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Old 01-18-2012, 04:10 PM
330 posts, read 1,372,711 times
Reputation: 266


Be warned -- this post isn't nearly as interesting as it is long.

The drive

I took I-10 to Camp Bullis through Crownridge, turned right on Luskey, and right on Babcock. An officer was there pretty soon on the right, and I'd had been going what I thought felt like a reasonable speed, but admittedly had no idea what the speed limit was. His lights flashed, I thought "%#@!," and pulled over. The officer asked me if I knew the speed, I admitted I didn't, and I was cited for 42 MPH in a 30 MPH zone. I felt a little lucky that I was only going 42, that's a pretty remote stretch of road and I'm sure people zoom through it all the time (hence the cop).

A couple hours later, it dawned on me that it was odd that I didn't know the speed, because I'm pretty vigilant about watching for that stuff. So I drove back to the scene of the crime, and lo and behold, there's no speed limit sign. There IS an empty metal pole at the intersection of Luskey and Babcock that looks like it should hold a sign, but no sign was there. I took photos as evidence and emailed them to myself so I'd have proof of the date/time.

The aftermath:

I called the SAPD first, mistakenly thinking it was their ticket. I explained the situation and they were very helpful, trying to find the officer via the badge number, and maybe see if all the tickets the officer had given from that spot could be thrown out. But eventually we realized my SAPD/Bexar Co. good -- oops.

I then called Bexar County, and they were just as UNhelpful. I was not allowed to talk to anyone on the LEO side. I asked if they would pass on a message for me, and they said no; that I had to take this to court. Not a huge deal, but I was a bit annoyed at their lack of helpfulness.

The court case:

I was given a notice to appear in Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 "on or before" 2/29/2012. At the link below, I found the following:

FAQ-Traffic Tickets

Q: If I want to plea NOT GUILTY, what should I do?

A: Send in a copy of your ticket with a written statement. The statement needs to indicate your plea of NOT GUILTY. You need to let the Court know if you want a TRIAL BY JUDGE or a TRIAL BY JURY. Please include your mailing address so we may notify you of your correct Court Date.

So, my questions:

1. It feels to me like this is a slam dunk not guilty, but am I overestimating my chances?
2. Do I want a trial by judge? Is there any advantage or disadvantage to one over the other?
3. When I send in the "written statement," should I include a description of why I feel I'm not guilty and the accompanying evidence?

Any advice and thoughts would be appreciated.

Old 01-18-2012, 04:23 PM
Location: Wiesbaden, Germany
13,815 posts, read 29,387,646 times
Reputation: 4025
Take it to trial. You have more than enough evidence to win and the revenue generators need to be put in their place every now and then.. especially when they're as unhelpful as bcsd was for you. Always nice to see most things around here don't change for the better..
Old 01-18-2012, 04:32 PM
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,495 posts, read 26,868,439 times
Reputation: 28036
I don't want to discourage you, but I don't think it's a slam dunk not guilty.

In urban areas, if there is no posted speed limit, the limit is set at 30 by the state. Farm to market roads and highways have a higher limit.

So if you don't see a speed limit sign anywhere, you're supposed to go 30 mph, unless you're on a highway or a farm-to-market road.
Old 01-18-2012, 04:43 PM
330 posts, read 1,372,711 times
Reputation: 266
Thank you, that's good info.

I'm waiting on some stuff at work, so I had time to make a fun little diagram:

The green arrows are the direction I came from.
The pink line is, I believe, the 30 mph stretch of Babcock.
The blue circle is where the cop was.
The three speed limit signs are:
1. (30) A sign at Camp Bullis and Babcock, away from where I traveled.
2. (45) The sign I see every day as I turn from Heuermann
3. (blank) The empty metal pole that I'm guessing should've had a speed limit.

Luskey Blvd. has no speed limit sign anywhere, in either direction. That's pretty odd; it's a very wide, yet very curvy road, with a new neighborhood that has some difficult-to-see-out-of entrances.

One thing in my favor is that Babcock, which I travel every day, is 45 MPH. I usually take Heuermann to Babcock so I'm mostly familiar with that stretch.
Old 01-18-2012, 04:51 PM
330 posts, read 1,372,711 times
Reputation: 266
I just checked street view on Google Maps. Turns out the empty metal pole does NOT hold a speed limit sign. It used to hold a caution sign to watch out for bicyclists.

Babcock Road, San Antonio, TX - Google Maps
Old 01-18-2012, 05:50 PM
Location: San Antonio, TX
8,399 posts, read 22,985,488 times
Reputation: 4435
You can give it a try by going to court, but I don't think you're gonna win because of this section of the Texas Transportation Code...

§545.352. PRIMA FACIE SPEED LIMITS. (a) A speed in excess of the limits established by Subsection (b) or under another provision of this subchapter is prima facie evidence that the speed is not reasonable and prudent and that the speed is unlawful.

Text of subsec. (b) as amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 663, § 2 and Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 739, § 1
(b) Unless a special hazard exists that requires a slower speed for compliance with Section 545.351(b), the following speeds are lawful:
(1) 30 miles per hour in an urban district on a street other than an alley and 15 miles per hour in an alley;

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, § 30.110(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1020, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 663, § 2, eff. June 18, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 739, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1346, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.
And as we all know, not knowing the law doesn't mean you don't have to abide by it.

You can try applying Deferred Disposition (it can be done online), and once you've completed the Terms of Probation (usually a defensive driving class and no violations within a specified period of time) your case will be dismissed by the Judge and the violation will not be reported to TX DPS. Failure to abide by the terms means the conviction will stand.

Most people are allowed to complete DD if they are generally good drivers and don't have a record of traffic violations. It is probably your best option, or you can spend the bucks and get a traffic lawyer.

Oh, and if you do decide to go to court, pick a trial by judge. Most of the time you'll get a fairer shake from someone on the bench who knows the law versus a jury of people who may not be as familiar with it!

By the way, this is one reason I bought a Garmin GPS that not only shows the speed limits, but also warns you when you are exceeding it!

Good luck! M2
Old 01-18-2012, 06:16 PM
Location: I live south of San Antonio in a place called Atascosa.
854 posts, read 2,544,815 times
Reputation: 526
Just pay the fine. Life is too short!
Old 01-18-2012, 06:29 PM
268 posts, read 593,808 times
Reputation: 238
I agree with Hedgehog and Dwangle -- move on. No sign = 30mph and life is way too short.
Old 01-18-2012, 08:01 PM
Location: Pipe Creek, TX
2,793 posts, read 6,046,056 times
Reputation: 1603
Originally Posted by Dwangle View Post
Just pay the fine. Life is too short!
I so agree with this. HCHRM drives a lot (in cop magnets!), and I know you have to always assume 30 mph when nothing is posted (as much as I dislike it, it is the law). Life is too short. If I had the time, only if time was not so sparse.
Old 01-18-2012, 08:33 PM
502 posts, read 934,299 times
Reputation: 405
Fight it!!!!! Lol
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