Written by Gregory Monte.
I have stressed in numerous blog posts that the only sure-fire way to beat a ticket is to find a technicality in the law that the judge will be forced to accept. The example I like to use to prove my point is the case of my son’s stop sign ticket. He was eventually found “not guilty” because the sign was improperly placed by the local town. Because the Borough Council never passed an ordinance to authorize it, the judge was forced to accept this technicality and to admit that the stop sign was not enforceable.
If you want to read more details about my son’s stop sign case, check out my three free PDF’s (links are provided at the end of this post).
Dash Cam “Proof”
But what if you have actual proof of your innocence, like a dash cam video?
Unfortunately, the police officer’s testimony can still be enough to convict you because a video recording is subject to interpretation by the judge. Just like the judge can decide that a police officer is more credible than a defendant (based on demeanor, etc.), he can also interpret the video in ways that are not necessarily congruent with what really happened.
If you don’t believe me, consider the case of Commonwealth v. Goral, Pa: Superior Court 2019. John Goral was issued a ticket for “rolling” through a stop sign at Spruce and Cheswick Avenue by Officer Christopher Arthur of the Cheswick Borough Police Department. Goral decided to represent himself pro se and he thought he had an open and shut case because his dash cam captured the entire event.
“… Goral testified that he made a complete stop at the stop sign. In addition, Goral introduced into evidence his own dashboard camera footage from the night in question.”
But the judge’s interpretation of the video didn’t comport with Goral’s:
“Well, I saw the video and I also believe that you rolled through it. Slowly. But you did roll through it. I find you guilty. You did not stop. . . Your video does not prove that you stopped. It shows me that you rolled through it slowly. I agree you did decelerate. Deceleration is not stopping.”
What is interesting is that, although the majority of the Superior Court also thought he “rolled” through the sign, one dissenting judge totally disagreed:
“I respectfully disagree with the Majority’s conclusion because this is one of those rare cases where a dash cam video, included in the certified record, contradicts the trial court’s findings and credibility determinations. Contrary to the trial court’s findings, as adopted by the Majority, my review of the video clearly reveals that Appellant’s vehicle came to a complete stop at the intersection in question.”
As I indicated at the start of this post, the only sure-fire way to win in court is through a technicality. Check out my free PDF’s to find out how to identify possible technicalities in the traffic law you were accused of violating.