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View Full Version : can police give ticket without witnessing?



sanemaniac
03-23-2009, 11:38 PM
about two months ago i got a ticket because my clutch pedal popped out and my car did a 180 in the snow inside my neighboorhood. A neighboor called and a police officer pulled me over on a different street. He did not witness anything but said he had got the call. Is he allowed to give me a ticket (it was for "reckless and imprudent driving") I live in St. Louis Missouri

SgtScott31
03-23-2009, 11:42 PM
In TN we can give cites without witnessing in a couple of ways: #1 - investigation of a crash can result in a cite, and #2 - witness signs as prosecutor. In your case, we would get the person who reported it to sign as prosecutor. It would be your word against his in court.

skigoggles
03-24-2009, 12:48 AM
If you got the ticket, then yes the police can give you a ticket without having seen you do it.
Look at it this way. It would be like you seeing a guy buy dope, you call and give a description of the car. He gets stopped 2 miles away. Can he be locked up for buying dope even though the cop never saw him buy it?

MaineSqueeze
03-24-2009, 01:06 AM
I never will give a ticket unless I witness it. Unless it is a traffic accident. Im not writing a summonces because joe citizen thinks someone made a traffic mistake. Thats up for me to determine.

Back to NYC
03-24-2009, 01:56 AM
The snag for me would be the text of the summons I'm serving you. Our summonses have an affidavit portion on them that we sign that states, "I personally observed the commission of this violation." If I issued you a summons for something I didn't see you do, I'd be making a false statement - not because you didn't do it, but because I said I saw you do it when I really didn't.

Now, arresting you is a totally different story. If I have probable cause to believe you committed a misdemeanor or felony, I needn't have seen you do anything. In New York, only violations need be committed in an officer's presence in order for the officer to take police action. For misdemeanors and felonies, probable cause is sufficient. Coincidentally, most (but not all) traffic offenses are violations. Gotta see 'em to write 'em.

mtxpro752
03-24-2009, 02:33 AM
If you got the ticket, then yes the police can give you a ticket without having seen you do it.
Look at it this way. It would be like you seeing a guy buy dope, you call and give a description of the car. He gets stopped 2 miles away. Can he be locked up for buying dope even though the cop never saw him buy it?

Not if he doesn't have it on him anymore. And not for buying it but for possession, due to the lack of evidence that the dope you found was the dope he bought at the time and whether or not he actually bought dope when the citizen saw him in the first place. The difference is evidence.

No cite in CA if it wasn't witnessed by me because I can't go to court to testify over something I didn't see happen. In event of traffic accidents it's different due to evidence of what happened. We don't issue citations at accidents anyway, if traffic investigators decide to file a charge with city attorney after investigating it's up to them.

Bearcat357
03-24-2009, 02:45 AM
about two months ago i got a ticket because my clutch pedal popped out and my car did a 180 in the snow inside my neighboorhood. A neighboor called and a police officer pulled me over on a different street. He did not witness anything but said he had got the call. Is he allowed to give me a ticket (it was for "reckless and imprudent driving") I live in St. Louis Missouri

Yeap...in the State of MO they can do it.....

Example.... I was off-duty tonight about an hour ago....went through a drive-through to get my BK Chicken Sandwich and fries and saw some knucklehead come out of Wally-World parking lot without headlights on.....squealed his tires...and headed North into town......I called it into the City Dispatcher...

By the time a on-duty Officer got caught up to us...the guy had already parked his car in front of his house......but was standing beside the car drinking a beer.....and carrying more into the house....

The on-duty Officer never saw him operate the vehicle.....

I advised what I saw....wrote a statement ID'ing the driver as the driver and his pax as the pax......and guess who just went to jail for DUI.... ;)

Good Guys 1

Bad Guys 0

mtxpro752
03-24-2009, 02:50 AM
Yeap...in the State of MO they can do it.....

Example.... I was off-duty tonight about an hour ago....went through a drive-through to get my BK Chicken Sandwich and fries and saw some knucklehead come out of Wally-World parking lot without headlights on.....squealed his tires...and headed North into town......I called it into the City Dispatcher...

By the time a on-duty Officer got caught up to us...the guy had already parked his car in front of his house......but was standing beside the car drinking a beer.....and carrying more into the house....

The on-duty Officer never saw him operate the vehicle.....

I advised what I saw....wrote a statement ID'ing the driver as the driver and his pax as the pax......and guess who just went to jail for DUI.... ;)

Good Guys 1

Bad Guys 0

Making the DUI arrest based of a citizen, or better an off duty Officer witness statement saying hey this guy did this, that and that, I observed him driving and then exit the vehicle he is right there,then writing and signing a statement, ok one thing. The person writing the statement gets to go to court testifying to it, Officer testifies to everything else after he made contact with the driver.

Someone banging in a 911 call of a car the spun out in the snow, seeing a similar car a few blocks away and writing a ticket, that's another thing completely. If all you have is the comments to a radio call print out in court any judge I know of will toss it like three week old dog poo.

I think the OP was asking about scenario 2 here.


P.S. - Good collar on the off duty bust though.

JLee
03-24-2009, 02:53 AM
Up here, I typically have to witness the violation, but we can go for an arrest warrant if really necessary (happens with school bus passing reports).

Also, we can pass PC from one officer to another, so if an offduty officer witnesses something an onduty officer can stop/write it without witnessing the offense.

Bearcat357
03-24-2009, 03:07 AM
I think the OP was asking about scenario 2 here.


Around here, if we get a call like that....I am still going to get a witness statment or I'm not writing anything at all....or cite anyone....and that's what all the Judges around here want.

I am suspecting that the OP has a statement against him written by the complaintant.....and it's in the case file.....

I've never seen one go through that didn't......and I've worked seveal places....and they all want the same.....

j706
03-24-2009, 03:18 AM
No we do not have to witness to cite.

mtxpro752
03-24-2009, 03:27 AM
Around here, if we get a call like that....I am still going to get a witness statment or I'm not writing anything at all....or cite anyone....and that's what all the Judges around here want.

I am suspecting that the OP has a statement against him written by the complaintant.....and it's in the case file.....

I've never seen one go through that didn't......and I've worked seveal places....and they all want the same.....

I was taking it for plain, citizen called in, Officer in the area saw a suspect vehicle, stopped and cited off of the call only. Possibly called back the citizen to confirm what he saw but no written statement or report.

I agree with you that if the citizen was to go through all of that, writing statements and such an arrest would take place, but not a cite. I dunno, CA doesn't allow us to do much!

The State
03-24-2009, 07:43 AM
Another example is school bus violations:
School bus driver calls the office to report joe blow driving this car with this license plate just drove through the stop arm while children were present and he is going in this direction:
Great, pull him over within 4 hours, cite him, go on my marry way.

RoadKingTrooper
03-24-2009, 07:47 AM
about two months ago i got a ticket because my clutch pedal popped out and my car did a 180 in the snow inside my neighboorhood. A neighboor called and a police officer pulled me over on a different street. He did not witness anything but said he had got the call. Is he allowed to give me a ticket (it was for "reckless and imprudent driving") I live in St. Louis Missouri

LOL, you were spinning donuts and got caught! The clutch pedal popped out because you let it. Did the steering wheel turn on its' own too?

Taylor1430
03-24-2009, 08:10 AM
Did you hit anythinhg when you spun out like mailboxes, etc or did you just spin around in the snow?

JLee
03-24-2009, 08:39 AM
Another example is school bus violations:
School bus driver calls the office to report joe blow driving this car with this license plate just drove through the stop arm while children were present and he is going in this direction:
Great, pull him over within 4 hours, cite him, go on my marry way.

We can't do that..have to do a warrant..PITA..

SmallCityCop
03-24-2009, 09:59 AM
I just had a traffic citation (Failure to Obey Steady Red Signal) from an accident I investigated thrown out because I did not witness the accident, and the witnesses did not show up to court.

CruiserClass
03-24-2009, 10:34 AM
Indiana allows citations for things we didn't observe, but I wouldn't write one based on someone else's word. More likely after a crash, where there is physical evidence of the infraction that I can testify to.

SgtScott31
03-24-2009, 10:54 AM
I never will give a ticket unless I witness it. Unless it is a traffic accident. Im not writing a summonces because joe citizen thinks someone made a traffic mistake. Thats up for me to determine.

Actually in TN, it's the judge's decision as to whether the infraction occurred or not. Not to say that we don't weigh in on whether a cite should be issued, but we're not there to be the judge if one wants to cite another. Citizen-issued cites do not occur very often, because they could be sued obviously if the judge decides in favor of the defendant.

Nightshift va
03-24-2009, 11:23 AM
Just like some crimes in my state there are certain circumstances where "yes" it does not have to happen in our presence. Every time I work a accident I can if I choose write a summons, and thats based on witness accounts and if available physical evidence, but rarely if ever do I see the actual crash as it occurs.

BikeCop501
03-24-2009, 02:54 PM
I would fight it... whats the worse that can happen?

ccdcbaker
03-24-2009, 06:55 PM
LOL, you were spinning donuts and got caught! The clutch pedal popped out because you let it. Did the steering wheel turn on its' own too?

x2, Cars don't just do a 180 by popping the clutch in the snow

jvegas
03-24-2009, 07:25 PM
go to court. here its no witness=not guilty.

i was in court a few weeks ago and an officer had a case in which he responded to an accident with no injury. during his running of both driver's licenses, one came back to a suspended driver. the judge asked the officer if he witnessed the suspect driving. his answer was no, and she was found not guilty. now with that said, the driver of the other car was not present in court and therefore could not testify to witnessing the suspect driving.

sanemaniac
03-24-2009, 08:44 PM
Did you hit anythinhg when you spun out like mailboxes, etc or did you just spin around in the snow?

Nothing was hit. My only question now is if they don't have a witness in court and they dont have a written statement from them can they even do anything because the officer did not witness? And to whoever said i was pulling doughtnuts no i was not, my brother had to pay 7000 dollars in tickets before he went to college from doing that stuff and there is no way i will become even remotely like him. And the car is a jeep wranger. doing those is just asking to flip or worse

CruiserClass
03-24-2009, 08:53 PM
And to whoever said i was pulling doughtnuts no i was not, my brother had to pay 7000 dollars in tickets before he went to college

I'm curious. What did he do to rack up $7k in citations?

Steve in PA
03-24-2009, 10:21 PM
In PA there is a box you can check off, "filed on info received". Of course the info received must be good and the person giving it would be required to testify in court.

nuthead
03-24-2009, 10:46 PM
about two months ago i got a ticket because my clutch pedal popped out and my car did a 180 in the snow inside my neighboorhood.

I'm sure the cop that wrote you will appreciate your admission of guilt. Have fun at court! ;)

BAYAREACOP
03-25-2009, 05:43 PM
drunk driving ticket and a citation if your the primary collision factor in a vehicle accident (California)

2weeks
03-25-2009, 11:03 PM
Officers make alot of arrest for crimes they didn't witness. It's called Probable Cause. In Louisiana all an officer needs is probable cause. Many factors (evidence) physical and witnessing can be used to determine probable cause.