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  1. #11
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    Default Re: California Speeding Violation - How Much Weight Does an Error on the Ticket Hold

    Quote Quoting Mark47n
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    Many of the OPs here come in, admit their guilt and then ask for assistance in their defense. While that's all well and good, often, there is not real defense open to them
    What you see as the OPs coming here and admitting guilt is just OPs being honest about the facts of the case. But they still are seeking a possible defense against a charge brought against them. Every defendant has a right to a defense and there is a defense for every defendant. Just because a defense may be thin or weak doesn't mean that there isn't a defense strategy that could be employed. But when the type 3s say "you have not indicated anything that indicates a defense", what I hear them saying is "I either don't want to help you or I am not smart enough to help you". So, if an OP wants a defense and you can't think of one, why not just be silent and see if someone else can help him instead of wrongly making the assertion "you have no defense".

    Your reply, by the way is the worst sort of smarmy sanctimonious pap. You fit in beautifully among the us type 3's.
    Just because I pointed out your unproductive responses doesn't make me smarmy. It more likely makes you thin skinned. But that's irrelevant and needlessly personal as the point here is not for you and I to win an argument. The point here is to help an OP who is seeking a defense. In other words, the point here is to NOT be a type 3.

    Quote Quoting Mark47n
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    Way to take something out of context. You are intentionally twisting what was said to support your point of view.

    The OP's often do come here and admit their guilt and when they decry their innocence based on some superficial nonsense, such as a minor clerical error, they are told that the error won't get them off the hook. There are, however, people here, like yourself, that have a passion for helping people with traffic tickets. Great! More power to you, but that doesn't make them less guilty.

    Perhaps the oft admitted guilt is why the rate of success for contesting traffic tickets is low.
    I didn't see the OP decry his innocence base on some superficial nonsense. I saw the OP recognize a possible flaw in the prosecution's case. He is here seeking advice on how he could use that flaw to his advantage. Every good defense lawyer knows that when you can't argue the facts, argue the law. When you can't argue the law, argue procedure.

    I think you type 3s are missing a big picture here. It is not an accident that the state has a very high burden to meet when prosecuting a case. In order to understand this, you must first answer the philosophical question: "is it better to let a hundred guilty men go free or to convict one innocent man?" I go with the former vice the latter. Fortunately, our constitution agrees. We make prosecution burdensome for the state and we do not lower that bar simply because it is a minor infraction. The reason is that once you start to lower the bar for the state's burdens, that's when you begin to convict innocent men. And convicting one innocent man is far more harmful to society and our faith in the judicial system than allowing a hundred guilty men go free.

    Unfortunately, the bar has been lowered in traffic courts. I have personally witnessed courts literally and willfully ignoring the law and convicting innocent defendants simply because that bar has been lowered so far. So, where an OP coming here and decrying innocence may personally offend you... the idea of courts willfully convicting innocent defendants should offend you infinitely more.

    Back to the OP's defense:

    If you plan on moving forward with the "wrong time" defense, be mindful not to go into court and point out that the officer made a mistake so you should be let off the hook. Your argument is simply that you are not guilty of the infraction in which you are charged. You may very well be guilty of exceeding the speed limit at 1am, but that's not what you were charged with. Limit your conversation to that which you were charged. If the officer begins to talk about 1am, you should object to his testimony as being irrelevant. Things that happened at 1am have nothing to do with a speeding charge in the early afternoon.

    This defense will take discipline not to get sucked into an argument with the cop or the judge. If either of them start talking about 1am, you simply do not comment. Rather you inform the court that you are here to defend yourself against the only charge that is properly before the court... and that is speeding in the early afternoon.

    Personally, I think that it is clear cut and you should prevail based on the law and the rules of court. However, as I have stated before, the bar has been lowered in traffic court. You should be prepared for the judge to tell you that he simply does not care and finds you guilty anyway. The problem with this is that when a judge ignores the law and ignores procedure, it becomes impossible for anyone to mount a defense against anything. For at that time, you are not defending yourself against what you were charged with... you are defending yourself against what the judge thinks you SHOULD HAVE been charged with.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: California Speeding Violation - How Much Weight Does an Error on the Ticket Hold

    You can spin this anyway you want but I have no skin in the game. To say that an OP admits they were speeding, that they set the cruise control above the posted speed limit, is admitting guilt. What happens from there is meaningless to me.

    If there is a flaw in the prosecutors case then exploit it. You thinking that there is a flaw, however, is supposition as OP's will generally color the facts. It's why they're testimony is given lesser weight.

    If OP's want sympathy, well, that's in short supply around the world.

    This is not court. There is no burden of proof here and us "type 3" folk are not unaware of how our legal system works and its limitations whereas a number of the OP's are unclear on how it works and how to navigate it. You'll note that we often tell people to see an attorney as a local attorney will be better equipped. Here, we try to explain the law and will discuss how it may apply and are willing to offer, shall we say, color commentary as we individually see fit. As I said before, it's free and you get what you pay for. Much of the commentary in this site is legit up until the OP makes it personal or is exceedingly thick.

    Your smarmy and sanctimonious lectures as to the system are irritating and something I'd generally ignore but, you're special. For you to come in here and cast your own aspersions makes you no better, by the standards that you claim and that make you a hypocrite.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  3. #13
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    Default Re: California Speeding Violation - How Much Weight Does an Error on the Ticket Hold

    Quote Quoting Stumpjumper
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    I'm surprised you would say this as it doesn't make much sense. Evidence is what is presented to substantiate the charge... or in the case of a ticket, the charging instrument.
    Like it or not, the citation in and of itself is NOT evidence. It is the document used to initiate criminal charges in court. Thus my reference to it as a charging instrument. In fact, the Penal Code specifically states that the citation - the Notice to Appear - can be used in lieu of a complaint filed by the DA.

    IF the OP takes the matter to trial, the court will consider the testimony of the officer, not the time on the citation. If the officer testifies as to the erroneous time, then the OP may have a good case for a dismissal. If, however, he testifies as to the correct time, all that might be left for the OP would be to argue that the lack of attention to detail should cast doubt on the officer's other observations ... though, slipping up AM and PM is NOT - and never has been - an issue of note in traffic courts. Clerical errors are rarely a problem unless there are numerous ones or they are clearly evidence of a lack of attention to the matter at hand. AM and PM for officers that work night shifts is not one of these problems.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  4. #14
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    Default Re: California Speeding Violation - How Much Weight Does an Error on the Ticket Hold

    Quote Quoting cdwjava
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    Like it or not, the citation in and of itself is NOT evidence. It is the document used to initiate criminal charges in court. Thus my reference to it as a charging instrument. In fact, the Penal Code specifically states that the citation - the Notice to Appear - can be used in lieu of a complaint filed by the DA.

    IF the OP takes the matter to trial, the court will consider the testimony of the officer, not the time on the citation. If the officer testifies as to the erroneous time, then the OP may have a good case for a dismissal. If, however, he testifies as to the correct time, all that might be left for the OP would be to argue that the lack of attention to detail should cast doubt on the officer's other observations ... though, slipping up AM and PM is NOT - and never has been - an issue of note in traffic courts. Clerical errors are rarely a problem unless there are numerous ones or they are clearly evidence of a lack of attention to the matter at hand. AM and PM for officers that work night shifts is not one of these problems.

    You have made my point for me. I didn't say the citation is evidence. I said it is the charge/complaint. Testimony is the evidence that is used to substantiate the complaint. To further illuminate, say the OP went to court for his speeding ticket and the officer testified that he ran a red light. Should the OP be convicted for running a red light? The answer is clearly "NO" as that is not the offense he was charged with and therefore he has no ability nor obligation to provide a defense against that charge.

    The OP was charged with running a red light in the early afternoon. All he has to do is provide evidence of where he was during the early afternoon or show that the cop was not on duty at that time and the prosecution fails. As a retired cop, I know you want to squint one eye so that the cop's actions appear to be OK. But they are not. The cop wrote the ticket for an offense that did not occur. A prosecutor has the opportunity to review the charging instrument and interview his witness, but as you know he will not. The cop has the opportunity to amend the ticket prior to arraignment, yet he is likely to not do so. So, assuming that the prosecution fails on all these counts, why would it be reasonable that the court would overlook the state's accountability to the law and then hold the OP accountable? (Rhetorical question... I don't expect an unbiased answer from a cop).

  5. #15
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    Default Re: California Speeding Violation - How Much Weight Does an Error on the Ticket Hold

    Or of course the cop could simply testify that he wrote PM when he meant AM.

  6. #16
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    Default Re: California Speeding Violation - How Much Weight Does an Error on the Ticket Hold

    Quote Quoting Mark47n
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    You can spin this anyway you want but I have no skin in the game. To say that an OP admits they were speeding, that they set the cruise control above the posted speed limit, is admitting guilt. What happens from there is meaningless to me.
    If it's meaningless, why respond?

    If OP's want sympathy, well, that's in short supply around the world.
    I don't think the OP wanted sympathy. I think he wanted assistance on a defense. But the very fact that you interpret that as a call for sympathy says far more about you than the OP.

    Your smarmy and sanctimonious lectures as to the system are irritating and something I'd generally ignore but, you're special. For you to come in here and cast your own aspersions makes you no better, by the standards that you claim and that make you a hypocrite.
    I'll take your recognition of me being special as a compliment. Thank you. I'm sure if we met, I would like you too. As for my "lectures", they are in keeping with the constitution and the very principles of our judicial system. If that's the definition of "smarmy", then I am smarmy. As for being a hypocrite, I think I am very consistent... and I consistently side with the law and the constitution. I don't really know what your guiding principles are. But it seems to me that your whole pejorative rant is intended not to show that your interpretation of the law is correct, but rather to show that I am just as contemptible as you. I find that an odd argument to make.

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    Or of course the cop could simply testify that he wrote PM when he meant AM.
    Isn't that exactly what cdwjava said and what I argued would be inappropriate? Along with my analogy, the cop could have written a ticket for speeding but then testify that he "meant to write a ticket for running a red light." Does that seem appropriate that the OP would have to be required to defend himself against a red light complaint at that time? What the cop "meant to do" and what he did are apparently two different things. While that argument of "you should respond to what I was thinking and not what I said" may work for my wife, it doesn't and shouldn't work for law enforcement.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: California Speeding Violation - How Much Weight Does an Error on the Ticket Hold

    Quote Quoting Stumpjumper
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    You have made my point for me. I didn't say the citation is evidence. I said it is the charge/complaint.
    Yet, in response to my statement that the cite was NOT evidence and was the charging document, you wrote: "I'm surprised you would say this as it doesn't make much sense." So what was your point of contention?

    Testimony is the evidence that is used to substantiate the complaint.
    No. Testimony is evidence at trial.

    From Cornell Law School, Wex:

    testimony
    Definition
    Oral or written evidence given by a competent witness, under oath, at trial or in an affidavit or deposition.


    The citation is not evidence. If the officer fails to appear at trial and all that exists is the citation, then there can be no conviction since there is no evidence of guilt. If the citation were evidence, there'd be little need for the officer to appear. Some states have different requirements, but not CA.

    To further illuminate, say the OP went to court for his speeding ticket and the officer testified that he ran a red light. Should the OP be convicted for running a red light? The answer is clearly "NO" as that is not the offense he was charged with and therefore he has no ability nor obligation to provide a defense against that charge.
    Of course. But that is not the question here. The OP never stated that he was cited for an offense other than the one he was accused of. No element of his offense includes the time of day.

    The OP was charged with running a red light in the early afternoon. All he has to do is provide evidence of where he was during the early afternoon or show that the cop was not on duty at that time and the prosecution fails. As a retired cop, I know you want to squint one eye so that the cop's actions appear to be OK. But they are not. The cop wrote the ticket for an offense that did not occur. A prosecutor has the opportunity to review the charging instrument and interview his witness, but as you know he will not. The cop has the opportunity to amend the ticket prior to arraignment, yet he is likely to not do so. So, assuming that the prosecution fails on all these counts, why would it be reasonable that the court would overlook the state's accountability to the law and then hold the OP accountable? (Rhetorical question... I don't expect an unbiased answer from a cop).
    As I stated before, the OP can try and make the argument that the incorrect time shows an inattention to detail. Experience tells us that the slip up of AM and PM is inconsequential in court, but he can try since it is all he can do. Though, in doing so he might also eliminate any chance of traffic school ... but, that's his choice to make.

    The OP has to deal with reality not weak theory. The fact of the matter is that if the officer testifies correctly, the time on the citation will be irrelevant. The OP can try to play a snarky game with the court and prove they weren't at that location when the offense was alleged, but the court is unlikely to be amused when the officer has testified as to the vehicle, ID, contact and signature (and maybe video) as proof of the contact. Bottom line: If the only hope is a hail mary pass on the time of day, and traffic school is important, it might be best to go for the guilty plea and accept TS.

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
    View Post
    Or of course the cop could simply testify that he wrote PM when he meant AM.
    Yep!

    Quote Quoting Stumpjumper
    View Post
    Isn't that exactly what cdwjava said and what I argued would be inappropriate? Along with my analogy, the cop could have written a ticket for speeding but then testify that he "meant to write a ticket for running a red light." Does that seem appropriate that the OP would have to be required to defend himself against a red light complaint at that time? What the cop "meant to do" and what he did are apparently two different things. While that argument of "you should respond to what I was thinking and not what I said" may work for my wife, it doesn't and shouldn't work for law enforcement.
    When you change the specific offense at trial, you deprive the defendant of the opportunity to mount a defense as the elements of the alleged offense are different. Changing an offense from a stop sign to a red light violation or a speed violation is substantially different than a clerical error. The OP can certainly object to an amendment as to the time of day, but he will almost certainly be overruled as the time of day is not an element of the offense AND there is ample proof that the officer and the OP did, in fact, make contact regarding the allegation.

    It's also why most officers use military time on their citations - that way said AM and PM matters become inconsequential as the time (0100 or 1300) is clear no matter which box might be accidentally ticked.
    **********
    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  8. #18
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    Default Re: California Speeding Violation - How Much Weight Does an Error on the Ticket Hold

    Quote Quoting Stumpjumper
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    Isn't that exactly what cdwjava said and what I argued would be inappropriate? Along with my analogy, the cop could have written a ticket for speeding but then testify that he "meant to write a ticket for running a red light." Does that seem appropriate that the OP would have to be required to defend himself against a red light complaint at that time? What the cop "meant to do" and what he did are apparently two different things. While that argument of "you should respond to what I was thinking and not what I said" may work for my wife, it doesn't and shouldn't work for law enforcement.

    I've seen many a ticket changed in court from one charge to another. But that isn't the case here. We are talking about a single letter being different. I've also seen many As that look like Ps and vice versa.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: California Speeding Violation - How Much Weight Does an Error on the Ticket Hold

    Carl,

    We'll just have to agree to disagree. Don't want to beat a dead horse, but I don't think you are getting my point. You keep saying that the testimony is evidence that will be used to prove guilt. I don't disagree. But prove guilt of what? Answer: prove the OP was speeding at a particular time and a particular place... i.e. the complaint/citation. In effect, I am saying the sky is blue and you are arguing that the grass is green. I don't disagree with your point, but you are not addressing mine.

    Also, to be clear, I recognize that while the OP would have a clear defense based on the law, I also recognize that justice is not found in traffic court. As I have said before, I have seen judges openly and blatantly ignore the law and find a clearly innocent defendant guilty. Gotta keep that revenue flowing....

  10. #20
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    Default Re: California Speeding Violation - How Much Weight Does an Error on the Ticket Hold

    Justice is the net result of truth.

    Truth is the net result of evidence.

    Evidence is the net result of Testimony

    Because of differences in perception, memory and limited information, they occasionally have nothing to do with what really happened.

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