Monday, October 14, 2019

What to say – and not say – at trial

Once you've considered all possibilities, type out what you plan to say, and the evidence you plan to bring with you.
If the officer shows up, I'll attempt to speak with him and ask him to dismiss the case.  My focus will be “I was not talking on the phone”.  Do NOT say “I was texting, not talking” because if I admit to doing something illegal, even if it's not the offense noted on the citation, I can still lose.

If trial proceeds and the officer tells the truth, that I was texting, I will point out that I was not charged with texting, but with talking.  Since the officer didn't testify that I was “speaking or listening”, then I am not guilty of the crime charged, and the case should be dismissed. 

I can also argue the two cases.  For the first case, I need to ensure the officer testifies that I was texting while the car was stopped at a traffic light.  If he doesn't say this, I need to ask him on cross-examination - “Was the car moving when you saw me texting?”  For the second case, I need to ask him - “Did you see what was on my phone's screen?  Could it have been a map?”

If trial proceeds and the officer testifies that he saw me talking on the phone [which was NOT true], I will testify that I have ONE cell phone, produce the bill that includes that date, and point out that it does NOT show that any call was made or received at the relevant time.

If the judge finds my guilty anyway, I have the photo of me and my son, and the actual text message, so I can request leniency in my fine.

I wrote all of this information on paper and brought the pages with me, so I didn't forget.

As it turned out, the officer did NOT appear, so my case was dismissed.  You might say that all this work was for nothing, but it was worth it to be prepared for any situation.

Go forth and fight your own traffic ticket!

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