Thursday, September 13, 2007

Milton Police Force Unlawfully cite "SPEEDERS"

An Editorial by Ed Matthews /

Radar, VASCAR, and Laser speed reading devices come under the general category of "electronic devices" to monitor (vehicle) speed. If I understand the Official Code of Georgia, Annotated (OCGA) correctly, if these devices are employed in a City or County to enforce posted speed limits, the City or County must have a warning on the highway posted to that effect at the point where the highway changes to its jurisdiction.

The (relatively new) city of Milton has been using laser monitor devices and issuing citations on highways that have not been marked with this warning. Thus the City of Milton has been issuing citations, prosecuting and collecting fines unlawfully.

Further, the Milton citation has a small box that states "accused has requested device testing/calibration" - and OCGA mentions an officer MUST inform the accused that they have a right to so request (although the law only specifically mentions Radar testing, a good case could be made that an accused ought to be informed that the same may be true for LASER gun testing) but usually officers fail to notify of this.

Review the various laws regarding enforcement using electronic devices. Then review whether there are warning signs posted as required. For example, as a motorist leaves Cherokee County into Fulton County on Hickory Flat Road, there is a sign "Welcome to the City of Milton," but no electronic device warning and no speed requirement immediately apparent. There is not one electronic device warning anywhere on Hickory Flat Road, or its continuation, Birmingham Road. Similarly, there is no warning sign as the road exits Alpharetta and enters Milton, from Windward Parkway toward Milton City Hall, Police station, and Municipal Court.

The Milton Municipal Court and the Police Department has have been informed of this condition both verbally and in writing several weeks ago.

Whoever has been cited for speeding and an electronic device was used to guage their speed probably ought to go back to the area where the citation was issued, check for the warning signs and, if none are evident, go to the applicable OCGA laws, print them, present them to both the Municipal Court and the Police department, and if they refuse to change the citation to a warning, then appear at your court date with OCGA law and photographic evidence that the City has failed to obey the Code.

Those who have already paid fines in applicable cases probably ought to file an appeal and get their fines returned. I am not a lawyer and I am not giving legal advice, but someone needs to inform the public of this illegal outrage.


In reading Mr. Matthew's account above of his "unlawful" claims, I shake my head in dismay. While I will not profess to know what the law is or isn't in our city, I will say that I have nothing but the utmost respect regarding the actions that the City of Milton Police and any other jurisdictions that are working diligently to keep my family and friends safe are taking.

One could easily walk away from this individual's rant as simply sour grapes; aka he must have recieved a ticket and wants to get back at the world. My parents always told me that the law should apply evenly to all with no gray area in place. I too am an advocate of this ideology. However, there are some in our society that deem themselves above the law; even when it comes to speeding and putting other lives in jeopardy.

Having lost my younger brother to a car wreck in 2000, such a tragedy is something that I would not wish on my worst enemy. It is a permanent hole that is never filled as your life progresses. My hope is that Mr. Matthews never experiences such heartache. Thankfully, our Milton Police are working hard to make that wish a realty.

- Tim Enloe /


Anonymous said...

It's sad to see that people continue to look for shortcuts in the law...even if they are incorrect about the facts.

Speeding is speeding regardless of how or if you are caught.

You not only place your own life at risk, but those of your passengers, occupents of other vehicles, and pedestrians.

If folks only realized that traveling 10 miles over the speed limit only saves them at most a minute or 2 in travel time, maybe they wouldn't be in such a hurry.

-Travis Allen

Anonymous said...

The law only requires that there be warning signs on state highways of which there are three in Milton. They are 140, 9 and 372 and I am sure that you will find these signs there. The fact that other agencies place them on various streets is simply that they are going above and beyond what is required by the law. With the calibration check, lasers are calibrated by distance and on the side of the road you do not have a valid marked out distance to check it against. They are checked each day prior to going into service and when going out of service. This is the practice at all police departments. Even saying all of this it is just sad that people can't be responsible for their own actions, no one is being forced or coerced to break the law, this is a voluntary choice. Hopefully this enforcement will slow people down and make the community safer.

Anonymous said...

Speeding is speeding blah blah blah the law applies to everyone except the precious police department.Wannhh! I can't believe people are using these shortcuts/ statutory provisions applying to everyone and enacted by our legislators. You commenters are idiots.

Sustaining a speed of 10 mph above the speed limit allows you to cover 10 more miles than traveling the speed limit would in one hour. That is not just a minute or two.

Do you commenting morons think that the government has gone around and set each speed limit to the appropriate speed that can be safely traveled? Guess what they haven't.