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Old 03-13-2018, 09:52 AM
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CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Why do police not show up in court for traffic cases?

To make a long story short, I was a witness in a trial for a traffic accident where a driver ran a red light. Open and shut case, but the driver apparently requested a trial. I gave my testimony, and the judge asked if I could identify the driver. I didn't approach the cars after the accident, because police were on the scene quickly, and I never saw her. The judge said that since the officer didn't show up to identify the driver he had to find her not guilty.

Before my case was called there were several other cases that followed the same pattern:

Judge: "John Doe"
Defendant: "Present, Your Honor."
Judge: "Officer Smith?"
-
Judge: "Officer Smith is not here. Not guilty. You are free to go."

Why do they bother to write tickets when a failure to appear in court almost guarantees a "not guilty" verdict?
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:56 AM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Because most departments don't pay them to be there, and most people don't fight tickets.
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:00 AM
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Depends on the jurisdiction. In my state most traffic violations are considered civil, not criminal offenses. Police are not required to show up for civil offenses. If someone does want the officer to appear, a subpoena must be presented to the officer.
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:02 AM
yearofglad yearofglad is online now
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Because most departments don't pay them to be there, and most people don't fight tickets.
I agree with both of those, but after reading Really Not All That Bright's original telling of the story (which he linked to), it sounds like RNATB was subpoenaed to be in court and missed part of his/her workday in order to appear. So why are police officers not also subpoenaed to appear in court, even if it makes them miss work and they don't get paid for it like us average folks?
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:04 AM
Kimballkid Kimballkid is offline
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CookingWithGas is the OP not Really Not All That Bright.
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:12 AM
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So why are police officers not also subpoenaed to appear in court, even if it makes them miss work and they don't get paid for it like us average folks?
I am surprised to learn that officers appearing in court as a witness for a ticket they have issued are not on the clock. That is law enforcement just as much as sitting in a car holding a radar gun.

An officer that has to appear for every contested ticket would probably spend several hours every week in court. If they don't get paid, and it's their discretion whether they appear, then I can understand why they wouldn't.

But then the question shifts away from the individual officers to our law enforcement system. If the system won't compensate officers to prosecute the tickets, why are they sending them out there to write them?
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:27 AM
Falchion Falchion is offline
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I am surprised to learn that officers appearing in court as a witness for a ticket they have issued are not on the clock. That is law enforcement just as much as sitting in a car holding a radar gun.

An officer that has to appear for every contested ticket would probably spend several hours every week in court. If they don't get paid, and it's their discretion whether they appear, then I can understand why they wouldn't.

But then the question shifts away from the individual officers to our law enforcement system. If the system won't compensate officers to prosecute the tickets, why are they sending them out there to write them?
During my very brief experience as a state prosecutor, each officer had a traffic day and a misdemeanor day. (For example, Officer Jones might have the third Tuesday as a traffic day and the second Wednesday as his misdemeanor day). Cases were always set for the appropriate officer's appropriate day (both the prosecutor and the judge had a book with the dates listed). Specialty departments (fish and wildlife police, for example, and the state police) would really screw that up, but you could usually figure something out. Amusingly, court was very quiet on months with five weeks, because it was no one's court day.

I am quite certain that they were paid to be there (although I never asked) and they almost always showed up. But in reality, most defendants didn't want to come back (and they were obviously guilty), so they pleaded guilty and paid their fine or they paid by mail without coming to court. The number of traffic tickets that ended up in a trial was very small, so even if all of those got dismissed, it would still be a good revenue stream for the county (and, you know, traffic safety, but mostly the revenue stream).

Last edited by Falchion; 03-13-2018 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:33 AM
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My wife disputed a traffic ticket for stopping to drop off people in the middle of the street in Washington D.C. The officer showed up, in uniform.

She still had to pay, but the points were waived.
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:53 AM
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Because most departments don't pay them to be there
I doubt that that's true.
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:59 AM
GottaBeMeh GottaBeMeh is offline
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I doubt that that's true.
It's not. Police officers are on the clock when they show up in court. And as Falchion noted, they typically bracket specific days/times for each officer and bundle all their citations into those time periods. And a dept/court that isn't organized this way is very poorly managed IMHO.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:11 AM
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Years ago I got a ticket for a brake light being burned out. The officer told me his department made him issue the ticket, but if I corrected the problem I'd be found "not guilty". I replaced the bulb and entered a not guilty plea.

The magistrate was in a foul mood and found me guilty. The cop approached me after and apologized. He said if I appealed he would purposely not show up. Meh, I paid it.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:14 AM
Procrustus Procrustus is offline
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I'm sure it varies by jurisdiction, but around here they usually show up (and often get overtime). I assume that from time to time they're working on something more serious and just decide to skip traffic court so they can continue working up the scene of a murder or whatnot. (probably not a good example, but you get the idea).
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:16 AM
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I got pulled over once in CA for a DUI (it was 2 am on New Year's Day and I was really tired when I was stopped). The office performed a FST and said I was borderline, and instead wrote me up for reckless driving, which I politely tried to talk him out of. I showed up in court a few months later to fight it and the officer didn't, so it was dismissed. I lost a half day's work, but at least my record is clean. I don't think the officer really cares at that point, and most people would probably just pay the fine and get on with their lives.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:28 AM
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CookingWithGas is the OP not Really Not All That Bright.
Indeed - glanced down while writing the reply, not remembering that posts are shown Newest First on the reply/quote page - the opposite order of the regular thread.
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Old 03-13-2018, 01:30 PM
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If the system won't compensate officers to prosecute the tickets, why are they sending them out there to write them?
I also doubt that officers are not compensated for court appearances, but assuming for the sake of argument that it's true, I can imagine that it's worth writing the tickets but now showing up to prosecute them.

1. Most people won't contest tickets, so the revenue generation purpose of writing a ticket is still fulfilled.

2. Most people who do contest the tickets will still change their behavior as a result of getting the ticket, so the public safety purpose of writing a ticket is still fulfilled.

I (not that long ago) got a ticket and successfully contested it. But it still cost me something (time sitting on the side of the road getting the ticket, time disputing it), and I'm much more careful not to commit the alleged infraction now.

The marginal increase in revenue and public safety is probably better served by having the officers out on the street writing more tickets than it is having them go to court, as long as most people don't realize that contesting a ticket is a get-out-of-ticket free card. At that point, they probably start showing up at least some of the time.
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Old 03-13-2018, 02:50 PM
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Years ago I got a ticket for a brake light being burned out. The officer told me his department made him issue the ticket, but if I corrected the problem I'd be found "not guilty". I replaced the bulb and entered a not guilty plea.

The magistrate was in a foul mood and found me guilty. The cop approached me after and apologized. He said if I appealed he would purposely not show up. Meh, I paid it.
In Florida they give you a warning. As long as you show up at a police station to show the problem has been fixed you won't get a ticket.
A police officer has shown up for every ticket I've ever gone to court for.

Last edited by furryman; 03-13-2018 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 03-13-2018, 03:31 PM
Tim@T-Bonham.net Tim@T-Bonham.net is offline
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I also doubt that officers are not compensated for court appearances, but assuming for the sake of argument that it's true, I can imagine that it's worth writing the tickets but now showing up to prosecute them.

1. Most people won't contest tickets, so the revenue generation purpose of writing a ticket is still fulfilled.

2. Most people who do contest the tickets will still change their behavior as a result of getting the ticket, so the public safety purpose of writing a ticket is still fulfilled.

I (not that long ago) got a ticket and successfully contested it. But it still cost me something (time sitting on the side of the road getting the ticket, time disputing it), and I'm much more careful not to commit the alleged infraction now.

The marginal increase in revenue and public safety is probably better served by having the officers out on the street writing more tickets than it is having them go to court, as long as most people don't realize that contesting a ticket is a get-out-of-ticket free card. At that point, they probably start showing up at least some of the time.
All this is certainly true.
Plus many police departments have limited resources; officer time is one of the most limited. So they may decide that having the officer on the street protecting the public is more important than sitting in a courtroom waiting to be called.

Also, friends who are police officers have told me that scummy lawyers* make a practice of rescheduling court cases, often on short notice, until the officer gets tired of this and doesn't show up -- then they quickly ask the Judge to dismiss the case because the officer isn't present. And rescheduling is difficult for an officer, especially as many now work in pairs with another officer, and the whole precinct needs a certain number of cars on the street.

*Is there any other kind?
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Old 03-13-2018, 04:31 PM
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In Florida they give you a warning. As long as you show up at a police station to show the problem has been fixed you won't get a ticket.
A police officer has shown up for every ticket I've ever gone to court for.
Where i live you get what is colloquially called a "fixit ticket". It explicitly gives you X days to fix the problem. Not a big deal unless (as happened to me once) you get stopped 90 miles from home in a city you only visit once a month or so.
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Old 03-13-2018, 04:55 PM
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There's also a very real possibility that the officer was scheduled in two different courts on the same day and is over in the other courtroom testifying.
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Old 03-13-2018, 05:55 PM
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I most certainly do get paid for traffic court, even if it's overtime.

The date on the citation is the violators initial appearance (when they plead guilty or not). That date I do not go to because there is no need. I wouldn't be testifying.

But if the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set. I will receive a subpoena with the date on it and my agencies court officer (the officer who coordinates court cases between the department and the DA/Clerk of courts/Judges) will put it on my master schedule. If the time and date conflict with something else (another court case, investigation, vacation time, etc) the court officer tries to get the date changed pronto.

Once any conflicts are hashed out I get paid for and am required to go to any court date I am subpoenaed for and better have a pretty goddamn good reason if I don't show. There have been times when dates were changed and I wasn't notified which is a good excuse not to go. I also have been in the middle of a serious situation that I couldn't leave when my court time crept up. In those circumstances though the court officer is notified and he advises the prosecutor and judge. Sometimes there is a postponement.

Other than that if I were to just blow off a court hearing I was suppose to attend I'd get my ass handed to me something fierce!
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:07 PM
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In Florida they give you a warning. As long as you show up at a police station to show the problem has been fixed you won't get a ticket.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug K. View Post
Where i live you get what is colloquially called a "fixit ticket". It explicitly gives you X days to fix the problem. Not a big deal unless (as happened to me once) you get stopped 90 miles from home in a city you only visit once a month or so.
I'm always surprised when I hear about people getting tickets for such minor things such as a burned out tail light. Here we issue an equipment warning ticket which is on a post card. You have 5, 10, or 15 days (depending on the equipment that needs repair) to correct the violation. Then you can have ANY peace officer in the entire state inspect that you corrected the problem. He/she signs the ticket with their ID number and agency code and you put a stamp on it and mail it back to the agency that issued it. No fine, points, etc..

If you don't take care of it in the allotted time then the warning will become an issued citation. It's a pretty reasonable system IMHO.
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:14 PM
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There are literally thousands of answers. Each department has their own procedures when it comes to court.

In my court it will take you a minimum of two appearances to get a trial for a traffic ticket. If you plead not guilty you will get a subpoena to appear.* You then have the opportunity to speak to the prosecutor. The officer is not subpoenaed. If you do not take a plea deal you will be rescheduled for trial. The officer is supposed to be subpoenaed for that. If he’s already working then he won’t show up and they will call him in off the road if needed. If it’s a day off he is supposed to be there. Things happen and sometimes the officer doesn’t show up. It’s not an automatic dismissal. It’s up to the judge to say if he will allow another court date or not. I have never seen it be an automatic dismissal through multiple judges over multiple decades.

Go one town over and their policy can be completely different.

*ETA that initial plea is done by phone. You have the opportunity to either pay or plead not guilty before the date on the ticket. Some offenses you are required to appear in court regardless of what you plan to plea.

Last edited by Loach; 03-13-2018 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:39 PM
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To make a long story short, I was a witness in a trial for a traffic accident where a driver ran a red light.

.....Why do they bother to write tickets when a failure to appear in court almost guarantees a "not guilty" verdict?
(post shortened)

Officers write traffic tickets because someone violated some traffic law. They are expected to appear in court in order to personally testify as to the facts (as they know them). If an officer doesn't appear it could be for any of several reasons. Personal illness, a public emergency that required a large number of officers, miscommunication between the court and the officer, or any other priority that superseded a traffic court appearance. Maybe the officer was still testifying at a murder trial?
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:43 PM
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I have to dispute the premise of the OP. At every court traffic case where been present the officer was present and testified.*


*Full disclosure: that amounts to one time. I was subpoenaed as a witness, but never called.
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:10 PM
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Arresting people and making their life hell and abusing your authority is fun. Sitting in wooden chairs in the courthouse lobby waiting to be called by someone with more authority is not.

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Old 03-13-2018, 08:08 PM
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Arresting people and making their life hell and abusing your authority is fun. Sitting in wooden chairs in the courthouse lobby waiting to be called by someone with more authority is not.
What took you so long?
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Old 03-13-2018, 08:39 PM
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I'm always surprised when I hear about people getting tickets for such minor things such as a burned out tail light.
Yeah, I got one here in Chicago, too, a few years ago. Not Chicago Police, but State Police. Had to get it fixed and show up at court. I didn't have anywhere to be that day, so it didn't matter, but they went through the full docket and I was still there. They turned to me to ask what I was still doing there, I said I was supposed to be in court for a ticket, and apparently they somehow just missed my name or something, because they just said, yeah, we're all good, go on your way, without seeing any of the evidence I brought with me that I had the problem fixed.

At any rate, I only have a sample of two, but both times the officer showed up to court. I mean, if they routinely didn't show up, don't you think most people would play the game? (Not directed specifically at the OP, but to other speculators). It's well known around here that you can roll the dice and hope for the cop not to show up, but it's a fairly long bet. Rather, you show up for court hoping you can plead guilty and get supervision. This means the moving violation doesn't show up on your driving record as long as you don't get another moving violation within six months. That's what I did the other time twenty years ago I found myself in traffic court for rolling a stop. (Of course, these are specific to my jurisdiction. Yours may operate differently.)
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Old 03-13-2018, 08:49 PM
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Yeah, I got one here in Chicago, too, a few years ago. Not Chicago Police, but State Police. Had to get it fixed and show up at court.
They make you go to court over a stupid equipment ticket? Like I posted earlier, the way we do it here is simple and best. Get the thing fixed and have any officer on duty or not sign it and it's all done. No court, no nothing. Done.

I'm surprised at your post. I didn't think FIB troopers wrote tickets. I don't think I've ever seen one with a car pulled over on the freeway. At least not in the northern flatlands. I can be going 105 on I-94 and pass nobody. In fact, a school bus full of kids will fly by. Won't see a single trooper in 100 miles. (I'm not complaining. I got places to get to! )
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Old 03-13-2018, 08:58 PM
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I can only speak to Toronto, as of about 5 years ago:
1) Officers are paid while attending court.
2) In general, police officers do their best to attend all trials, they're accountable and if they don't show up for trials (without a legitimate reason) they can be disciplined. Arresting someone and not showing up, uses way more system resources than just not arresting in the first place.
3) The court system is somewhat broken and in spite of having these new fancy computer thingy's, they could not (then) figure out a scheduling system to take into account officer availability.

I was rear-ended (in my car ) and a few months later I was subpoenaed to testify. After 3 hours waiting (+2 hours late) the case was dismissed because the officer didn't show.

I complained to the police division (same rant as others: missed almost a day of work etc...) and was told the officer was at the courthouse, but they don't control the scheduling. He was double booked and he decided that he'd testify at the other trial since it was a more serious DUI with personal injury. Fair enough.

Part of this knowledge comes from sharing a house with a cop while I was in University:

She told me always fight every ticket you get. When you plead guilty (i.e.: by paying the fine), you are accepting the maximum penalty for the offence. By fighting it you will never get a higher fine etc. (unless you're a smartass to the judge). She said if you have some reasonable excuse the judge will lower or dismiss it 99% of the time. You may lose a half day's pay, but you won't have it on your record, especially for insurance purposes.

BTW - She told me that police in Toronto (at least) absolutely do have unwritten quotas for the number of ticket they are supposed to issue. Hence the broken taillight tickets etc.
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:07 PM
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Part of this knowledge comes from sharing a house with a cop while I was in University:

She told me always fight every ticket you get. When you plead guilty (i.e.: by paying the fine), you are accepting the maximum penalty for the offence. By fighting it you will never get a higher fine etc. (unless you're a smartass to the judge). She said if you have some reasonable excuse the judge will lower or dismiss it 99% of the time. You may lose a half day's pay, but you won't have it on your record, especially for insurance purposes.
That's not necessarily true everywhere. Where I grew up if you just paid the fine (by pleading no contest, not pleading guilty) you just paid the fine. If you fought the ticket and were found guilty, you'd pay the fine plus court costs, more than doubling the total penalty.
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:07 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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They make you go to court over a stupid equipment ticket? Like I posted earlier, the way we do it here is simple and best. Get the thing fixed and have any officer on duty or not sign it and it's all done. No court, no nothing. Done.

I'm surprised at your post. I didn't think FIB troopers wrote tickets. I don't think I've ever seen one with a car pulled over on the freeway. At least not in the northern flatlands. I can be going 105 on I-94 and pass nobody. In fact, a school bus full of kids will fly by. Won't see a single trooper in 100 miles. (I'm not complaining. I got places to get to! )
I don't think the equipment ticket is usual (though I was unaware of a sort of ticket where you can have any officer sign off on. I'm not sure that exists here. When I say "unusual," I mean that usually you'd get a warning and be sent on your merry way), but if you don't see Illinois Troopers pulling people over, that's highly, highly unusual, IME. I mean, I speed on the Interstates like everyone else around here, but I see pulled over cars very frequently. Driving down from Lake Geneva to Chicago last week, I must have seen about 2 or 3 cars pulled over and then another 2 or 3 state troopers hanging out in the median waiting for someone.

Last edited by pulykamell; 03-13-2018 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:31 PM
GMANCANADA GMANCANADA is offline
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@Doug K. I agree, its probably not true everywhere, but in Ontario the judge certainly has the discretion do that kind of fine, but as far as I know it's exceptional that they would. They'd have to think that you were deliberately wasting their time, i.e.: contempt of court..

As my roommate said, as long as you make up some sort of reasonable excuse - "My wife called, there was an emergency at home...) they will usually reduce or drop the charge.,
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:41 PM
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What took you so long?
You have to admit, it was pretty funny.
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:46 PM
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Arresting people and making their life hell and abusing your authority is fun. Sitting in wooden chairs in the courthouse lobby waiting to be called by someone with more authority is not.
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jtur88, professional jabs are not permitted in General Questions. In addition, this is nasty enough to constitute trolling. This is an official warning. Do not do this again.

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Old 03-13-2018, 09:50 PM
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You have to admit, it was pretty funny.
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:05 PM
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That's not necessarily true everywhere. Where I grew up if you just paid the fine (by pleading no contest, not pleading guilty) you just paid the fine. If you fought the ticket and were found guilty, you'd pay the fine plus court costs, more than doubling the total penalty.
That is true here. If you pay the fine online or through the mail you pay the amount on the ticket which is the minimum amount for that statute. If you come in to court you will also pay court costs. Although here the court costs are no where near doubling the amount of the fine.
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:24 PM
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In CA, there is a well-known method to this, especially if you have a clean record.

1. Return the ticket (with pre-payment in full for the fine) and ask for a "trial by written declaration."

2. Return the written declaration at the last possible minute.

3. Get found guilty. Request a new trial with a judge. Again wait until the last possible minute.

4. Delay court date as long as possible--I think I was able to get a court date a year after the initial ticket.

5. If the officer shows up, unless you have a REALLY compelling case, plead guilty and go to traffic school and get no points on your license. After a year, the cop may have better things to do than show up for a year-old ticket, may have retired, may have been transferred, may have been promoted, may be sick. Anyway this worked for me for ticket #1--cop never showed, got a refund on the fine.

For ticket #2, I was really only planning to delay, so my lazy response on the trial by written declaration was just "The officer said I did not stop at a stop sign. I did stop." (I did, I really did. Well, maybe rolled it a little.) The form came back "Not Guilty." Cops in my area are notorious for ticky-tack violations while not cracking down on egregious violators, maybe the judge had experienced that herself
  #38  
Old 03-13-2018, 11:34 PM
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Driving down from Lake Geneva to Chicago last week, I must have seen about 2 or 3 cars pulled over and then another 2 or 3 state troopers hanging out in the median waiting for someone.
Really? We drive down from Milwaukee every 2 weeks or so to see our grand kids. I never see a trooper with someone pulled over. In fact I never see a trooper running radar/laser/VASCAR or any Cessnas above. And the flow of traffic is always well above 80, even in the mid-upper 90's.

I did get stopped about 3 years ago in southern Ill-annoy but by a County Dep not a trooper while returning from St. Louis. First time since 1996 that happened. I'm sure [deleted] can explain the global conspiracy as to why I didn't get cited.
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  #39  
Old 03-13-2018, 11:45 PM
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That is true here. If you pay the fine online or through the mail you pay the amount on the ticket which is the minimum amount for that statute. If you come in to court you will also pay court costs. Although here the court costs are no where near doubling the amount of the fine.
But that's still shitty. It seems set up for people to pay the fine and just go away rather than have their day in court. Here the court cost is built into the fine stated on the cite. The actual fine is the deposit plus all the other costs incorporated and then added to it.
Here is a copy of our bond schedule every officer carries. You'll see how it works.

AFAIK there are no further fees if one fights the cite unless you request a jury trial. Then you will pay a jury fee unless you are found not guilty.

This is not legal advice, I am not a lawyer, yadda yadda yadda.
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  #40  
Old 03-14-2018, 08:54 AM
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I have to dispute the premise of the OP.
I presented facts and asked a question. There is no premise. In your single experience the officers showed up, but in mine they didn't. What is there to dispute?
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:20 AM
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I presented facts and asked a question. There is no premise. In your single experience the officers showed up, but in mine they didn't. What is there to dispute?
The title of your thread and the last line of the OP imply this is a general phenomenon, rather than a single observation on your part. You could have said, "Why didn't the officer show up for my traffic case?"
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Old 03-14-2018, 10:19 AM
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Years ago I was driving from Long Island into NYC with my sister and 2 friends. Got stuck behind a lawn care truck going 10mph through the midtown tunnel. The truck was 3 cars in front of me. the cars between me and the truck eventually changed lanes (illegal in the midtown tunnel). I checked my rearview, saw what I thought was a firetruck behind me and changed lanes. Turns out it was an MTA officer. He asked for my info came back and asked if I had ever received a moving violation (I had not). He told me flat out "Fight the ticket". Knowing how things work around here, I figured he was giving me a break since I wasn't a jerk about the situation and that he just wasn't going to show up for the trail date. This had happened to numerous friends of mine and same as above, if the officer doesn't show, ticket gets dismissed.

Court day comes around. It's a room with a ton of people that were fighting tickets with a judge and clerk sitting behind a desk up front. After a while they call my name I look around and dont see the officer that wrote me the ticket. Great, I think, no ticket for me. Start walking up to stand in front of the judge and sure enough, officer walks through the door. Damn. So much for that.

Now here is where it gets weird (and maybe the cop responding in this thread can confirm my suspicions). Now like I said, this cop told me to fight the ticket. The judge asks me if I have a lawyer or any witnesses with me (no). He then turns to the cop and asks "Officer so and so, do you recall pulling over Mr. Deser for the stated violation on such and such a day?" The cop shuffles his papers looks in his note book and responds "No I have no recollection". The judge says, "do you want a minute to look through your notes?" Cop says he doesn't have them. Ticket gets dismissed.

Now in my mind I feel like the cop would have been better off just not showing up. Granted he probably was being paid to be there and maybe he had other cases but even then, not showing probably wouldn't have made him look as bad in front of the judge as saying "I forgot my homework" basically. Any inkling as why the cop chose that method of getting me out of the ticket as opposed to not showing?
  #43  
Old 03-14-2018, 10:29 AM
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The title of your thread and the last line of the OP imply this is a general phenomenon, rather than a single observation on your part. You could have said, "Why didn't the officer show up for my traffic case?"
Well, since a Moderator is joining the fray, I feel compelled to respond.

I would hope that one would read the entire post, not just the title or last line, especially before posting a criticism.

If I had asked, "Why didn't the officer show up for my traffic case?", the answer would be, "Nobody knows except the officer. Go ask him." So I must ask about the general case. And there are some thoughtful answers.

The title is a rhetorical device that you see here all the time. If someone is stuck in line at the grocery store behind someone writing a check, they will post, "Why do people still write checks at the grocery store?" and it is broadly understood to mean "some people," not "all" or "most" or even "a lot of."

Even if, for the sake of argument, one takes this as my premise, the single experience of Doug K. does not refute the premise; his was described as a single case.

Last edited by CookingWithGas; 03-14-2018 at 10:31 AM.
  #44  
Old 03-14-2018, 10:41 AM
Tired and Cranky Tired and Cranky is offline
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Any inkling as why the cop chose that method of getting me out of the ticket as opposed to not showing?
You'd have to ask the police officer for his reasons but I suspect that: (1) he was probably getting paid to show up, so why wouldn't he show up? (2) He may have had to testify in more than one case that day and the judge may already have known he was in court. Pretending to be missing just for your ticket would have looked even weirder. (3) I doubt anyone in his chain of command was in court that day, they don't care about the outcome of the ticket appeal, and no one is going to ask whether or check up later about why he lost the appeal so losing his "homework" doesn't make him look bad to anyone that matters to him.

I wonder why he didn't just write a warning instead of a ticket to begin with.
  #45  
Old 03-14-2018, 10:49 AM
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Really? We drive down from Milwaukee every 2 weeks or so to see our grand kids. I never see a trooper with someone pulled over. In fact I never see a trooper running radar/laser/VASCAR or any Cessnas above. And the flow of traffic is always well above 80, even in the mid-upper 90's.
I really find that baffling. I routinely see cops on the way up and down. You see them more during rush times. Never seen a Cessna, though. Do they even do that in Illinois?

I do report similar traffic flow as you, though I only experience 80-85 at the very most. I'm not sure I've ever seen mid-upper 90s except for a stray vehicle here and there. Traffic slows down quickly when a cop is spotted by the wave of traffic up ahead.

I mean, I don't make the trip as often as you; maybe a dozen to fifteen times in a year when I was traveling more regularly up there, but I've never noticed a lack of police. Same heading towards St. Louis or Iowa. It's quiet most of the way, but there are pockets with troopers hanging out, especially on holiday weekends.
  #46  
Old 03-14-2018, 10:53 AM
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You'd have to ask the police officer for his reasons but I suspect that: (1) he was probably getting paid to show up, so why wouldn't he show up? (2) He may have had to testify in more than one case that day and the judge may already have known he was in court. Pretending to be missing just for your ticket would have looked even weirder. (3) I doubt anyone in his chain of command was in court that day, they don't care about the outcome of the ticket appeal, and no one is going to ask whether or check up later about why he lost the appeal so losing his "homework" doesn't make him look bad to anyone that matters to him.

I wonder why he didn't just write a warning instead of a ticket to begin with.
Obviously none of us know what that particular person was thinking but I was wondering if any cops have done this. And I'd also argue that a judge you appear in front of regularly would be someone that matters to him. I agree about the warning - not sure why he didn't go that route (quota maybe, although this was MTA and not NYPD so not certain) but outside of all that, looking stupid in front of anyone is something I usually try and avoid. Just very strange.
  #47  
Old 03-14-2018, 11:32 AM
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Yeah, I got one here in Chicago, too, a few years ago. Not Chicago Police, but State Police. Had to get it fixed and show up at court. I didn't have anywhere to be that day, so it didn't matter, but they went through the full docket and I was still there. They turned to me to ask what I was still doing there, I said I was supposed to be in court for a ticket, and apparently they somehow just missed my name or something, because they just said, yeah, we're all good, go on your way, without seeing any of the evidence I brought with me that I had the problem fixed.

At any rate, I only have a sample of two, but both times the officer showed up to court. I mean, if they routinely didn't show up, don't you think most people would play the game? (Not directed specifically at the OP, but to other speculators). It's well known around here that you can roll the dice and hope for the cop not to show up, but it's a fairly long bet. Rather, you show up for court hoping you can plead guilty and get supervision. This means the moving violation doesn't show up on your driving record as long as you don't get another moving violation within six months. That's what I did the other time twenty years ago I found myself in traffic court for rolling a stop. (Of course, these are specific to my jurisdiction. Yours may operate differently.)
Many years ago, we got a ticket for a taillight showing white. We'd painted the bulb red, but the paint had flaked off. This was in northern Illinois -- Woodstock, I think. There was an officer and a trainee in the squad car, so I think that may have been part of the reason we were ticketed.

I showed up at court with proof that we had had the car fixed the next day. I spoke briefly with the prosecuting attorney, then the case was called, and she told the judge that charges were being dropped. The judge was visibly surprised, from which I take it that didn't happen very often.

I credit the dismissal at least in part to the fact that, having never been to court before, I dressed as I would for a client meeting -- suit, pantyhose, heels. Everyone else was wearing jeans or cutoffs.
  #48  
Old 03-14-2018, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
The title is a rhetorical device that you see here all the time. If someone is stuck in line at the grocery store behind someone writing a check, they will post, "Why do people still write checks at the grocery store?" and it is broadly understood to mean "some people," not "all" or "most" or even "a lot of."
Yes, it's a rhetorical device. But it's one intended to indicate that this a general or widespread phenomenon that requires an explanation, not an individual case that may not be typical or have an idiosyncratic explanation.

I don't particularly like this rhetorical device, because it prompts people to point out that this may not in fact be a general case. People will nitpick any overly broad assumptions made by the OP; it's best not to give them the chance.

Quote:
Even if, for the sake of argument, one takes this as my premise, the single experience of Doug K. does not refute the premise; his was described as a single case.
Yes, but you opened the door for exactly that kind of post by implying that your case was the general rule. You could have avoided this by phrasing your question more carefully. You could have said, "The officer didn't show up for my case. Is this common? What might be the reasons he didn't do so?"

Last edited by Colibri; 03-14-2018 at 11:43 AM.
  #49  
Old 03-14-2018, 11:47 AM
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Yes, it's a rhetorical device. But it's one intended to indicate that this a general or widespread phenomenon that requires an explanation, not an individual case that may not be typical or have an idiosyncratic explanation.

I don't particularly like this rhetorical device, because it prompts people to point out that this may not in fact be a general case. People will nitpick any overly broad assumptions made by the OP; it's best not to give them the chance.



Yes, but you opened the door for exactly that kind of post by implying that your case was the general rule. You could have avoided this by phrasing your question more carefully. You could have said, "The officer didn't show up for my case. Is this common? What might be the reasons he didn't do so?"
Happens all the time in the NYC/Long Island area so it def seems to happen more often than you believe. Maybe just let the semantics on this one drop because seems like most of the other people in the thread understood the OPs sentiment.
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Old 03-14-2018, 01:23 PM
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Happens all the time in the NYC/Long Island area so it def seems to happen more often than you believe.
Irrelevant unless it happens most of the time everywhere. Clearly this is not the case.

Quote:
Maybe just let the semantics on this one drop because seems like most of the other people in the thread understood the OPs sentiment.
Obviously some don't, or we wouldn't be having this discussion. I'm merely urging posters to take more care before indulging in this rhetorical device, because it is guaranteed to lead to nitpicking the premise. You don't have to do so, but don't be surprised when people give counter examples.
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