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Q: Texas traffic citation law ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Texas traffic citation law
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: terry33-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 26 Sep 2003 15:14 PDT
Expires: 26 Oct 2003 14:14 PST
Question ID: 260606
Police officer wrote down the wrong time of day on a school zone
speeding ticket.  The time on the ticket is outside the effective time
of the school zone speed limit.  Is this error enough cause for ticket
to be dismissed?
Subject: Re: Texas traffic citation law
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 30 Sep 2003 11:20 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear terry33-ga;

Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to answer your interesting

“Police officer wrote down the wrong time of day on a school zone
speeding ticket.  The time on the ticket is outside the effective time
of the school zone speed limit.  Is this error enough cause for ticket
to be dismissed?”

Well, it depends. I’ve been in law enforcement for more than two
decades and I have a great deal of insight into such matters. By
policy WE CANNOT OFFER YOU LEGAL ADVICE and I highly recommend you
seek legal counsel if you need to. However, what I can do answer your
question by asking a series rhetorical questions and also providing
the answers to them. I think you'll catch on in a few minutes and find
some of these questions and answers extremely useful:


“Is the time shown on the ticket SIGNIFICANTLY different from the time
in which certain restrictions apply?”

Lets say for example that the time at which drivers should reduce
their speed in the zone from 35 mph to 10 mph is 8AM-3PM, and you got
your ticket at 2:30PM. If the officer recorded 3:30 PM on the ticket
(30 minutes outside the restricted time) then the court may forgive
certain clerical errors and throw out the notion that it should be
dismissed because of a minor clerical error.

If the ticket you got was at 2:30 PM and the officer recorded 7:15 PM,
which happens to be not only well outside the restricted range but
also significantly different from the time he “should” have recorded,
this discrepancy implies an erroneous fact on the part of the officer
and might not be as quickly overlooked by the court.


“Did the officer fill out any kind of arrest form or other
documentation with regard to this violation?”

If so, he may very well have recorded the CORRECT time on these
documents and in doing so suggests that the time on your ticket was
merely an error. Again, the court often overlooks these minor errors
particularly if there are other documents that bear the correct time
and support the excuse that the time on your ticket was just a human


“Since the officer indicated on his ticket that I was outside the time
restrictions for reduced speed, can I claim that his time is actually
correct and that I was ticketed at that time – thus creating an
opportunity for me to have my ticket dismissed?”

Oooh…I wouldn’t risk that. If the officer shows up and has other
documents that support a the actual time, you’ll have to explain why
you lied. This wouldn’t be good for your case, I assure you. 
Additionally, the officer may have discovered this already and he
might show up in court and apologize for the minor error up front. If
he does this the judge may overlook the error entirely. This in itself
would blow your strategy of agreeing with the officer’s incorrect time

A better strategy would be to show up and let the officer get up in
the big chair and swear under oath that his time is correct and then
show supporting evidence that he is wrong. If you can make him out to
appear unsure, incorrect, confused or untruthful about the facts you
are much more likely to win your case.


“But the fact remains that my ticket has the wrong information on it
and if it’s factually incorrect then I should be released of the
charges…shouldn’t I?”

Not necessarily. I completely understand what you mean when you say
“factually incorrect” but the truth is you don’t KNOW for a fact if
the officer discovered the error and made a correction on HIS copy of
the ticket. You see, your copy is merely a receipt and its primary
purpose is to let you know payment and appearance instructions. The
officer cannot change the charges or the court date but he can make
any other corrections or additional notations on his copy as he sees
fit. Having said that, you must understand that The ORIGINAL TICKET
(the white copy that he kept) is actually THE ticket. Yours is nothing
more than a receipt. If the officer discovered and corrected the error
before he turn it in, your claim about a factual error will become a
moot point in a court of law.

On the other hand, if the officer DID NOT discover the error and he
shows up with the ticket that says the same thing yours does, you
might just sit and wait to see if he’s going to testify to the time he
recorded as factual. If he does, and you can prove him wrong, I’d say
in normal instances that this would certainly qualify as a valid
reason to move for a dismissal or perhaps be acquitted.


“Yeah..but I heard this story once that if the ticket contains ANY
errors no matter how minor, you can get your case dropped. What’s up
with that?”

I’m here to tell you that this is not a rumor or an urban legend. It
DOES happen – sometimes. Let me explain this like a business. The
judge is the boss and everyone else is his employees and patrons. He
makes the rules in his court and everyone is bound to abide by them.
In larger jurisdictions where tens of thousand of cases are heard each
year, judges and prosecutors are less tolerant of clerical errors (not
to be confused with factual errors, which are rarely tolerated). If
the judge makes the rule that he’ll “throw out” cases where clerical
errors are found, it makes officers think twice about wasting their
time and the courts time sorting out mistakes. Some judges have a “no
tolerance” rule in their courts, and some don’t. We have no way of
knowing about your court unless you know someone who successfully
moved for a dismissal on this basis and won it.


“Ok, I see your point there but wouldn’t the court assume that if the
officer can’t even get the time right that he might have made a
mistake in his judgment about my speed too?”

Maybe. The only way to know this is to go to trial and put this
suggestion in the judge’s mind. You can actually make this statement
in open court if you want to, as long as you are respectful and
present this suggestion tastefully and intelligently. Judges are no
different than anyone else. They get up in a good mood and they have
days when they are in a bad mood. If a judge wants to set an example
because there has been a lot of publicity or pressure from area
residents about the excessive speed in this zone, the judge may throw
the book at you no matter what you say. If there isn’t a great deal of
pressure and he objectively concurs with your valid point, he may find
in favor of you and grant your request for a dismissal. He may even
admonish the officer to get his future cases in order BEFORE he brings
them into his court. Honestly, a court is as unpredictable as the
weather when it comes to final decisions. Everything can seemingly be
going your way one minute and you can lose your case at the last
minute because of an honest misstatement, nervous hesitation or an
inappropriate grin. There really is no way to know for certain what
the judge will do or how he will react to your suggestion. I don’t
think you can go wrong by making the point though – especially if it
starts looking like you will lose your case using other strategies
(like “I didn’t do it”, “Everyone else was doing it”, “You got the
wrong guy”, etc).


"Is it even worth the errort to bring the error up in court?"

I most DEFINITELY would. You've got nothing to lose by doing so. You
don't have to mention what the actual correct time was or how
different the times recorded are from the time you got your ticket. If
it were me I might strategically say:

"You Honor, with all due respect, this citation indicates that I was
ticketed at 3:30PM. The speed restriction that I was ticketed for ends
at 3:00PM."

SAY NOTHING MORE. Let "HIM" question the officer about this error and
decide what to do next.


Keep in mind that there are several different potential errors that
can appear on a traffic ticket:

Grammatical/clerical errors: 
Misspelling, misstating time/date, misusing terms/phrases, etc. 

Statutory errors: 
Officer charges you with the wrong statue(s), etc

Factual errors: 
Officer records or refers to the wrong location, wrong vehicle
description, wrong measurements, wrong speed, references to the wrong
lanes, etc

Identity errors:
Wrong person’s name on the ticket, wrong license plate number (LPN),
wrong vehicle identification number (VIN) wrong operator license
number (OLN), etc.

Of these, grammatical/clerical errors are the most frequently
tolerated (assuming the judge tolerates them at all) because people
are only human and they do make these types of common errors. The
other errors are not so easily or frequently overlooked because they
play an instrumental role in the issuance of the ticket in the first


I hope you find that my insight and my 20+ years of experience has
provided you with research that exceeds your expectations. If you have
any questions about my research please post a clarification request
prior to rating the answer. 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;


Derived from 20 years experience in law enforcement


“If there are technicalities, such as the officer was out of his
jurisdictional area, he cited the wrong code, or the address is wrong
on the ticket. They are worth trying but don’t expect them to get you
a dismissal except for a jurisdictional issue. If you plan on using
this as your sole form of defense, you may be caught unaware when the
Judge over rules on your motion to dismiss, simply because of a simple

“An error in a ticket will not automatically result in a dismissal as
the prosecution can move to have the complaint conform to the proofs.
If a ticket is dismissed due to an error the dismissal is without
prejudice and is not on the merits. The following material defects
will often result in a dismissal without prejudice; no signature by
the officer, incorrect identification of the respondent, failing to
specify the traffic offense, failing to specify the location of the
offense, failing to specify the date of the offense or using an
incorrect date.”





Google ://






Each of the search terms and phrases were used alone and alternatively
in conjunction with the search term “TEXAS”.
terry33-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Very thorough and on point.  Covered in a way that makes going back
for clarification unnecessary.  Very good advice.

I am very impressed with Google Answers.  To be able to get answers to
specific questions like this is nothing short of remarkable!

Re: Tip -- I got a good answer, but my tip was included in the
original $25.

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