Ticketed for using my high beams in a potentially dangerous situation

LinuxD

Prepare for warp speed.
Advanced User
Premium Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2015
Messages
942
Reaction score
1,437
Location
Rocky Mount,North Carolina
Signal to noise ratio. The cop's lights were the noise, and if his high beam was on, there was an excessive amount of noise. What the OP needed to do was boost the signal (i.e. the amount of light reflecting off objects in front of his car).

Think about what would happen if a nuclear weapon were to explode behind the OP's car (or the Sun were to somehow rise from that direction in a matter of 1 second). This also increases SNR to the extent that the light from the cop's high beams won't even bother him. There's still the same amount of "noise" but it gets completely drowned out by the "good" signal.
And if the cops lights were not on high beam, and the OP THEN high beamed him, he would be guilty according to the law that was posted. I didn't see anything in there that said if you were being high beamed it was ok to high beam back. That is why I said if the cops video shows he was low beamed, and the OP was low beamed and then high beamed the cop, it could hurt him unless the OP's video shows clearly he was blinded by the officers lights. Then it might mitigate it, some, but i doubt it. It's traffic court. Most judges are gonna go by the book and say, you high beamed him, pay at the window.
We could if,and, or other it to death,
Again, the best choice would have been to look at the fog line or edge of the road. Was taught that decades ago in drivers ed. and surprisingly, it works.
 

LeftLaneInPA

School buses are my nemeses.
Advanced User
Joined
Jun 20, 2017
Messages
2,522
Reaction score
3,033
Location
Clue's in the name
Or talk to the prosecutor before court begins and see if he makes an offer.
In PA, the cop who issued the citation (either traffic or non-traffic) acts as the prosecutor. There's no county or state DA until you get to misdemeanor or higher level.
 

HackerPLEMC

Fat dumb & stupid is no way to go through life son
Advanced User
Lifetime Premium Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Messages
1,306
Reaction score
1,733
Location
In the Interwebs
So, as far as a "discovery request", won't happen. It's a moving violation and in the general scheme of things, the only evidence that exists would be the citation itself. If the LEO has dashcam footage you can request it PRIOR to your court date. Anything else would be considered unduly burdensome. If you insist on requesting the kitchen sink then the cost shift would be placed on you. To the commonwealth attorney this is small potatoes compared to most of his case load. Hire a local attorney. They in all likelihood know the judge and get it dismissed or plead down or dismissed.

To qualify myself, I work with evidence and discovery for a living. I have been recognized in federal court as a subject matter expert. @gmcv893 can verify this.

SO, the reality is this; call the commonwealth attorney's office and let them know you have dash cam footage of the event that clearly shows what transpired. He in all likelihood will want to "deal". Now if it were me, I would let him know I would not plead guilty and have the footage for the "trial". Your footage "should" assist in a dismissal. This is no guarantee though since there is no way to tell what the judge will do, and remember, they just want your revenue.

Please note, in no way should this be considered legal advise, I am not a licensed attorney.
-- Double Post Merged: --
A point was made earlier in re the LEO was not running his high beam, whether it's was bright or not, so this could kill it before it even gets out of the gate. Best bet is to call a lawyer within that jurisdiction.
 
Last edited:

studio1930

but it goes to 11
Advanced User
Premium Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2016
Messages
1,167
Reaction score
1,824
Location
Kansas City Area
Did you tell him that you flashed him to warn about the radar you were detecting? Haha, j/k. I would get a local attorney and fight it. If you couldn't see, then you needed high beams. I have had Ford trucks (new ones) absolutely blind me with their low beams. My 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland blinds people too. I almost never use my high beams because my lows are so bright. Sitting low in a car sucks at night due to all of the new, bright, tall vehicles in the good ol' USA.
 

STS-134

Premium RDF Member
Advanced User
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
9,810
Reaction score
8,258
Location
Saratoga, CA
In PA, the cop who issued the citation (either traffic or non-traffic) acts as the prosecutor. There's no county or state DA until you get to misdemeanor or higher level.
It's basically the same everywhere, but it's not the cop. It's the Judge (sort of) that acts as the prosecutor. The Judge is the one who can make offers (particularly at arraignment). The officer is the prosecution's witness, and would normally be asked questions by the prosecutor, but the Judge sort of fulfills that role by asking the officer to present the story of what happened. Then you, as the defendant, are allowed to cross-examine the witness, and that's where you ask questions to try to cast doubt on the officer's version of the story he just told. By wording the questions properly, you can do things like get the officer to admit that yes, he was shooting his LIDAR gun at his mirror instead of directly at cars and no, LIDAR shots off of a mirror are not permitted as per the instructions in the gun's user manual, etc.
 

samq45

Lifetime RDF Contributor
Advanced User
Lifetime Premium Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2011
Messages
1,321
Reaction score
1,733
Location
Saratoga, NY
Troopers, at least in NY use this tactic to fish for drunk drivers. I have been pulled over twice because they think the auto leveling/directional HIDs are me brighting them as I come over a hill or around a curve. One trooper even told me he was looking for drunks and did not even take my license when he realized it was the headlights adjusting as I was turning.

They drive around with their brights on, when a driver flashes them back, they can then pull them over and look for other things.

Its quite a common tactic upstate.
 

studio1930

but it goes to 11
Advanced User
Premium Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2016
Messages
1,167
Reaction score
1,824
Location
Kansas City Area
Troopers, at least in NY use this tactic to fish for drunk drivers. I have been pulled over twice because they think the auto leveling/directional HIDs are me brighting them as I come over a hill or around a curve. One trooper even told me he was looking for drunks and did not even take my license when he realized it was the headlights adjusting as I was turning.

They drive around with their brights on, when a driver flashes them back, they can then pull them over and look for other things.

Its quite a common tactic upstate.
^This.

I was pulled over for speeding when I was 17. The cop was behind me on an ON ramp with his brights on at dusk. I sped up to get away from him and his crazy blinding lights. He waited for me to get well over the speed limit and then lit me up. Because of his brights (and dusk), I could not tell he was a State Trooper. Nice.
 

OBeerWANKenobi

This is not the car you're looking for.....
Advanced User
Lifetime Premium Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2018
Messages
3,735
Reaction score
9,558
Location
Right Behind You! (Wisconsin)
I've also heard that when they're fishing for drunks, they will pull you over if you DON'T flash them. It's a catch 22. I think a guy could get off pretty easily with a flash. In this case though, didn't seem like a flash. More like just turning them on and leaving them on.
 

HackerPLEMC

Fat dumb & stupid is no way to go through life son
Advanced User
Lifetime Premium Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Messages
1,306
Reaction score
1,733
Location
In the Interwebs
It's basically the same everywhere, but it's not the cop. It's the Judge (sort of) that acts as the prosecutor. The Judge is the one who can make offers (particularly at arraignment). The officer is the prosecution's witness, and would normally be asked questions by the prosecutor, but the Judge sort of fulfills that role by asking the officer to present the story of what happened. Then you, as the defendant, are allowed to cross-examine the witness, and that's where you ask questions to try to cast doubt on the officer's version of the story he just told. By wording the questions properly, you can do things like get the officer to admit that yes, he was shooting his LIDAR gun at his mirror instead of directly at cars and no, LIDAR shots off of a mirror are not permitted as per the instructions in the gun's user manual, etc.
This information is incorrect. I know that VA, WV and PA and DE do not try traffic cases. Alton some jurisdictions in PA do what you mentioned, but Philadelphia does not run it like that. They also have a dedicate traffic court. Used to be 400 N Broad st
 

LeftLaneInPA

School buses are my nemeses.
Advanced User
Joined
Jun 20, 2017
Messages
2,522
Reaction score
3,033
Location
Clue's in the name
SO, the reality is this; call the commonwealth attorney's office and let them know you have dash cam footage of the event that clearly shows what transpired
There's no Commonwealth attorney for traffic violations and summary offences. The issuing officer is the prosecutor for violations at this level.
I've also heard that when they're fishing for drunks, they will pull you over if you DON'T flash them. It's a catch 22.
There's a specific exception in PA traffic code allowing a driver to flash their high beams to warn other people "of a hazard ahead". Cops here won't even bother pulling you over for flashing your high beams because "there were deer up ahead" is kind of a get-out-of-jail-free card for that situation if they do.
 

OBeerWANKenobi

This is not the car you're looking for.....
Advanced User
Lifetime Premium Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2018
Messages
3,735
Reaction score
9,558
Location
Right Behind You! (Wisconsin)
There's no Commonwealth attorney for traffic violations and summary offences. The issuing officer is the prosecutor for violations at this level.

There's a specific exception in PA traffic code allowing a driver to flash their high beams to warn other people "of a hazard ahead". Cops here won't even bother pulling you over for flashing your high beams because "there were deer up ahead" is kind of a get-out-of-jail-free card for that situation if they do.
Yup, understood. It's even been held that the 1st Amendment protects our right to flash lights at other drivers to warn of police activity. I'm not talking about the law though. I'm talking about LEO fishing expeditions which are by their very nature, extralegal.
 

Buz

Old School Member
Intermediate User
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
459
Reaction score
880
Location
Florida
I've also heard that when they're fishing for drunks, they will pull you over if you DON'T flash them. It's a catch 22.
How can that be?
What does the cop say the reason is that he pulled you over?
 

HackerPLEMC

Fat dumb & stupid is no way to go through life son
Advanced User
Lifetime Premium Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Messages
1,306
Reaction score
1,733
Location
In the Interwebs
There's no Commonwealth attorney for traffic violations and summary offences. The issuing officer is the prosecutor for violations at this level.

There's a specific exception in PA traffic code allowing a driver to flash their high beams to warn other people "of a hazard ahead". Cops here won't even bother pulling you over for flashing your high beams because "there were deer up ahead" is kind of a get-out-of-jail-free card for that situation if they do.
Philadelphia traffic court, they have an officer represent the officer who wrote the citation. Typically the officer who wrote it doesn’t show up.a large percentage of the time anyway.

I beat a citation that way. :)
 

samq45

Lifetime RDF Contributor
Advanced User
Lifetime Premium Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2011
Messages
1,321
Reaction score
1,733
Location
Saratoga, NY
I've also heard that when they're fishing for drunks, they will pull you over if you DON'T flash them. It's a catch 22. I think a guy could get off pretty easily with a flash. In this case though, didn't seem like a flash. More like just turning them on and leaving them on.
I have never heard of that one around here for not flashing, but you are correct - if you "flash" - don't leave the brights on to get back at the other car, at least in NY.

Flashing is accepted and has gone through a number of NY court cases. Any subsequent discovery of evidence related to a violation/crime is supposed to be suppressed If you have been stopped for flashing.

However if you just turn your brights on and leave them on, then that is a "dazzling" light that interferes with an operators ability to drive the car safely and is a violation.

The words "dazzling lights" are actually part of the VTL in NY. Not sure what legal professional thought those were proper words to use.
 

LeftLaneInPA

School buses are my nemeses.
Advanced User
Joined
Jun 20, 2017
Messages
2,522
Reaction score
3,033
Location
Clue's in the name
Philadelphia traffic court, they have an officer represent the officer who wrote the citation. Typically the officer who wrote it doesn’t show up.a large percentage of the time anyway.
Aaah. Never got pulled over in Philly.

But the OP specifically said it was a rural area, so it'll probably be held in a DJ's office in the middle of nowhere. I once fought a citation from PSP that I got on I-80 in Columbia County. The DJ's office was, literally, a converted farmhouse. The judge looked like a stereotypical good ol' boy famer (white guy, pretty well built, holding court in a pair of blue jeans and a flannel shirt). Nice guy. He ended up dismissing the citation.
 

OBeerWANKenobi

This is not the car you're looking for.....
Advanced User
Lifetime Premium Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2018
Messages
3,735
Reaction score
9,558
Location
Right Behind You! (Wisconsin)
How can that be?
What does the cop say the reason is that he pulled you over?
I think you forgot the purple text! ;)

They'll say it's actually against the law to flash or they'll make up some other reason, expecting that you don't know the law since most people don't. Maybe you "went over the fog line", or they suspected you of not wearing your seatbelt, or your tire appeared to have a rare and endangered piece of fungus growing on it, putting you in violation of the endangered species act. They use all kinds of reasons if they want to go on a fishing expedition. This is why it's important to record everything they say and try to get the reason they pulled you over out of their mouths as soon as possible so they can't change their story later during the stop to something they might "find".
 

LeftLaneInPA

School buses are my nemeses.
Advanced User
Joined
Jun 20, 2017
Messages
2,522
Reaction score
3,033
Location
Clue's in the name
I should have mentioned that the reason for the dismissal was... well, even to this day, I'm not really sure why he dismissed it. I didn't really intend to fight it, I was just hoping to get the points dropped or maybe get traffic school. The trooper had me dead to rights and I had no illusions that I was toast.

So I showed up and it's obvious the DJ and the trooper know each other, as they're making smalltalk about each other's families when I show up. The hearing starts and I essentially said I wasn't contesting the citation itself, as I was speeding, but I was requesting a plea deal. The DJ started reading a sheet of paper in front of him, furrowed his brow, and said he was dismissing the citation. I have no idea why. But I didn't question it and left as soon as I could before he changed his mind.

The trooper didn't seem particularly bothered about it either. It was the strangest thing.
 

Deacon

TXCTG
Advanced User
Premium Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2016
Messages
10,056
Reaction score
12,258
Location
Hill Country, TX
He told me i would get it in the mail.
I called the local PD, they said he must have been in a rush to get out of there if he didn’t give me a paper ticket.
I wouldn’t sweat it too much unless and until you get a ticket. A verbal citation is...weird and worthless on its own. You need to be provided with plenty of notice what your court date is and where, what the fine and any other penalties (points, etc) might be, and what your options are to pay or fight it or whatever. It’s possible he made a note to himself to file something and never did, or who knows what.
 

Gunney57

Premium RDF Member
Intermediate User
Premium Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Messages
311
Reaction score
266
Location
Wisconsin
In PA, the cop who issued the citation (either traffic or non-traffic) acts as the prosecutor. There's no county or state DA until you get to misdemeanor or higher level.
That's a strange arrangement! Seems like an awful lot of power in one position....
 

LeftLaneInPA

School buses are my nemeses.
Advanced User
Joined
Jun 20, 2017
Messages
2,522
Reaction score
3,033
Location
Clue's in the name
That's a strange arrangement! Seems like an awful lot of power in one position....
Not really. It's just for traffic violations (not traffic crimes, which are different) and non-traffic summary offenses (disorderly conduct, etc.). They still have to convince the district judge.

Actual crimes (DUI, vehicular manslaughter, simple assault, etc.) are prosecuted by a Commonwealth attorney.

The DJ in the township south of me is a former public defender. Hates cops. More often than not, he'll dismiss citations (both traffic and non-traffic).
 

Discord Server

Latest threads

Forum statistics

Threads
77,536
Messages
1,181,589
Members
19,832
Latest member
radardetectorguy
Top