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  1. #1
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    Default Can Police Issue Traffic Tickets Based on Only a Video Recording

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: ANY

    I grew up under the impression that in order for a LEO to cite a motorist for a moving violation, he/she had to actually witness the infraction. Now I am hearing of cases where the LEO did not see the infraction first hand, but issued a summons after the fact, once video of the infraction was presented. I am however, not sure of the legitimacy of these claims.

    So, OOC, can a LEO write a ticket based solely on video evidence?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can a Leo Write a Ticket Based Solely on Video Evidence

    That depends on the particular offense and the applicable state laws. However, in most cases if the video shows enough to conclude that there is probable cause that the person committed an offense the person may be arrested or cited for that offense. As that applies to motor vehicle moving violations, a video would not ordinarily be much help in a speeding citation, but could be sufficient to prove, say, a failure to stop a stop sign or stop light. Indeed, many cities run red light camera systems to generate tickets for running red lights.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can a Leo Write a Ticket Based Solely on Video Evidence

    As long as you don't care about specifying a state, I will tell you that in New York a traffic ticket may be issued "upon information and belief" and does not have to occur in an officer's presence.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can a Leo Write a Ticket Based Solely on Video Evidence

    I took your "upon information and belief" and used that as a search term. I didn't have anything to use before.

    Officer’s Statements, Upon Information and Belief, Insufficient for Traffic Offense – NY VTL Traffic Offense Dismissed

    http://crimlawli.com/officers-statem...nse-dismissed/

    There is too much legalese in that art for me to fully understand it, but it would appear as tho in NY, a traffic ticket may NOT be issued "upon information and belief"... unless I am missing something.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can a Leo Write a Ticket Based Solely on Video Evidence

    Yes, you are missing something. It is more difficult to prosecute a ticket written upon the information and belief of the officer, the law does allow for it. Writing a ticket upon evidence other than direct observation is how most crimes prosecuted in the country originate. The state must submit evidence to support the charge. That is not a bar to prosecuting the accused.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can a Leo Write a Ticket Based Solely on Video Evidence

    Many people believe that officers in California may only cite for crimes committed in their presence and that the citation must be issued contemporaneously in time and location to the offense. However, there are many exceptions. To name just a few, officers with certain training in accident investigation may issue citations to at fault drivers involved in accidents for violations they did not witness. An officer who did not witness a violation may issue a citation on behalf of another officer who did witness it. Officers in jails may cite release prisoners for violations they never witnessed. Juveniles may be cited for crimes not witnessed by the officer. Citations may be issued from red light cameras. There is a long list of exceptions and circumstances governing those exceptions.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can a Leo Write a Ticket Based Solely on Video Evidence

    Quote Quoting riffwraith
    View Post

    There is too much legalese in that art for me to fully understand it, but it would appear as tho in NY, a traffic ticket may NOT be issued "upon information and belief"... unless I am missing something.
    In plain English the court stated it is not enough for an officer to merely say something like “Upon information and belief Mr. Jones failed to come to a complete stop at the stop sign at fourth and main streets.” Rather, the court said the officer must describe the evidence he or she reviewed that was the basis for the information and belief that Mr. Jones failed to stop at the light. That might be that the officer viewed a video of a vehicle registered to Mr. Jones and driven by someone matching the appearance of Mr. Jones going through the intersection without having made a complete stop at the stop sign. This is not a remarkable case decision; the state has to state the evidence that supports probable cause to proceed with a prosecution. The officer just saying “I know he did it” isn’t going to cut it. The case does not stand for the idea that the officer has to personally witness the violation. It simply means that the officer had sufficient evidence available to conclude there was probable cause to belief the defendant committed the offense.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can a Leo Write a Ticket Based Solely on Video Evidence

    The answer to your question would seem pretty obvious. You say that you are “hearing” of incidents where citations are being handed out. You may “doubt the legitimacy” of what you have heard, but I can assure you from firsthand experience that it happens. Contrarily, your research (and your follow-up post strongly implies that you HAVE done research) has found no appellate court opinion that the practice is not allowed. Now, if police had no legal authority to issue the citation, don’t you think that some enterprising young (or lazy old) attorney would have already appealed it, every defense attorney would know about it, and cops would stop doing it or keep getting constantly sued?

    The one case you cite merely says that the “information and belief” presented in that specific case was insufficient to support conviction. It does not, in any way, support the notion that the officer had no legal authority to cite.

    Asking legal questions about the “state of: ANY” is usually an exercise in futility as statutes vary greatly from state to state. For example, the statutes in my state (WA) DO specifically state that police can only cite for traffic infractions committed in their presence. Note, that does not mean that the officer has to SEE the infraction committed, only that it was detectible by any of the senses – theoretically, an officer could smell a traffic infraction being committed (no, I have no idea how that could actually happen in real life). However, the statute also lists exceptions to the “in their presence” rule. For example it is allowed when a collision has occurred or when reviewing video from traffic enforcement cameras. An officer could not issue a cite after viewing some other video source, such as from a store security camera. That being said, even if the officer was barred from issuing the cite, the incident could be forwarded to a county or municipal prosecutor’s office and the prosecutor could file the charge.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can a Leo Write a Ticket Based Solely on Video Evidence

    Quote Quoting PTPD22
    View Post
    Asking legal questions about the “state of: ANY” is usually an exercise in futility as statutes vary greatly from state to state...
    Exactly! There is no single answer that would be correct in the state of ANY.

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