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zudecke
Hi all,

En route to work I was pulled over by a police stop parade (for lack of a better description). Officer greeted me and told me an on-foot colleague further up the road had spotted me using my phone.

I told him that his colleague must have been mistaken as I was not on the phone in any capacity, however, my pleas fell on deaf ears and I was issued an on-the-spot FPN (£100) and 3pts.

Not only was I not using my phone (I was actually drinking a shake), but this spotter was on the far side pavement, with a view obstructed by the other lanes traffic (and it was a BUSY traffic day in central London owing to the Transport for London strikes), which included buses. It's also worth noting that my windows are partially tinted , so I find it hard to understand how he/she can claim, with conviction, what I was doing with my hands.

I'm particularly aggrieved by this as I am absolutely certain I was not using my phone AT ALL.

Am I to accept this on the chin, chalking it up to hard luck, or would anyone recommend disputing this? If the latter, can anyone help me understand the process (or point me in the right direction)?

Much appreciated, as always.

Regards,

Z
fedup2
you have 2 choices,take it on the chin or fight it in court which will if found guilty lead to a bigger fine.

You would have to convince a court why the officer/s got it wrong.

Where was your phone when the officer approached?

zudecke
QUOTE (fedup2 @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 11:38) *
you have 2 choices,take it on the chin or fight it in court which will if found guilty lead to a bigger fine.

You would have to convince a court why the officer/s got it wrong.

Where was your phone when the officer approached?

On the passenger seat next to laptop. I had my wallet/card holder in between my legs and possibly in my hand (but not held up), which I presume could be mistaken for a phone, as I had just bought a coffee and a banana.

How much could the fine rise to potentially? How much are court fees etc?

How strong is "my word against theirs" as an argument in court?

Cheers for the quick response in any case!

Z

sgtdixie
QUOTE (zudecke @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 11:43) *
QUOTE (fedup2 @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 11:38) *
you have 2 choices,take it on the chin or fight it in court which will if found guilty lead to a bigger fine.

You would have to convince a court why the officer/s got it wrong.

Where was your phone when the officer approached?

On the passenger seat next to laptop. I had my wallet/card holder in between my legs and possibly in my hand (but not held up), which I presume could be mistaken for a phone, as I had just bought a coffee and a banana.

How much could the fine rise to potentially? How much are court fees etc?

How strong is "my word against theirs" as an argument in court?

Cheers for the quick response in any case!

Z

This sounds like they were specifically targeting seat belt and phone offences with a dedicated spotter. As such a spotter stood on the footpath doing nothing but looking into vehicles on your side of the road will make a compelling witness. Your defence will be that you had your wallet or similar in your hand not the phone. The fact the phone was on the seat next to you will not help your case. Saying to a bench that your windows are so tinted that someone stood outside couldn't see in isn't going to help with your credibility as tinting in front of the B pillar is illegal. I would also say that having been a spotter people using phones are far easier to see than many drivers think. The fact he could see something in your hand suggests he had a pretty good view.

If getting acquitted was a simple as just saying you didn't do it no one would be convicted. Ultimately your credibility is all you have and as I have pointed out you have a couple of hurdles to get over.

The fine is unlikely to be much higher but costs on a not guilty if convicted will add several hundred pounds to the bill plus victim surcharge.
Trampilot
Can you obtain your phone records to prove no calls or texts were sent at the time of the incident?
sgtdixie
QUOTE (Trampilot @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 12:02) *
Can you obtain your phone records to prove no calls or texts were sent at the time of the incident?

Which won't prove he wasn't typing a text as alleged.
henrik777
QUOTE
Saying to a bench that your windows are so tinted that someone stood outside couldn't see in isn't going to help with your credibility as tinting in front of the B pillar is illegal.



I'd say it helps his case. The court can't convict on it if he isn't charged with it and if there is no evidence presented to say what percentage light is let in then they'd have a hard time anyway. It helps his case if the officer couldn't see or see clearly.

It's difficult to prove a negative so all you can do is maintain innocence and cast doubt on the officer or plead guilty, obviously.
Pete D
"I was actually drinking a shake" did you tell the officer that. Driving not in proper control. Pete D
sgtdixie
QUOTE (henrik777 @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 12:13) *
QUOTE
Saying to a bench that your windows are so tinted that someone stood outside couldn't see in isn't going to help with your credibility as tinting in front of the B pillar is illegal.



I'd say it helps his case. The court can't convict on it if he isn't charged with it and if there is no evidence presented to say what percentage light is let in then they'd have a hard time anyway. It helps his case if the officer couldn't see or see clearly.

It's difficult to prove a negative so all you can do is maintain innocence and cast doubt on the officer or plead guilty, obviously.

It's about credibility. No one is suggesting he is going to be prosecuted now. If it was as bad as he claims I wonder why no one mentioned it?
zudecke
QUOTE (Trampilot @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 12:02) *
Can you obtain your phone records to prove no calls or texts were sent at the time of the incident?

Yes I can, but as mentioned, I doubt this would help my case as one could be doing anything with the phone? I'm assuming, so please correct me if you do believe these records may help my case.

QUOTE (henrik777 @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 12:13) *
QUOTE
Saying to a bench that your windows are so tinted that someone stood outside couldn't see in isn't going to help with your credibility as tinting in front of the B pillar is illegal.



I'd say it helps his case. The court can't convict on it if he isn't charged with it and if there is no evidence presented to say what percentage light is let in then they'd have a hard time anyway. It helps his case if the officer couldn't see or see clearly.

It's difficult to prove a negative so all you can do is maintain innocence and cast doubt on the officer or plead guilty, obviously.

They're not completely tinted, but partially, but my point was that this would serve as further obstruction for the spotter to see through with clarity.

QUOTE (Pete D @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 12:15) *
"I was actually drinking a shake" did you tell the officer that. Driving not in proper control. Pete D

But who says I wasn't in control? That's not the offence.. Is it an offence to "drink and drive"? (ha)

QUOTE (sgtdixie @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 12:22) *
QUOTE (henrik777 @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 12:13) *
QUOTE
Saying to a bench that your windows are so tinted that someone stood outside couldn't see in isn't going to help with your credibility as tinting in front of the B pillar is illegal.



I'd say it helps his case. The court can't convict on it if he isn't charged with it and if there is no evidence presented to say what percentage light is let in then they'd have a hard time anyway. It helps his case if the officer couldn't see or see clearly.

It's difficult to prove a negative so all you can do is maintain innocence and cast doubt on the officer or plead guilty, obviously.

It's about credibility. No one is suggesting he is going to be prosecuted now. If it was as bad as he claims I wonder why no one mentioned it?

I don't get what you mean here: "If it was as bad as he claims I wonder why no one mentioned it?"?
sgtdixie
QUOTE
I don't get what you mean here: "If it was as bad as he claims I wonder why no one mentioned it?"?


If the tint was so dark as to obstruct someone seeing into the vehicle clearly I would have expected an officer to have mentioned it when you were pulled.
zudecke
So to summarise my defense:
- My wallet was/may have been in my hand at the time of the alleged offence
- There were a lot of cars on the road, but not slow moving traffic (as it was rush hour in central London on a day of transport strikes), so, I'd argue would make it more difficult for a spotter
- My windows are partially tinted which would have further obscured a view into the car to identify exactly what was in my hand
- No calls or texts were sent during the alleged offence and this can be proven (although, not sure this makes much difference)
- My word!
Pete D
Yes it is an offence. There was a guy who posted on here that he was being prosecuted for not being in control and the evidence, other than the operator, was a video of him clapping his hands at the mobile speed van. He was not actually speeding.
You are a bit stuck by a rock and a hard place. Very difficult. Good Luck. Pete D
zudecke
QUOTE (sgtdixie @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 12:40) *
QUOTE
I don't get what you mean here: "If it was as bad as he claims I wonder why no one mentioned it?"?


If the tint was so dark as to obstruct someone seeing into the vehicle clearly I would have expected an officer to have mentioned it when you were pulled.

One would argue that by definition a "tinted" window let's in less light, therefore partially obstructing/impeding visibility (varying degrees depending on tint strength)...

So while as the officers at the stop may not have had a problem with the tint strength, you can't really argue that a tinted window does impede visibility..


QUOTE (Pete D @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 12:47) *
Yes it is an offence. There was a guy who posted on here that he was being prosecuted for not being in control and the evidence, other than the operator, was a video of him clapping his hands at the mobile speed van. He was not actually speeding.
You are a bit stuck by a rock and a hard place. Very difficult. Good Luck. Pete D

In that case I won't mention the shake ohmy.gif
sgtdixie
QUOTE (zudecke @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 12:50) *
QUOTE (sgtdixie @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 12:40) *
QUOTE
I don't get what you mean here: "If it was as bad as he claims I wonder why no one mentioned it?"?


If the tint was so dark as to obstruct someone seeing into the vehicle clearly I would have expected an officer to have mentioned it when you were pulled.

One would argue that by definition a "tinted" window let's in less light, therefore partially obstructing/impeding visibility (varying degrees depending on tint strength)...

So while as the officers at the stop may not have had a problem with the tint strength, you can't really argue that a tinted window does impede visibility..


QUOTE (Pete D @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 12:47) *
Yes it is an offence. There was a guy who posted on here that he was being prosecuted for not being in control and the evidence, other than the operator, was a video of him clapping his hands at the mobile speed van. He was not actually speeding.
You are a bit stuck by a rock and a hard place. Very difficult. Good Luck. Pete D

In that case I won't mention the shake ohmy.gif

By definition any tint must reduce visibility, you are right. You are however saying the level of tint was such as to obscure the view so much the officer couldn't tell the difference between a drink (or was it a wallet) and a phone. Good luck.
AFCNEAL
Whatever you do, get your story straight and consistent. I this thread alone you may have been holding a drink or your wallet having bought a shake or a coffee...................
zudecke
QUOTE (AFCNEAL @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 12:59) *
Whatever you do, get your story straight and consistent. I this thread alone you may have been holding a drink or your wallet having bought a shake or a coffee...................

It's a fair point and I will straighten it out as instructed, omitting irrelevant information and focusing on the substance of my argument.

Moving forward, can anyone give some insight into next steps and the entire process of going to court to dispute this? Do I need a lawyer? Are there costs associated? Etc..

Cheers,

Z
sgtdixie
Read the back of the FPN. It explains everything.

Essentially you must elect to go to court but you must take your D/L in if it is on the ticket.

You will then get a summons and there will be a trial. You don't need a solicitor but if you lose a trial you still get 3 points but the fine will be bigger and costs for a trial can be £500 to £1000 depending on how many witnesses are called.
zudecke
Thanks Sgt and everyone else.

If anyone has further tips/advice, I'd very grateful!

Cheers,

Z
AFCNEAL
The general advice on here is that the Police did not lie - they were mistaken.....so in a nutshell, pick your words carefully, be respectful and even a little deferential to both the mags and the 'law'.

Think about how the CPS may challenge you and be prepared. For example,why was your phone on the eat next to you if you had no intention of using it? Answer might be - very short journey, Bluetooth to car stereo etc etc. That kind of thing - think about where they're coming from (lot like you who were on the phone, speeding etc etc)........
henrik777
QUOTE (Pete D @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 12:47) *
Yes it is an offence. There was a guy who posted on here that he was being prosecuted for not being in control and the evidence, other than the operator, was a video of him clapping his hands at the mobile speed van. He was not actually speeding.
You are a bit stuck by a rock and a hard place. Very difficult. Good Luck. Pete D


It may be an offence but it is also an offence he hasn't been charged with.
sgtdixie
The OP says he had his wallet in his hand one minute and the next he was drinking. If I had been stopped for using my mobile I would be 100% sure what I was doing. You are giving a good impression of someone looking for an explanation for what the officer claims he saw. As threads on here have turned in prosecutors hands before now I suggest you seriously consider what you say. Credibility is your only weapon, it isn't very good at the moment.
jdh
QUOTE (sgtdixie @ Wed, 5 Feb 2014 - 15:34) *
The OP says he had his wallet in his hand one minute and the next he was drinking. If I had been stopped for using my mobile I would be 100% sure what I was doing. You are giving a good impression of someone looking for an explanation for what the officer claims he saw. As threads on here have turned in prosecutors hands before now I suggest you seriously consider what you say. Credibility is your only weapon, it isn't very good at the moment.

Probably because the OP doesn't actually know whether it was the wallet or the drink that the observer mistook for a phone, don't forget he wasn't stopped at that point, he was stopped further along the road.
sgtdixie
Where was the drink put if he was holding the wallet.

Generally spotters operate about 100 yards from the stoppers. Hardly a long while.

I would bet the officers evidence also says the OP was looking down as he was doing whatever. We will see.
gilan02
QUOTE
Where was the drink put if he was holding the wallet.


In his other hand biggrin.gif
zudecke
hi,

Is it possible to request from the police whereabouts the spotter was situated at the time?


I'd like to investigate the exact area where he/she was..

Cheers,

Z
The Rookie
It is possible to request it......they may not answer!

It should be fairly clear in the witness statement made by the spotter?
sgtdixie
QUOTE (zudecke @ Thu, 6 Feb 2014 - 10:02) *
hi,

Is it possible to request from the police whereabouts the spotter was situated at the time?


I'd like to investigate the exact area where he/she was..

Cheers,

Z

So your contention is the spotter couldn't properly see you due to traffic conditions and location but you don't know where he was and you can't know what traffic there was.

If you opt for court you will get his statement. They won't send you the evidence just so you can decide if they can prove the offence. You know if you did it or not. So you either accept the fpn or go to court.
zudecke
QUOTE (sgtdixie @ Thu, 6 Feb 2014 - 10:17) *
QUOTE (zudecke @ Thu, 6 Feb 2014 - 10:02) *
hi,

Is it possible to request from the police whereabouts the spotter was situated at the time?


I'd like to investigate the exact area where he/she was..

Cheers,

Z

So your contention is the spotter couldn't properly see you due to traffic conditions and location but you don't know where he was and you can't know what traffic there was.

If you opt for court you will get his statement. They won't send you the evidence just so you can decide if they can prove the offence. You know if you did it or not. So you either accept the fpn or go to court.

It makes a lot of difference as I've been wrongly accused for an offence I did not commit.

If you lose the chip on your shoulder for just a sec and try to forget all the bad things you may have experienced in your time as a public servant, you might be abl to step back and consider the fact that not everyone is guilty because a policeman says so.

So yea, establishing where the spotter was will help inform my argument a great deal!


I am Weasel
If you have been wrongly accused of the offence and did not commit it, then your only option is to reject the offer of a fixed penalty and plead not guilty in court. You will then be able to examine the evidence the police claim to have against you and cast enough doubt on it to get a not guilty verdict.
The Rookie
So plead not guilty, get his statement and then prepare your defence.

If as you say you are not guilty, then that is the obvious route, right now you can ask, but aren't entitled to anything.

The reason SD is coming across cynical is due to the somewhat cynical attitude you yourself are coming across as having adopted, it was my wallet (Plausible) or my drink (not so), he couldn't see properly due to tints, but the tints are legal (which means practically no tint at all), where was he so I can see how that suites my version of events......these may all be honest and true, or may be a cynical ploy to 'get off'......you come across as the latter somewhat even if that may not be the case.
turnbulltj
My opinion, for what it is worth........................ In all these types of 'petty' cases (I use that word with caution) always put a value on your own personal time.

By that I mean, you have obviously given this a lot of pondering, posts on this website, no doubt not getting to sleep for thinking about the alleged injustice of the system, chatting it over with friends and colleagues etc etc etc.

STOP !! It has already cost you a fortune. Deal with it head on. Pay the FPN and enjoy your family.

You will NEVER EVER comprehend the civil or criminal justice system. It is a huge lucrative business that is 'jobs for the boys'

Take your family out for a meal and the cinema and celebrate the fact that the system has not ground you down and churned you up.

I am talking from experience of dealing with a relatively minor civil case for over 6 years and coming out of it battered bruised and an emotional wreck, all in the name of red tape and legal jargon.
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