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traffic violation citation

Old 02-23-17, 03:16 AM
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traffic violation citation

a few weeks ago, I got pulled over downtown for running a red light that had no cross traffic. cop pulled me over and wrote me a citation. citation has my address and phone number, but no DL or SN. Despite this, I'm told that if I don't show up, they'll issue a warrant for me.

I'm told that they don't typically dismiss tickets like this. Actually, my experience with APD in general has been pretty sh**ty. I also don't want to pay the fine, because it serves no purpose in improving my safety, and serves mostly as a way for the court to show that they're busy, and not a complete waste of tax money, which is exactly what they are.

anyone with experience with this matter?

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Old 02-23-17, 03:44 AM
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Did you stop before proceeding? That might help with your defense.

I'm in Fort Worth. There are some lights that will never change for a bicycle. I stop, then proceed when the way is clear. So far, so good.

But Fort Worth has a remarkably progressive attitude toward cyclists. For now, at least. Might change when our current pro-bicycling mayor leaves office.

There are only a few places where I'd cruise through a red light, assuming the way was clear. A few weirdly placed traffic lights in bad neighborhoods at underpasses or similar locations with too many hidey holes. I'm not stopping there at night.

Regarding defending against citations, usually the officer must appear in court. If the officer is unable to appear, usually the ticket is dismissed. I don't know if that's still the usual practice, I haven't received a ticket in more than 20 years.

Many years ago, a few times I challenged on my own and was successful. Sometimes I wasn't successful and paid, often a reduced fine. The one time I hired an attorney was when I was accused of a parking lot hit and run. That was potentially serious. The attorney got it dismissed because the witness description didn't match me or my car. No idea how they determined to cite me via mail (I always wondered whether it was a vindictive ex-wife and/or her family filing a false charge), but it was a good example of why it's a good practice to defend yourself against citations, or hire an attorney if it's potentially serious enough.
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Old 02-23-17, 09:20 AM
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go back to the intersection and see what kind of sensor it has. if it just has the magnetic strips laid in the pavement chances are they probably won't pick up a bike (most don't, some new ones claim to). Many lights with camera sensors also don't pick up a small cyclist. Does it have a crosswalk button? If so that might be against you because they'll say you could have pushed the button and waited for the light to change after that.

Many state laws or city laws dictate you have wait a few minutes and if the light shows no sign of detecting you, and traffic is clear, you can go through it. Try to find that in Austin's laws - i bet a local bike group can point you to what you need.
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Old 02-23-17, 09:30 AM
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I got one ($200+, paid $150 at court date) for a stop sign in a Dallas suburb. It sucked, but maybe will prevent me from being killed by following all traffic signs and signals.
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Old 02-23-17, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
a citation w/no DL or SN. Despite this, I'm told that if I don't show up, they'll issue a warrant for me.anyone with experience with this matter?
fight every ticket. if your 1st visit is with a clerk magistrate & police rep (like here in MA) & it doesn't go your way, say you'd like a court hearing. at the court hearing, if the cop doesn't show, they will probably call it "not responsible" (because there is no one to argue their case against you) & you're off. sometimes at the 1st visit, they will dismiss it or reduce the fine. in ALL the tickets I have fought, I won ALL of them. and I'm talking about at least 15 over the past 30 years. even parking tickets

you have nothing to lose

couple of tips. don't lie. stick to whatever you said at the time you were given the ticket. but think about the encounter & think about what happened from your point of view. you need to argue your point of view & ask for leniency. apologize & say you'll never do it again. or cite the new law coming up for the books somewhere called a rolling stop for bicycles (it's coming somewhere, look it up & bring that info)

funny story, I once fought a ticket, 1st meeting got nowhere, went to court. the guy before me, his cop was there so he had to make his case to the judge. all he said was (something to the effect of): "I'm sorry your honor, I admit I was going 85 in a 55 but I have a clean record & I'd like to keep it clean" he was found not responsible. true story

now, you guys in Texas may have different laws etc etc etc but I would fight. nicely & politely ...

ignore anyone who says "they don't normally dismiss things like this"
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Old 02-23-17, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Did you stop before proceeding? That might help with your defense.

I'm in Fort Worth. There are some lights that will never change for a bicycle. I stop, then proceed when the way is clear. So far, so good.

But Fort Worth has a remarkably progressive attitude toward cyclists. For now, at least. Might change when our current pro-bicycling mayor leaves office.

There are only a few places where I'd cruise through a red light, assuming the way was clear. A few weirdly placed traffic lights in bad neighborhoods at underpasses or similar locations with too many hidey holes. I'm not stopping there at night.

Regarding defending against citations, usually the officer must appear in court. If the officer is unable to appear, usually the ticket is dismissed. I don't know if that's still the usual practice, I haven't received a ticket in more than 20 years.

Many years ago, a few times I challenged on my own and was successful. Sometimes I wasn't successful and paid, often a reduced fine. The one time I hired an attorney was when I was accused of a parking lot hit and run. That was potentially serious. The attorney got it dismissed because the witness description didn't match me or my car. No idea how they determined to cite me via mail (I always wondered whether it was a vindictive ex-wife and/or her family filing a false charge), but it was a good example of why it's a good practice to defend yourself against citations, or hire an attorney if it's potentially serious enough.
Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
go back to the intersection and see what kind of sensor it has. if it just has the magnetic strips laid in the pavement chances are they probably won't pick up a bike (most don't, some new ones claim to). Many lights with camera sensors also don't pick up a small cyclist. Does it have a crosswalk button? If so that might be against you because they'll say you could have pushed the button and waited for the light to change after that.

Many state laws or city laws dictate you have wait a few minutes and if the light shows no sign of detecting you, and traffic is clear, you can go through it. Try to find that in Austin's laws - i bet a local bike group can point you to what you need.
Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
fight every ticket. if your 1st visit is with a clerk magistrate & police rep (like here in MA) & it doesn't go your way, say you'd like a court hearing. at the court hearing, if the cop doesn't show, they will probably call it "not responsible" (because there is no one to argue their case against you) & you're off. sometimes at the 1st visit, they will dismiss it or reduce the fine. in ALL the tickets I have fought, I won ALL of them. and I'm talking about at least 15 over the past 30 years. even parking tickets

you have nothing to lose

couple of tips. don't lie. stick to whatever you said at the time you were given the ticket. but think about the encounter & think about what happened from your point of view. you need to argue your point of view & ask for leniency. apologize & say you'll never do it again. or cite the new law coming up for the books somewhere called a rolling stop for bicycles (it's coming somewhere, look it up & bring that info)

funny story, I once fought a ticket, 1st meeting got nowhere, went to court. the guy before me, his cop was there so he had to make his case to the judge. all he said was (something to the effect of): "I'm sorry your honor, I admit I was going 85 in a 55 but I have a clean record & I'd like to keep it clean" he was found not responsible. true story

now, you guys in Texas may have different laws etc etc etc but I would fight. nicely & politely ...

ignore anyone who says "they don't normally dismiss things like this"
thanks for the feedback.

Yes, I stopped, and looked both ways before proceeding, like I always do. If there's cross traffic at all, I always let them go first. even if it's at a stop sign, and the car is waiting for me, I would beckon them to go, because they were there first, and that's the right thing to do.

the lights downtown are synchronized, on a timer (I'm 90% positive) such that they turn red/green as you go in certain directions, like a wave (as messengers would put it). so no sensor.

thanks for the suggestion on the rolling stop. It makes perfect sense, and could serve as a potential defense.

Friend of mine dealt with this court before. They don't dismiss the tickets, or so he was told, by the prosecutor.

Here's the breakdown. I will show up to contest the $250 ticket. I may get an offer to have the ticket reduced by the prosecutor. If I pay the fine, the ticket is dismissed. If I contest, it's a judge or a jury, where guilty would mean conviction and driving record.

Here's my defense so far:

- I came to a rolling stop, looked both ways, and proceeded through the intersection safely. I'm a safe rider who yields pedistrians and cars, putting safety first
- it's completely unreasonable to compare a bicycle (0.5 hp) to a car (200 hp), even if that's what the law dictates. many times, the bicycles cannot be detected by the pressure/magnetic sensors. the law does not always correlate with right/wrong
- in many cases, it's safer for the cyclist to run the light, in order to put distance on the cars, whose drivers may be distracted on the phone (funny how people like this get to keep their license, while guys like me get punished). also, because of my slower acceleration, I reduce congestion by getting a head start on the cars, and allowing them more road to pass me later on, whereas if I were to go with the light, I'm holding up traffic and getting honked at by impatient c*nts behind me.
- places like Idaho, colorado, and potentially more in the future, are introducing rolling stop for bicycles, because it makes sense. (counter argument would be that it keeps getting vetoed, but my counter to that would be that law makers are idealists who don't ride bicycles to work)
- the courthouse has no interest in my safety, even though it says it does. rather, it's mostly interested in taking my money and showing their higher-ups how busy they are (they made my friend take a defensive driving class, which was a worthless POS and waste of time)


this argument would be presented to a jury, where hopefully the people I select will have some spine. what do you think?

Last edited by spectastic; 02-23-17 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 02-23-17, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
thanks for the feedback.

Yes, I stopped, and looked both ways before proceeding, like I always do. If there's cross traffic at all, I always let them go first. even if it's at a stop sign, and the car is waiting for me, I would beckon them to go, because they were there first, and that's the right thing to do.

the lights downtown are synchronized, on a timer (I'm 90% positive) such that they turn red/green as you go in certain directions, like a wave (as messengers would put it). so no sensor.

thanks for the suggestion on the rolling stop. It makes perfect sense, and could serve as a potential defense.

Friend of mine dealt with this court before. They don't dismiss the tickets, or so he was told, by the prosecutor.

Here's the breakdown. I will show up to contest the $250 ticket. I may get an offer to have the ticket reduced by the prosecutor. If I pay the fine, the ticket is dismissed. If I contest, it's a judge or a jury, where guilty would mean conviction and driving record.

Here's my defense so far:

- I came to a rolling stop, looked both ways, and proceeded through the intersection safely. I'm a safe rider who yields pedistrians and cars, putting safety first
- it's completely unreasonable to compare a bicycle (0.5 hp) to a car (200 hp), even if that's what the law dictates. the law does not always correlate with right/wrong
- in many cases, it's safer for the cyclist to run the light, in order to put distance on the cars, whose drivers may be distracted on the phone (funny how people like this get to keep their license, while guys like me get punished). also, because of my slower acceleration, I reduce congestion by getting a head start on the cars, and allowing them more road to pass me later on, whereas if I were to go with the light, I'm holding up traffic and getting honked at by impatient c*nts behind me.
- places like Idaho, colorado, and potentially more in the future, are introducing rolling stop for bicycles, because it makes sense. (counter argument would be that it keeps getting vetoed, but my counter to that would be that law makers are idealists who don't ride bicycles to work)
- the courthouse has no interest in my safety, even though it says it does. rather, it's mostly interested in taking my money and showing their higher-ups how busy they are (they made my friend take a defensive driving class, which was a worthless POS and waste of time)


this argument would be presented to a jury, where hopefully the people I select will have some spine. what do you think?
First, was it a rolling stop or a stop? There is a difference and you claim you did both. If you are going to court, get your story straight. You give lots of reasons why your actions were the best thing to do. While they make good discussion topics, I doubt they will get you much traction in the courtroom.

I am constantly amazed at the many bike riders who complain they are not afforded the respect they deserve from cars while riding on the roads, saying bikes have as much right to be out there as cars. And I agree, bikes have every right to be on the roads. I then see these same bicycle riders showing no regards for the traffic laws everyone is supposed to follow, with stop signs and red lights being the favorite. I see 30 and 40 bike go through a 4 way stop while cars are waiting their 'turn'. And then the bike riders can't imagine why car drivers get angry.

Traffic laws are a form of etiquette. When everyone follows it, we all get along. When some folks feel they don't have to follow it, that's when you get accidents, road rage, etc.

You broke the law, you got caught. Take your medicine.

One note about fighting tickets. I have not had to go to court in quite a while, but I understand there are cases where those who fight and lose get court costs added to the fine. You may wish to verify this before fighting.

Jeff

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Old 02-23-17, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
Here's my defense so far:
cut some of it

- I came to a rolling stop, looked both ways, and proceeded through the intersection safely. I'm a safe rider who yields pedistrians and cars, putting safety first
- places like Idaho, colorado, and potentially more in the future, are introducing rolling stop for bicycles, because it makes sense.

** half the battle is showing up. don't sweat it
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Old 02-23-17, 12:18 PM
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Good strategy RumRunn.

One question, does the Colorado 'rolling stop' apply to stoplights, stop signs, or both?
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Old 02-23-17, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Tanstaafl View Post
First, was it a rolling stop or a stop? There is a difference and you claim you did both. If you are going to court, get your story straight. You give lots of reasons why your actions were the best thing to do. While they make good discussion topics, I doubt they will get you much traction in the courtroom.

I am constantly amazed at the many bike riders who complain they are not afforded the respect they deserve from cars while riding on the roads, saying bikes have as much right to be out there as cars. And I agree, bikes have every right to be on the roads. I then see these same bicycle riders showing no regards for the traffic laws everyone is supposed to follow, with stop signs and red lights being the favorite. I see 30 and 40 bike go through a 4 way stop while cars are waiting their 'turn'. And then the bike riders can't imagine why car drivers get angry.

Traffic laws are a form of etiquette. When everyone follows it, we all get along. When some folks feel they don't have to follow it, that's when you get accidents, road rage, etc.

You broke the law, you got caught. Take your medicine.

One note about fighting tickets. I have not had to go to court in quite a while, but I understand there are cases where those who fight and lose get court costs added to the fine. You may wish to verify this before fighting.

Jeff
the court fee is added on no matter what, I think.

honestly don't remember whether i stopped or rolled (does it really matter? there were no cars crossing). I usually track stand for like a second or two while looking both ways. however, when I'm in a hurry, I do more of a rolling stop.
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Old 02-23-17, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
the court fee is added on no matter what, I think
never paid a court fee but maybe that's cuz I always won?
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Old 02-23-17, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
never paid a court fee but maybe that's cuz I always won?
yea, if you win, you pay nothing, just the time you spend in the ****hole courtroom

I understand my argument would have no traction with a judge or cop. But I'll likely make my case for a jury. They should have some common sense, right?
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Old 02-23-17, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
the court fee is added on no matter what, I think.

honestly don't remember whether i stopped or rolled (does it really matter? there were no cars crossing). I usually track stand for like a second or two while looking both ways. however, when I'm in a hurry, I do more of a rolling stop.
If the cop has you on his dash cam you should know which one it was. If you claim a complete stop, and the cop has dash cam footage to show it was a rolling stop, you have just been caught lying in court and your credibility is shot. Even if it is your word against the cop's, you know who the judge will believe, right?

Jury common sense? You have admitted to going through a red light. Forget common sense, you have to hope the jury ignores the law completely. Even this is possible though. Go look up Jury Nullification.

Or you may just need to hire a traffic lawyer. I understand they know how to work the system to make things go away. It will cost you more $$, though.

Jeff

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Old 02-23-17, 03:46 PM
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anyone have experience with this jury nullification, where they know you broke the law, but the law is bull****, so jury rules not guilty? is the jury ever lenient to a cyclist over minor offenses like this?

I'll try my very best to be polite.
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Old 02-23-17, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
this argument would be presented to a jury, where hopefully the people I select will have some spine. what do you think?
I think you're being naive or silly, maybe both. There is no question that red lights apply to bicycles just like cars and your "safety" argument could be used to allow virtually any traffic law to be ignored. Courts can take into account extenuating circumstances, but you're simply arguing the traffic lights don't apply to bicycles. That's ridiculous.

Fight the ticket if you want as a practical matter as you never know what might happen in a court , but I think they've got you dead to rights and you'll be shot down quickly if you come into the court with this convoluted line of thinking.

- Mark
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Old 02-23-17, 03:55 PM
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there is no jury for traffic court

traffic attorneys work. they have terrific strategies. I paid one $400 to beat a $350 ticket. it took 16 months, but it worked. I still have a clean record
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Old 02-23-17, 04:14 PM
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this one has the option for a jury court.
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Old 02-23-17, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
Here's my defense so far:

- I came to a rolling stop, looked both ways, and proceeded through the intersection safely. I'm a safe rider who yields pedistrians and cars, putting safety first
- it's completely unreasonable to compare a bicycle (0.5 hp) to a car (200 hp), even if that's what the law dictates. many times, the bicycles cannot be detected by the pressure/magnetic sensors. the law does not always correlate with right/wrong
- in many cases, it's safer for the cyclist to run the light, in order to put distance on the cars, whose drivers may be distracted on the phone (funny how people like this get to keep their license, while guys like me get punished). also, because of my slower acceleration, I reduce congestion by getting a head start on the cars, and allowing them more road to pass me later on, whereas if I were to go with the light, I'm holding up traffic and getting honked at by impatient c*nts behind me.
- places like Idaho, colorado, and potentially more in the future, are introducing rolling stop for bicycles, because it makes sense. (counter argument would be that it keeps getting vetoed, but my counter to that would be that law makers are idealists who don't ride bicycles to work)
- the courthouse has no interest in my safety, even though it says it does. rather, it's mostly interested in taking my money and showing their higher-ups how busy they are (they made my friend take a defensive driving class, which was a worthless POS and waste of time)


this argument would be presented to a jury, where hopefully the people I select will have some spine. what do you think?
-did you put your foot down and wait, or just you never fully stop? If you never dismounted and kept rolling at all, then i think this point is moot and you're entire case is boned from the get go.
-you could mention this, but again, it mostly only matters if you stopped and waited. also say it in a more tactful way.
-don't mention any of this, it won't matter, and no one will care.
-bring your local laws if they help you, and relevant laws from other areas - don't start off with a "but in such a such place" whiny voice...
-yeah don't say this either. sass gets you no where but a contempt fine.

again, honestly, if you didn't stop and wait a minute or so for the light to attempt to change, then I think you've got nothing and shouldn't bother fighting it. (unless you can uncover laws that say rolling through the red is legal)
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Old 02-23-17, 05:13 PM
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Am I missing something here ?

Is this a 'signal light' or a 'stop sign' ?

If it is a signal light, why does it matter if it is a rolling stop, complete stop ? A red light only means stop until the light turns green.
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Old 02-23-17, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
..... Despite this, I'm told that if I don't show up, they'll issue a warrant for me.

I'm told that they don't typically dismiss tickets like this. ... I also don't want to pay the fine, because it serves no purpose in improving my safety, .....
Traffic fines aren't about safety, especially not about the safety of the violator. They're simply about enforcement, and hopefully act as a deterrent for potential violators.

If you don't want to pay fines, don't run lights. Or do as I do, and run lights when you think it's safe or OK, with the understanding that an occasional fine is just the cost of doing business.

So, stop crying about it, and decide on what to do. I assume you can plead guilty by mail an pay the fine, so if your time is worth more then the dough involved, do so. OTOH - I never plead, and fight all violations in court, or a the actual practice here in NY outside the courtroom door where the prosecutor will negotiate a reduced fine for a guilty plea.
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Old 02-23-17, 06:55 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
this one has the option for a jury court.
probably just a technicality and no one does that. it just seems too cumbersome. the traffic courts I've been to rip thru cases. when the judge comes in everyone has to have their sh*t together. my lawyers strategy was stall stall stall postpone postpone postpone until they know the cops not there
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Old 02-23-17, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
probably just a technicality and no one does that. it just seems too cumbersome. the traffic courts I've been to rip thru cases. when the judge comes in everyone has to have their sh*t together. my lawyers strategy was stall stall stall postpone postpone postpone until they know the cops not there
it's not a technicality. people actually are called for jury duty if the option is invoked
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Old 02-24-17, 07:23 AM
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Old 02-24-17, 07:26 AM
  #24  
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the officer has discretion to give a verbal warning, a written warning or a citation. proof enough you should fight it. hopefully seeking 2 more objective opinions will get you off
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Old 02-24-17, 07:27 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
it's not a technicality. people actually are called for jury duty if the option is invoked
ok then, call it rare
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