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Traffic Law Cases

While far from a complete collection of California traffic law cases, these have been very useful:

  • People v Ausen - the court held that they do not regard traffic signals as, "an absolute rule under all circumstances".
  • People v Behjat - In a prosecution under Vehicle Code section 22350, the record must contain substantial evidence from which a fact finder could conclude either that the defendant drove at a speed that endangered people or property or that she drove at a speed that was unreasonable for the driving conditions.
  • People v Beltran - We accept the settled statement as correct, because the trial judge is the final arbiter of that issue. (regarding appeals)
    In any case where a county seat is an incorporated city, it includes all territory heretofore or hereafter annexed thereto. (regarding change of venue)
  • People v Carlucci - ...the trial court at a traffic infraction hearing may call and question witnesses in the absence of a prosecutor. Such actions constitute neither a per se denial of due process nor transmute the judge into prosecutor.
  • People v Difiore - We conclude that defendant was entitled to rely on the anti-speed-trap laws even though the evidence showed that defendant was driving in excess of 55 miles per hour.
  • People v Earnest - Because the People did not produce either the original engineering and traffic survey or a certified copy of it demonstrating that the posted speed limits on the pertinent segments of roadway were justified by current engineering and traffic surveys, none of their evidence as to the defendants' speeds was - admissible...
  • Esteybar v Municipal Court - The prosecution of a case by the district attorney involves an exercise of executive power...
  • People v Flaxman - whenever radar is used in conjunction with a prima facie speed limit it is always relevant to determine whether or not the prima facie speed limit has been justified as required by the statute, regardless of the fact that the violation has no relation to any prima facie speed limit.
  • People v Goulet This is the definitive case on speed traps. Read it.
    You might also want to read Chapter 8 of the CalTrans Traffic Manual.
    NOTE:The CalTrans Traffic manual has been replaced by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) 2003 as amended by the MUTCD 2003 California Supplement. (see Chapter 2B: Regulatory Signs; pages 51 - 54)
    The CalTrans Manual and the MUTCD require the Adobe Acrobat Reader (it's free).
  • People v Halopoff - [W]e declare the obligation of the prosecutor to establish that a speed trap was not involved in those cases where radar is used to apprehend a defendant.
  • People v Huffman - If the court finds the survey does justify the speed limit, then the burden shifts to the defendant to prove his speed was nevertheless safe under the circumstances. (Veh. Code, sec. 22351, subd. (b).)
  • People ex rel. Kottmeier v. Municipal Court - The municipal court may properly require the District Attorney to supply a list of witnesses for each case, for example; the court should then permit the witnesses to give a narrative recital. The court has no obligation, however, to assist the People's witnesses in presenting the case, and we recognize its continuing discretion to request the presence of a prosecutor in the unusual case.
  • People v Marcroft - Whether or not the People provide a prosecuting attorney, the citing officer who testifies as to the circumstances of the citation is a witness, no more, no less.
  • Smith v Municipal Court - We hold therefore, that the arresting officer was upon the demand of petitioner required to specify the municipal court at the county seat as the place where petitioner should appear.
  • People v Studley - This case presents the following question: where a motorist is cited, by the use of radar, for speed in excess of the state maximum speed limit on a nonlocal road with a prima facie speed limit of 50 miles per hour, and where a traffic and engineering survey is not proved at trial, do California's speed trap laws apply to compel exclusion of all evidence of speed? We hold the answer is "yes."
  • People v Tuck - Section 40800 appears in chapter 3 under the title "Illegal Evidence," and is followed by sections 40801, 40802 and 40803 relating to speed traps and prohibiting use of speed trap evidence, and section 40804 making an officer not in uniform and driving an unmarked vehicle who has arrested a driver for a speed violation incompetent to testify as a witness in a prosecution of the charge.
  • People v Wozniak - both the present language of Vehicle Code section 42005 and People v. Enochs... require trial courts to consider the merits of a defendant's request for traffic violator school whether that request is made before or after conviction.

Access California Case Law 1934-Present at FindLaw. (requires registration - free)

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