August 30, 2005, 20:06A. Klement
Speeding, Construction Zone w/ Workers Present
Question: I have a Defendant who was issued a citation for Speeding in a Construction Zone w/ Workers Present. The defense attorney is fighting the "with workers present" portion of his client's charge, and is trying to get me to drop this part of the charge (so his client is elligible for a Driver's Safety Course or deferred, of course).
This ticket was written in a section of I 35 where there has been an ongoing construction project. Here is the defense attorney's argument: He claims that there were no workers present "for at least a couple of miles" from where the Defendant was stopped. In other words, the construction workers were a couple of miles up the road and the defendant had not yet passed through the area where they were working.
My officer backs this information up. Does anyone think the distance matters in where the workers were in relation to the stop?
I have a hard time seeing this as an issue, and am prepared to go forward to jury trial in this case (as the defense attorney is "threatening" to do), but I just wanted to know if anyone else had faced this issue and what others' thoughts were.
August 31, 2005, 09:51Ken Sparks
Use your discretion. The rationale behind the statute is to increase punishment when workers are present. If they were several miles away, no one was endangered by the defendant's speed.
August 31, 2005, 10:06Trooper
I feel that if there is a continuous construction zone that has workers working within its boundaries (regardless of the length/size of the zone and the exact location of the workers), then the enhancement would apply.
August 31, 2005, 10:16DPB
I tend to agree with the Trooper. The point of the law is to protect the workers. That's why the zone is set up. The signs give the admonition. I don't see that it is safer for the workers if the cars don't have to slow down from freeway speeds until the drivers finally see workers. Don't we want the drivers to pay attention to the pavement in front of them and not be scanning the side of the road for workers to know when to show more caution? And then what happens when the drivers would then hit their brakes unexpectedly. Better practice is to slow down when the zone comes into being.
Having said that, I would still use discretion. How badly do you want this trial? Or is it the kind of attorney, or situation, where an example needs to be made so that all the other traffic ticket attorneys will back off?
August 31, 2005, 15:25Trey Hill
That is a great idea to require the defendant to "man" the "SLOW" sign at the same site! Brilliant!