Have you ever felt that you were awarded a traffic ticket that you didn’t deserve? Maybe the officer said that you were speeding when you didn’t think so, or you pulled out of traffic stop just as the light turned red. Regardless, most will just pay the ticket and be done with it, since putting your word against an officer’s can make the situation even more stressful.
However, it’s not impossible to contest your ticket in court and have the judge rule in your favor. One man was so convinced of his innocence that he wrote a four-page essay to prove it. Some may deem this excessive, but the man ended up not paying a single penny on the fine.
What did he do to get the traffic ticket?
Dmitri Krioukov was pulled over for failing to halt at a stop sign in San Diego, California. Traffic ticket fines in California have continued to rise over the years, and running a stop sign can cost anywhere from $250-$450.
You will also get a point on your driver’s license. According to the news story, Krioukov was expected to pay $400, but he believed that the officer who gave the ticket had made a mistake. Being a physicist, he was able to use science to prove his case in court.
The three criteria
According to his paper, Krioukov argued that the officer could have seen an “illusion” of his car not stopping at the sign based on three factors: his car accelerated and decelerated too quickly, a large object was blocking the officer’s view of Krioukov’s vehicle, and the officer had misjudged the speed of the car.
Krioukov stated that he had been suffering from a bad cold throughout the day. Closing his eyes as he sneezed, he failed to notice the stop sign ahead of him, so he had to abruptly slam on his brakes to avoid jumping the sign.
At the same time, Krioukov says that there must have been another car in the lane next to him (which didn’t have a stop sign) that pulled out at the same time as his car started moving again. He notes that his car is a Toyota Yaris, a car with a length of 160 inches. This is relatively small when compared to many other cars, which could make it easy for a larger car such as an SUV or a pickup to obscure his car completely.
Finally, Krioukov’s paper stated that while the officer was not at fault for giving him the ticket, they mistakenly thought that the Yaris’s angular speed was its actual speed. The officer stated that they were 100 feet away from Krioukov’s car when he jumped the sign.
The larger car that blocked the Yaris from view would have driven right in front of the officer, followed shortly by the Yaris. It probably seemed like the Yaris was going just as fast as the other vehicle, which led the officer to believe that Krioukov had driven right through the stop sign without stopping.
The judge actually took the time to read the entirety of the paper and deemed that Krioukov was innocent. This meant that against all odds, he didn’t have to pay his traffic ticket.
Krioukov later published the paper, aptly titled The Proof of Innocence, online for everyone to read. He definitely did his homework for this case: the paper is filled with scientific language, graphs, and mathematical equations to back up his theory.
For most states, the average fine for running a stop sign or a red light isn’t more than $200. However, if you think science is on your side, it could be worth examining the incident a little more carefully before you pay the ticket.