Legal Review: A Speeding Ticket That’s Phoned In? Is That Legal?

By attorney Matthew Crowley, barred in the state of Virginia. With over 10 years of extensive courtroom experience, Crowley now focuses his practice on defending individuals from all walks of life, including CEOs, celebrities, government workers, and many others.

In March 2017, in Dare County, NC, Gabriel Stitt got a $213 speeding ticket in from a Sherriff’s Department deputy. However, the citation was given to Mr. Stitt solely based on the observations of a former law enforcement officer who reported Stitt’s alleged speeding via phone to the Department.

The incident happened near the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge where Stitt was alleged to have been speeding.

The Dare County District Attorney’s office explained the traffic citation as “unusual” but legal, and the former law enforcement officer’s experience with detecting speed rendered her qualified.

Mr. Stitt denies speeding. He would like his case dismissed and an apology from the DA’s office. He plans to litigate the citation.

Outer Banks traffic attorney John Graham explained that it is legal in North Carolina for an officer to issue a citation “based on the observation of others.”

However, the former officer must testify in court for a judge to find Stitt guilty of speeding.

Graham advised that Stitt’s best defense is to create uncertainty about the former officer’s expertise and have DA’s office “prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that Stitt was driving over the speed limit.

A review of local court records indicate Stitt received another speeding citation three weeks after the first one. Specifically, Stitt was alleged to have driven 30 miles per hour over the limit in a 55-mile zone, which a deputy detected by radar.

Attorney Matt Crowley commented, “While in North Carolina it is legal to issue a ticket based on others’ observations, I imagine this would almost always be contested and litigated.”

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