The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-10-2013, 02:48 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
What Are My Chances of getting this Ticket Dismissed?

Just got my ticket in the mail-from the nice folks in Suffolk County, NY (Long Island). They claim I failed to stop at a stop sign-I have a remote camera picture. At any rate, I have had no moving violations in over 12 years-is it worth it to go to court and try for a dismissal?
the only thing is, its a 245 mile drive for me!
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 06-10-2013, 02:51 PM
silenus silenus is offline
Hoc nomen meum verum non est.
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: SoCal
Posts: 39,372
You likely won't get it. The best you can hope for is a reduction of fine if you show up. Your call as to whether it's worth the time and gas money on that chance.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-10-2013, 02:54 PM
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Check online or call and see if it's a "No Report" type of offense. I have no idea of NY, but in OK, certain basic moving violations are not reported to Ins. (no info on their website, but I was verbally told this at counter just last week when I went to sign up for traffic school. Didn't qualify to sign up because of No Report status).

So, I just ponied up the dough. Not worth the hassle, esp if not affecting my ins rates, ya know?


.

Last edited by AncientHumanoid; 06-10-2013 at 02:56 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-10-2013, 03:02 PM
Loach Loach is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Zero chances.

I can only tell you for certain how things are in NJ. No guarantee they are the same there but probably very similar. Here red light camera tickets have no points. There is nothing to reduce it down to. Its a minor fine and thats it. On our tickets there is a link to the website where you can few the footage of your violation. Watch it. If you are guilty just pay it and move on.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-10-2013, 03:43 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: New England
Posts: 30,232
So crying and showing some cleavage won't work, huh?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-10-2013, 04:21 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 29,217
I wouldn't drive for it. If there's a "contest by mail" option, hey, give it a chance, because what's the worst that could happen (I actually got my dad off a red light violation this way), but if it was 245 mile drive, I'd pony up if that option was available and I was clearly guilty.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-10-2013, 04:38 PM
Loach Loach is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
A lot of those who come to my court to contest these tickets don't read them carefully. They see the still photo and their brake lights on and they decide to fight it. They miss the link to the video. Before going into the court they are given a chance to preview the video. Most then meekly go to the counter to pay after that.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-10-2013, 05:42 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 29,217
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach View Post
A lot of those who come to my court to contest these tickets don't read them carefully. They see the still photo and their brake lights on and they decide to fight it. They miss the link to the video. Before going into the court they are given a chance to preview the video. Most then meekly go to the counter to pay after that.
Oh, yes, make sure to check the video. Like I said, if there's a "contest by mail" option that has no downside to it (as there is in Illinois), give it a shot. My father clearly ran a red and I somehow (much to my shock) got him off of it with a letter after telling him he ran the red and was guilty, and there was no way in hell he was going to get off. So who knows. If you have any plausible defense after looking at the video, it can't hurt to try. No way is it worth driving 245 miles, IMHO.

Last edited by pulykamell; 06-10-2013 at 05:42 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-10-2013, 05:57 PM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: <--- <--- <---
Posts: 14,129
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves View Post
So crying and showing some cleavage won't work, huh?
"Pull your pants up, son, and face me when I'm talking to you."
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-10-2013, 06:49 PM
PunditLisa PunditLisa is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: 'burbs of Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 13,043
FYI, here in Cincinnati, one of our smaller municipalities (Elmwood Place) was forced to abandon their speed cameras after a county judge ruled that it violated the drivers' due process.

So that may be your only hope.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-10-2013, 07:33 PM
Loach Loach is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by PunditLisa View Post
FYI, here in Cincinnati, one of our smaller municipalities (Elmwood Place) was forced to abandon their speed cameras after a county judge ruled that it violated the drivers' due process.

So that may be your only hope.
Which is why red light camera tickets are considered a civil penalty not criminal/traffic. The tickets are the responsibility of the owner like with a parking ticket. But there are no points and nothing on your driving record.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-10-2013, 07:34 PM
Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
What happens if you do nothing? This is something that varies a lot between jurisdictions so you should be very careful, but when my city in Ohio had cameras, there was no penalty for just throwing the ticket out and doing nothing. The fine print of the "ticket" made it clear that it was just a notice that the city considered you civilly liable for $X, and that if you didn't voluntarily settle with them by paying that amount or show up at their "hearing," the city might very well sue you for $1.25X. There was no means whatsoever for your failure to pay the "ticket" resulting in an arrest warrant or a license suspension, just a possible lawsuit for 25% more.

But IANAL in any sense, and for all I know, Suffolk County will suspend your license, throw you in jail, and charge you $10,000 in fines.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 06-10-2013 at 07:36 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-10-2013, 08:04 PM
Loach Loach is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
What happens if you do nothing? This is something that varies a lot between jurisdictions so you should be very careful, but when my city in Ohio had cameras, there was no penalty for just throwing the ticket out and doing nothing. The fine print of the "ticket" made it clear that it was just a notice that the city considered you civilly liable for $X, and that if you didn't voluntarily settle with them by paying that amount or show up at their "hearing," the city might very well sue you for $1.25X. There was no means whatsoever for your failure to pay the "ticket" resulting in an arrest warrant or a license suspension, just a possible lawsuit for 25% more.

But IANAL in any sense, and for all I know, Suffolk County will suspend your license, throw you in jail, and charge you $10,000 in fines.
I know for certain that here you will get a warrant for failing to appear.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-11-2013, 07:30 AM
Sahirrnee Sahirrnee is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Where I live the fines are minimal, there are no points, nothing on your record.
I'd just pay it and move on.
You'd probably spend more in gas money plus waste an entire day.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-11-2013, 09:24 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach View Post
Zero chances.

I can only tell you for certain how things are in NJ. No guarantee they are the same there but probably very similar. Here red light camera tickets have no points. There is nothing to reduce it down to. Its a minor fine and thats it. On our tickets there is a link to the website where you can few the footage of your violation. Watch it. If you are guilty just pay it and move on.
Interesting. The current state of the law in Florida is that camera tickets are virtually unenforceable.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 06-11-2013, 10:20 AM
pkbites pkbites is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Majikal Land O' Cheeze!
Posts: 7,776
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
They claim I failed to stop at a stop sign
A stop sign, or a stop light?


Here in Wisconsin red light cameras and photo radar are illegal by statute. I'm surprised they've lasted as long as they have in other states. There are a lot of variables and things that can go wrong with radar when it's being manned by a police officer. To nail people with an unmanned one is outrageous, IMHO.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 06-11-2013, 12:30 PM
Fotheringay-Phipps Fotheringay-Phipps is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach View Post
Zero chances.

I can only tell you for certain how things are in NJ. No guarantee they are the same there but probably very similar.
Here's a related question, also from NJ.

A few weeks ago I drove past an ambulance and police car that were stopped on the side of the road. The ambulance was about halfway into the right lane and half in the service lane, at about a 30 degree angle to the road. Traffic was passing them. I pulled into the left lane and passed with other traffic - I actually had to slow down a bit to allow another car in the left lane to pull ahead of me.

The ambulance had its lights on (so did the cop), but did not have a siren on.

As I passed the ambulance it began to move out, slowly. Shortly thereafter, I got pulled over by the cop.

I began to explain that I had no idea that the ambulance intended to move out, but the cop - who seemed to be in a bad mood generally - cut me off and said if you see an emergency vehicle you need to slow down and assess the situation more carefully.

In any event, what are my odds if I show up in court with this story? My position is that based on the ambulance being stationary and with no siren, I did not expect the ambulance to move into traffic - and based on the position of the ambulance, even if it was going to move into the road, I expected it would move in the direction of traffic in the right lane, which I had left clear. So I wouldn't think it would qualify as "failure to yield".

But the more important question is what a judge would think. And also, if the cop tailors his story to make me seem more guilty.

So how would you rate the odds?
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 06-11-2013, 01:49 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: At the Diogenes Club
Posts: 45,216
I'm a muni court magistrate and handle traffic cases all the time.

In Ohio, you're better off showing up in court if you don't agree you're guilty. If you fail to appear and don't pay by mail, a bench warrant will issue, and you might find yourself being arrested the next time you have the pleasure of conversing with a police officer. The timing of that might be quite inconvenient for you.

If you appear for trial, and the officer doesn't, for a minor misdemeanor (such as running a red light or stop sign) in our court, the case is dismissed. If you and the officer both appear and your driving record isn't half bad, or if you're persuasive about the circumstances of the case, the prosecutor might dismiss the complaint or, more likely, offer you a plea agreement that would avoid points or a large or mandatory fine.

If your case goes to trial, you choose not to testify and the court doesn't believe the officer, you'll be found not guilty. If you choose to testify and make a persuasive argument, you might be found not guilty or get a break on the fine.

Some people just don't think it's worth showing up in court to fight a ticket. I think it very often is.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 06-11-2013, 02:49 PM
Yarster Yarster is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
I can't speak for the laws where you are, but here in San Diego, CA, they have deactivated all the red light cameras, which now have bags over them (but curiously have not been removed despite that happening more than six months ago.

Even before that, we had something here called 'trial by declaration' where you send in the money for the fine, and send in a written description defense because you are too far away to fight it. This is a particularly effective way to fight a ticket a cop gives you, because he/she then has to provide a written defense to the judge as well and cops HATE having to do that. I have gotten a number of friends out of tickets this way in exchange for lunch.

I've honestly never tried to get out of a red light camera ticket, but I would try any of the following:

1) Are you visible in the picture? If not, you could claim you're not the driver. (a lie)
2) You could say there was some (out of frame) hazard you were avaoiding that required you to run the light (a lie)
3) You could also question the calibration of the light/camera - here in San Diego a city engineer has to certify the street where the tickets are given for the speed every five years. With an ever expanding city, and a small pool of city engineers, at least 50% of the streets are out of compliance at any given time. You can call the city engineer's office and ask if the street/intersection was in compliance if it works that way where you are. (actually this is not a lie)
4) I'm not sure about mentioning the due process thing, but it's up to you. The problem with the camera is that you are being accused after the fact and are not shown the equipment or given any information at the time of the infraction. By comparison, a cop will show you your speed on his/her radar gun and will explain how it works on the spot. They will also get your signature on the ticket confirming that you understand the accusation and it is a promise on your part to address it. No signature on the red light ticket arguably provides a 'guilty until proven innocent' approach to law enforcement.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 06-11-2013, 04:14 PM
Loach Loach is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fotheringay-Phipps View Post
Here's a related question, also from NJ.

A few weeks ago I drove past an ambulance and police car that were stopped on the side of the road. The ambulance was about halfway into the right lane and half in the service lane, at about a 30 degree angle to the road. Traffic was passing them. I pulled into the left lane and passed with other traffic - I actually had to slow down a bit to allow another car in the left lane to pull ahead of me.

The ambulance had its lights on (so did the cop), but did not have a siren on.

As I passed the ambulance it began to move out, slowly. Shortly thereafter, I got pulled over by the cop.

I began to explain that I had no idea that the ambulance intended to move out, but the cop - who seemed to be in a bad mood generally - cut me off and said if you see an emergency vehicle you need to slow down and assess the situation more carefully.

In any event, what are my odds if I show up in court with this story? My position is that based on the ambulance being stationary and with no siren, I did not expect the ambulance to move into traffic - and based on the position of the ambulance, even if it was going to move into the road, I expected it would move in the direction of traffic in the right lane, which I had left clear. So I wouldn't think it would qualify as "failure to yield".

But the more important question is what a judge would think. And also, if the cop tailors his story to make me seem more guilty.

So how would you rate the odds?
No idea. Only have your version. And I don't know what you are being cited for. I can think of a couple of different statutes that it could possibly be off the top of my head. I'm sure your chances of a plea bargain are excellent. Acquittal is something else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yarster View Post
I can't speak for the laws where you are, but here in San Diego, CA, they have deactivated all the red light cameras, which now have bags over them (but curiously have not been removed despite that happening more than six months ago.

Even before that, we had something here called 'trial by declaration' where you send in the money for the fine, and send in a written description defense because you are too far away to fight it. This is a particularly effective way to fight a ticket a cop gives you, because he/she then has to provide a written defense to the judge as well and cops HATE having to do that. I have gotten a number of friends out of tickets this way in exchange for lunch.

I've honestly never tried to get out of a red light camera ticket, but I would try any of the following:

1) Are you visible in the picture? If not, you could claim you're not the driver. (a lie)
2) You could say there was some (out of frame) hazard you were avaoiding that required you to run the light (a lie)
3) You could also question the calibration of the light/camera - here in San Diego a city engineer has to certify the street where the tickets are given for the speed every five years. With an ever expanding city, and a small pool of city engineers, at least 50% of the streets are out of compliance at any given time. You can call the city engineer's office and ask if the street/intersection was in compliance if it works that way where you are. (actually this is not a lie)
4) I'm not sure about mentioning the due process thing, but it's up to you. The problem with the camera is that you are being accused after the fact and are not shown the equipment or given any information at the time of the infraction. By comparison, a cop will show you your speed on his/her radar gun and will explain how it works on the spot. They will also get your signature on the ticket confirming that you understand the accusation and it is a promise on your part to address it. No signature on the red light ticket arguably provides a 'guilty until proven innocent' approach to law enforcement.
Again I can only speak with authority about NJ but NY is similar in many cases. Your advice pretty much stinks from top to bottom.

1. Its a civil penalty. Just like a parking ticket, the ticket is issued to the owner not the driver. Since it has no effect on driving records or points the judge does not want to hear that argument.

2. The still picture on the ticket shows a very small portion of the roadway. The cameras themselves cover the entire intersection. From several angles.

3. You can question that but chances are it is up to date. There was a big kerfluffle in state not long ago. They know very well what they need to be in compliance.

4. What does a signature have to do with anything? 15 years in law enforcement. My state has never required the driver to sign anything. A signature or lack of one means nothing.


Oh and those parenthetical lies? That's called perjury. A much more serious matter than a small fine.

Last edited by Loach; 06-11-2013 at 04:15 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 06-11-2013, 04:29 PM
Fotheringay-Phipps Fotheringay-Phipps is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach View Post
No idea. Only have your version.
Well ISTM that there two possibilities as to the cop's version.

One is what he told me at the time, i.e. that I should have slowed down and checked things out more carefully. I would think that failure - even assuming that it would have made a difference - might not amount to "failure to yield".

The other possibility is that he claims that it was obvious at the time that the ambulance was attempting - or at least intending - to cross the street. I would think he would have to make up some details for that, and the question is that while judges tend to accept the cop's version over the citizen's, if the cop is making stuff up off the cuff (& probably doesn't remember the details too well to begin with) how difficult is it to prevail?
Quote:
And I don't know what you are being cited for. I can think of a couple of different statutes that it could possibly be off the top of my head.
39:4-91, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.
Quote:
I'm sure your chances of a plea bargain are excellent. Acquittal is something else.
Plea bargain doesn't help me much. It's a 2 point ticket and I have a clean record. Meanwhile there's a mandatory surcharge for any plea bargain in NJ, which I believe is about $240 or more. Not worth it for me.

The question is whether my chances of acquital are worth $33 in court costs plus time wasted, or if I should just mail in the check.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 06-11-2013, 07:08 PM
Loach Loach is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fotheringay-Phipps View Post
Well ISTM that there two possibilities as to the cop's version.

One is what he told me at the time, i.e. that I should have slowed down and checked things out more carefully. I would think that failure - even assuming that it would have made a difference - might not amount to "failure to yield".

The other possibility is that he claims that it was obvious at the time that the ambulance was attempting - or at least intending - to cross the street. I would think he would have to make up some details for that, and the question is that while judges tend to accept the cop's version over the citizen's, if the cop is making stuff up off the cuff (& probably doesn't remember the details too well to begin with) how difficult is it to prevail?
39:4-91, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.Plea bargain doesn't help me much. It's a 2 point ticket and I have a clean record. Meanwhile there's a mandatory surcharge for any plea bargain in NJ, which I believe is about $240 or more. Not worth it for me.

The question is whether my chances of acquital are worth $33 in court costs plus time wasted, or if I should just mail in the check.
Well I will not make any judgements or render any opinions on one side of the events. Nothing personal. I've been backed into a corner (literally) too many times in a social setting hearing about how some asshole cop gave me a ticket and how could he I did nothing wrong. I have had people argue to my face about things they did that I witnessed. And I believed they believed what they were saying. They were just wrong. I was never a big ticket writer. If I gave you a ticket it was pretty blatant.

It's pretty unlikely that the cop will be making things up. Although I'm sure it's not the same way you saw it. For traffic tickets you generally see the same judge every week. If you lose your credibility with that judge once you lose it forever. It just isn't worth it to get a guilty verdict for one ticket. And it may be on tape.

I thought it might be the move over law, 39:4-92.2.

Here's the story about the surcharge. For years they would use a couple of statutes as a plea bargain all of which had no points. Such as obstructing traffic. Then the state assignment judge decided that wasn't kosher. He basically said that people were being told to plead guilty to things they didn't do. If you were speeding you can't plead guilty to obstructing traffic. So for a while it was very hard to do pleas. Then the legislature made a new statute for driving in an unsafe manner. It was specifically for plea bargains. It worked. Everyone was happy. Then the state realized they could make more money. So they tacked on the surcharge. It has not legal purpose. It was simply a revenue stream for the state and they get 100% of that cash. You will find no lawyer or cop who likes it.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 06-11-2013, 07:20 PM
Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
In Ohio, you're better off showing up in court if you don't agree you're guilty. If you fail to appear and don't pay by mail, a bench warrant will issue, and you might find yourself being arrested the next time you have the pleasure of conversing with a police officer. The timing of that might be quite inconvenient for you.
This isn't universally true in Ohio for a camera ticket. In several cities I'm familiar with, there's nothing to be arrested for because the ticket is actually not a summons, just a notice that you're allowed to settle with the city for $X in order to avoid a civil lawsuit for $X+$Y.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 06-11-2013 at 07:23 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 06-12-2013, 03:23 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 16,926
Coming in to say that in Missouri an appeals court just yesterday affirmed the red light camera law.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 06-12-2013, 03:46 PM
Running with Scissors Running with Scissors is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Small blue-green planet
Posts: 1,358
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
Just got my ticket in the mail-from the nice folks in Suffolk County, NY (Long Island). They claim I failed to stop at a stop sign-I have a remote camera picture. At any rate, I have had no moving violations in over 12 years-is it worth it to go to court and try for a dismissal?
the only thing is, its a 245 mile drive for me!
I never heard of a stop sign with a camera. Does that mean no cop was involved?

I'd first try to figure out if any points will go on your license. If not, just go ahead and pay the fine. If so, find out if this will affect your insurance rates (generally a lot worse than the fine). If not, I'd still just pay the fine.

If your insurance rates will be adversely affected (and remember, this could be for several years in the future), it might be worth going to court.

I used to live in Suffolk; I got one speeding ticket while living there but didn't fight it (I did go to court but I didn't know what I was doing (couldn't think on my feet). The judge, however, seemed willing to listen to explanations and let people off if he felt they were reasonable). However, I can offer two other anecdotes:

1. I once got a speeding ticket in Ancram (tiny town in upstate NY). In court, I requested an audience with the prosecutor (actually the cop who pulled me over) and he was willing to reduce the penalty (I think to something like 10 MPH over the limit, less than I was going) if I plead guilty.

2. The last ticket I got was several years ago in Long Beach, a city in Nassau County. When I went to court, it was pretty much a joke - it was obvious that they were just concerned with getting their money. They let pretty much everyone except DWIs plead to lesser charges (mine went from going straight in a right turn only lane to double-parking, a non-moving violation).

Take this for what it's worth.
__________________
"You can't really dust for vomit." -- Nigel Tufnel

Last edited by Running with Scissors; 06-12-2013 at 03:51 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 06-12-2013, 04:13 PM
Loach Loach is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
I fear that the OP has been killed by one of the new red light cameras operated by Skynet. Since he hasn't returned to his thread that's the only logical conclusion.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 06-12-2013, 05:25 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
This isn't universally true in Ohio for a camera ticket. In several cities I'm familiar with, there's nothing to be arrested for because the ticket is actually not a summons, just a notice that you're allowed to settle with the city for $X in order to avoid a civil lawsuit for $X+$Y.
EH is a magistrate in Ohio.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 06-13-2013, 09:16 AM
lawbuff lawbuff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
This isn't universally true in Ohio for a camera ticket. In several cities I'm familiar with, there's nothing to be arrested for because the ticket is actually not a summons, just a notice that you're allowed to settle with the city for $X in order to avoid a civil lawsuit for $X+$Y.
An arrest in Ohio requires the offense be at least a Misdemeanor of the 4th degree.

IF it is a MINOR misdemeanor, you can only be arrested under statutory exceptions, one is refusing to sign the citation.

IF the ticket is the UNIFORM TRAFFIC TICKET then it is a Summons. If the payment method is different in a municipality and not a summons, I suppose that is up to them?? Never heard of that though!!
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 06-13-2013, 10:06 AM
Loach Loach is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawbuff View Post
An arrest in Ohio requires the offense be at least a Misdemeanor of the 4th degree.

IF it is a MINOR misdemeanor, you can only be arrested under statutory exceptions, one is refusing to sign the citation.

IF the ticket is the UNIFORM TRAFFIC TICKET then it is a Summons. If the payment method is different in a municipality and not a summons, I suppose that is up to them?? Never heard of that though!!
As a magistrate in Ohio I think EH's experience trumps your research skills. For non-payment of a ticket the offense is contempt of court not the underlying traffic offense.

The only difference here is that the penalty for such a ticket is a civil penalty not fine. However it is administered through the court so non-payment is still contempt of court. I don't know for certain how it is administered in Ohio but that is how it done here. And I have seen arrest warrants for red light camera tickets.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 06-13-2013, 10:46 AM
lawbuff lawbuff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach View Post
As a magistrate in Ohio I think EH's experience trumps your research skills. For non-payment of a ticket the offense is contempt of court not the underlying traffic offense.

The only difference here is that the penalty for such a ticket is a civil penalty not fine. However it is administered through the court so non-payment is still contempt of court. I don't know for certain how it is administered in Ohio but that is how it done here. And I have seen arrest warrants for red light camera tickets.
There was nothing in my post that was legally incorrect.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 06-13-2013, 11:09 AM
Loach Loach is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawbuff View Post
There was nothing in my post that was legally incorrect.
No just irrelevant to this situation. If you were claiming you can't get a warrant for not paying a traffic ticket because the ticket in a felony you were wrong. The warrant is actually for contempt of court. If that is not what you were trying to say it was a non sequitur and irrelevant to the discussion at hand.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 06-13-2013, 11:12 AM
lawbuff lawbuff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach View Post
No just irrelevant to this situation. If you were claiming you can't get a warrant for not paying a traffic ticket because the ticket in a felony you were wrong. The warrant is actually for contempt of court. If that is not what you were trying to say it was a non sequitur and irrelevant to the discussion at hand.
Pay attention, my response was a response to this by feldon, and my response was legally correct.

Quote:
This isn't universally true in Ohio for a camera ticket. In several cities I'm familiar with, there's nothing to be arrested for because the ticket is actually not a summons, just a notice that you're allowed to settle with the city for $X in order to avoid a civil lawsuit for $X+$Y.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 06-13-2013, 11:45 AM
Loach Loach is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawbuff View Post
Pay attention, my response was a response to this by feldon, and my response was legally correct.
I guess legally correct to some other question. Irrelevant to the discussion. You can get a warrant for falling to pay a summons. I don't know what your point is trying to be.

Last edited by Loach; 06-13-2013 at 11:46 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 06-13-2013, 11:46 AM
lawbuff lawbuff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach View Post
I guess legally correct to some other question. Irrelevant to the discussion.
So is your opinion about NJ law, the poster does not live in NJ!
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 06-13-2013, 11:48 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
The OP's ticket wasn't in Ohio either.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 06-13-2013, 11:49 AM
lawbuff lawbuff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
The OP's ticket wasn't in Ohio either.
Then tell EH not to bring up Ohio too, not just me!
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 06-13-2013, 12:06 PM
Morgenstern Morgenstern is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
In California there are 2 types of Red light tickets issued. The difference is how clearly the picture identifies the driver of the offending vehicle. If the picture is clear, and the driver is recognizable, you get the normal ticket. That ticket has a date and time to appear in court (or pay the fine). If the picture is NOT clear, as in the driver is not recognizable, then you get the "snitch ticket." That ticket lacks a date and time to appear, but asks you to identify the driver of the vehicle, or admit it is you. If you respond, they act accordingly. If you ignore the ticket, it sits in limbo for a year, at which time they can no longer prosecute the matter. Do not send the police off looking for Fred Flintstone or some other fictitious driver, as that is an offense in itself. Simply let the snitch ticket sit there for a year and it's will not be prosecuted. Google red light camera and your state and you'll see lots of suggestions. Avoid links that promise to fix, or get the ticket dismissed as they are full of it.

An interesting side note. At least two cities in my county have covered the red light cameras. (not yet removed) The reason they have done so is that the data does not support that the intersection with the cameras are any safer than those without them. In fact, there are more rear end accidents reported on intersections with cameras because people are jamming on their breaks and stopping so as not to chance the yellow.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 06-13-2013, 01:39 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: At the Diogenes Club
Posts: 45,216
Points taken, Lord Feldon, lawbuff and Loach, and thank you. To clarify:

Cleveland, Ohio (and several of its suburbs) has red light cameras. In Cleveland, if you fail to pay the fine but also don't contest it, a bench warrant will not issue, and you won't get points against your license, but the Clerk of Court may and probably will enter a civil judgment against you for the amount of the fine plus a penalty. If you then object, that case is heard by the Court of Common Pleas (the countywide court of general jurisdiction), not by the Cleveland Municipal Court, oddly enough. My understanding is that very few such cases are ever filed in Common Pleas.

For any other traffic offense here, see my post #18.

And for other jurisdictions, of course, YMMV.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 06-13-2013, 03:29 PM
cougar58 cougar58 is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 910
i got pulled over 10 yrs ago for the same (stop sign - not completely stopping) he gave me a verbal warning, and said it was really important to come to a full stop. So I said I would.

Not long after, I came to a stop in the country. I remembered I gave him my word, waited for car to stop, when I would have normally rolled. Out behind a blind spot of a tree appeared a lady with kids in a tiny green Mini Cooper sized car. Her speed limit was 40. Beyond doubt, I would have pulled into her path had I normally rolled. She was there all along, just hidden in a blind spot for a second or two.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 06-14-2013, 10:01 AM
lawbuff lawbuff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
Points taken, Lord Feldon, lawbuff and Loach, and thank you. To clarify:

Cleveland, Ohio (and several of its suburbs) has red light cameras. In Cleveland, if you fail to pay the fine but also don't contest it, a bench warrant will not issue, and you won't get points against your license, but the Clerk of Court may and probably will enter a civil judgment against you for the amount of the fine plus a penalty. If you then object, that case is heard by the Court of Common Pleas (the countywide court of general jurisdiction), not by the Cleveland Municipal Court, oddly enough. My understanding is that very few such cases are ever filed in Common Pleas.

Just for the record, I meant no disrepect to you about posting about Ohio. Your laws are in line with the case that permitted it all, Mendenhall;


Quote:
Only when no police officer is present and the automated camera
captures the speed infraction does the Akron ordinance apply, not to invoke the
criminal traffic law, but to impose an administrative penalty on the vehicle’s
owner. The city ordinance and state law may target identical conduct—
speeding—but the city ordinance does not replace traffic law. It merely
supplements it. Furthermore, a person cannot be subject to both criminal and civil
liability under the ordinance.
If we look at 79.01 of the Akron Ordinance cited in Mendenhall;

A violation for which a civil penalty is imposed under this section is not a moving violation for the purpose of assessing points under Ohio Revised Code Section 4507.021 for moving traffic offenses and may not be recorded on the driving record of the owner of the vehicle and shall not be reported to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

E.

Collection of Civil Penalty. If the civil penalty is not paid, the civil penalty imposed under the provisions of this section shall be collectible, together with any interest and penalties thereon, by civil suit pursuant to procedures established by the City of Akron for the collection of debts.


http://www.supremecourtofohio.gov/ro...8-ohio-270.pdf


Since the Mendenhall decision was based on this ordinance it was also my understanding no arrest would be made for failure to pay in any community, or it would be outside the crux of Mendenhall.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 06-14-2013, 10:17 AM
lawbuff lawbuff is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Feldon
This isn't universally true in Ohio for a camera ticket. In several cities I'm familiar with, there's nothing to be arrested for because the ticket is actually not a summons, just a notice that you're allowed to settle with the city for $X in order to avoid a civil lawsuit for $X+$Y.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lawbuff View Post
An arrest in Ohio requires the offense be at least a Misdemeanor of the 4th degree.

IF it is a MINOR misdemeanor, you can only be arrested under statutory exceptions, one is refusing to sign the citation.

IF the ticket is the UNIFORM TRAFFIC TICKET then it is a Summons. If the payment method is different in a municipality and not a summons, I suppose that is up to them?? Never heard of that though!!
Like EH, I want to CLARIFY myself too. What I meant was NOT concerning a camera ticket as you say, but an arrest for a classified offense of a MM and above and method of payment on those charges.

Looking at the Ohio Traffic Rules, I do see such Uniform Traffic ticket is not mandatory for (C). I never read that before that I remember.

RULE 3. Complaint and Summons; Form; Use

(C) Use of ticket. The Ohio Uniform Traffic Ticket shall be used in all moving traffic cases, but its use for parking and equipment violations is optional in each local jurisdiction.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 06-14-2013, 09:47 PM
UrsusSiara UrsusSiara is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
STOP!! wah? too late? Maybe not.

Go to the following site:

http://highwayrobbery.net/


Though it deals Primarily California Red Light Cameras the information can apply to other states as well. take the time to read through it.

I have helped several others beat their tickets with info gained here and elsewhere
on the web.

If your state has trial by declaration (mail) always take that route first. If you lose there you can still fight it in court in person.

BTW contrary to popular belief you will not increase your fine or sentence if you mount a solid defense (which means making the POPO PROVE everything they alledge beyond a reasonable doubt).

With cities and counties turning to minor infractions for money to cover their stupid spending habits you should protect your rights and your driving record by fighting every ticket, everytime whether you believe you may have actually committed an offence or not. Most laws have less to do with your safety than they do with getting at your wallet.

Good Luck!
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 06-14-2013, 10:14 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: At the Diogenes Club
Posts: 45,216
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawbuff View Post
Just for the record, I meant no disrepect to you about posting about Ohio....
No disrespect perceived, no offense taken, and no worries. Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 06-17-2013, 12:04 PM
Fotheringay-Phipps Fotheringay-Phipps is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach View Post
Well I will not make any judgements or render any opinions on one side of the events. Nothing personal. I've been backed into a corner (literally) too many times in a social setting hearing about how some asshole cop gave me a ticket and how could he I did nothing wrong. I have had people argue to my face about things they did that I witnessed. And I believed they believed what they were saying. They were just wrong. I was never a big ticket writer. If I gave you a ticket it was pretty blatant.
OK, fine, but the core question here is really about the meaning of the term "yield" in the context of traffic laws. I would have assumed that this only applies when both vehicles are actually in motion, approaching an intersection or common area, or at the least if it's clearly indicated that the vehicle with ROW actually intends to approach the intersection. If this is incorrect, then whether I'm telling the truth or not is not relevant. This cop claimed that seeing an emergency vehicle triggers a requirement that you slow down and carefully assess the intentions of the emergency vehicle. My question is whether this claim is true.

Because if it is true, then there's certainly no point of me showing up in court, because I'd be guilty under my own version of events. If it's not true, then there's at least some chance (depending on what the cop says etc.)
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 06-18-2013, 07:37 AM
Loach Loach is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fotheringay-Phipps View Post
OK, fine, but the core question here is really about the meaning of the term "yield" in the context of traffic laws. I would have assumed that this only applies when both vehicles are actually in motion, approaching an intersection or common area, or at the least if it's clearly indicated that the vehicle with ROW actually intends to approach the intersection. If this is incorrect, then whether I'm telling the truth or not is not relevant. This cop claimed that seeing an emergency vehicle triggers a requirement that you slow down and carefully assess the intentions of the emergency vehicle. My question is whether this claim is true.

Because if it is true, then there's certainly no point of me showing up in court, because I'd be guilty under my own version of events. If it's not true, then there's at least some chance (depending on what the cop says etc.)
As you reported it, it actually sounds more like a different statute. Your actions while approaching an emergency vehicle are covered in that statute, the move over law. I can't render an opinion on what actually happened.

Quote:
39:4-92.2. Procedure for motorist approaching stationary authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle.

1. a. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle as defined in R.S.39:1-1 that is displaying a flashing, blinking or alternating red or blue light or, any configuration of lights containing one of these colors, shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.
If the emergency vehicle started to move into traffic with its emergency lights on and you just didn't notice then you would have failed to yield to the emergency vehicle, 39:4-91. It is incorrect to assume that it only applies to intersections if that is what you are asking.

Last edited by Loach; 06-18-2013 at 07:38 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 06-18-2013, 09:04 AM
Fotheringay-Phipps Fotheringay-Phipps is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach View Post
As you reported it, it actually sounds more like a different statute. Your actions while approaching an emergency vehicle are covered in that statute, the move over law.
OK, but I actually did move over. I was in the right lane of a 2 lane (each direction) road, and I moved over into the left lane, as per the law (though I would have had to do this in any event, as the ambulance was partially blocking the right lane).

Quote:
If the emergency vehicle started to move into traffic with its emergency lights on and you just didn't notice then you would have failed to yield to the emergency vehicle, 39:4-91.
Actually the text of the law says that the ambulance also needs to have its siren on. I maintain that it did not, but I'm aware that you don't know the facts etc. etc.
Quote:
It is incorrect to assume that it only applies to intersections if that is what you are asking.
I'm not. I used intersection loosely as in "area where the paths of two vehicles would meet" (as opposed to a designated intersection).

My core question is if a person can be charged with failure to yield if there was no clear indication at the time that the emergency vehicle intended or needed to occupy that area.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 06-18-2013, 09:19 AM
Loach Loach is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fotheringay-Phipps View Post
My core question is if a person can be charged with failure to yield if there was no clear indication at the time that the emergency vehicle intended or needed to occupy that area.
Indication to whom? I'm assuming if the officer felt that way you wouldn't get the ticket. He obviously has a different opinion than you.

You certainly have an argument. I think you have a chance to win. As to if your interpretation of events is correct I can not say. And I will not give you any odds. MV trials are not automatic wins for the cop in this state by any means.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 06-18-2013, 09:35 AM
Fotheringay-Phipps Fotheringay-Phipps is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach View Post
Indication to whom? I'm assuming if the officer felt that way you wouldn't get the ticket. He obviously has a different opinion than you.
As I said earlier, he seemed to be in a bad mood - he interupted me rather brusquely.

But more significantly, the cop was there with the ambulance and interacting with the situation. He was a lot more familiar with the ambulance's intentions and likely course of action on that basis alone, and what may have seemed obvious to him was not necessarily obvious to someone happening onto the scene.

Quote:
You certainly have an argument. I think you have a chance to win. As to if your interpretation of events is correct I can not say. And I will not give you any odds. MV trials are not automatic wins for the cop in this state by any means.
Thanks - much appreciated.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 07-01-2013, 04:58 PM
Fotheringay-Phipps Fotheringay-Phipps is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Update

Lost the case. Cop claimed that while several cars were passing by, the last one was me and I was the only one who actually blocked the ER vehicle.

I disagree with this, but I suppose it's theoretically possible that the cop saw it that way. But one thing he lied outright about was in claiming that I had told him that I never saw the ER vehicle and that's why I passed it. That's ridiculous, and I'm pretty sure he made it up.

While I'm not surprised that I lost the case - I thought going in that I had about a 20% chance - I do think it's frightening that the judge could just declare that the state established its case "beyond reasonable doubt". Could there really be no reasonable doubt as to whether one cop might be wrong about something? Is there no likelihood at all that such a thing could happen?

It's like one of these show trials where the verdict is established in advance based on what the system needs in order to work. Fortunately the stakes are not all that high. But it's the same phenomenon.
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 07-01-2013, 05:18 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 29,217
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fotheringay-Phipps View Post
I do think it's frightening that the judge could just declare that the state established its case "beyond reasonable doubt".
"Beyond reasonable doubt" is the standard for a criminal conviction, isn't it? Yours wasn't a criminal case, was it? I assume yours was a civil infraction, which is held to a "preponderance of evidence" standard, as far as I know, but I am not a lawyer.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:03 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.