I don't know whether the officer did anything wrong or not. All I know is what little you tell me, and there's clearly another side of the story, since you are going to have to appear in court
on the ticket.
If it's as fishy as you seem to think it is the matter should be dismissed when you show up. But my experience has been that once you're either a suspect or a defendant on a criminal
case, you can't trust what the police tell you, since you shouldn't be talking to them at all, and they are lawfully allowed to lie to you and tell you anything they think you might want to hear in order to get evidence to be used against you.
Get yourself a lawyer with criminal and civil trial experience. If you do have a civil case against the police, don't blow your chances by leaving your representation on the criminal case to someone who hasn't been trained for trial work (namely, you). Most people who handle their own defenses lose. And if you're found guilty of anything, your citation, by definition was not unlawful.
An arrest doesn't have to be made at the time an incident occurs, and for the officer not to have done so doesn't necessarily mean that the officer was derelict in his duties.. The state only has to get the charges filed before the statute of limitations runs out. However, South Carolina is a state in which there are no statutes of limitations for either felonies or misdemeanors
. That means that an arrest and prosecution can be lawfully made at any time after an incident
. So the gap in time, even if it helps your case factually, is not unlawful conduct.
Edited by FranL on 9/1/2010 at 3:01 AM EST