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Joseph
Joseph, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 7280
Experience:  I have 15 years experience in criminal litigation including several years as a felony prosecutor
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I was pulled over in Lakewood NJ for not coming to a complete

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I was pulled over in Lakewood NJ for not coming to a complete stop at a stop-sign.
I had a warrant out for my arrest from that SAME town for an unpaid ticket from 1-2 years before. However, the police officer did not arrest me nor mention the warrant at all. He just gave me 2 tickets. Since then I have cleared the above mentioned warrant.

I now have to go to court for the stop-sign ticket.
My question is, can I go to court and tell the judge "Your Honor, there is reasonable doubt of the fact that I was the person driving, because if it was I who committed this offense, I would have been arrested! The fact that there is no record of an arrest should be solid proof of that fact." (Obviously, I would not perform perjury on the stand. I would present it to the judge as a theoretical question, merely asking if there is reasonable doubt.)

Unfortunately, I don't see that working. I would suggest that you have a couple problems with the argument....

 

You said, "I would have been arrested." Well, actually, whoever it was, whether your or not, should have been arrested. If the police officer had done a warrants check and found the warrant, he would have arrested the person he had stopped, whether it was a case of mistaken identity or not.

 

Further, the judge would surely follow up your theoretical question with an actual and direct question, "Was that you driving the car?" Unless you were willing to commit perjury, you would, of course, have to answer truthfully and state that you were the driver of the vehicle.

 

And, of course, the officer should be present to testify. If so, he will be asked to identify you and, I suspect, he will do just that, identify you as the driver of the vehicle that he stopped.

 

 

Also, several customers have asked how they may direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to assist you in your legal matter, just put "FOR JOSEPH" in the subject line and I will gladly pick up the question as soon as I am on-line.

Joseph and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi Joseph,

Thanks for your quick response.

 

In response to paragraph one:
You're right, in that case can I move to dismiss the case on grounds that the officer did not follow proper procedure? (providing that a warrant check is required)

 

(Or, to refute your suggested issue, I can offer the explanation to the Judge that the officer pulled over someone else and he ran through the system ok, however, when writing out the ticket, wrote out the wrong person's information. (I dont intend to use this last theory because its VERYfar fetched, but a Judge might rather go with that theory, than admit an officer didn't follow procedure.))

 

In response to paragraph two:
The Judge will most definitely follow up with said question, to which I assume I have the right to plead the fifth? Or in a more effective (and brazen) way, respond that it is the prosecutions job to prove any guilt, not mine.

 

In response to paragraph three:
Yes the officer will be present, but he can only testify as to what his notes say. I don't recall what he looks like, so we can assume he won't remember what I look like! So by him identifying me in court, by means of his report and not memory, my claim would still stand.

 

Sorry for the delay, I was experiencing some technical difficulties. Regardless....

 

 

In response to paragraph one:
You're right, in that case can I move to dismiss the case on grounds that the officer did not follow proper procedure? (providing that a warrant check is required)

 

  • No, whether or not he searched for a warrant has no bearing on 1) whether you failed to stop or 2) whether he properly issued the citation.

 

 

 

(Or, to refute your suggested issue, I can offer the explanation to the Judge that the officer pulled over someone else and he ran through the system ok, however, when writing out the ticket, wrote out the wrong person's information. (I dont intend to use this last theory because its VERYfar fetched, but a Judge might rather go with that theory, than admit an officer didn't follow procedure.))

 

  • I'm inclined to agree with you, I think writing "out the wrong person's information" is highly improbable and not likely to be believed by the judge.

 

 

In response to paragraph two:
The Judge will most definitely follow up with said question, to which I assume I have the right to plead the fifth? Or in a more effective (and brazen) way, respond that it is the prosecutions job to prove any guilt, not mine.

 

  • You can either testify OR plead the fifth, you can't selectively plead the fifth. So, you choice would be to testify to everything or testify to nothing. If you plead the fifth on any question, all of your other testimony will be disregarded.

 

 

In response to paragraph three:
Yes the officer will be present, but he can only testify as to what his notes say. I don't recall what he looks like, so we can assume he won't remember what I look like! So by him identifying me in court, by means of his report and not memory, my claim would still stand.

 

  • There is some argument to be made that he won't remember your exact appearance. However, I suspect he will state that you provided your driver's license and he confirmed your identity through the use of the license. In other words, there is no compelling argument that it wasn't, in fact, you that was stopped by the officer.

 

 

 

Also, several customers have asked how they may direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to assist you in your legal matter, just put "FOR JOSEPH" in the subject line and I will gladly pick up the question as soon as I am on-line.