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Irishman
06-07-2010, 09:00 PM
The FreeMan thread got me thinking of a question of my own. Not ridiculous protest thought, just curious question.

You know when a police officer pulls you over and fills out the traffic ticket, and then has you sign to acknowledge receipt, not admit guilt? What happens if you refuse to sign?

Is that illegal? Do they just mark "refused to sign" and give you the ticket anyway and their word is sufficient? Do they charge you with something else, like obstruction or something?

US law.

Rick
06-07-2010, 09:13 PM
I have never refused, but I have been told that they take you to jail. Without your signature, you could argue that you were not there when the ticket was filled out. So they drag your ass to jail, book you, and that pretty well establishes that you were in fact present when the cite was written.
Much easier to sign.

running coach
06-07-2010, 09:20 PM
You are also promising to appear in court (or pay the fine/bail instead) in exchange for being released on your own recognizance.

pkbites
06-07-2010, 10:47 PM
US law.

No, the law of some U.S. states.

28 years of law enforcement in Wisconsin and our UTC (Uniform Traffic Citation) has never required a signature from a violator (that I know of)

There are some departments (in this state) that require you to leave your drivers license with the officer as a deposit in lieu of the fine amount, but not a signature.
Legally (in this state) you can be taken into custody until the deposit (the fine amount) is left, but that's [usually] only done for out of state license holders (out of state means those that don't hold a Wisconsin license or license from a state that boarders Wisconsin. For some reason this usually includes Indiana.:confused: )

This is not legal advice, I am not an attorney.

Rick
06-07-2010, 11:33 PM
Legally (in this state) you can be taken into custody until the deposit (the fine amount) is left, but that's [usually] only done for out of state license holders (out of state means those that don't hold a Wisconsin license or license from a state that boarders Wisconsin. For some reason this usually includes Indiana.:confused: )
One week after the 1994 earthquake in Northridge Ca. I am in Herdon Virgina. I get nailed for speeding on radar (Honest I thought I was out of town, farms on both sides of the roads, nope inside city limits 35 MPH zone)
I hand the officer my Ca. driver's license, and my rental car agreement. He looks at my license and says: "Do you know that California is the only state that has not signed the reciprocal agreement with the Commonwealth of Virgina?"
I looked at the officer unable to totally process what he had just said, and my mouth (probably running on automatic) said "With all due respect sir, could I have the English translation of what you just said?"
"It means I am supposed to take you to jail"
At this point I kind of lost it. I looked at the officer and said "Wonderful, just fucking wonderful, it isn't enough that my house got nuked in the quake and my wife is pissed at me for having to take a business trip a week later, now I am going to get thrown in jail for a speeding ticket. What next?" At this point I came to my senses and added, "I'm sorry officer, but this has been a very bad week"
"Your house get hit hard in the quake?"
"Yeah about 40 grand or so, I was less than 5 miles from the epicenter."
"Let me see what I can do.' and he walks back to his cruiser
A fellow employee in the car looks at me and says, "You do know you are going to jail, right?"
"yeah, how much money do you have?"
...
Officer returns and says: "OK, I found a violation that does not require me to take you to jail, failure to obey a traffic sign, in this case the speed limit sign, sign here and you can go."
Me: "Yes Sir! and Thank you very much as I know damn well you did not have to do this for me."
I signed and we shook hands.
Nice cop.

pkbites
06-08-2010, 12:53 AM
One week after the 1994 earthquake in Northridge Ca. I am in Herdon Virgina. I get nailed for speeding on radar (Honest I thought I was out of town, farms on both sides of the roads, nope inside city limits 35 MPH zone)
I hand the officer my Ca. driver's license, and my rental car agreement. He looks at my license and says: "Do you know that California is the only state that has not signed the reciprocal agreement with the Commonwealth of Virgina?"
I looked at the officer unable to totally process what he had just said, and my mouth (probably running on automatic) said "With all due respect sir, could I have the English translation of what you just said?"
"It means I am supposed to take you to jail"
At this point I kind of lost it. I looked at the officer and said "Wonderful, just fucking wonderful, it isn't enough that my house got nuked in the quake and my wife is pissed at me for having to take a business trip a week later, now I am going to get thrown in jail for a speeding ticket. What next?" At this point I came to my senses and added, "I'm sorry officer, but this has been a very bad week"
"Your house get hit hard in the quake?"
"Yeah about 40 grand or so, I was less than 5 miles from the epicenter."
"Let me see what I can do.' and he walks back to his cruiser
A fellow employee in the car looks at me and says, "You do know you are going to jail, right?"
"yeah, how much money do you have?"
...
Officer returns and says: "OK, I found a violation that does not require me to take you to jail, failure to obey a traffic sign, in this case the speed limit sign, sign here and you can go."
Me: "Yes Sir! and Thank you very much as I know damn well you did not have to do this for me."
I signed and we shook hands.
Nice cop.

It is not illegal for a police officer to LIE to you. I became a peace officer in 1982 in Wisconsin and am still one now and know of no law this officer was allegedly speaking of. I know of no time that Wisconsin was a member of the National Drivers Compact (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driver_License_Compact).

I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.

opmike
06-08-2010, 02:25 AM
Sorry for the hi-jack, but is signing standard everywhere?

I've gotten two tickets this year in Alabama and in neither case was I asked to sign anything. One was a state trooper on my way to Birmingham, and another was a local cop in Mobile. They gave me my ticket, and sent me on my way.

pkbites
06-08-2010, 02:49 AM
Sorry for the hi-jack, but is signing standard everywhere?

I'm going to have to say, AFAIK, no. While some traffic tickets are written under local ordinance (adopted from state statutes) most are written on state traffic charges. Here in The Land of Cheese localities adopt state traffic laws under local ordinance, it still affects ones driving record. The fine money may go to the locality, but the charge (and "points") still go on the violators driving record (depending on where the violators license is issued from. As I posted before, Wisconsin is not, and as far as I know, has never been, a member of the National Drivers Compact). After 28 years of writing on the Wisconsin UTC (Uniform Traffic Citation) I have never been required to ask for a signature.


What they ask for in the Cheesless 49 (what we refer to states that are not Wisconsin) is unknown to me, and a different issue.

I am not a lawyer, this has NOT been legal advice!!!!

UltraVires
06-08-2010, 07:22 AM
In Florida, you get taken to the pokey and get charged with a 2nd degree misdemeanor of willful refusal to sign.

But as they tell you, all you are doing is acknowledging receipt of the citation. You are in no way admitting guilt.

Rick
06-08-2010, 07:36 AM
It is not illegal for a police officer to LIE to you. I became a peace officer in 1982 in Wisconsin and am still one now and know of no law this officer was allegedly speaking of. I know of no time that Wisconsin was a member of the National Drivers Compact (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driver_License_Compact).

I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.

PK I was in Virgina, not Wisconsin, I suspect that some laws are slightly different. I also suspect that I would have been taken downtown to post bail, not spend the night in the pokey.
The cite he gave me was all of $25 for the fine, and he had me dead to rights on radar at 55 in a 35 zone.
Anyway I look at it the outcome was a win for me, and I still think the cop was a nice guy.

Machine Elf
06-08-2010, 09:01 AM
You are also promising to appear in court (or pay the fine/bail instead) in exchange for being released on your own recognizance.

This. If you are required to sign, the officer usually says something like "your signature is not an admission of guilt, it's merely your promise to either pay the fine or appear in person to contest the charges in court. "

If you refuse to sign, then you are refusing to make that promise and he can haul you off to jail to make certain you appear in court to contest the charges.

Irishman
06-08-2010, 09:16 AM
pkbites said:
Originally Posted by Irishman
US law.

No, the law of some U.S. states.

Sigh. All I friggin' meant was "I don't care about the law of Little Uberstan, I live in the friggin' United States and have seen this in the friggin' United States, so that is where I am asking about." I realize that traffic laws are state and local, not federal. I'm just trying to limit the scope of the conversation. I don't care that in Somalia, if you are caught speeding, then you weren't speeding fast enough.

Joe Frickin Friday said:
This. If you are required to sign, the officer usually says something like "your signature is not an admission of guilt, it's merely your promise to either pay the fine or appear in person to contest the charges in court. "

If you refuse to sign, then you are refusing to make that promise and he can haul you off to jail to make certain you appear in court to contest the charges.

Thank you, that was what I thought.

IAmNotSpartacus
06-08-2010, 10:31 AM
One week after the 1994 earthquake in Northridge Ca. I am in Herdon Virgina.

Did the US put aside the full faith and credit clause in 1994 or something? This seems like a bunch of stupidity on the cop. They have to arrest you why? Your driver's license was just as valid in VA as it was in CA, AZ and any other state in the Union.

No?

pkbites
06-08-2010, 10:48 AM
PK I was in Virgina, not Wisconsin


Yes, but you posted:


He looks at my license and says: "Do you know that California is the only state that has not signed the reciprocal agreement with the Commonwealth of Virgina?".

My point was that officer was either ignorant or lying to you. I know of no time WI entered into any agreement with Virginia either. So California was not the only state.

Omar Little
06-08-2010, 02:09 PM
Officer returns and says: "OK, I found a violation that does not require me to take you to jail, failure to obey a traffic sign, in this case the speed limit sign, sign here and you can go."
Me: "Yes Sir! and Thank you very much as I know damn well you did not have to do this for me."
I signed and we shook hands.
Nice cop.

No, a nice cop would have just let you slide with a warning and no ticket.

Scruff
06-08-2010, 03:30 PM
There are some departments (in this state) that require you to leave your drivers license with the officer as a deposit in lieu of the fine amount

Hang on. Supposing that I then get stopped (later that same day) for some other offence. Could I be done for not having my licence on me??

As an aside, a friend of mine back in the late 70s managed to turn a routine traffic stop (missing front licence plate which was at the time against the law but was a 72-hour fix-it sort of thing) into 12 tickets across three traffic stops on the same commute to work:smack:)

pkbites
06-08-2010, 11:11 PM
Hang on. Supposing that I then get stopped (later that same day) for some other offence. Could I be done for not having my licence on me??


No. You receive an official receipt from the officer and it legally serves as your driver license.So if you get another ticket from another officer do you get a receipt for your receipt? That I don't know. I never worked for any department where we kept DL's.

IAmNotSpartacus
06-09-2010, 10:38 AM
And what does one use for identification if their license has been impounded?

Machine Elf
06-09-2010, 10:40 AM
And what does one use for identification if their license has been impounded?

Passport or state-issued (not-a-driver-license) ID card.

IAmNotSpartacus
06-09-2010, 10:44 AM
Passport or state-issued (not-a-driver-license) ID card.

:rolleyes:

State ID cards are for those who don't have driver's licenses.

Let's assume the offender doesn't have a passport.

UltraVires
06-12-2010, 11:05 AM
And what does one use for identification if their license has been impounded?

What? We have no ID requirements in the US of A! We are a free country!

Peremensoe
06-12-2010, 12:01 PM
It is not illegal for a police officer to LIE to you. I became a peace officer in 1982 in Wisconsin and am still one now and know of no law this officer was allegedly speaking of. I know of no time that Wisconsin was a member of the National Drivers Compact (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driver_License_Compact).

I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.

The Drivers License Compact is not the only reciprocity agreement among states for the sharing of drivers license and violation information. It's the largest multi-state agreement, but prior to the DLC, and concurrently with it, there are many individual agreements between particular states, with varying provisions. And there's the Non-Resident Violator Compact, also with different provisions. Then there's the National Driver Registry, which gets data from all the states but doesn't involve any agreements about enforcement (states may use NDR at their discretion in deciding whether to issue a new license, for example).

Virginia and California, now, are both in both the DLC and NRVC; Wisconsin is in neither, but could have individual agreements. (If they don't, they must either require bail on every traffic ticket, or see a lot of fines on out-of-state drivers go unpaid.)

In any case, why would an officer lie about such a thing? I would think arresting someone for a traffic violation is a hassle. Easier for the officer, too, if the driver signs.

atomicbadgerrace
06-12-2010, 12:10 PM
:rolleyes:

State ID cards are for those who don't have driver's licenses.

Let's assume the offender doesn't have a passport.

Then you don't use anything as a government issued ID, unless you have another one.

Am I missing something here?

CannyDan
06-12-2010, 01:20 PM
Then you don't use anything as a government issued ID, unless you have another one.

Am I missing something here?

Then stay out of Arizona.

Irishman
06-13-2010, 01:19 PM
atomicbadgerrace said:
Then you don't use anything as a government issued ID, unless you have another one.

Am I missing something here?

There are other times when people need ID besides being pulled over for a traffic stop. Like many businesses want to see ID to use a credit card. Now legally you should be able to argue that point, but it is still frequent enough a situation. "I'm sorry, I can't show you my driver's license, but I have this handy receipt. Will that work?"

What about if you have to fly out on business? What official photo ID do you use at the airport?

Hell, what if you want to go to a bar and get a drink? I've been to places that ID everyone going through the door. I mean, I know I look young for my age, but I doubt I could pass for 20.

Plus, states typically won't issue more than one DMV ID to any one person. So if you have a driver's license, you can't also have a state ID card.

Machine Elf
06-14-2010, 07:55 AM
:rolleyes:

State ID cards are for those who don't have driver's licenses.

Let's assume the offender doesn't have a passport.

If an offender's license has been impounded/suspended, then it would seem he/she is eligible for a state ID card.

If offender doesn't have a passport or a state-issued ID card, then maybe it's time to get one.

IAmNotSpartacus
06-14-2010, 11:19 AM
If an offender's license has been impounded/suspended, then it would seem he/she is eligible for a state ID card.
Big difference between impound and suspension. I don't know how it works in your state, but in California it can take up to 60 days to receive an ID card after valid application and standing in line at the DMV.

If offender doesn't have a passport or a state-issued ID card, then maybe it's time to get one.
A bit of the old locking the barn door after the horses have already escaped, no?

Elendil's Heir
06-14-2010, 11:44 AM
In Ohio, as in many other states, you'll be asked to sign a traffic ticket and advised by the cop that it's not an admission of guilt but simply an acknowledgement of receipt of the ticket. If you refuse to sign, the officer will write "Refused to sign" or similar words on it, but won't arrest you in most cases. You may be fingerprinted (just a thumb) on the spot in case you later argue that it wasn't you behind the wheel.

Irishman
06-14-2010, 04:22 PM
Thanks, that's the kind of info I was after. In that case, taking your print is effectively getting your signature - proof it was you that was cited so you cannot argue later that it was your brother-in-law borrowing your car. And your license. (Okay, that's more effective if you also forget your license and thus get cited for that as well. ;) )

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