There are many long-standing misconceptions when it comes to dealing with a traffic ticket. Here are a few of the most common:
“If the officer does not show up in court then the ticket must be dismissed.”
This is generally a myth. If you have been charged with a traffic offense both you and the State can request a motion to continue the case. If you wish to plead to not guilty to the offense due to the fact that the officer is not present the State will simply request the case be continued to ensure that the officer is present at the next court date. This will cost you the time involved in attending a future court date and you will be required to present your case at the next setting. If the prosecutor is particularly zealous you may not be offered a reduction at the next court date which could present you with particularly nasty license and insurance ramifications if you are convicted as charged.
“If my name is misspelled on the ticket the case must be dismissed.”
This is a myth as well. Misspellings and typos are an occasional occurrence on traffic tickets. This includes such issues as the wrong make/model of your car, the approximate location of the stop, and traffic and weather patterns listed on the citation. As long as the license number on your citation is correct, a conviction can be reported to DMV which could negatively affect you for license and insurance purposes.
“The officer clocked the wrong car so my case must be dismissed.”
Unfortunately this is generally a myth. If you wish to contest the charge against you the case will proceed to trial. Generally, an officer may have limited knowledge of your specific stop and will be allowed to refresh his or her memory at trial by reading over the citation itself as well as any reports generated. The officer will generally testify that he or she did indeed clock your car under oath (or else the citation would not have been written). From an evidentiary standpoint, the officer will be considered to have less bias than you as the defendant. This means that, generally, the officer’s testimony will be given for weight than yours should you testify and you stand a high probability of being convicted of the speed as charged on the citation.
In the event you are charged with a traffic ticket it would be a worthwhile investment of time to consult with an attorney experienced in handling matters such as yours. Contact our office, to discuss your case!