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Do police officers ever forget or not "turn in" traffic tickets they write up?
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Do police officers ever forget or not "turn in" traffic tickets they write up?

Let's say I got pulled over for an illegal u-turn and was given a ticket, but never received the fine in the mail...and when checking online, it's not being found. The clerk I call later (before the supposed court date) says that the officer maybe late in turning it in, so I should call a few weeks later (and that my court date will probably be pushed to a later date). After checking a month later it's still not showing up in the records. Hypothetically speaking, of course, should I still be worried about the ticket?
Additional Details
**If I never got a fine in the mail, I wouldn't even know how much I need to pay...


El Scott
Call the agency of the officer that wrote you the ticket. Speak with a supervisor and explain that you got a citation and it is not showing up in the system. Tell him you have been checking for it for a while now and you're afraid it is going to suddenly pop up some day and you are not going to be aware of it and your license could get suspended. See if the supervisor can light a fire under the guy that wrote you the ticket and either turn it in, track it down, or have it dismissed for you so you can stop worrying.

I have forgot to turn tickets in once in a blue moon. It's rare but can happen. We don't have quotas, that is an urban myth. Like I said talk to the issuing agency, if it isn't at the clerk's office then try there.

Howard L
I believe all the tickets in a police officers folder have serial numbers on them and he must account for all of the missing numbers. If anything it is more likely a clerk failed to enter the ticket in the system rather than the officer forgot to turn it in.

The ticket you received probably has a court date on it and when you signed for the ticket you agreed to appear on the specified date or make other arrangements. My guess is that if you appear on the specified date the case will be dismissed if they don't have their copy.

leslie S
Handwritten tickets have problems. More an more departments are going to computerized, typed systems.
An officer pulls the ticket out of your book,leaving a copy, and he turns it in. It can get lost on the way by the officer, by a clerk at the station, by a county clerk or anywhere along the line. Or the officer can forget there is a written ticket in his book until some clerk notices that the number sequence is screwed up and sends you (and your boss) a note. Some cops get suspension days over losing tickets or anything else, it is a court complaint after all.
The other problem is that sometimes it cannot be read. In most places you get the second copy and the courts get the first, but handwriting is not always good.
If your ticket shows up after your court date most places just mail you info on a new date.
When my department went to computer system they spent 2 years trying to clean up the back log of messes.
Thousands of screw ups not previously detected were found. To get rid of everything they had a general semi amnesty. Some were 15 years old.

Not generally, but it does happen.

Your fine is usually on the ticket, however if you didn't pay it and you can go to court, I would object to any continuance within 10 days in writing and ask them to throw the case out. They can't just pull that act unless you let them get away with it.

You show up if you don't get a continuance in the mail. Then you ask for a dismissal.

If you do get a continuance in the mail you should ask the court not to allow it and to dismiss the case, which they have an obligation to do!

I would wait until it's closer to the deadline to pay the ticket. The Officer turns in the tickets at the station. The court liaison at the station then has to deliver the tickets over to the traffic clerk and each department varies how often they make delivery trips to the court house.

Brandi C
I could see that happening. It really depends on the procedures in your area. Evidently they don't give you a court date or fine amount on your ticket. You should check your ticket to make sure there is no fine amount listed and no court date. If not, if it was me, I would just keep checking with the court and not worry about it if they never notify you of a court date or fine amount. If you really want to be ethical, you have 2 options. You could call the police department that the officer works for and ask for a supervisor, tell them what happened and ask them what you should do. Or, you could call the court and ask for the next traffic court date, then go and ask to be put on the docket when you get there. Show the judge your ticket and tell him/her that you don't think the officer ever turned it in because you have not been notified. They might be very generous with you because of your honesty. This could result in the ticket being thrown out, lowered to a lesser offense, or in getting your fine lowered.

Where I am, officers have to write a court date and fine amount on the ticket. You can either pay the fine or show up to court on that date/time. If you don't show up you can face legal consequences. If, when you do go, the officer has not entered the ticket they will just add you to the docket for that day and proceed as normal.

i wouldnt think so. the more people a policeman catches breaking the law, the more attention he gets from the chief and is more likely to get promoted

el' Robo
Your best hope is this: (Ive had plenty)
About 30% of the time if you plea not guilty, even if for a lame reason. Say you just think you were not going that fast or whatever. The officer will not show in court to dispute. They have to take time to schedule it and actually show up at the judges office.

no, generally they have a quota...I know state cops do.
--on the ticket it should give you the court date...make sure it says "traffic ticket" and not "written warning".

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