Must the actual officer who wrote a ticket appear in court?

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Must the actual officer who wrote a ticket appear in court?

I received the red light camera ticket. On the ticket that they sent me in the mail, it’s signed by a police officer with a badge number. I went to court and pleaded not guilty, however the police officer who was present was totally a different officer. Is that legal? Why is it that when a police officer doesn’t show up to court, they drop all charges but when the police officer signing the ticket doesn’t show up they could replace him/her with another officer?

Asked on November 14, 2018 under General Practice, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

A red light camera ticket is not based on the personal knowledge or observations of the ticketing officer, like the typical speeding or careless driving ticket it: the officer is not a witness to the red light violation, but rather simply signs the ticket in an "administrative" or "technical" capacity. The camera footage is the proof the violation. Because the officer is not a necessary witness, they don't have to dismiss if he is unavailable; they can prove the infraction with the footage, and any officer without a familiarity with the camera and process can appear.


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