Tales from the COP side.
Traffic court is usually a snoozer. It always manages to land on my day off and after a midnight shift. I trudge in half asleep and ready to just commit suicide by contempt but there are those gems that make chronic sleep deprivation worth while…
Defenses that didn’t seem to work:
Judge: You are charged with operating a vehicle with improper or unsafe equipment, a blown headlight, how do you plead?
Defendant: Not guilty your honor, I don’t know why the officer wrote me a ticket; he just barely gave me a warning for it a month ago.
Judge: I don’t believe I would have said that; guilty. Doh!
Judge: You are charged with unlawful speed in a school zone, how do you plead?
Defendant: Not guilty your honor, I couldn’t have been speeding I never even saw a school zone…I’ll let you figure out how that ended.
Defenses that shouldn’t have worked but did:
Judge: You are charged with running a stop sign, how do you plead?
Defendant: Not guilty, I know I stopped. I was fighting with my wife at the time and I remember stopping at the stop sign.
Not guilty? Wait, what? Anyway…
Judge: You are charged with driving while license suspended or revoked, how do you plead?
Defendant: Well not guilty your honor I didn’t even know my license was suspended.
Officer: Your honor I charged the defendant with driving while license suspended without knowledge.
Judge: I am going to find the defendant not guilty; I believe that she did not know her license was suspended at the time.
I admit I left scratching my head. You win some you lose some but here are a couple of sure fire ways to lose:
1. Walk into court with a “How to beat a speeding ticket” check list you downloaded off of the internet. Trust me, as a police officer I love to see you coming.
2. Get into an argument with the judge. This is never going to end well. You would be amazed how often this actually happens. Quick aside: The judge is the only person you will probably meet who can throw you in jail for 6 months without a trial. Might not want to piss one off.
3. Show up in a tank top and flip flops, or a shirt that proudly proclaims the infinite manners in which one can procreate asexually. You’re never even going to get through the door. See number 2 for explanation.
The stories you have read are true to the best of my faulty recollection. The names have been changed to protect the naïve.