Is it possible to contest a charge of animal mistreatment that is based on misinformation by an anonymous tipster?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is it possible to contest a charge of animal mistreatment that is based on misinformation by an anonymous tipster?

My wife was fined for “animal mistreatment” based on some misinformation from an anonymous tip about how long the dog was left in the car; it is her word against the officer’s. The officer told us that we could contest the charges this week if we wanted to but ,if not, the bond would count as our fine and she would be found guilty in her absence. We volunteer at our local animal shelter and my wife has never had so much as a traffic ticket. Is there any chance that this can be successfully contested?

Asked on November 28, 2011 under Criminal Law, South Carolina

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question regarding violations relating to animal mistreatment.  Every state has their own set of guidelines for the reporting of any animal abuse or mistreatment, as well as their own protocols for punishing this type of behavior.  Some states are stricter than others, and some states have a lower standard for someone to be found guilty of animal mistreatment and abuse. 

However, as in most tickets, such as the one in your case and similar to those in traffic related citations, the officer’s statement is used as evidence to support a citation.  The officer is correct to tell you that you are likely to be found guilty of the charge if you do not appear in court to contest it.  After all, if you are not present to explain to the judge what happened and how the officer is incorrect in his findings, then the judge will only have the officer’s side of the story. 

Although the officer will have credibility with the court, this does not mean that a judge would ignore your position.  Since every state could have a slightly different definition of animal mistreatment and/or animal abuse, there may be different elements that the officer and prosecution need to prove.  If the police officer and prosecution do not meet the burden of proof mandated by the state for this charge, then you will not be found guilty of animal mistreatment.  You always have the right to hire an attorney or appear in court yourself for your own defense. 

 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption