Can I fight an “illegal backing” citation?

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Can I fight an “illegal backing” citation?

I hit a parked car while moving forward and I was cited for illegal backing by the state police, she just assumed I was in reverse, trying to parallel park. I didn’t realize that she made this assumption until she handed me the ticket and when I got home I googled it. I was never in reverse, my car never went backward.

Asked on January 16, 2016 under General Practice, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Fighting a ticket on the basis that you were moving forward, not backwards, when you hit a parked car is very likely fruitless for three reasons:
1) First and foremost, traffice infractions are regularly changed on the date of trial, to ones which are more appropriate for the situation and/or to allow someone to plead to a less infraction. The prosecutor will likely not dismiss a charge where you hit an unmoving vehicle, but will instead probably offer you a plea to another charge, one which does fit the circumstances.
2) If you refuse to take the plea, they may voluntarily dismiss this charge "without prejudice" and simply re-issue you a new ticket, and under these circumstances, the judge will very likely (even almost certainly) do this. In that case, all that will happen is that you'll have to come back again and do it all over again.
3) If the officer appears in court and insists you were moving in reverse, they will believe her not you--she is a sworn police officer with nothing personally at stake; you are someone trying to escape a moving violation ticket. In my experience, the courts find officers *much* more credible than defendants.
Appearing for trial and trying to negotiate a plea to a lesser offense is likely your best bet, not trying to beat the ticket entirely.


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