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Does the Traffic Cop Have to Show Up in Court When a Ticket is Contested?

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Whereas it is generally true that the traffic cop must show up in court when you contest your ticket, if they don’t, it does not mean it will automatically get dismissed. Although that is usually the case, there are unusual circumstances and technicalities that can help you or hurt you.

The Constitution, the Traffic Cop, and the Court

Now, you’re probably aware of the Confrontation Clause within the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution, which proclaims, “…in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted with the witnesses against him." Some other states contend that a traffic ticket is an infraction, and the trial to determine if you were indeed speeding is not a “criminal prosecution.” However, that is the Constitution and it is the standard the State of California uses.

Therefore, by using the Constitutional standard, which is the basis of all law, if your accuser doesn’t show up in court, there must be other evidence that proves your “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” also the Constitutional standard.

Let’s Take it from the Top, the Traffic Cop Stop

OK, so, your Constitutional protections start the minute you are pulled over, although some would argue that you haven’t been accused of anything yet, that’s not necessarily the case. If you are not suspected of wrongdoing, why is the traffic cop detaining you?

Now, when the traffic cop walks up to your door, they will typically ask you, “Can I see your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance?” If you do not have one of those, that could be an additional ticket, though it cannot be the reason for the stop. There has to be probable cause to stop you. What would be probable cause to stop someone for no insurance?

At this point, the officer is gathering evidence. If she intends to accuse you of speeding, she will often ask, “Do you know how fast you were going?”

This is where YOU need to slow things down and consider your Constitutional rights. Even though no one read you the Miranda act, you know you have “the right to remain silent.” So why does everyone say, “I was going a little over the speed limit, but I was just keeping up with traffic.” You’ve probably heard or even used some of those excuses to avoid a ticket. Some other excuses include, my child had to use the bathroom, I had to speed up to pass that truck, etc.

Well, no matter how good those “excuses” are, they are still excuses and you just admitted guilt to an officer sworn to uphold the law. And the traffic cop is quite likely wearing a body cam.

So now, armed with that information, answer your own question, “Does the traffic cop have to show up in court when a ticket is contested?” You already admitted guilt, and the State has the video evidence.

However, when you hire a traffic ticket attorney, they can argue the case for you without your attendance in court. If the traffic cop does not show up in court, the subject of the body cam evidence will quite likely never come up.

Bakersfield Traffic Ticket Attorneys

Call Bigger & Harman when you have a court appearance due to a traffic cop stop where you received a traffic ticket, (661) 349-9300.

Just because a traffic cop issued you a ticket, does not mean you deserved it, or that you have to appear in court or pay the fine. An unfair fine is the equivalent of an unfair tax. To prevent the State from taking your hard-earned money, let us take a look at your situation.

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Send us an email attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

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