If you go to court for speeding ticket and the officer doesn’t show up, do you get out of the ticket?

Asked on August 10, 2015 under General Practice, Iowa

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

IF that was the trial date. However, many municipal courts do not do the trial on the first appearance date: instead, the first date is an opportunity to speak with the prosecutor, try to strike a deal, and enter a plea; if you do not plead guilty (e.g. to a lesser offense--they usually, but not always, will offer you some more favorable deal), then the court will schedule a second date for the trial. It would then be at that second date that the officer must appear.

Furthermore, the courts will typically adjourn (or more to another date) a case, even if it's the date of trial, if the officer has some good reason (illness; a shift his supervisor would not let him out of; a previously scheduled vacation or doctor's appointment; etc.) for not appearing, so even if that's the day the officer should have shown up, the state will often get another chance to bring him/her back later.

So, in summary: the officer not appearing for trial would result in the case being dismissed for lack of evidence, but it's rare that happens, since the trial date is often not the first date, and the court will often adjourn if the officer has a good excuse for nonappearance.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

IF that was the trial date. However, many municipal courts do not do the trial on the first appearance date: instead, the first date is an opportunity to speak with the prosecutor, try to strike a deal, and enter a plea; if you do not plead guilty (e.g. to a lesser offense--they usually, but not always, will offer you some more favorable deal), then the court will schedule a second date for the trial. It would then be at that second date that the officer must appear.

Furthermore, the courts will typically adjourn (or more to another date) a case, even if it's the date of trial, if the officer has some good reason (illness; a shift his supervisor would not let him out of; a previously scheduled vacation or doctor's appointment; etc.) for not appearing, so even if that's the day the officer should have shown up, the state will often get another chance to bring him/her back later.

So, in summary: the officer not appearing for trial would result in the case being dismissed for lack of evidence, but it's rare that happens, since the trial date is often not the first date, and the court will often adjourn if the officer has a good excuse for nonappearance.


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