If the police officer who issued the citation made enough observations to adequately testify as to the violation, then it is only the police officer that need appear. However, if the police officer could not have made sufficient observations to support the violation, only then would the other driver need to show up. If it is worth it to you, the only way to find out is to actually go to court that day and find out.
This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. Laws vary widely from state to state. You should rely only on the advice given to you during a personal consultation by a local attorney who is thoroughly familiar with state laws and the area of practice in which your concern lies.
Many tickets do get dismissed. The reason is that the State has the burden of proving that you are guilty as charged. If, the complaining witness (the other driver) or the responding officer who wrote the ticket, or the prosecutor don't show up or are unavailable your ticket is bound to get dismissed. On occasion, the judge may postpone the hearing to a date where either the other driver or the officer are available to testify.
All that would not be an issue if you enter a plea of guilty, of course. But, if you feel you were not at fault, or there are errors on the ticket as issued to you (for example the make and model of the car is wrong or better yet the license place is wrong), then a plea of guilty would bypass all these defects.
You should consult with a traffic attorney so as to get a better idea about how to proceed and what to say when you get to Court.
Disclaimer: I am a lawyer licensed in the State of Illinois only, and I am not your lawyer (unless you have been in my office and signed a contract). This communication is not intended as legal advice, and no attorney client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice. This is for informational purposes only.
If you're looking for a dismissal, your best bet is to speak with a traffic defense attorney. Find someone who appears often in the court where your case is being heard. If you need a referral, feel free to call. 1-800-517-1614.
All three of these lawyers have answered correctly.
Your ticket will be dismissed if no one is in court to testify against you who has personal knowledge of what is claimed to have been violated. That means if the policeman who cited you did not witness the claimed violation, he cannot testify. If the other driver also fails to appear, the charge cannot be proved by clear and convincing evidence which is the standard of proof in traffic court for most charges.
Your best bet would be to go to court with an attorney. But understand that your attorney has to charge you for the time it takes him to get to court and defend you. No one can charge a nominal fee or go for close to nothing. Many people think lawyers just hang around the courthouse waiting to be hired. That is not the case. You have to call them in advance and pay them before the date the hearing is up.
Under no circumstance should you enter a plea of guilty. Make the prosecutor prove his case. Don't be the kind who plans on going alone unless you are willing to face the music if the other driver does show up. You are likely to end up a Post Toastie.
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