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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    184

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

    Quote Quoting Stumpjumper
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    Carl,

    But prove guilt of what? Answer: prove the OP was speeding at a particular time and a particular place... i.e. the complaint/citation.
    No, the charge is only that the OP was speeding, the law does not include different charges for different locations/times for an offense (provided the properly posted speed limit is the same). That is the offense that is being charged in the complaint/citation, speeding. The particular time and place on the ticket are supporting information to establish probable cause. The testimony at trial is what matters and errors in the time/place are only relevant as part of the totality of the case. Some information is weighted more heavily than others in the determination of guilt. If the officer got a car color/make/model wrong but the plate was correct and the DL information was correct, the errors do not automatically produce a not guilty verdict. If someone was charged with murder at 1PM and between being charged and the trial additional information came forward that the actual time was 2PM, does that make the original charge invalid? Or if there is an obvious typographical error about one detail, does that in validate the charge? No, all of the evidence about what/when/where would be presented at trial and the jury (or judge if a jury trial is waived) would decide where the truth lies. Since all that is needed to issue a ticket/arrest someone/ charge someone is probable cause, that cause would be dictated by the totality of the information presented. If one or a couple of details are incorrect, that does not in and of itself invalidate the probable cause. It can be used to the defendant's advantage at trial by demonstrating inconsistencies in the prosecution's case, but it is the totality of the evidence is what is important. The OP's signature on the citation indicates that at some time the officer stopped the OP, accused them of speeding and had them sign a statement that they would respond to the citation. That information overwhelms whether the officer checked the right box for AM or PM on the citation to make the citation valid.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,285

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

    Stumpjumper, I get your point completely. But, in CA we are not a state where the letter of the law prevails. Instead, it is the spirit of the law, even the general intent, that is supposed to be applied.

    In fact, from Penal Code 4 ....

    The rule of the common law, that penal statutes are to be strictly construed, has no application to this Code. All its provisions are to be construed according to the fair import of their terms, with a view to effect its objects and to promote justice.

    This can and has been broadened to include such clerical (minor and insignificant) errors.

    I suppose the OP could always file a demurrer and seek to have the offense dismissed for error on its face, but good luck with that.
    **********
    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

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,285

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

    Quote Quoting EJay
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    Demurrer isn't a bad idea. Wouldn't the charges have to be refiled with the correct time? This would increase the possibility that they never do.
    It depends upon the DA's response to the demurrer. Most demurrers simply compel the DA to file a complaint ... though, if the defendant does not file the demurrer at or before arraignment, it's likely too late.

    In the last city I was in before retirement, we had one Sovereign Citizen type who filed a demurrer on every cite (he would drive without a license all the time ... he kept the cars registered because he had a wife who was a teacher and a son who was a college student - and alcoholic ... multiple DUis). We kept towing his cars, and the DA always decided it was too much effort to file a complaint on his demurrers ... much to our continued annoyance. The DA simply decided that the parade of vehicle impounds (and ongoing payment of fees) was punishment enough.
    **********
    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. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    20,285

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

    Quote Quoting EJay
    View Post
    That's funny! I agree with the DA's decision although filing it may have put a stop to it.
    I suspect that all that would have happened would have been an annoying series of court appearances that would have been frustrating for all as he would not recognize the court's authority. My officers arrested him once for an open container in a park (and public intoxication) and he did the ol' limp move on them and denied their authority. They called me from home to come out and talk to him, but to no avail. He was subsequently convicted when he refused to raise a defense after claiming to represent himself. He got probation and fines and continued to be an ass.
    **********
    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

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