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Just got out of court ...

Discussion in 'Stories' started by UberBastid, Jun 26, 2017.

  1. UberBastid

    UberBastid Well-Known Member

    Location:
    N.Cali
    Fighting a red light camera traffic ticket. They wanted almost $800 plus to just pay it off, I figured they may get into my pocket, but I’m not going to make it easy.

    I plead not guilty and had to “post bail” in the amount of $550 in order to fight it.

    I sent a subpoena to the ‘arresting officer’ for ‘any and all records that pertain to the installation, and maintenance of the camera and any of its systems or software.” Also I wanted “any and all operating manuals, installation manuals”, and “details of any software updates, the dates of those updates and the reason for the updates, if any.”

    About a week later I get a letter from the ‘arresting officer’ asking that I contact him via phone. I called and he explained that what I was asking for was a stack of paper (if printed) over 24 inches tall. He asked if I could receive it as a pdf file, I said ‘no’. He asked if I could come to his office and again I said ‘no’. He asked why and I said I wished to stand with my fifth amendment rights and not answer any questions unless his office wanted to provide me with a court appointed attorney. I then confirmed that he had my correct mailing address and terminated the call.

    Court date rolls around and I haven’t gotten my documents. The ADA is there on court date and asks me out to the hall for a ‘quick chat’ before the judge sits down. She said she’d reduce the charge and my fine would be under $100 if I’d plead guilty. I thanked her for the offer and declined. She said, “We both know what you did, that was you driving wasn’t it?” I declined to answer any questions.

    Court convened. I waited about an hour and I was hoping the cop wouldn’t show, but he did. He looked like he was about 17. They were putting down drivers about every two minutes … guilty after guilty. Called my case.

    The ADA showed the picture – that was their entire case. They rested their case and I was offered an opportunity to cross. I pointed out that I had an outstanding subpoena that had been ignored and asked for a postponement to allow the officer a chance to respond. The judge asked me, “Is that you driving the car?” I responded that there was a motion before the bench and “I await a ruling from your honor on that motion.” He frowned at me and granted my motion for a postponement.

    Office Doukie Houser stopped me in the hallway and really tried to get me to admit it was me, and said that if it wasn’t I should tell him who it was. I refused to talk to him off record and without an attorney. And left.

    No other contact from ADA or cops. Next court date rolls around. Same thing, different day. Guilty after guilty. My case is called. ADA shows the pix, it is given over to me for cross. I again point out (to the same judge) that there is an ignored subpoena and this time motion to dismiss. Judge says, “Come on Mr. Smith, it is obvious that you are driving that car and that you ran a red light.” I didn’t say anything as he didn’t ask a question, instead I restated my motion for dismissal.

    He ignored my motion again, and asked (while looking at the picture), “I see an Uber sticker in your front windshield, do you drive for Uber?” I said, “Your honor, I am not here as a witness and will not be testifying, I am here to defend myself against these charges. If I am to be compelled to answer questions I would like to have a court appointed attorney to advise me, as is my fifth amendment rights.” He looked at me with his sternest ‘judge’ look. And I added, “and I am waiting for a ruling on my motion, your honor. The arresting officer has had ample opportunity to respond ...” He interrupted me, put his hand up in a 'stop' motion. I shut up in mid sentence.

    He said, “You have been given the opportunity to view the records you asked for, and you have not taken advantage of that. I am denying your motion for dismissal. Do you want to present a defense, or should I make a ruling?"

    I thought for a second and I said, “The issue of my being given an opportunity to see the records has not been brought up in court your honor, and it is therefore not a matter of record. I am curious as to how you know this information.” An awkward silence descended on the court room. You could have heard a pin drop.

    Judge leans forward and says, “You are wasting this courts time. Present your defense or I will make a finding right now.”

    I said, “I don’t have anything to defend your honor. The prosecution has not presented anything to this court except a fuzzy picture of somebody in my car. I am not being allowed due process, there has apparently been ex-parte communication between the DA’s office and your office, and evidence to prove my innocence is being purposefully withheld. I fully intend to appeal an unfavorable decision by you. And again, I restate my motion to dismiss.”

    The judge turned red. Seriously red. I thought he was going to stroke out. There were veins bulging in his neck. I just knew I was going to jail. He yelled, yes yelled. “I have already ruled on that motion MR SMITH, and if you bring it up again I will find you in contempt of court. Do you understand the ramifications of that, MR. SMITH?”

    Before I could answer that I did, the ADA stood up and said, “Your honor, in the interest of justice The People wish to withdraw our complaint and join with the defendant in requesting a dismissal.”

    Judge took a deep breath, sat back down and said, “As you wish, case dismissed. Five minute break.” And stood up and left quickly.

    I turned around and the whole courtroom, every person in there was smiling from ear to ear. As I left I got two fist bumps, and a high five and someone muttered “brass balls”.

    I should get my $550 back in about ten days. Intend to take wifey out on the town with it. Dinner, theatre, drinks and, yes, an Uber ride home.
    Mebe I'll even get lucky.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  2. sirius black

    sirius black Active Member

    Location:
    Cincinnati
    Driving:
    UberSELECT
    Only thing missing were two "Yewts." Great story !
     
  3. Mears Troll Number 4

    Mears Troll Number 4 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Orlando-ish
    Driving:
    Taxi
    That takes huge brass ones...

    But you have them on record (everything in court is recorded) of having no viable explanation for something EXCEPT Ex parte communication.

    Their misdeeds was your only saving grace.
     
  4. UberBastid

    UberBastid Well-Known Member

    Location:
    N.Cali
    I don't believe that to be true.
    I don't think they could prove that it was me behind the wheel.
    It didn't look like me.
    I am much better looking than the old fart in that car.
     
    Rakos, AllGold, wk1102 and 3 others like this.
  5. swingset

    swingset Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    Driving:
    Lyft

  6. NorCalPhil

    NorCalPhil Well-Known Member

    That post deserved a commercial break in the middle.
     
    Jtdub, popcollar2014 and Ms.Doe like this.
  7. Dmc04005

    Dmc04005 New Member

    Location:
    Connecticut
    Your right to an attorney is afforded under the 6th amendment.
     
    Back it up Uber and tohunt4me like this.
  8. Mears Troll Number 4

    Mears Troll Number 4 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Orlando-ish
    Driving:
    Taxi
    Was your car reported stolen?
    No?

    OK then, give us the name, address and ect of the driver and we will send THEM a ticket.
     
  9. Disgusted Driver

    Disgusted Driver Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Raleigh
    Driving:
    UberSELECT
    I could just as easily say , I loaned the car to john but I obviously have no idea who was driving since I wasn't there. They can't compel you to testify.
     
    tohunt4me likes this.
  10. KellyC

    KellyC Well-Known Member

    Location:
    sc
    Driving:
    UberX
    Good job!!
     
    tohunt4me and Jagent like this.
  11. observer

    observer Moderator Moderator

    Location:
    long beach
    You should hang out your lawyer shingle. Great job!
     
    tohunt4me likes this.
  12. Jagent

    Jagent Moderator Moderator

    Location:
    Kentucky
    I wish everyone would do what you did.
     
    Uber Crack, Ms.Doe and tohunt4me like this.
  13. tohunt4me

    tohunt4me Well-Known Member

    Location:
    new orleans , la.
    Dont EVER go to that court again !

    They will TERMINATE YOU WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE !

    You give the others " Ideas".

    You disrupt the money making machine.

    They will nail you to a cross and hang you by the nails in the hot sun.

    Beware.

    Public defenders cut pleas at lunch and at the golf course.

    Your case is decided before you have a day in court.

    If you do not accept the deal, you are
    " punished".

    All but the cheesiest public Defenders belong to the same country clubs as the judges.

    Didnt that guy look like the Valet at the resturant ?
    What was the time stamp on that picture again ?
     
  14. AuxCordBoston

    AuxCordBoston Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Boston
    Where did you learn how to navigate the criminal justice system?
     
    Lantawood and tohunt4me like this.
  15. UberBastid

    UberBastid Well-Known Member

    Location:
    N.Cali
    I did some research on line. Talked to a legal assistant who helped with the subpoena.
    The one thing that I learned that helped the most is that once you invoke your right to remain silent (fifth amendment) if you answer a judges question, JUST ONE, then you have given up your right to remain silent. You can't choose which questions to answer - you truly cant answer any. "Are you an Uber driver?" was an attempted trap. A seemingly harmless question would have hurt me a lot.

    Other tips I got was to think very carefully before you say anything. There is no do-overs. If you don't know what to say, say nothing.
    Also, don't talk to the cops, ever.
    Don't talk to the DA, ever.
    Dispute everything.
    If you get really stuck, ask for a continuance, make up a good reason. Allows you to do research.
    Make motions; before and after the trial.
    Send subpoenas. Lots of them.
    Don't allow anyone to bully you.
    And, never, ever pay a ticket without fighting it.

    And, yes, sixth is the right to an attorney.
     
    njn, Trafficat, Jagent and 1 other person like this.
  16. wk1102

    wk1102 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    treasure coast fl
    nice job!

    They put some old dude's picture on my driver's license, maybe it's the same guy....
     
  17. PTUber

    PTUber Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Minneapolis
    Driving:
    UberX
    I get that its great to fight "the man" but for all the time you spent fighting this was it really worth it when you could of had the fine reduced to less then $100?
     
  18. rhodytarheel

    rhodytarheel Active Member

    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    This is pretty awesome. I've only had the misfortune of going to traffic court twice in my 25 years of driving, and the two judges I have witnessed have come across as real jerks. Talking down to people, agreeing with the DA at all times, etc. If only more people like you knew their rights and have the cajones to exercise them.
     
    Trafficat likes this.
  19. Carbalbm

    Carbalbm Active Member

    Location:
    SF
    This is not true in this case. You only have the right to an attorney when charged with a crime that carries a substantial risk of jail time, usually at least one year. In this case, his fine was $800 and no risk of imprisonment.
     
  20. SailingWithThe Breeze

    SailingWithThe Breeze Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Best story on UP in 2017. You would make Saul Goodman proud!
     

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