.

Now the basis of my questions:
1) If the plane had "clocked" me, are they required to keep track of all the cars they "clocked".
2) what is the minimum indentifications characteristics that they must relay over to the ground units.
3) how long must they "clock" someone to reliablely and accurately gauge someone's speed
4) are they required to make sure that they follow and accurately identify the violator to the ground unit before finding another car to clock?
5) can I supeana flight paths for that officer in the plane? To make sure there was even a "plane" there?

Thanks guys, I appreciate any help.

If I was guilty of this, I wouldn't be fighting it, but I think this ticket was a crock and was mistakenly given.

eltee
05-13-2009, 11:48 AM
Generally speaking, the air support units use measured points (landmarks) as ground marks and using a timekeeping device (stop watch, digital timer, etc.) click off the time it takes for you to travel between two or more of the ground indicators. Then it is simple math (even simpler with a specialized speed determination calculator) to determine MPH.

When a violator is clocked by an air unit, the car's description and location is relayed via radio to a ground intercept unit to make the stop.

Air support units will keep a log with date, time, location, etc. and MPH of the stopped vehicles. Radio communciations are archived. The equipment is supposed to be deemed accurate and reliable. For radar, we have to test and recalibrate the equipment each day and log it in writing.

Air supported speed enforcement has been around for a long time so most agencies have probably worked out the bugs and legal loopholes by now, but that doesn't mean the system is infallible.

I suspect if you take it to court, all the docs surrounding the citation will be there but you can always request a subpoena duces tecum for any documents you think exist.

BTW...you didn't deny that you were speeding ("...around 65-70 in a 65 zone..."), and the court may ask you how fast you were going (and asking under oath and penalty of perjury).

Personally, I can't imagine the CHP making so bold a lie as to claim air support calibrated the speed when there was no air support at all.

Good luck with your efforts. It looks as if you are doing your homework and researching prior to testifying.

bohoki
05-13-2009, 12:13 PM
sometimes you see big X on the side of the road that is a marker for the "speed enforced by aircraft" signs

Jwood562
05-13-2009, 1:38 PM
fight the ticket. they will subpeona the officer that issued the citation and he cannot testify to the citation since he did not witness the violation and the piolt did.

uless the issuing officer wrote down the piolt's name or what ever. but I think it is as easy as fighting it. unless they have a different way of prosecuting th ticket because it was given by the aircraft.

I dunno my department does not have an airplane :(

yzernie
05-13-2009, 1:45 PM
Generally speaking, the air support units use measured points (landmarks) as ground marks and using a timekeeping device (stop watch, digital timer, etc.) click off the time it takes for you to travel between two or more of the ground indicators.
Time and distance is a speed trap and not used by the CHP. The way a CHiPy explained it to me is they put an exact pace on your vehicle and then use the formula to convert air speed to ground speed. If you contest the citation, the issuing officer AND the pilot will appear before the magistrate to testify.

sorensen440
05-13-2009, 1:49 PM
BTW...you didn't deny that you were speeding ("...around 65-70 in a 65 zone..."), and the court may ask you how fast you were going (and asking under oath and penalty of perjury).

Ah but thats what the 5th is for ;)

40caldeserteagle
05-13-2009, 2:10 PM
Ah but thats what the 5th is for ;)

I *heard* that you cannot use the 5th because you are not being prosecuted criminally, it's just an infraction. Urban legend perhaps ?

David F.

bohoki
05-13-2009, 6:13 PM
I *heard* that you cannot use the 5th because you are not being prosecuted criminally, it's just an infraction. Urban legend perhaps ?

David F.

fifth is good but i prefer the "i do not recall"
i would follow up with "i was keeping up with the traffic flow though"

paul0660
05-13-2009, 6:19 PM
Time and distance is a speed trap and not used by the CHP. The way a CHiPy explained it to me is they put an exact pace on your vehicle and then use the formula to convert air speed to ground speed.

The white lines every mile are plain as day up here.

Canute
05-13-2009, 6:27 PM
I've been told just to say that you weren't really paying attention.
I'd fight that sucker.

rmasold
05-13-2009, 7:05 PM
good luck

Grumpyoldretiredcop
05-13-2009, 7:34 PM
I've had to sit through that testimony too many times...

The aircraft observer watches traffic until their attention is drawn to a particular vehicle. The observer instructs the pilot, who matches the aircraft's speed to the vehicle's speed. The observer then measures and records the time it takes for the aircraft to pass between distance markers painted on the roadway surface. This avoids the "speed trap" prohibition which prevents LEOs from simply applying the time it takes for an observed vehicle to pass between markers and convert that to speed. The aircraft must use this system because air speed and ground speed aren't directly related. The observer than uses a chart or formula to arrive at the aircraft's true speed-over-ground, which is equal to the target vehicle's speed. If the target vehicle is over the limit, the aircrew passes the information to an officer on the ground. The aircraft observer continues to watch the target vehicle and notifies the ground officer when they are directly behind the target vehicle (which eliminates the "wrong black car" argument). The ground officer then makes the stop and issues the cite.

The aircraft observer is required to keep a log of the vehicles tracked. I don't recall what the minimum distance is, if any. Any other questions about subpoenability you'd have to direct to counsel.

To convict, the aircraft observer and ground officer must both give testimony. If either does not/cannot appear on the trial date and the Court does not grant a continuance, the case is dismissed (at least in my former jurisdiction).

Good luck on fighting that. Your best bet is if either officer can't show up.

50 Freak
05-13-2009, 8:45 PM
Thanks for all the well wishes and good advice. I will definitely take this ticket to court. One other question.

Is it a good point to bring up the fact that there were multiple cars that were being cited all at the same time. Seems like to me that that air is extremely "efficient" if he's able to clock multiple cars all at once. I presume that if I subpoena the list of cars being tracked I can see whether or not my car was listed or not.

Grumpyoldretiredcop
05-13-2009, 8:55 PM
The aircraft can only measure the speed of one vehicle at a time. The multiple officers on the ground are there so that once the target vehicle has been stopped, the aircraft can go on to another vehicle, not waiting for the first stop to be finished, therefore not wasting expensive air time. That's a given and not a point that the Court is likely to consider one way or another.

Again, in the matter of subpoenas, best to consult counsel.