"He said (Cop)-She said (you)" on parking ticket: No burden of proof for him?

Not getting to Trial of the Century here. You get eg a parking ticket. Misdemear. You tell judge it didn’t happen. Ticket says so. You demand cop come in testify.

  1. Can you?

New date. Cop says he saw it. Isn’t the burden of proof on him? In the real world, a cop’s word is taken as more of a “proof” than a sweating bad guy in fear, who moreover has been a known liar, perjurer, or whatever–and this must be shown by the prosecution.

  1. But here? Do cops always win? It seems, you know, Un-American.
    Not seeking legal advice.

Unfortunately, for us, for most minor traffic violations the cop doesn’t have to provide indisputable proof that that infraction occurred to convince a judge or magistrate, but if you have credible witnesses that will swear the cop is making it up there is chance you can win your case. Often there is no credible witness and it’s your word against his. Judges tend to trust cops over random citizens, and for a simple traffic violation it’s usually smarter just to pay the fine or ask for traffic school instead, which is usually granted unless you are a chronic violator.

Since this is about legal issues, let’s move it to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

In general, parking tickets aren’t even misdemeanors, but are non-criminal fines. Again, this depends on the jurisdiction, milage may vary, etc., but in general that means that the state does have the burden of proof to show you did commit a violation, BUT they don’t have to prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ (which they would have to do to lock you up for murder), instead they just need to show it’s more likely than not that you committed the violation.
So, yeah, the cop has the burden of proof, but when most courts would weigh the testimony of the cop and the testimony of the person trying to get out of the ticket, they’re probably going to give a little more weight to the cop, which is all that needs to happen to sustain the fine.

So if the cop never shows up, and the prosecuting attorney has no evidence at all, then you’re off the hook. But it would probably take some real evidence on your side (beyond your say-so) to overcome the cop’s testimony.

Here, the meter maids have digital cameras, that they use to take date-and-time-stamped pictures of the vehicle in the parking spot, with the license plate showing. Those are saved for quite a while, so they could always pull that up to show to the Judge (referee). I think now they don’t even have to contact the officer involved – those are filed in the system, and the Judge can just pull them up on his computer screen.

And if the photo evidence clearly shows you are lying, don’t expect any sympathy from the Judge. You are more likely to get an additional fine, or even perjury charges.

Traffic court operates on “preponderance of evidence”, not “proof beyond reasonable doubt”.

Well it all depends … you might have to show a credible defense, something like evidence, before you can get the hearing.
But then again, so why bother calling the cop ? He’s hardly going to be able to remember any details or have notes on the air pressure in your tyres and the windspeed… whats he going to do for the court ?
Parking police are taking photos of the signs, road , and vehicle illegally parked.
Perhaps also the expired ticket or the timing machine showing time expired…
Whats the point of having the person in when they bring photos ?

There may be a way to do a “defense only” case, here they say you can plead guilty with a statement, but you have to admit you did it, for some good reason.
(You can’t pleed guilty but then say you didnt do it. USA jurisdictions “no contest” which means that you can give a statement to say that you are innocent, or somewhat less than 100% morally guilty.)

Yes. That’s why he has to show up. In a “he said-she said” situation, if the finder of fact believes he and not she, that’s the burden of proof being met. Not all evidence is equal.

I think you are confusing a criminal case with a non-criminal citation. In a criminal case, the cops testimony is taken into consideration. But other evidence is also required.

For your parking summons, what is your defense here? Are you asserting the somewhat dubious assumption that a meter maid showed up at your house and gave you a ticket for no reason? Or where you parking in a spot that you thought was legal and turns it wasn’t?

IOW, the parking authority has a record of your car being parked where it shouldn’t have been parked as their evidence. What do you have to refute that?

Although in a lot of places, the court rules for civil infractions are such that the cop doesn’t actually have to appear in person.