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  1. #1
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    Apr 2009
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    Default Off Duty Officer Requested I Be Issued a Ticket

    My question involves traffic court in the State of: Missouri

    Town: Springfield.


    Hope someone here can help, as I intend to defend myself in this case.

    Here's the scenario:

    While driving through Springfield, MO on my way to St. Louis I was feeling tired, so I decided to pull off the road and take a short nap. I exited off I-44 and pulled off the shoulder on the next entrance ramp well to the side like you see truckers do.

    About 15 minutes after I had been sitting there, an officer tapped on my window and informed me that someone had reported a possible drunk driver and gave them my tag. The person who called it in was an off duty officer in his personal vehicle. I explained that I was tired, and was resting. He wanted to check for the presence of alcohol, and I obliged which of course I tested negative.

    He went back to his vehicle only to later issue me a ticket for 'weaving' while driving. It was later changed to 'inattentive driving' in a letter.

    The ticketing officer never saw me driving. The only time he even saw me or my vehicle was when I was parked on the shoulder. He even said that I wasn't parked illegally.

    Do I have a way to beat this ridiculous charge??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    853

    Default Re: Off Duty Officer Requested I Be Issued a Ticket

    If you request a court date, and the ticketing officer appears, he cannot testify that you were weaving, unless he is lying. The officer who saw you weaving would have to appear in court and testify, or the ticket will be thrown out.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Off Duty Officer Requested I Be Issued a Ticket

    Well, when they sent me the paperwork with the revised charge, they listed a witness so I'm assuming that's him.

    Still, I would think the ticketing officer would need to be the one who witnessed the event.

    I'm just worried that I won't be able to defend this....there must be some crazy statute that allows this sort of thing.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Off Duty Officer Requested I Be Issued a Ticket

    The officer who witnessed the infraction can ask another officer to write the infraction in any number of different situations, including the relatively common case of being offduty and not having his ticketbook on him. The statement of the first officer that he witnessed the infraction gives another officer probable cause to write a ticket or make an arrest or whatever. For example, if officer A sees a bankrobber fleeing a bank, and the bank robber jumps on the subway to escape, Officer B can be waiting for him at the other end of the subway and make the arrest, even though Officer B never saw any of the events. He only needs the statement from Officer A and it'll be up to Officer A to articulate the reason or what he witnessed. Your case isn't as dramatic, but the same principle applies. So you'll get officer A on the stand and make him make his case for the citation.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: Off Duty Officer Requested I Be Issued a Ticket

    Quote Quoting aardvarc
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    The officer who witnessed the infraction can ask another officer to write the infraction in any number of different situations, including the relatively common case of being offduty and not having his ticketbook on him. The statement of the first officer that he witnessed the infraction gives another officer probable cause to write a ticket or make an arrest or whatever. For example, if officer A sees a bankrobber fleeing a bank, and the bank robber jumps on the subway to escape, Officer B can be waiting for him at the other end of the subway and make the arrest, even though Officer B never saw any of the events. He only needs the statement from Officer A and it'll be up to Officer A to articulate the reason or what he witnessed. Your case isn't as dramatic, but the same principle applies. So you'll get officer A on the stand and make him make his case for the citation.
    Well, that doesn't sound too promising then if that's the case. Since I was getting sleepy, I may have started to drift out of my lane. I didn't get any honks or anything, and I'm very sensitive to driving while tired from an incident when I was younger, so I don't push my luck. Right now the case is set for trial in a little over a week. I don't have the $$ to hire an attorney right now, but it sounds like that's what I need to do. I will call next week to see how much further I can continue it.

    Most of my traffic court experience is from KS, where my father used to be a LEO. In KS, an officer must first and foremost see the vehicle if he is to issue a citation.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    California
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    Default Re: Off Duty Officer Requested I Be Issued a Ticket

    KS may be an exception, then, because I believe that in most other states the issuing officer does not necessarily have to be the "arresting" (or observing) officer.

    - Carl

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: Off Duty Officer Requested I Be Issued a Ticket

    Honestly, what I think happened is that I was speeding, and I must have passed the off duty officer which ticked him off. When he saw me drift to the shoulder a bit, he assumed I may be under the influence. Completely understandable, and I really wasn't bothered by the on duty officer coming up to me after the fact to test for presence of alcohol.

    The issuing officer didn't seem too enthusiastic about issuing the ticket at the time, and basically said the ticket was a subpoena to appear in court to testify against the allegations as called in. It seemed apparent that the guy I passed wanted to press the issue....kind of what I was used to growing up in a small town..cops with a chip on their shoulders.

    A few minutes after the incident, I was approached coming out of a Subway at just off an exit by a State Trooper, asking if I'd been approached by Springfield PD. I explained what happened and he laughed. In retrospect, I should've gotten his information as he would've been a good resource to battle this charge.

    At this point in time based of the input received here, I should try to delay the trial as long as I can to try to save towards a good traffic lawyer. The way the whole process was done is significantly out of protocol, and I would think because of the lack of physical evidence that I have a fair shot at beating it.....just gonna cost me. I also kind of wonder if they would've issued the citation if I were local....I'm sure most out of state folks just pay the fine and move on.

    Thanks for you input. I wish I could find some information about standard operating procedures for issuing traffic citations. I wonder if I call Springfield PD they would be very forthcoming???

  8. #8
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    Sep 2005
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    California
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    Default Re: Off Duty Officer Requested I Be Issued a Ticket

    It couldn't hurt to call them, but it might be a better deal to contact an attorney or even someone with experience at the state police or highway patrol office. Each state does it differently, but what you describe can certainly be done out here and in most other states. Is it common? No. Does it happen? Sure.

    It wouldn't have mattered if you got the state trooper's name and info because he was not a witness. All because HE thought it was funny did not mean that the action was improper in any way.

    As for small town cops, I am one of them small town cops. I started in a pair of large agencies, but moved up to a better lifestyle in a small town after ten years of getting shot at, spit on, and wrestling in the mire. Maybe the small town cops where you grew up have "chips on their shoulder", but this is not a universal truth and certainly not the case in the towns around here ... with a couple of exceptions (in about the same percentage as the big cities). So, please don't lump all of us in with the few that might have an ego.

    - Carl

  9. #9
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    Apr 2009
    Location
    Schaumburg, Illinois, Cook County
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Off Duty Officer Requested I Be Issued a Ticket

    All cases must have a witness, but it can be anyone who "witnessed" the event. Police officers in a court are not given any special status, which means that if someone who WASN'T a police officer "saw" you "weaving" he could also testify to it against you. The only problem is that although they are not given LEGAL status the judge is obviously going to act as though they were.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2009
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    LA LA Land
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    Default Re: Off Duty Officer Requested I Be Issued a Ticket

    Quote Quoting Jason Brent
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    Honestly, what I think happened is that I was speeding, and I must have passed the off duty officer which ticked him off. When he saw me drift to the shoulder a bit, he assumed I may be under the influence.
    So you've changed your mind from what you've said earlier

    Quote Quoting Jason Brent
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    Since I was getting sleepy, I may have started to drift out of my lane.
    or are you saying that you were speeding, in addition to drifting in and out of your lane?

    Quote Quoting Jason Brent
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    I didn't get any honks or anything,
    Not sure how getting honked proves or disproves two facts (violations) which you yourself voluntarily offered.

    Quote Quoting Jason Brent
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    The issuing officer didn't seem too enthusiastic about issuing the ticket at the time
    How does that prove or disprove that you were an "inattentive driver" drifting in/out of your lane?

    Quote Quoting Jason Brent
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    and basically said the ticket was a subpoena to appear in court to testify against the allegations as called in.
    A fair assessment of what was it represented. However, I would add that these allegations will be testified to by an off duty officer who, typically is more often than not, considered a credible eye witness.
    Quote Quoting Jason Brent
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    It seemed apparent that the guy I passed wanted to press the issue....
    And rightfully so.... For the safety of other drivers as well as YOURS!
    Quote Quoting Jason Brent
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    cops with a chip on their shoulders.
    A chip on his shoulder or a cop who, even while he is off duty, still feeling the sense of responsibility towards people's safety and security? The duty to ensure the safety of the driving public... INCLUDING YOU???

    Quote Quoting Jason Brent
    View Post
    A few minutes after the incident, I was approached coming out of a Subway at just off an exit by a State Trooper, asking if I'd been approached by Springfield PD. I explained what happened and he laughed.
    A psychic cop, perhaps?
    NO, another officer who probably heard the call and yet another officer who felt it was his duty to investigate... Does that not tell you anything?

    And whether he "laughed" or not, does not mean that he would not have cited you... So had you had the presence of mind to get his information... His testimony, assuming you decided to call him as a witness, might work against you.

    Quote Quoting Jason Brent
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    he would've been a good resource to battle this charge.
    So the citing officer, and since he did not witness the alleged events, should not, in your opinion, have the jurisdiction to cite you and yet... another officer, who did NOT witness the alleged events, would make for a good resource to battle this charge??? And just because you are under the impression that he laughed at the situation (as opposed your line of thinking that you should not have been cited)???

    Think about that for a minute.... or two.
    Quote Quoting Jason Brent
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    At this point in time based of the input received here, I should try to delay the trial as long as I can to try to save towards a good traffic lawyer.
    Actually, any attorney should be able to explain to you that you would be wasting your money, time and effort if you decide to fight this charge based on your reasoning.

    Quote Quoting Jason Brent
    View Post
    I would think because of the lack of physical evidence that I have a fair shot at beating it.....
    Physical evidence??? In a "weaving in and out of your lane and endangering the safety of the general public" case?

    The only possible "physical evidence" that could have possibly existed here is the mangled wreckage of a vehicle somewhere on or near that highway that you were on... And for your sake, you should be thankful that there is "no physical evidence"!!

    The only evidence in that will be needed in this case is the sworn officer's testimony as to what he witnessed, and assuming he does in fact appear in court... they have ALL the evidence that they need.

    Quote Quoting Jason Brent
    View Post
    The way the whole process was done is significantly out of protocol, ... I wish I could find some information about standard operating procedures for issuing traffic citations.
    You are NOT making ANY sense whatsoever!!!!

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