TACOMA – A driver ticketed by an automatic speed camera fought it in court and won because of a pair of mistakes printed on the ticket.
The camera is located along East Bay Street. Tacoma received special state permission to put the camera there because police consider that stretch of road dangerous.
When Terry Fiber was out driving one night early this year, he saw the flash from the camera. At the time, he didn’t think anything of it. He thought it was for somebody or something else. Two weeks later, he got a $101 ticket in the mail for going 45 mph in a 35 mph zone. He didn’t think he was going that fast.
“I wanted to review the law, ’cause I wanted to defend myself. So, I started pulling up the RCWs and the codes and I couldn’t find this one,” said Fiber.
He took used that evidence to fight the tickets in Tacoma Municipal Court and won.
“He dismissed it, as soon as I brought up the RCW. And he was ready to dismiss the charges,” said Fiber.
First, the ticket cites the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.61.440. That concerns speeding through a school zone. A fiber was nowhere close to a school zone.
Second, the ticket cites RCW 46.61.170.csc. If you search for that on the state’s website, you can’t find it.
A fiber wasn’t the only ticket holder to make that argument and he wasn’t the only one to get his ticket dismissed.
Tacoma says the Arizona company, which runs the camera and mails out the tickets after a Tacoma police officer reviews the evidence, put down the wrong law.
Tacoma Municipal Court says about 8,000 of the bad tickets were issued between Dec. 2, 2009 and March 9, 2010.The court is now checking the tickets every day.
What do you do if you think you have one of these tickets?
“They should just write a letter to the court and we’ll send it to the commissioner and the commissioner can review the ticket and see if it’s the right RCW or not,” said Yvonne Pettus, Tacoma Municipal Court Administrator.
Tacoma officials believe that the camera on East Bay Street is the only camera that is having this problem.
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