If you got accused of driving recklessly, you might be curious about your court hearing conduct and what will happen if the officer in question doesn’t show up.
The cop who gave you a traffic ticket must show up in court if you oppose it and demand your right to a trial. It is necessary because part of receiving a fair trial under the law is allowed to confront and cross-examine your accuser.
In most courts, an officer has one designated day per month to process all of his cases, making the process simpler for the officer to keep a court date. But occasional absences cannot be avoided, which may include illness, a death in the family, or being preoccupied with taking care of a public safety problem. When this occurs, the traffic court will typically keep the reckless driving case open until the following month so that the officer can present the required proof.
How often do cops show up for traffic court?
Almost all the time, cops appear in traffic court. The police department has implemented several strategies to encourage officers to appear in traffic court. In the absence of an emergency, a cop would prefer to arrive than not.
The job description is the main factor in determining how frequently cops appear in traffic court. Police officers must appear in traffic court as part of their duties; failing to do so will result in unfavorable performance evaluations.
Like many professions, consistently poor evaluation and low scores on key performance indicators, like attending traffic court, result in the loss of some advantages, such as being passed over for jobs, raises, etc. Any cop concerned about advancing in their career will always appear in court.
What could cause a cop to skip traffic court?
Certain conditions can lead the cop to get absent from visiting the traffic court. Some examples of such conditions include:
- Illness: A cop will undoubtedly miss court if he or she is ill.
- Personal emergency: Police officers also experience personal crises that may call for rapid action. A cop might not attend a traffic court in such circumstances.
- A death in the family: If anyone dies in the family, the cop would not appear in the traffic court.
- Resignation: A cop would most likely not appear in court if he decides to leave the force before his scheduled appearance.
What happens when a cop does not appear in traffic court?
There are three possible outcomes if the cop who issued the ticket does not show up at traffic court:
- The judge will re-schedule a court hearing. It occurs regularly, and judges typically make an effort to work around the availability and schedules of both the offender and the officer.
- Due to a lack of supporting evidence, the accusations by the cop will get dismissed. It does occur, but nobody should place all of their hopes on such a result.
- You can bargain for a lesser charge and/or lighter punishments. Consult a traffic infractions attorney before doing this so they can evaluate whether a crime with a less threatening name indeed carries a less severe penalty.
Is it possible to obtain a court-appointed lawyer?
- If a person cannot afford to retain counsel on their own, the court may or may not appoint one for traffic court, based on the conditions surrounding the ticket.
- For speeding citations, the court is not required to assign counsel unless there are exceptional circumstances, like a reckless driving offense with potential jail time.
- However, a person has the option to pay for their legal representation. It’s essential to emphasize that most traffic offenses get resolved without ever going to trial.
What does “no contest” (nolo contendere) in traffic court mean?
Pleading “no contest,” also referred to as Nolo Contendere, means accepting responsibility and penalties for a traffic infraction without admitting guilt. People enter no-contest pleas for a variety of reasons, and these consist of:
- Trial Avoidance: Trials should be avoided since they can be expensive and time-consuming. These are done by entering a nolo contendere plea, which protects you from unfavorable court decisions.
- No guilty verdict: If a civil lawsuit stems from a traffic infringement, a guilty verdict could be used against you. A no-contest plea also guarantees that the plea will not affect the defendant’s previous civil or criminal cases.
What two considerations should an accused make before requesting a traffic court hearing?
When deciding whether to request a traffic court hearing instead of simply paying a ticket, remember that you cannot avoid the trial, and often there’s no choice.
- If you fail to attend your first traffic court hearing, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest and revoke your license. The point here is that if you anticipate being unable to appear, you must always notify the court well in advance or get legal representation. Courts will reschedule a traffic infraction hearing for nearly any reason, but you must request it.
- If you are accused of any of the following offenses, you must appear in traffic court or municipal court:
- Driving when intoxicated by drugs or alcohol
- Having caused a hit-and-run incident,
- Using a suspended license while driving
- Using a vehicle without a license
- Obtaining a third moving conviction within 12 months
- Eluding a cop, often known as running from them,
- A drag race
Each of the offenses mentioned above carries a potential jail sentence upon conviction. You must receive a proper court hearing before the state can imprison you for longer than a few days. An attorney who has previously handled traffic violations will be able to help with a criminal defense against a driving charge.
Police officers know that appearing in court is a crucial aspect of their work and that failing to do so may result in disciplinary actions. However, there are circumstances where the cop can be exempted from appearing for the hearing. The court schedules a date for the cop’s appearance. Generally, cops show up in traffic courts to prove their accusations, and the accused also needs to be present on the hearing date.
What happens if the accused don’t show up to court?
If the accused don’t show up for court, the judge will hear the matter and may rule against him/her, order a show-cause hearing, or issue an arrest warrant. The court may decide to revoke the accused’s license, jail him/her, open a lifelong criminal record or impose the payment of a hefty fine once you are caught and asked to explain your absence.
How frequently does a cop appear in traffic court?
Although there is no legislation requiring so, an officer should typically appear in court once a month for cases. For convenience, all cases involving an officer are heard on the same day.
What happens if the cop fails to appear?
If the police officer fails to appear, the judge will postpone the case until the officer is available the following month. However, the matter is dropped if the officer skips court, doesn’t call to explain, and doesn’t respond to court calls.
Does it make sense to contest a traffic ticket?
Traffic tickets should get contested when:
1: Automatic license suspension follows the admission of guilt.
2: You’re concerned about maintaining a spotless record.
3: High insurance premiums come from the ticket.
Even so, it takes a lot of time and works to contest tickets. For instance, the cost of missing work to attend the hearing can exceed the punishment. If you decide to take that route, consult an attorney to see if you should contest the ticket.