Originally Posted by WAL
Is it mandatory for you to sign a speeding ticket or can you refuse. I have refused before and the LEO just wrote refused on the ticket. However I got one the other day and refused and was threatened with arrest and towing my bike so I signed. Also is the ticket valid if something is marked wrong or if something was written over as to cover a mistake ? This all takes place in Ohio the Ticket Capital of the US. Thanks WAL
I'll share my opinions, observations, and experiences. If you want legal advice, consult an attorney licensed to practice in your area.
In Texas, a traffic stop for which you receive a notice of violation/ticket/summons/citation is essentially an arrest. Your signature on the citation is not an admission of guilt, merely your promise to appear at the specified location by a certain time. Should you not give your promise in writing, the officer can instanter you and take you before a magistrate. Of course, to do that, they have to book you into the jail and the magistrate will see you within 72 hours.
Taking it a step further, you do not have to be offered the opportunity to give your promise to appear. In Texas, you can be instantered for almost
any moving violation except speeding or open container. The officer may have to justify this decision to their supervisor after the fact, but you are still going to take the ride.
That said. . . I counsel our officers that the better course of action is to write refused on the citation in the signature block and be done with it. We also tell them not to threaten arrest or impound of a vehicle unless they are fully prepared to do so and are also prepared to articulate why in a written report. There is usually a lot more good that officer can do on the street than he can being stuck transporting some wanker and booking him in.
As for whether the ticket is valid or not, that is a question of fact, and the magistrate is the finder of fact. I have not seen many tickets dismissed solely on such technicalities as this in Texas because the citation is not the charging instrument, the "complaint" is. If the complaint has an error, it can
be corrected and re-filed.
Since I'm offering my personal opinions, let me share this last one with you -- On the side of the road is not the place or time to try your case. Save it for the court. By the time you get there, you'll have some time and distance between you and the event and may likely be in a better position to make your case.