despotic wrote: ↑I'm going to court this month to fight a ticket that was never issued to me. The ticket is only $30, but I'm fighting it for the principle of it.
What happened is that I did park illegally to go to a store and when I came out, I saw the officer entering information on his handheld. He was behind my car, with his car parked in front of mine. I quickly walked to my car, he saw me and walked right past me still entering information. We both got into our cars and we both drove away. I was never given the ticket, nor it was affixed to my vehicle. I never actually saw the yellow tag.
2 weeks later, I get a letter in the mail.
What pisses me most is that, it will be his word against mine. And him being a sworn officer, they will believe him.
What is more disturbing is that even if I win, what do I get out of it? Just not having to pay the $30. I don't get compensated for time lost from work or for personal time wasted. It is a system that is rigged to take your money. Even if the police is dead wrong in writing the ticket, they don't care. They get paid time and a half to go to court and they get to take a break from work by doing so to boot.
As a tax payer, I'm appalled that I have to pay someone time and a half for wasting my time!
Update: I just had my trial. My first trial ever so I was not sure what to expect or how to act.
I pleaded not guilty. The prosecutor then advised me to motion to squash the charge on grounds that I was never issued the ticket. I did that and I told my story (with a few hickups as I didn't know the terminology or process which I think annoyed the JP a little). She denied the motion. Then I pleaded not guilty again as I wanted to actually ask the officer questions (again not knowing the terminology, I called it "interrogate" ... silly me ... and I felt that everyone continued getting annoyed). The officer testified that he affixed the ticket based on his notes. I asked if he had actually remembered putting it on the windshield and he said no, but since I didn't object to him using his notes as evidence (I actually did, but since I don't know the law, I couldn't give them a legal reason for it, they told me I can't do that ... again ... JP got even more annoyed ... she actually gave me a lecture that I have to come prepared with my motions by studying law first).
The prosecutor asked the officer about his normal actions writing tickets and if there is any reason that he could have been behind my car. The officer stated that he normally issues the ticket and then he goes behind the car to collect more evidence or see if his original notes where correct. This pretty much sealed the case as there was no way I could prove that the ticket was never affixed to the vehicle as it stated in the officer's notes. I testified that I did knowingly park illegal (BIG mistake, never admit to that!!!) and that the weather was not windy, therefore I believed that the ticket could not have been blown away by the wind and then told my story again how I saw the officer behind my car and we both got into our cars and that I did not see any ticket affixed to my car.
The JP in the end ruled guilty. The prosecutor asked for a higher charge of $60 (ticked was $40) since as he said, the point of the fine is supposedly to prevent people from parking illegally (i wanted to call ***** on that ... but refrained myself . He stated that because I knowingly parked illegally based on my testimony, he said he needed to "teach me a lesson" and raise the fine to $60. The JP then agreed, she also stated that I wasted the court's time and raised the fine to $100.
So $40 ticket, which most likely was going to be reduced to $10 if I pleaded guilty, turned into a $100 ticket. A difference of $90 + $5.25 for parking during the trial.
What is the moral of the story? Even if you believe the officer has done wrong, if you do not have any hard evidence against it and it is just your word against his, you will lose. Moreover, the fine might be raised to "teach you a lesson" and for "wasting the court's time" by doing your LEGAL right by having a trial.
So do your research if you want to proceed to trail first! If you don't have hard evidence or a legal ground to oppose the officer using his notes, then you are pretty much toast.
I guess I will have to record my car 24/7 now so next time, I'm not issued a phony ticked for being illegally parked at street XYZ at the other side of town when I'm actually parked at my driveway. Yes, this is an extreme case, but when you get a notice 2 weeks later, it would be too late to collect evidence. You would not have any evidence and ground to challenge the "notes" of the officer.
Plead guilty, people! Not worth the hassle otherwise. The system is rigged to get your cash at the end so don't bother. In criminal case, you would have more chance.
I went because of moral grounds, not cause I cared about the $40 fine. I end up having to pay $100 for wanting having my say in court.
On second thought, I don't think I represented myself very well. I didn't ask all questions I wanted to ask since in the heat of the moment I don't think I was thinking clearly ... that being my first trial ever.
1) Prepare well beforehand if you want to go to trial
2) Know that you will be able to question the officer. Know what to ask ahead of time. It is good to jot down questions you want to ask before the trial so you don't forget them.
3) With your questioning, try to establish a scenario where your interpretation of what happened likely happened. For example, in retrospect, I should have asked the officer how he normally writes tickets ... i.e. does he stand behind the car when writing the ticket and then come to the front and affix it to the car, then in the summation I can establish the scenario that I most likely saw him when he was writing the ticket based on evidence that not only I presented, but also what he presented. That's what the prosecutor did ... He described a scenario where the officer could go behind the car AFTER he has already affixed the ticket to the car, so whether I'm telling the truth or not now is irrelevant as even if I'm telling the truth, something could have happened to the ticket. Although I do not believe that was the case.
4) Ask all your questions when it's your turn. You cannot ask new question during redirect! I tried that and the prosecutor motioned that I was introducing new questions instead of just challenging his redirect questions.
5) Do not in any case tell more than you should in order to prove your case. I said I stopped illegally to buy cat food. I believe because of that they wanted to "teach me a lesson".
On the bright side, for only $60 (on top of my original fine of $40), I got useful trial experience. I just hoped it was going to be max just the $40 fee if I was found guilty. I guess my comment about buying cat food and the fact that I knowingly parked illegally ticked them off, even though I was not obstructing traffic in any way (I was just outside of the designated parking spaces and there were cars parked behind me and a little ahead of me, so the lane was not usable
for driving anyway).
After letting it sink in for a while, I can't help but feel shafted by the system. There is no doubt in my mind that the ticket was never afixed to my car, because 1) it wasn't windy and 2) nobody would take a ticket from a car when the officer is still at the scene. Therefore, I don't believe there is anyway that the officer afixed the ticket to my car before I got there and somehow it magically disappeared. But that's besides the point. I have the feeling now that even though i supposedly "have the right" for trial, it is not really something that is recommended or appreciated by the court ... Not in the least.
What's most dishartening though is not the fact that I lost the case (that was probably my fault due to lack of court experience and not being prepared). It is not the fact that I was given $100 fine instead of the $40 that the ticket was worth. It is the feeling that I now have that I was punished for exercising my right to trial. It is the feeling that I now have that the system here, which I thought was better than the one in my former corrupted country, is somehow better. It is the feeling that because I actually made the JP do her job, instead of just her normal twiddling of thumbs she does for guilty after guilty plea, that I somehow did something wrong.