A few years ago, I discovered a few of the Kennewick speed traps when I had the opportunity to help a friend fight a speeding ticket. Although there is rarely anything you can do to fight a speeding ticket, or infraction, sometimes it’s worth going through the motions. Those motions include getting the complete police report, making sure the radar or the laser used to gauge speed has been calibrated and certified, and requesting discovery on the police officer and the police department in question. When you go through each of these steps, you’re likely to discover some interesting information and maybe even get your ticket dismissed.
Police Report, aka Paperwork
First, just start by requesting the complete police report. Well, we call it the police report. However, to a police officer, it’s just paperwork. It doesn’t require a ton of effort to complete, but it still needs some attention to detail and if the report is not complete there may be a basis for dismissal.
In my long and illustrious driving career, I have only received one speeding ticket. Years ago, I was driving through Grant County on Highway 17 when I drove a little too fast through a short downhill section. Oh, I really didn’t like seeing those flashing lights pop up behind me! Later, when I requested the police report, I was told that it couldn’t be provided. It turned out that the officers in that county were in the habit of not filling them out to keep overhead down. So, the judge dismissed the ticket and I left the courthouse as happy as could be.
Certification of Speed Measuring Device
Second, whether the police officer is measuring your speed with radar, laser, or is just clocking you the old-fashioned way, there needs to be some certification or report regarding the reliability of the method used. For laser and radar, this is referred to as calibration: the measuring device has to have been calibrated within a reasonable recent period so that the officer can be certain that it’s measuring your actual speed. If you’re being clocked the old-fashioned way, either with the speed from the officer’s vehicle or with a mile marker on the side of the road, there needs to be some sort of description of why that method is reliable. If these speed certifications are missing, there’s a good chance your ticket will be thrown out.
Sometimes people will ask me, “What if the officer had the radar pointing at another vehicle?” That’s a decent question, but it’s usually answered in the officer’s narrative. Since the expertise and experience of the officer is given a lot of weight in court (these types of infractions are subject to the civil standard of “more probable than not“), there’s not much you can do to question the direction the radar was pointed.
Discovery on the Officer or Department
This last step won’t usually yield a treasure trove of information, but can be insightful for different reasons. For instance, you may discover that the officer that gave you a ticket has decided to retire from being a police officer and has recently become lax in following procedure (true story). Or, you may discover that the prosecutor, in conjunction with the department, is offering a reduction in penalties or a complete waiver if you donate to a certain non-profit or charity (also a true story). And, even though this won’t help you much, you may discover that you were pulled over in a speed trap like this one on Deschutes Avenue.
Chances are if you have used Google Maps while driving, you’ve been notified of a potential speed trap while driving in an unfamiliar area. This is a nice feature, but since we don’t typically use Maps while driving locally, we are less likely to know all of the speed traps in Kennewick. Luckily for you, I have done the busy work. For the top Kennewick speed traps, I’ll give you the location and the reason why they are traps, so maybe you’ll be able to see a pattern that you can apply when you are driving from Richland and Pasco to the Anderson Law office in Kennewick.
- Union St and 21st (school zone on a fast street)
- Deschutes Ave and Georgia (25 mph through street)
- Columbia Center Blvd and the Tapteal Overpass (accident magnet)
- 10th Ave and Penn (school zone on a fast street)
- Highway 395 and 2nd Ave (the slowest section of 395 in town)
Now you know the top speed traps and the areas where distracted driving might be a higher concern. Let me know in the comments below if I’ve missed one!