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Guilty (of texting while driving) until proven innocent?

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posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 02:28 AM
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'Evening!

I had hoped that all the stories about judicial disregard for due process and the presumption of innocence would become less frequent, but as it turned out, I even get to add my own story to the mix.

My girlfriend just got off the phone with a long-time friend of hers, who told her that she had been pulled over by a police officer while driving home recently. He stopped her for texting while driving, and intended to issue her a ticket for said offense. She told him that she had not been on her phone during any part of the drive, and offered to show him her phone in- and outbox to prove it. He refused, and replied that he had "seen the glow of the phone screen" on her face, and that this was all the proof he needed. So, he went ahead and gave her the ticket for $135, the standard fine in Minnesota.

She wanted to appeal the ticket, for obvious reasons, but was fined for missing the first court date as the police officer had neglected to write the date on her ticket.* As this was not her fault whatsoever, she was given a "discount" on said fine, reducing it to $80.


Long story short, the appeal was thrown out on the grounds that she could have had another phone with her that night, and simply used that second phone for texting while driving.

If your initial thought is that this sounds far too insane and unrealistic to be true, don't worry; that was my first reaction, too. But I have known her for more than three years myself (my girlfriend has known her since elementary school), and neither of us have any reason to believe that she was stretching the truth in any way.

I would like to believe that "innocent until proven guilty" still applied to the judicial process in the USA, but it's getting harder and harder these days.

*Being from Germany myself, I have no idea how these things usually work. But that fine is just a side-note either way.

EDIT:
Would this thread be more appropriate in the "Gray Area?" If so, please take the liberty of moving it. Thanks!
edit on 12-7-2012 by Whipfather because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 02:34 AM
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Sounds like there was no jury option, correct?



posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 02:36 AM
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Originally posted by Numbers33four
Sounds like there was no jury option, correct?



As I said, I'm not terribly familiar with the exact judicial process in cases like these, and I didn't get to speak to her personally. I will, however, be meeting her in person on Friday, and hopefully I will get the chance to ask her for more information about the entire thing.
edit on 12-7-2012 by Whipfather because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 02:37 AM
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All you have to say is " I was looking at my GPS on my phone, I needed directions"



posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 02:46 AM
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Very odd. Texting can be proven to either have been the case or not. Easily verified by the phone contents.

Now there are a bazillion reasons why someone can need to or want to check the phone that are not against the law. Time, location, etc which are no different than checking the radio or the dash board of your car. They are not outlawed as they are not seen as distractions.

This cop needs to be taken to court, have this pushed until it becomes a case.

If these are the facts.

Or else, if nothing is done, each cop that feels the need to up their revenue quota will be charging willy nilly left right and centre, people for texting while driving.

I don't think all is being stated to you on her part, it can be easily proven if she was texting or even accessing her phone to communicate at the time of the charge.

?



posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 02:47 AM
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Please do not take this personally, as I'm not attacking you I'm just sharing my opinion on the matter.

Texting and driving is stupid. Period. My generation (I'm 18) think they are indestructible when they get behind the wheel of a car, and to add insult to injury they can't wait thirty minutes without burying their noses into their phones texting, checking Facebook, etc.

More than a few people have lost their lives due to texting and driving in my area alone (keep in mind, I live in rural Central Illinois), and some of them took innocent lives with them. It's something that really should be taken seriously, in my opinion, and I actually think it's a good thing that law enforcement are stepping up against it (gasp! Someone actually agrees with the police?!) On the same hand, I've also been accused of texting and driving because "the light was on my face" even though it was my friend in the passenger seat who was on his phone. Luckily, the officer was very respectful and understanding. As if I will ever have a "pleasant" encounter with future law enforcement, that's an entirely different topic.

With that said, I know quite a few people who have gotten a ticket for texting and driving, and every single one of them claim to be innocent. Either they were reading a text, checking a missed call, answering their phone, insert more excuses, etc. Every single one of them has claimed that they were not doing anything wrong, but I mean, come on, let's be realistic here.

My point being is that I (personally) believe it's a good thing that cops are cracking down on texting and driving. Believe me, I don't like the police, and after having three officers screaming in my face after writing on their beloved police station in chalk (part of a protest), instigating and evoking a response in me, egging me on and belittling and cursing at me, I lost all respect for the vast majority of officers. It seems like they "good" ones are the ones, but hey, I'm a kid, what do I know?



posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 02:49 AM
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Originally posted by dayve
All you have to say is " I was looking at my GPS on my phone, I needed directions"


If it's been recorded that she says she has not used her phone at all, then to do so would be taken into context. Giving false or misleading to the officer when questioned. Why not say it off the bat? She can't really expect to benefit from saying that she had done so after denying using it at all.

Lapse in memory perhaps, but I don't think this can really be the exact events.

Man I'd hat eto live in Duke County where it seems these things happen all the time... Boss Hog would be rolling in dirty money..



posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 02:51 AM
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reply to post by RomeByFire
 


I agree with you completely. But the premise of the OP is that this was not the case.

Hell, I pull over if my phone rings and it's an important call. People are bad enough on the roads as it is, without having a chin wag with the fingers.. or is that a finger wag?



posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 03:04 AM
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I;ll say as a truck driver, I probably had a few more tickets over the course of a 15 year career than I'm going to break down right now. However, I had two go on my license and only two that I lost. Those are the two I didn't hire lawyers for. Every one I hired an attorney, I won without exception. Period. It cost more though, and that was always the "wink and nod" understanding of how this crap worked. I was going to pay roughly twice what the original ticket was worth...and my attorney was going to pretend like he was special or something while the judge got whatever he got from the whole thing and dismissed or knocked the ticket down to such a ridiculous little thing it never went on a record anyway.

If she'd showed at her first court date? Well... heck, they still would have rolled her. She had no idea what procedure was, her rights in the courtroom or what could or couldn't be done I'd imagine..neither would I. Thats why I hired someone who did and never lost one. It's a crappy system and literally the best money can buy, but it is what it is and it's what we have to work with somehow.

BTW..to someone who asked, no, Jury trials aren't permitted in traffic court. The reasoning as I've read numerous times is that it's an infraction and civil offense or municipal thing, whatever, but it's absolutely not a criminal issue. Never that. That WOULD Constitutionally allow a Jury trial and with traffic cases??
the whole system would grind to a hopeless deadlock with more Juries than Americans exist to fill within a few months. It would be hilarious if it weren't blocked from happening.



posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 03:11 AM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Jurisdictions differ. I have had dozens of tickets in many jurisdictions. Some allow jury for traffic violations and others do not. Attorneys specifically instruct you to request jury trial in those jurisdictions that allow them and this is for obvious reasons.



posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 03:14 AM
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Traffic court is different than normal court for some reason. How they operate depends on your state. I don' really know about it, I've never had a ticket yet. The counter defense they used was ridiculous, it is all about the money.


Traffic court is a municipality's specialized judicial process for handling traffic ticket cases. In the United States, a person who is given a citation by a police officer can either plead guilty and pay the indicated fine directly to the court house, by mail, or in some more urban municipalities, on the Internet. If the person wishes to plead not guilty or otherwise contest the charges, he or she is required to appear in court on the predetermined date on the citation, where they may make their case to the judge, or negotiate with the prosecutor before they are called to appear in front of the judge.


en.wikipedia.org...

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$



posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 03:23 AM
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Originally posted by dayve
All you have to say is " I was looking at my GPS on my phone, I needed directions"


Does that work in the USA? It doesn't in the UK........i know as i tried it, contested, lost in court and got a huge fine for my troubles. Even provided phone records to prove my case but didn't make a difference, they argued i was still not paying due care and attention.

My own fault but it still rankles 3months further on.......



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