How long does an offficer have to issue and have you sign a traffic citation? I was involved in an automobile accident 6 days ago (it was a Friday). At the time of the accident the officer said he couldn't determine who was at fault and he would do some further investigating to determine this. I asked him when he thought he would have the information and he said tomorrow (Saturday). I called the sheriff's office on Saturday and was told that information wouldn't be availble until Monday. I called back on Monday morning and was told that no citation had been issued and the report had not been received by the records department. I asked the woman I spoke with to have the deputy call me ASAP regarding the matter. The deputy finally returned my call on Thursday afternoon. He told me he had determined I was to be cited (I disagree, but that's another matter). He then told me we needed to meet so he could give me the citation. He said that since I lived near the scene of the accident and that was in his general area that he would come by my house and bring the citation. He asked when would be a good time and I told him I would be home the rest of the day on Thursday. It is now 8:00pm and he has failed to show up or let me know he is not coming. Tomorrow will be a week since the accident and I have zero information regarding the accident. How much longer can he hold onto this citation?
After being involved in several thousand legal cases all over the State of New York for the last twenty years I would says its not that unusual for an officer to take several days to file a report. In fact a client of mine told me last week that when he went to pick up the accident report at the police station the officer told him that he had to change some items on it so it would be a few more days.Look I guess you may be able to use it against the officer in court trying to defend yourself against the offenses but officers are given a lot of leeway. Look at the accident report for any inconsistencies or errors to better your defense. This may include having the wrong direction the vehicles were traveling, statements that were given but never found its way on the report and even missing traffic signals.
Wrongful Death Attorney
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We practice law only in California. In California, the investigating agency may take a reasonable amount of time to complete its investigation. Traffic citations can sometimes be issued immediately but in other cases it may take days and even weeks. We've had police reports ready within one week and in other cases involving major accidents, it has taken an incredibly long six months.
If a traffic citation is eventually issued against you, you may be able to use the delay in your favor depending on the facts of your case. I've found that over time, witnesses tend to forget important details which can make it difficult for criminal charges to be successfully brought against you (the state has the burden of proof -- not you).
It is not your obligation to initiate contact with the police agency. If they are going to issue you a ticket, they will mail you a notice or have it personally delivered. If this does not happen, then consider yourself lucky.
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Jon Mitchell "Mitch" Jackson
Jackson & Wilson, Inc.