Q: The catch: We were on the opposite side of the freeway.
We were on the long stretch of the freeway before King City, on the way going to San Francisco to see friends. Not much cars driving at that time. It was early in the morning between 6-7am.
The highway patrol cop probably spotted us, as my friend said he saw the patrol car driving suddenly made a u-turn on the freeway. Once my friend saw the cop made THAT u-turn he immediately drove slower like 75mph max. When he started following us for a few mins then we knew we were in trouble.
Has this happened to anyone before? What the cop did (u-turn), was that legal/okay? Is this a common way to catch people speeding? Were we just unlucky? Are radars still accurate if it is used on the opposite way?
It was July 3rd and I’ve heard stories of cops having quota or just love to keep giving tickets during holiday weekend. I asked my friend ‘Were you really driving 94 or were you just gaslit?’ My friend said he thinks he was driving around that speed, but he did not directly admit to the cop, plus he was quite nervous during the interaction. My friend is from Downey and we are currently waiting for the letter. My friend has the ticket and I will post the necessary details (#, county etc) once I get to see it.
I guess my question is, do we have a chance to fight this or are we screwed?
Thank you for your advice.
Update: I forgot to say my friend is making bare minimum salary. A $400/500 ticket is gonna be huge dent on his finances. I will help him pay the ticket as a last resort, but would appreciate any other options or recommendations for now…
A: When going the opposite direction, the radar device has to do some calculations including the speed of the officer’s vehicle and the angle at which you were travelling. Since it involves the officer’s speedometer, it is less accurate. How much less accurate? Well, probably not enough for reasonable doubt, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
If there were ANY other cars on the road in your vicinity, then reasonable doubt goes way up due to beam spread and the possibility that other cars were read instead of your own.
What the cop did (u-turn), was that legal/okay?
Yes. You’re not going to win on that.
I asked my friend ‘Were you really driving 94 or were you just gaslit?’
He probably accused your friend of having violated the California Vehicle Code and maybe your friend is guilty or not guilty of that. Either way, I would at the very least do a Trial by Written Declaration.
Directions for how to do a Trial by Written Declaration are here. Access requires basic registration. The guides are free (sort of) but if you want specific examples, then it’s a $25 contribution.
plus he was quite nervous during the interaction
Don’t fault your friend for being nervous. It is nerve-racking to be pulled over by a law officer. It’s an interaction with the scariest of authority figures. They have guns. They can kill you or throw you in jail if you make them mad. So, best be respectful. And next time, have this visor guide printed out and kept with your registration in your visor.