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shurmust
shurmust, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 150
Experience:  I have completed over thirty jury trials in the last three years and teach part-time at a local state college.
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Greetings, I forgot to register my tags. This is a first time

Resolved Question:

Greetings,
I forgot to register my tags. This is a first time offense. However, I got pulled over twice within a week (3-4 weeks after tags expired) while I was waiting for an original copy of the power of affidavit to come to finish the process (car belongs to my fiancee and she is SFO and I am in ATL and DMV did not accept a copy of the affidavit). I have valid insurance as a driver. The second officer impounded the car. I told the second officer myself that I was pulled over earlier. That made him mad that I was still driving and the car was impounded. Honestly, I assumed I had time till my court date from the first officer's ticket to get the tags done, but was unaware that I should not drive the car period. That is my oversight and i strongly regret that; I didnt know better. Anyway, I got the car out immediately after renewing my tags and getting a release form for the car from the cops. So I had two court dates, one for each officer. Turns out the first officer did not turn in the ticket at all and my name was not in the court docket. The clerk gave a proof of court attendance letter stating I cannot get arrested for anything related to the first citation. The second court date is in a week. This is the first time I am going to court and I am a little apprehensive after all this so far. I have two citations for the same offense and the second cop wrote in the fact that I knew I was driving on an expired registration. How bad is this going to be for me? Would it be possible to get both tickets taken care of at once? Should I tell the prosecutor/judge that I came for the first citation but my name was in the docket and thus got a letter from the clerk? It's all been very confusing and I am paranoid that the first citation is suddenly going to popup from somewhere and get me into trouble, and that I might get convicted as the second citation reads that I was aware of the fact my tag was expired....
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  shurmust replied 2 years ago.

shurmust :

Greetings! I am very sorry to hear about your current situation with your citations. I will certainly be glad to help you. First, do you know if the tickets are "criminal traffic violations" or simply "traffic infractions?" The difference between the two are money v. the possibility of incarcertaion (less than a year for each one).

Customer:

Hi this is in the state of georgia, fulton county

Customer:

I believe this is a misdemenaour...however this is my first offense and I have a clean record otherwise

shurmust :

A couple of issues I see from the start and a very big reason why you should consider seeking an attorney. It is entirely possible, that in light of you picking up a second offense, that the Court or the Prosecutor can take you into custody on a "no bond" in light of your two moving criminal violations. I do not practice in Georgia, but I can tell you that is something you definitely need to talk about you. Therefore, in reference to your first ticket, if you are going to attack this by yourself, it probably would not be a good idea to "tip off" the court or Prosecutor as to both cases UNLESS they bring it up. If it is brought up, you should explain that it was dismissed and I would even attempt to get a certified copy of that disposition which states it was dismissed.

shurmust :

Regardless, do NOT bring it up.

shurmust :

However, if the Court ask you, not the prosecutor if you have ever been arrested for this, you should NEVER lie. Tell them the truth.

shurmust :

The reality is in terms of a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst, this crime is probably a one. Certainly it doesn't help that you had two so close, but you can always use that to your advantage (because you were waiting after your first ticket to get the registration complete). I would also make sure you bring proof that the car is currently registered.

shurmust :

That is ALWAYS something positive and favorable in your favor.

Customer:

Hi I was never arrested at any time. And the first ticket was never entered into the system. I have all documentation that my car is registered, with proof of insurance

shurmust :

You don't have to be arrested. The ticket itself was a notice to appear in leui of taking you into custody.

Customer:

I dont know what to do with the first ticket. I came to court; name was not in docket, so I got a letter from the clerk saying I came but there are no court records so I cannot be arrested.

shurmust :

It is very common with these types of Misdemeanor's

Customer:

The court date has passed so I dont know if that ticket is just going to be forgotten. with regard to the second tcket next week, how should I plead?

shurmust :

Well, you should certainly make sure you follow up with the clerk to make sure you are notified if a court date should be given. By the way, it does not surprise me that the officer may have lost the ticket.

shurmust :

How you should plead?

Customer:

In georgia these are non moving violations by the way

shurmust :

Okay, remember, this is a misdemeanor with real consequences.

shurmust :

I am not sure how old you are and what you intend to do professionally, but a misdemeanor, whether you are convicted or not, carry collateral consequences.

shurmust :

Almost every job application will ask you about this, and just so you are aware, an employer may ask if you were ever issued a criminal citation, which is an entirely different question than have you ever been "convicted" of a crime? Naturally, even if you weren't convicted you would have to answer the question in the affirmative.

Customer:

Yes I understand...this is the first time I am going to court so I am unsure on what to do....I am hoping that the prosecutor is going to dismiss charges since this is my first offense and that I have completed everything necessary

shurmust :

What I am getting at, is it may be worth spending $500 to $1000.00 to hire an attorney to represent you on this matter (despite what you said to the police officer). The worst case scenario is that you are in the same position you currently are in and that is to go into court and plead No Contest and maybe get fine.

shurmust :

If you never have been arrested and you have a clean driving record, very little may happen. Certainly, you could be placed on probation, which again is another reason why you would want to speak with a local lawyer. You need to understand, this a criminal manner and you need to take it seriously. You wouldn't rent out an operation room at the hospital and perform surgery on yourself? Additionally, when you are shopping around for a lawyer, which is what someone in your shoes should do, it would be wise to ask for representation on both matters, regardless if it ends up getting discovered or not. The last thing you want to have happen is see that ticket pop up again and find yourself walking into a landmine.

shurmust :

In all liklihood, the best case scenario (should you plead as charged) is you are not "convicted" and you may have to pay a fine. That is of course without probation or community service.

shurmust :

Please note, I am not trying to scare you, in all liklihood, everything will be fine, but you need to know EVERYTHING that could happen.

Customer:

So I should not tell the prosecutor anything about the first ticket? The second citation states that I was pulled over earlier for the same ticket and that I knew my tag was expired.

shurmust :

Pleading to a crime will never go away, although you may be able to expunge or seal it (I don't know). But remember, just because you seal or expunge something, doesn't mean a potential employer can't ask you have you ever had a crime expunged?

shurmust :

I see. Then you may be in a little of a rough ride.

shurmust :

Yes. Of course, ONLY if they ask.

Customer:

Okay, I thought an expired tag are fix-it tickets?

shurmust :

Look it, prosecutors and Judges love when defendant's come in and say "I didn't know that" because you are admitting your guilt (in a way).

Customer:

So what do I tell them....that I came one week earlier and that my name was not in the docket as the ticket was not in the system?

shurmust :

If the Court or Prosecutor asks, you have to be honest. Again, this is a reason why you want to consider seeking a local attorney.

shurmust :

Exactly, tell them the truth.

Customer:

So my best option would be to get an attorney?

shurmust :

However, I would try and get some type of documentation from that clerk or something that certifies what you are saying. Unfortunately, because so many people mislead the court and the prosecutor, they have to assume you are not telling the truth, and unless you have something in writing to substantiate what you are telling them they may not take your word for it.

shurmust :

Yes. The best thing you can do is to call around to various attorneys. You would be surprised how cheap you can find someone to represent you on this matter.

Customer:

Yes I have a letter from the clerk clearly stating that I came and that there is no court record with respect to the first citation (officer failed to turn it in)

shurmust :

However, if you can't afford a lawyer, you may be entitled to a public defender.

shurmust :

Great!

shurmust :

If you want to pursue it on your own, just keep in mind, you are pleading to a crime. An attorney may be able to review if the reason the police officer stopped you was valid (regardless of what you said after).

Customer:

So since this is my first offense, I am really hoping that I dont need representation and that the fact that I have completed the renewal would be sufficient to get the charges dismissed....

shurmust :

An attorney is skilled in cross examining officers and certainly negotiating with the Court and the Prosecutor

shurmust :

Also, you may be able to find an attorney to put you on a payment plan.

Customer:

okay great I ll look around then for a local attorney....

Customer:

In your experience how do the majority of such cases turn out?

shurmust :

If someone represents themselves, rarely as good as if someone were to hire an attorney. Nevertheless, with no criminal record and clean driving record, (I don't know your age), but usually a withhold of adjudication (or no conviction), but the fact that you have another one that may be dismissed may change everything.

shurmust :

There may be some community service, a larger fine, possibly probation. Jail, while possible, is unlikely.

Customer:

I am 29 and I have a clean history. Is jail really a possibility?

shurmust :

Yes, it is a possibility, you are pleading to a misdemeanor.

shurmust :

Is it likely, no.

shurmust :

Remember, you need to know EVERYTHING when you go in there so there are no surprises.

Customer:

okay thanks. So given my situation what would you do?

shurmust :

Again, I can not give legal advice. Simply information. With what you are telling me it would very wise to call around and see if you can afford a lawyer. If you go in alone, you may be entitled to a public defender. You may also learn that you can resolve the case without any probation or convictions. However, you need to remember, when you plead to a misdemeanor, that will always be in your background.

shurmust :

I am not saying you will lose out on every life opportunity, but it is something you may have to explain to someone down the road.

shurmust :

Ultimately, you will be okay. I just think it would be wise to call around and get some other opinions.

Customer:

okay thanks for the information. I will look around for an attorney.

shurmust :

Please remember to give me positive feedback so I earn credit.

shurmust :

Thank you. Good luck. Please let me know how it turns out!

Customer:

Okay great...thanks a lot for telling me everything

Customer:

For sure I will keep you posted

shurmust :

Thank you.

shurmust, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 150
Experience: I have completed over thirty jury trials in the last three years and teach part-time at a local state college.
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shurmust
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I have completed over thirty jury trials in the last three years and teach part-time at a local state college.