by Ben Bullard
Virginia resident Nate Cox, an Army vet whose license plate reads “ENDW4R,” received a speeding ticket in the mail last May alleging he was behind the wheel when his Honda Civic was (allegedly) clocked by a photo-radar device exceeding the posted speed limit somewhere in Washington, D.C.
But unlike most people, who’ve become inured to the way municipalities con motorists by making it easier to pay a fine than dispute the charge, Cox, in his own words, “knew better.”
He didn’t hire a lawyer or concoct some elaborate scheme to outfox the system. Cox beat the ticket by simply standing up for himself as an American citizen whose Constitutional protections would be violated if he admitted guilt and paid the fine.
“I knew better [than] to just submit and pay a fine like the majority of people do in this country, unfortunately,” he wrote on the Virginia Cop Block blog. “I am in the habit of not taking ‘plea deals,’ and I am always in the habit of fighting my tickets and NOT pre-paying them so I don’t have to go to court — like many folks do.”
After receiving the ticket by mail, Cox responded with a letter of his own:
To Whom it May Concern,
I received a letter claiming I committed a violation of a speeding law in the District of Columbia on 04/21/2012. As per the instructions, I am writing to plead ‘not guilty’ to this charge. Although this option is said to result in this matter going to court; it is my suggestion that the charges simply be dropped. This suggestion comes out of respect for tax payers, and my request that their hard earned money not be wasted in such proceedings. As there is no evidence of my involvement with this alleged ‘crime’, as well as the fact that I am not granted my 6th amendment right to face my ‘accuser’ (a camera); I see no way the government could prove my guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I also see find no legal requirement for me to implicate someone else in this process, as it is the government’s responsibility to prove a person’s guilt. It is also my 5th amendment right to remain silent on the matter.
If it is the government’s decision to move forward in this matter, I would request copies of any evidence the prosecution may have of my involvement in the “offense”; as well as, all maintenance records for the camera(s) involved.
United States Army Veteran
It worked. Then again, it should work every time a municipality goes citizen-pillaging by relying on a robot to enforce laws intended, primarily, to aggrandize the government — not protect people.
True to form for a government bureaucracy, the DMV acknowledged his response in a less-than-timely manner, informing him (by mail) several months later that “[b]ased on your statement and/or evidence or the government’s failure to meet its burden of proof, the ticket was dismissed by a hearing examiner.”
Cox uses his story to encourage Americans not to take illegal traffic enforcement lying down.
“PLEASE, NEVER EVER opt to pay these Photo Enforced Speeding AND Red Light tickets! You do NOT have to incriminate yourself OR implicate anyone else,” he wrote. “It’s the government’s responsibility to provide evidence that YOU were the person driving, don’t help them in their ‘investigation.’ ALWAYS go to court and fight your tickets, if there is NO VICTIM…there is NO CRIME!”
It would be interesting to see how the state would respond if everyone zapped by photo radar took his advice. We’re not sure the outcome would be liberating — even though it should.