Seattle Traffic Lawyer | IRLJ 6.6 Explained

If you have ever been in court for a contested Seattle speeding ticket hearing, you have probably heard a Seattle traffic attorney get up for his client and utter these words, "Your honor, I move to dismiss this infraction pursuant to IRLJ 6.6 for failure to properly certify the SMD device." Usually after this the judge asks a couple of questions, maybe looks in a book, and says, "Motion granted, infraction dismissed." End of story.

But what is this mysterious IRLJ 6.6, and why do Seattle speeding ticket lawyers utilize it so much? Today is your lucky day, because I, a Seattle speeding ticket attorney myself, am about to tell you.

Before you can understand IRLJ 6.6, it might probably help to know what the text of it is. First, IRLJ stands for Infraction Rules of Limited Jurisdiction. These are the traffic infraction rules the City of Seattle and the State of Washington must follow when adjudicating traffic infraction cases. This is where the rules on what the prosecutor must provide to you for your speeding ticket defense, and numerous other rules dealing with Seattle speeding ticket cases.

IRLJ 6.6 holds a special place in the heart of the speeding ticket lawyer in Seattle because it is the easiest way to get a speeding ticket dismissed in court. The title of IRLJ 6.6 is "Speed Measuring Device: Design and Construction Certification." You see, when the cops try to bust you for going to fast out on the highway, and they determine that speed by using a radar, before they can admit the reading the radar gun spit out, they have to first convince the court that the radar gun they were using was accurate.

The State of Washington and the City of Seattle police officers can't do the maintenance and calibration checks on their own - they aren't experts in the field. So, they have a guy or guys that checks out all the guns and certifies that the maintenance of the guns has been kept up. To get around having the maintenance guys show up to testify for every speeding ticket in the state, a convenient form was put together that can be submitted in lieu of the experts testimony (unless you specifically request them). This report must be filed with the court and must show the radar is up to date. Here is the text of the rule (in part):
(a) In General. This rule applies only to contested hearings in traffic infraction cases.

(b) Speed Measuring Device Certificate; Form. In the absence of proof of a request on a separate pleading to produce an electronic or laser speed measuring device (SMD) expert served on the prosecuting authority and filed with the clerk of the court at least 30 days prior to trial or such lesser time as the court deems proper, a certificate in substantially the following form is admissible in lieu of an expert witness in any court proceeding in which the design and construction of an electronic or laser speed measuring device (SMD) is an issue (not included here):

(c) Continuance. The court at the time of the formal hearing shall hear testimony concerning the infraction and, if necessary, may continue the proceedings for the purpose of obtaining evidence concerning an electronic speed measuring device and the certification thereof. If, at the time it is supplied, the evidence is insufficient, a motion to suppress the readings of such device shall be granted.

(d) Maintaining Certificates as Public Records. Any certificate, affidavit or foundational evidentiary document allowed or required by this rule can be filed with the court and maintained by the court as a public record. The records will be available for inspection by the public. Copies will be provided on request. The court may charge any allowable copying fees. The records are available without a formal request for discovery. The court is entitled to take judicial notice of the fact that the document has been filed with the court. Evidence will not be suppressed merely because there is not a representative of the prosecuting authority present who actually offers the document. Evidence shall be suppressed pursuant to subsection (c) of this rule if the evidence in the certificate, affidavit or document is insufficient, or if it has not been filed as required.
So, the next time you hear a Seattle traffic lawyer spouting off about how the speeding ticket should be dismissed pursuant to IRLJ 6.6, this is why.

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