Using “Case Law Technicalities” to Beat Traffic Tickets

Written by Gregory Monte.

Get Ready to be Blown Away

If you appreciate learning ways to beat traffic tickets in order to put the powers that shouldn’t be in their proper place, you will love what I describe below.  At first it is going to sound too good to be true, but when I prove it by reference to a court decision, you will shake your head and smile.

In short, the strategy I discuss in this blog post will truly blow you away.

Stay Tuned for My Next Post About New York

I will be writing a blog post later this weekend about how to beat a traffic ticket in New York.  In that post I will expand on the concept that I introduce in this short post.

This strategy involves using what I call a “case law technicality” to win in court.

The “Case Law Technicality” Introduced

I will introduce this strategy by referring to stop signs in Pennsylvania.  My next blog post about New York will show that what I talk about here applies to other states and other types of traffic tickets.

Most states use similar language in their stop sign statutes. They basically read just like Pennsylvania’s Title75, Section 3323:

(b)  Duties at stop signs.–Except when directed to proceed by a police officer or appropriately attired persons authorized to direct, control or regulate traffic, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line …”

The statute is much longer than this, but this opening part is the crucial piece for making my point about “case law technicalities.”

The highlighted section of the law has to be addressed by the prosecutor in the courtroom or else you will automatically win your case.

I know that this sounds completely crazy, but if the police officer never testifies that there was no one else directing traffic, the state has not shown that your failure to stop at the sign was not justified.

Don’t believe me?

Believe what the Pennsylvania Superior Court decided in Commonwealth v. Karash, 175 A. 3d 306 (2017):

“The dispute in this case is whether the Commonwealth was obligated to present, in its case-in-chief, evidence as to whether a police officer directed Appellant to proceed through the stop sign … Consistent with its constitutional obligations, all the Commonwealth had to do in this case was ask the officer whether there was a police officer directing Appellant through the stop sign. It failed to do so, and we therefore reverse …”

Important Final Note

It is important to understand that this defense is only usable on appeal from the Court of Common Pleas.  If you try to use it in Magisterial Court (or your state’s traffic court), the judge is just going to ask the officer if there was anyone else directing traffic.  If you use it at your de novo trial in the Court of Common Pleas (or whatever your state’s next level of justice is), the judge or prosecutor could just call the officer back to the stand to testify that there was no one else directing traffic. 

You have to keep this in your “back pocket” as a final way to win on appeal to the Superior Court – that is the only place this is useful.

One of the slogans I like to mention in my Pennsylvania Stop Sign Ticket Defense eBook is “using the law to beat the law.”  The point is that my defense depends on using technicalities in traffic law to win in court.  I can’t think of a better example than Commonwealth v. Karash to hammer this point home.

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