When I called the traffic office two weeks later, the woman on the phone knew my speed (69 in a 60)! I asked where she got the numbers, since the ticket was blank. She was surprised and told me it said 69 in a 60 clearly on the ticket, which she faxed to me. It was there! Clearly, before filing his paperwork, the trooper had filled in the speed.
1. Was the trooper allowed to change the ticket materially after the fact, or was this illegal?
2. If I show up on my court date with my blank ticket, will it be automatically dismissed?
Criminal Defense Attorney
You should show up and challenge your ticket but no, the ticket won't be automatically dismissed simply because your copy has a blank. You should really have an attorney assist you fighting this ticket. Certainly it can be argued that the cop wrote it on there after the fact, but it also isn't uncommon for the carbon copy to not actually have all the information down. Ultimately, you may still be able to get the ticket dismissed or reduced, but this alone won't do it.
This is not to be considered legal advice nor does an attorney-client relationship exist.
6 lawyers agree
Criminal Defense Attorney
Mistakes, errors, omissions - all permitted on traffic citations and even felony charging documents. If you show and make an issue out of it, the judge will likely enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf and set it for trial. Then, the officer will come in and explain why he filled it in later, which the judge will likely accept.
It would probably be better to hire an attorney to make the appearance and argue on you behalf. That way, even if you lose the initial argument, the attorney can probably get you a disposition that avoids points on your license and a report to your insurance.
Feel free to give my office a call for a free consult on this issue.
The above is provided for educational purposes only and is not legal advice nor makes you a client of the Mosca Law Firm, PA. Please consult with a lawyer in order to obtain confidential legal advice that is tailored to your specific situation and facts.
4 lawyers agree
The other attorneys are correct. I might add that you have 30 days from the date of the ticket to enter a plea of Not Guilty. The answer to your first question is yes; the officer is allowed to orally amend the citation BEFORE the hearing begins. Your second question is NO. The court is going to look at the ticket that was submitted into the court file with the Clerk of Court. The other important fact to observe, is to see if the officer put the device s/he used to determine the speed. For example, if the officer used a radar, the radar number must be listed on the citation. If not, the law allows for a dismissal of the ticket. If you want to fight the ticket I would advise you to retain an attorney because of other arguments that may be made.
3 lawyers agree
Speeding / Traffic Ticket Lawyer
The officer may amend (change) any information on the ticket up until the time of trial. In the future, it is important to avoid pointing out any mistakes that the officer made prior to trial because the officer can simply write the correct information on the ticket and proceed as usual.
Avvo.com answers provided solely for informational purposes. Answers are not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you are seeking legal advice, contact a competent attorney in your local jurisdiction. Learn more about my practice at www.drivenlegal.com.
1 lawyer agrees