Legal Question in Traffic Law in South Carolina

Magistrate's Ruling

I drive a Limo part time on the weekend. I received a speeding ticket (68/55) from a state trooper just outside of Myrtle Beach, SC. I showed up for my court date with a receipt where it showed the speedometer had an 11mph error.

The woman judge dismissed the fine and reduced the points from 4 to 2.

My question is, under the circumstances, shouldn't she had dismissed the whole charge?

Asked on 5/11/02, 1:22 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Jeffrey Keenan Pavilack & Associates
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Re: Magistrate's Ruling

You would think so, but the owner/operator of a vehicle is responsible for its condition. Realistically they could have re-written the ticket as defective equipment, a 4 point violation. So the judge actually did you a favor.

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5/20/02, 10:44 am
Charles Griffin Law Offices of The Griffin Firm, LLC
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Re: Magistrate's Ruling

In Magistrate's Court, you can two (2) types on trials: one is a bench trial where the judge hears your case and determines the outcome, and the other is a jury trial where a jury determines the outcome. Apparently, you had a bench trial, and you were found guilty since even though the speedometer was 11 mph's off, you were still traveling 2 mph over the speed limit, which is a two (2) point offense. They may have dismissed the other ticket and rewrote a new ticket and tried you on that charge which you were convicted. There are many variables. Without reviewing the file, I would not be able to tell what exactly happened. You could have been charged with operating a vehicle with unsafe equipment since the speedometer did not work properly. From now own, I would suggest requesting a jury trial and getting an attorney to represent you before the fact. If you drive a limo for a living, you need to have a driver's license, and having an attorney to represent you on these traffic matters can very well save your livelihood. I don't prepare my tax returns or my business's returns. I pay an accountant to do that.

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5/11/02, 2:25 pm
Robert Johnston Law Offices of Robert J. Johnston
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Re: Magistrate's Ruling

I agree with the response you received from the other attorney. I would add however that a faulty speedometer is not a defense to speeding. Every driver has a responsibility to assure that all safety equitment is in working order, and your's obviousy was not. To carry this one step further, let's say a driver had bald tires. Then one day one of the tires blew out, the driver lost control of his car, and killed a couple pedestrians. Would it be fair for him to get off because he had bald tires? Hope this helps.

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5/11/02, 2:55 pm

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