Written by Gregory Monte.
This blog post only addresses Pennsylvania law, and the short answer is “yes.” As for other states, the small amount of research I did indicates that this information is not required anywhere else in the United States.
Pennsylvania’s Title 75, Section 3366 is pretty straightforward:
“In every charge of violation of a speed provision in this subchapter, except for a violation of section 3361 (relating to driving vehicle at safe speed), the citation or complaint shall specify the speed at which the defendant is alleged to have driven and the applicable speed limit.”
So why do an entire blog post about this topic?
Because there is actually one section of the speeding subchapter (besides 3361) which the courts have decided does not require this information – although they have not always ruled as such.
A Short Judicial History
The section in question is 3367, and it concerns racing on the highways. Back in 1979, the court ruled that even this violation required the speed to be noted on the citation – Com. v. Morris, 407 A. 2d 1350 – Pa: Superior Court 1979:
“Sections 3366 and 3367 are both a part of the subchapter F of the code. The language of Section 3366 is clear and unambiguous and mandatory. To say that § 3367(b) is not a speed provision of the act is to blind oneself to its language and should the Legislature have intended to exempt it from the mandate of § 3366 it would have done so as it did with § 3361.”
But, as you are probably aware, sometimes decisions are overruled – and such is the case here. Because Section 3367 comes after 3366, the Court of Common Pleas in 1986 ruled that the speed notation requirement was not necessary – Commonwealth v. Dashiell, 45 Pa. D. & C. 3d 301 – Pa: Court of Common Pleas 1986:
“Section 3366 is clearly referring to those sections of subchapter F that are previously set forth, i.e., sections 3361 through 3365. The Legislature did not place section 3366 in the middle of subchapter F for no reason. The subsequent sections of subchapter F are not ‘speed provisions.’“
The PA Supreme Court settled this issue for good the very same year when it specifically overruled the Commonwealth v. Morris decision from 1979 – Com. v. Frye, 516 A. 2d 38:
“Because proof of a particular speed is not an essential element of the offense of racing on the highways in this case, we must reject and overrule our previous decision in Commonwealth v. Morris, supra, which mandates a discharge absent an allegation of speed.”
Using Technicalities to Beat Traffic Tickets
My defense strategy relies entirely on finding technicalities in the law which judges have to accept. If you think your personal testimony will get you anywhere in the courtroom, you are bound to lose because judges overwhelmingly believe the police over the defendant. If you are interested in some more information about how I recommend fighting tickets, I suggest you check out my three free PDF’s.