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Last night, on my way home from work, I pulled up to a stoplight behind an Illinois State trooper. We were both in the left turn lane. When the light changed, I proceeded through the intersection behind him, and completed my turn. About a hundred feet down the road, the trooper pulled over onto the shoulder, stopped long enough for me to pass, turned on his lights and siren, and pulled me over. He wrote me a ticket because he said I had followed him too closely through the intersection.

I can't imagine I was behind him for more than a total of ten seconds. I don't think I was following him too closely. I don't know how he could know whether I was one second behind him or two, in the dark, in the rain.

What do you all think? I'm planning on seeing him in court, accompanied by my attorney. I've never fought a ticket before in my life, because I've always known that when I was accused of speeding, that I really had been speeding.
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RE: dean: "What do you all think? I'm planning on seeing him in court, accompanied by my attorney."

If you have a clean record, and a good attorney, I think you should be able to get it "fixed" in advance of an appearance.

SB (Unless you were flashing your lights, beeping your horn, and gesticulating at him through the turn?)
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I would make a formal written complaint with the trooper's Watch Commander as well.

When I was a kid (15). There was a new local police officer that was harassing me for absolutely no reason of any kind for about two months when ever he saw me. And when I say for no reason, I mean I never got into any trouble with the law (and always respected the police). I told my father what was happening and he made a formal complaint to the Chief of Police. That cop never made it passed his 6 month probation period.

You might be dealing with someone who should not be wearing a badge as well.

Troy

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RE: Troy: "I would make a formal written complaint with the trooper's Watch Commander as well."

I'd get the ticker fixed first though.

SB (doesn't **** into the wind)

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If you have a clean record, and a good attorney, I think you should be able to get it "fixed" in advance of an appearance.

SB (Unless you were flashing your lights, beeping your horn, and gesticulating at him through the turn?)

I have an ok record(one moving violation in the last three years) and my wife works for a large law firm and I get free legal services as a result.

And I was behaving myself.

And I don't think I was following too closely, and I really don't know how he could distinguish between forty feet and eighty feet in his rearview mirror in the dark in the rain.
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And I don't think I was following too closely, and I really don't know how he could distinguish between forty feet and eighty feet in his rearview mirror in the dark in the rain. ..............................


That is the bulk of your defense if this makes it to trial. You should write down EVERYTHING that you can remember about the incident and even go back to where it occurred to get details about distances, lane widths, sight lines, etc.

This is all stuff you/your law guy will need.


Good luck



Pete

seen in inside of a courtroom more than once :)

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I agree with peplow - write down EVERYTHING you can remember about the incident, even things that seem inconsequential or unimportant. And don't share those thoughts with anyone but your lawyer.

If the cop was any good at all, (s)he will have done that right after you left. You need the same information.

--Peter
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In this case, it seems that a court appearance is just a stupid waste of everyone's time.

Isn't there any crime to fight in your neighborhood?

Sheesh.

donna
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In this case, it seems that a court appearance is just a stupid waste of everyone's time................................................



Not at all.

It may be a chickencrap ticket, but the Courts exist to separate the valid from the chickencrap. And unless Dean wishes to roll over and take it, it ain't a waste of his time to dispute it, and the Trooper gets paid for his time so it isn't a waste of his time.

The Trooper presumably really belives that Dean did "something"* and "following to close" is how he had to write it up to justify the stop.

The court date is just to determine if the Trooper was correct in his opinion.

Pete

* there may be a number of reasons why the Trooper picked Dean's car for a traffic stop, and the ticket written may in fact be a cover for the real/original reason which of course we will never be informed of.
Many "real crimes" is discovered during routine traffic stops so this becomes one of those cases where we need to ask ourselves do we like Donna, wish they would go after real crime or do we maybe prefer that they keep making traffic stops.


It's difficult to get the dirtbags, without annoying good guys like Dean and me a bit at the same time.




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"Many "real crimes" is discovered during routine traffic stops...."

"It's difficult to get the dirtbags, without annoying good guys like Dean and me a bit at the same time."


The trooper may in fact have thought that the driver following may be driving under the influence, carrying an illegal weapon, stole the car, etc, etc -- but once he satisfied himself that none of that was the case, and license/registration/insurance were in order, he should have just said "drive carefully, good evening". Unfortunately, too many of them have that "I'm the God of the road" attitude.

~aj
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That, aj, is exactly what was going through my mind. If the trooper had used the excuse of the stop to verify that I was properly insured and licensed, properly in possession of the vehicle I was driving, not impaired in any way, and that generally everything was on the up and up, and given me a little lecture, I'd have had no quarrel with anything he did. However, he was clearly angry when he came up to my car, he made it clear that it was his intention from the beginning to ticket me, and now I have to either go to court or see my insurance rates go up.

And, it seems, noone has ever heard of anyone ever being ticketed for following too closely except after an accident. Maybe I'm the first.
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should have just said "drive carefully, good evening"...................


All the more reason to doo one's homework and fight the ticket.


Pete
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And, it seems, noone has ever heard of anyone ever..................



A guy on LBYM said it happened to him and suggested you just pay it.



I do not share his opinion.



Pete
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If the cop was any good at all, (s)he will have done that right after you left. You need the same information................................


At the very least. What you really hope to do is find the stuff that Trooper forgot/missed as THAT may be the evidence that wins.


Pete

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Almost.

When I followed the cop through a "T" intersection, he claimed that I, in the second car in the serial, ran the then-red light. I'd had a couple of tickets and an accident and my insurance company was scared of me already so I literally had nothing to lose in fighting the case in court.

By the way, some huge percentage of cops don't even bother to show up in court. Case dismissed. It's worth rolling the dice, I'd say.

At any rate, my lawyer got the cop to admit that he'd watch me with his Mk-I eyeball, not in the rearview mirror. I think the cop was hoping to derail a bunch of reverse-image crap, shakey-vibratey, how-can-you-see-the-traffic-signal stuff. So the cop, being smarter than my lawyer admitted that he watched me run the light while looking over his left shoulder and out his driver-side window. And then my lawyer asked what the speed limit was there and what the traffic was like and got the cop to admit that he accelerated to about 50mph before turning around.

"So you were accelerating down the highway to a speed of fifty miles per hour, for a quarter-mile, all the while looking backward over your left shoulder at my client? Officer Diaz, what is your definition of Reckless Driving?"

Case dismissed.
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That, aj, is exactly what was going through my mind. If the trooper had used the excuse of the stop to verify that I was properly insured and licensed, properly in possession of the vehicle I was driving, not impaired in any way, and that generally everything was on the up and up, and given me a little lecture, I'd have had no quarrel with anything he did. However, he was clearly angry when he came up to my car, he made it clear that it was his intention from the beginning to ticket me, and now I have to either go to court or see my insurance rates go up.

And, it seems, noone has ever heard of anyone ever being ticketed for following too closely except after an accident. Maybe I'm the first.



I have seen people's driving records with convictions for tickets on their driving records for following too close or driving too fast for conditions w/o accidents involved, though it's fairly rare in my experience.

I've also been stopped by overly zealous cops on a few occasions. Most police officers I've met and know are pretty decent - Some aren't. One stopped me a week after my Mother had passed away and made me run through a variety of alcohol related routines - I hadn't drank ANY alcohol in over 2 weeks and I wasn't weaving, speeding, following anyone, etc. on the road. He ended up giving me a ticket for illegal tinting film on the car windows - It was a recently purchased car that I bought that way and I hadn't had a chance to remove it yet.

Another once gave me a ticket for disobeying a red light that wasn't there - It had been knocked down by a motorcycle in an early morning accident and removed, with no replacement sign or signal installed.

Friends I knew who are attorneys got both of these tickets dismissed. The first never went to court - My attorney talked with the officer's Police Chief, explained the situation and the Police Chief discarded the ticket with my promise that I would remove the film before driving the car again. My attorney (and the State's attorney - got tired of the cop not showing) ran the cop in the other up one side and down the other in a side room at the court and it was dismissed w/o a trial. There are police officers and then there are some overly zealous cops.

I'd contest the ticket. I wouldn't think you're one to terrorize others on the road or drive imprudently/unsafely.
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A, general, rule of thumb I seem to recall for a safe distance to follow another vehicle is 1 car length for every 10 MPH - can vary, depending on conditions.
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A, general, rule of thumb I seem to recall for a safe distance to follow another vehicle is 1 car length for every 10 MPH - can vary, depending on conditions.

This used to be the rule stated in the Pennsylvania driving manual where I grew up and got my first drivers license. I moved to the mid-west and then returned to PA 11 years later. At that time PA used oral exams for the knowledge portion of the exam. When I was taking my exam to come back to PA the examiner asked me, "How does one determine the safe following distance?"

I answered, "One car length for every ten miles per hour."

He chuckled, and asked, "Where did you get that answer? That hasn't been in the driver's manual for years!"

The current correct answer is a 2 second followiong distance.

He gave me credit for a correct answer anyway.

GeeB
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I answered, "One car length for every ten miles per hour."

He chuckled, and asked, "Where did you get that answer? That hasn't been in the driver's manual for years!"

The current correct answer is a 2 second followiong distance.


The car length answer is not a close approximation. There are 5280 feet in a mile. At 10 miles per hour, you will travel 52,800 feet per hour or about 14.7 feet per second. The 2 second rule says you should be 29.4 feet from the car in front of you. You won't find many cars that are 29.4 feet long unless it is a limo.

IF


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And experience tells me that in many situations there are a lot of folks in violation of both standards.

GeeB
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