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Q: DUI charge ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: DUI charge
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: depressed123-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 16 Nov 2006 12:29 PST
Expires: 16 Dec 2006 12:29 PST
Question ID: 783333
What happens if the name on the summons, arrest warrant is not my true
given name - ie not the first name on my birth certificate/passport? 
Police assumed my first name was a longer version of what it really
Subject: Re: DUI charge
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 16 Nov 2006 13:41 PST
Dear depressed123-ga;

Thank you for allowing me to answer your interesting question. Having
spent many years in professional law enforcement I?ve seen this
situation occur from time to time. Generally speaking if the summons
identifies you by correct date of birth and/or driver?s license
number, etc, the fact that the summons says, for example, MIKE Allen
Jones instead of MICHAEL Allen Jones will usually have no impact on
the validity of the charge; in other words this is not typically a
reason for dismissal in most courts.

On the other hand most judges have their own feelings about such
errors and demand strict accuracy in their courts. In some
jurisdictions for example courts will occasionally throw out a minor
traffic case where there is a substantive error on a summons in an
effort to encourage the law enforcement officers to pay more attention
to detail. Other courts only practice this punitive measure when an
error occurs on relatively minor traffic summons but not on more
serious offenses like DUI where a potential conviction can warrant
jail time.

The issue of whether the name MIKE Jones on the summons was merely a
clerical error (sometimes called ?acceptable error?) on the officer?s
part or whether the incorrect name presents a critical error in that
the summons technically identifies someone other than you is to be
determined by the Judge presiding over the case. If the court in which
your case is being heard has a history of throwing our cases upon
notice of such an error you certainly have reason to bring it up.

Frankly, even some sources that offer loads of advice for handling
traffic tickets say that the ticket error defense is a lost cause from
the outset:

?The Cop made a mistake on my ticket. Color wrong, name misspelled,
etc. Should I fight it? Don't bother. Unless the person and vehicle on
the ticket are CLEARLY not you at ALL, in which case why do you have
the ticket, this falls under the category of "allowable error" Let's
say the ticket spelled your name wrong and described your yellow Jetta
as Blue. The Judge is just going to ask you if the ticket is yours. If
you lie to this man I PROMISE you, you'll be sleeping with Bubba that
night. Just treat it as if the cop got all the info correct. Now, I
will say this. There are some jurisdictions that are pretty fussy
about having the paperwork filled out correctly. If in doubt, just
pick up the phone, call a local lawyer whose yellow page ad says that
he deals with tickets, DUIs and such, and ask him if the flaw on your
ticket in particular is fatal. Lawyers generally don't mind answering
a quick question like that. If he says it is, you may want to consider
hiring him to get your ticket thrown out. You can usually get them
cheaper when it's a slam dunk. This is pretty much the only time I
advocate hiring a lawyer for a regular speeding ticket.?

Remember, in this day and age the officer will probably also have
video to support his contention that it was indeed YOU that he
arrested so in your case the argument that you are MICHAEL and not
MIKE is probably going to be irrelevant when they have your car
license number, your driver?s license number and your smiling (or
frowning) face on video. Finally, if you signed the summons in your
ACTUAL name the ticket does in fact bear proof (endorsed by you) that
YOU are the person who received it and by signing your actual name you
have effectively corrected the error for the court yourself. If you
signed the summons under the erroneous name the officer allegedly
wrote on the citation then you could theoretically be held accountable
for criminal impersonation for signing a document under a name not
legally your own IF you insist that the person on the summons is not
you. Questioning the officer's accuracy on the ticket and raising the
presumption that the person depicted on the summons is not you will
immediately turn the tables back on you. Why? Because the questions
will then become:

-- Are you the person referred to on the ticket? 
-- If the answer is YES then you've ruined your own defense strategy
since there are SEVERAL other means of clearly identifying you (DL#,
Car license #, video, your valid signature, etc).
-- If the answer is NO, then whose signature is this that you signed
to the ticket? (criminal impersonation, falsifying a document, etc)

You see what I mean? Bringing this issue up is a very sharp
double-edged sword that forces you to choose one position or the other
IF you choose to pursue the issue as a defense. A clever prosecuting
attorney will see this coming from a mile away and will corner you on
this before you know what hit you.

It's one thing for an officer to put the wrong charge, the wrong
drivers license number, etc. on a ticket, but it's not much of a fatal
error when the officer uses a common variation or even a misspelling
of a portion of a defendant's name on a summons. From my experience
this is an acceptible error and because of that it would probably be
safer for you to focus more on defending your DUI charges than wasting
energy attacking the handwriting on the ticket. Doing otherwise could
potentially open a very compromising and embarrassing can of worms for
you that you may not be prepared to address.

Lastly let me say this: Our answers here are not intended to
substitute for legal advice. A licensed attorney will know if the
courts in your jurisdiction have a history of dismissing cases where
errors occur on traffic tickets. If you check the lawyer referral
section of your state?s Bar Association web site you may be able to
find an attorney who offers free or low cost initial consultation and
you can ask him or her how the local courts historically handle such
things. This way you could learn the chances of such a defense without
actually having to hire an expensive lawyer ? yet.

I hope you find that my answer exceeds your expectations. If you have
any questions about my research please post a clarification request
prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating and your
final comments and I look forward to working with you again in the
near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.

Best regards;
Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher


Defined above



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Acceptable error

Subject: Re: DUI charge
From: ubiquity-ga on 16 Nov 2006 12:37 PST
The question is, does it sufficiently identify you? I would guess the
answer is yes.

Your defense would be a 4th amendment violation of due process.  That
is not your correct name on thesummons/warrant so you had no notice
that it was you.  Though if this sit he case, they may very well issue
a new one to you that correctly identifies you.

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