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Can a police officer write you a ticket without witnessing the violation?
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Can a police officer write you a ticket without witnessing the violation?

About two months ago I was in the travel lane of a two lane highway in northern Massachusetts. I passed by an ambulance and noticed the right lane was ending in a 1/2 mile. Eager to get ahead of the other cars, I sped away in the right lane. As my lane ended, it became the shoulder and I managed to pass 2 other cars. I merged back onto the now one lane highway and got off on my exit. A short time later I noticed the ambulance that I had passed on the highway now had it's lights on. I pulled over with the rest of the cars and he parked right in front of me to block me from moving and told me to stay right where I was.

About five minutes later, a local police cruiser appeared behind me with his lights on. The officer stepped out of his car and spoke to the EMTs. Then the EMTs got back in the ambulance and drove off. The police officer said that he had two witnesses to me passing in a no passing zone. He wrote me a $100 ticket. My question is, is it legal for him to write me a ticket?


nikola s
of course YES

mike g
yes its legal


go to traffic court and tell the judge why you were passing in a no passing zone and how you should have not been charged and if he thinks your excuse is good enough,he will throw it of court other wise pay the fine and thank god nobody was hurt.P/S,good luck! and keep us posted as to what happens?

matt b
Yes. How do you think they assess tickets after an accident?

Off hand I'd say, this is inappropriate action by the police, since they did NOT see the actual offense. I wouyld talk to a lawyer.

Sure, a cop is a officer of the law and can accuse anyone he wants of a crime. Also any person can be a witness to a crime and report it to a cop. BUT the witnesses will have to be in court to tell the Judge what they saw. Don't pay that ticket! Plea not guilty and request a trial by judge. The cop can only testify to what the emts told him. They will have to come to court to tell what happened. Odds are they wont take the day off to come and do that so the Judge will have to dimiss your charge.

Yes it is legal. This is more commonly known as a citizens arrest, even though you were never put into handcuffs and taken to jail.

If I were you I would be more upset with the ambulance driver than the cop. They used their lights and siren when there was no emergency!?!? This is against policy for most, if not all, police departments. They technically pulled you over without the authority to do so. I would consider contacting the ambulance company and making complaint.

Yes it is legal for him to write it because same thing can happen with school buses. If a school bus driver reports a car for not stopping when the bus stopped then that car can get fined too. Just fight the ticket. Go in and tell the court that you DID stop for the ambulance and you think they have you confused with another car (same make, model, or color) that was in the area too. Just act completely innocent and the ticket may be dropped or reduced if you fight it (but you may have to take time off work so if you cant just pay it).

in most situations they wont write tickets without witnessing, however there are exceptions....

accidents, and violations that were witnessed by ambulance or fire truck drivers.

sounds like what happened to you was rare, but legal.

citizens arrest, that all folks shows over.

Yes it is legal see;
Read the first paragraph in particular where it states "where an infraction is brought to the attention of the officer."

As the 20 day window to apply for an appeal has passed I will assume that you did not request an appeal. Which is too bad. You certainly could of beat it by simply asking if the officer had seen you passing and when he replied that he had not you would then ask if he brought in his wittness and of course no one is going to come in for that so you most likely would of been found not responsible.

You're toast, and it's your own fault for driving like an idiot.

Besides the EMT's, anyone with a cell phone could have called it in, and been a witness. One of them might have even been an off duty cop. You never know.

If you're going to drive, with the stupid-gear engaged, then you deserve what happened.

Lacey M
Every state has its own laws. but yes you can have a ticket issued when the officer wasnt there to see it. I f a witnessed sen you & called it in, & then stated it was you then you are busted. Jst like anyone can call your tag number in & say you were doing something if they catch you & see you dong that then again busted. You need to stop being an idiot on the roads & be careful. Dont just think about yourself there are other people on the roads to. You can cause a wreck not only hurting yourself but someone else that didnt deserve it

Yes, it is perfectly legal for the officer to write you a ticket based on the statements of a witness.

Secondly, stop driving like an idiot and we'll all be safer. If your illegal actions resulted in an accident in which someone was injured or killed, that ticket would be the least of your problems.

You sound like the typical American, trying to avoid responsibility for your actions.

King of the Road
not in california. the violation has to be commited in the officer's presence, except for a few exceptions and this isn't one of them. check the laws as they apply to powers of arrest in that state.

yes its legal... and im glad the ambulance was there to witness your horrible driving. its people like you that cause fatal accidents on the highway.
you can go to court and try to fight it.... but all the judge has to hear is why you got the ticket in the first place, and you will be paying court fees on top of the ticket fee.

Sadly, yes.

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