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2000 C230 Kompressor, 2005 Volvo S60 T5 AWD, 1992 190E 2.3 -Totaled
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951 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
On my way home from work tonight, a police officer pulled me over and claimed one of my tail lights had a bulb out.

Given it was rather foggy tonite, as I left the parking lot I turned both the front fog lamps and rear fog lamp on.

I got out of the car when he showed me since I was denying it, I tried to show him that since I have an older Mercedes-Benz, the rear fog "lamp" is only on the driver side and not the passenger side whether the car is LHD or RHD, so is not to be confused with the brake lights. Sadly, he wouldn't have it, even after showing him there is no set up for a bulb on the passenger side.

After making some rude comments about my car he proceded to give me a 50$ fine and drove away.

I am going to appeal, not because I do not want to pay, but for the simple reason that I want to prove him wrong.

Any legal advice or help on this? Is there any other information that I can use against him, so hopefully they won't pull over another 201 for the same reason.
 

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w115-240D, w115-300D, w201-190e (3), w123-300D w201-190d
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352 Posts
Well you cannot get away with telling a cop he's wrong , it just brings out the a**hole in them.

Suggest you take the owners handbook showing the fog light operation with you when you "appeal"

Good Luck.
 

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Timeship, see you yesterday, but you already knew that.
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4,103 Posts
Hater.
 

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2000 :W220 - 1986 W201: 16v Nam,16v Euro- 2002:SL500 Silver Arrow.2002:Avalanche-
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2,259 Posts
That was a young cop who owns a Honda ....
 

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1996 E320, 2005 Toyota Camry
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1,810 Posts
Cops

My experience has been that most police are generally helpful, fair-minded people, but once in a while, as with other folks, you run into an ***hole (I did, appealed and won, and it didn't cost me a dime). Take your owners manual (and maybe some pics of the light assemblies on your car) to the court where you can appeal the ticket; you should win your case easily and get the ticket voided. You just happened to encounter one of the ***holes on the local force. It happens sometimes.
Hemersam
 

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1990 190E 2.6,.... 1998 ML320, 2005 ML500SE
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3,103 Posts
It doesn't matter if you win in court. The cop mentality tells him that he already won. He is forcing you to go to court and wasting your time knowing all along that you will win the case but loose the battle. Nothing will happen to him. It would be nice if you force him to be in court to testify and waste his and his police department's time.
Mike
 

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2.3-16 | A3 2.0T | 986 Boxster
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5,048 Posts
If he was rude and made rude comments about your car, file a complaint against him. Most police officers are miked and on camera. That means your car's taillights functioning or not will be on camera and recorded as will and remarks by the officer you found distasteful. When you go to trial, his evidence should be presented.

You weren't rude to start out were you?
 

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2000 C230 Kompressor, 2005 Volvo S60 T5 AWD, 1992 190E 2.3 -Totaled
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951 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
If he was rude and made rude comments about your car, file a complaint against him. Most police officers are miked and on camera. That means your car's taillights functioning or not will be on camera and recorded as will and remarks by the officer you found distasteful. When you go to trial, his evidence should be presented.

You weren't rude to start out were you?
Not at all, he told me a bulb was out and I asked which one, when I tried to tell him that it was supposed to be that way he told me to step out of the vehicle and take a look, upon showing him the set up, he still thought I was lying to him trying to get out of receiving a ticket.

He said that Mercedes-Benz always had poor designs and that type of car should not be allowed on the road because the rear lights are a hazard to other people.

I proceded to tell him that was his opinion and I did not like the remarks he made, also that I am going to appeal the ticket.

He wasn't very happy after I said the word "appeal".

Some cops these days, believe themselves to always be right.
 

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2.3-16 | A3 2.0T | 986 Boxster
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Wow, maybe I'm not the only cop with a design degree, lol. What town is he with? I have friends who work in Lynn, Stoneham, Saugus and Topsfield.

Go to court, ask if a video is available. If it is and your lights were functioning properly, your fine. File a complaint, they have to investigate him. You'll have to usually do this in person. You can feel good about inconvenienceing him and wasting their time since yours has been wasted.

Now there wasnt any other violation that happened was there? This wasn't a "reduced to" ticket or anything?
 

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2000 C230 Kompressor, 2005 Volvo S60 T5 AWD, 1992 190E 2.3 -Totaled
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951 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
No other violation, other than the bulb, which is what was written on the ticket.

This happened in Cohasset.
 

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1984 190D 2.2
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2,458 Posts
That's some crap.

Hopefully you win in court.

Maybe having a wiring diagram, or something from a dealership stating it is only supposed to have the fog light on one side will help.
 

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2.3-16 | A3 2.0T | 986 Boxster
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That's some crap.

Hopefully you win in court.

Maybe having a wiring diagram, or something from a dealership stating it is only supposed to have the fog light on one side will help.
HA! You think a judge is going to read a wiring diagram or even know how? Your faith in our legal system is much better than mine.

Video evidence is the best evidence.
 

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92 190E 2.6
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499 Posts
Well you cannot get away with telling a cop he's wrong , it just brings out the a**hole in them.
I would like to point out that not all police officers are like that, and I know there are a few cops here on this forum, and none of them appear to be ''a**holes''

I myself will be joining the world of law enforcement soon, and I hope that my friends and fellow forum members do think less of me, just because I write tickets. Granted there are always a**holes out there, but not just in the police force, everywhere you look, there are always a few bad apples in every circle.

And to the OP- I say go to court, appeal it. Bring an owners manual, and pictures of your lights. Be polite and calmly explain your side of things. I dont think that you will have a problem with your appeal.
 

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'87 190E 2.3 Manual, '81 500SEL 4whl SLS, '91 300SEL
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1,757 Posts
That sucks about the fog lights. I didn't believe the NAM models came with rear fog-lights though.

I got pulled over two Wednesdays ago. I had checked my lights that Monday and they were all on, cop pulled me over and wrote me up with a SERO on a Wednesday night because I had a marker light out. Astoundingly, I have seen a late 90's Honda Civic in the same place around town for over half a year with NO third brake light, and a late 90's Cavalier that has had driver's side running and brake lights out for over a month now, and they have yet to be pulled over.

Guessing the three-pointed star just doesn't sit well with smaller town enforcement.
 

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2.3-16 | A3 2.0T | 986 Boxster
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Guessing the three-pointed star just doesn't sit well with smaller town enforcement.
All my colleagues and I could give a shi+ as to what kind of car you are driving when we pull you over. I care about where your hands are, what's in your reach and what your body language is telling me.
 

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Premium Member
W-1-2-3 Go!
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16,161 Posts
The NAM W201's after 1990, had the rear fogs. Both my sister's '92 and former '93 had them. My '89 does not have the rear fogs. Not sure when the cutoff date/year is.
 

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1984, 201.122, OM601.921, G717.410
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504 Posts
Do to lack of humility, you already lost. If you had merely shown some contrition and promised to remedy the "problem", then you would merely get a repair ticket.

Go buy a set of bulbs. Take the receipt into court. Testify that: (1) due to the arrangement of your garage or parking space, you can always see that both brake/tail lights work; (2) you did not know that a bulb had burned out while driving, but it happens; (3) you replaced all the bulbs to insure that there would be no more failures; (4) you did not cause any problem for which you were ticketed.

Otherwise, you better have the following authority to show the judge, and be prepared to pay the several hundred dollar filing fee to appeal the matter to a court of record: (1) state statute allowing a single rear fog lamp; (2) DOT regulation allowing a single rear fog lamp; (3) case law applying the statutes and regulations; (4) a letter from a MB dealer stating that a single rear fog lamp is original equipment approved by DOT; (5) a pretrial brief setting forth the relevant facts in relation to the law.

Also, issue a formal discovery request to the appropriate office, to obtain copies of any recordings made of the incident.
 

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'87 190E 2.3 Manual, '81 500SEL 4whl SLS, '91 300SEL
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All my colleagues and I could give a shi+ as to what kind of car you are driving when we pull you over. I care about where your hands are, what's in your reach and what your body language is telling me.
That's what kills me -- Hands were on the wheel, I had a water bottle on the seat, and I was doing everything as pleasantly as possible. Not a big deal, a repair order didn't cost me anything but a stamp.
 

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Premium Member
1986 190E 2.3-16, 1992 190E 2.3, 2015 GL350 BTC, and 2020 GLS450
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2,393 Posts
This isn't a sophisticated legal defense. Instead, the traffic law of most states makes it a strict liability offense (no intent need be proven) to have bulbs not working.

However, you can always raise issues of fact. The rear fog light supplements the rear tail lights and the law of most states allows for supplemental lighting. You see multiple bulbs in most third brake light assemblies and strings of lights on the backs of trucks. A driver does not get a ticket when one of several bulbs burns out.

Take photos of the rear lights on your W201 with the brake lights and the fog light on and off. When before the court, point out that these are true and accurate photos of your actual car, and then explain how the brake lights were not burned out and that officer mistook your fog light for a brake light for which there was no matching might in the right tail light assembly.

The court should dismiss the ticket. Also, this is not called "appealing" the ticket. A ticket is only a summons to a court to respond to a charge made by the officer. You can even meet with the prosecutor and show him your photos and perhaps consent to a dismissal.

After the case is dismissed, file a grievance against the cop with his command. His name and badge number are on the citation and point out that either he needs more training because he cannot tell brake lights apart from other lights or that he was picking on you improperly therefore violating his ethical obligations to treat civilians equally.
 
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