Best defense or argument to get two strict liability tickets dismissed based on city fire department actions at the scene?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Best defense or argument to get two strict liability tickets dismissed based on city fire department actions at the scene?

I’m at a loss right now. I pled not guilty to 2 citations that I received, 1 for driving into or stopping within 500 ft of a fire apparatus and 1 for driving over an uprotected fire hose. Long story short, fire apparatus was parked parallel to sidewalk opposite direction of oncoming traffic. In the blocking position the fire apparatus had it’s mounted white spotlights turned on and emmitting to the front of the truck. In a quiet nieghborhood in the middle of the night, I was traveling towards the fire vehicle not known to me at this time that it was a fire truck all I could see was the white steady spotlights, limited visibility at least 500 feet out and not able to see any of the emergency lights red/amber because of the white flood lights. I slowed down to drive around the white lights to discover when my field of view came back by getting out if the spotlights that I was next to a fire truck and ran over the unprotected road. If I had been able to see emergency warning lights and knew it was a fire truck I would have never driven through that. Is there any chance of a defense on this type if ticket in regards to the fire crew blinding oncoming traffic with their white lights? No firefighter was injured or killed. I was travelling approximately 8 mph when I was at the front edge of the firetruck. I have police body cam and my own vehicle cam footage that shows the intensity of the white flood lights and how the emergency lights are not visible.

Asked on November 19, 2018 under General Practice, Montana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

"Strict liability" means what it sounds like: liability is "strict" in that the reason you did something is irrelevant--all that matters is that you did it. If these are strict liability tickets, there is no way to get them dismissed unless the court or prosecutor elects to dismiss them--they have the discretion, or freedom to do so. But dong so would be their free choice; you have no grounds to require the dismissal of strict liability tickets.

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