Seattle Traffic Lawyer | IRLJ 6.6 Uncovered

Before I was a full fledged Seattle traffic lawyer and wanting to learn about the business, I would often go down to traffic court and just watch for an hour or so. This was before I had any idea of the traffic rules and regulations, the procedural rules, or any of the other things you really need to know to be a good Seattle traffic lawyer. And I was always mesmerized by one exchange I heard over and over again but never really quite understood. It went something like this:

(Court calls the case)

Traffic Attorney: "Good morning your honor. Before we begin I have a preliminary motion to dismiss pursuant to IRLJ 6.6. The SMD certification is noncompliant."

Judge:(shuffles through a book) "Are you attesting to have done a thorough search of the records as an officer of the court?"

Traffic Attorney: "Yes, your honor."

Judge: "Very well. Case dismissed."

After hearing this several times I was intrigued by what the IRLJ was, what 6.6 was, and how this simple saying could result in so many dismissals. So I checked it out. And what I found was what you might expect, the procedural rules for traffic court.
Let the Seattle Traffic Lawyer Blog explain a little.

It turns out IRLJ stands for Infraction Rules of Limited Jurisdiction, which, translated, means the traffic court procedural rules. These are the rules the court must follow when conducting a contested hearing, the rules the attorneys must follow when entering their appearance, asking for discovery, and other procedural things, and the rules required for filing tickets. Included in these rules are numerous ways to get your Seattle speeding ticket dismissed, one of which is IRLJ 6.6.

IRLJ 6.6 is entitled, "Speed Measuring Device: Design and Construction Certification." What it does is allow speeding tickets in Seattle and throughout the State of Washington that were issued using radar technology to be handled in an efficient and timely manner. See, thing is, when a radar gun is used to bust you for speeding, before that information can be admitted into evidence in court, the officer or the prosecutor have to prove to the court that the evidence is reliable. This means they have to show that the radar unit was properly calibrated on that day, the it was used properly, and that it was maintained in a manner that makes its reading on the day you got busted reliable.

The first two things the cop can do, but the third one must be done by the person that maintains and tests the guns as required by the maintenance schedule. In the past this had to be done by having the technician come in and testify about the maintenance upkeep. But IRLJ 6.6 allows for the technician to file a sworn affidavit about the maintenance requirements and the last time maintenance was performed on the specific radar gun. Because of this, however, IRLJ 6.6 has some fairly strict rules regarding filing with the court and accessibility that, if not kept up, result in the dismissal of your Seattle speeding ticket.

Here is the text of the rule, with the actual certification language held out (if you want to see it, you can go here to check it out):
(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:

(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, it is pretty clear that if the information is inaccurate, shows that the maintenance wasn't up to date, or the records weren't with the court as required, the judge must dismiss the Seattle traffic ticket. And this happens often, which is why you hear speeding ticket attorneys in Seattle talking about it so much.

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