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Posted: 5/2/2001 7:32:56 PM EDT
Hey Guys,
  I have, well I chose to go to court tommorow, For a minor violation, No back light on a boat, at night. It's a longer story than that, But we were actually on our way back to the landing to get the light, and the Warden gave us a ticket. I tried telling them the story, but they didn't buy it... Turns out, they wrote the wrong name on my ticket, They wrote RICHARD, instead of JARED. Can/Should I use this for leverage? I am 19, and pretty shy, Just looking for tips to get me through it, and have it lowered, if possible. I realize the obvios, Dress nice, don't have an attitude. Any other tips you guys can give me?  How will it be conducted? Like traffic court? Just me and the Judge, or what? Thanks!

Link Posted: 5/2/2001 7:48:06 PM EDT
i would suggest telling the court that you were heading back to get the tail light when you were stopped, but he wouldn't listen. this sort of thing usually gets dropped pretty easily. just show evidence that you baught the light when you get back (recipt).
Link Posted: 5/2/2001 7:49:24 PM EDT
Did you fix the light yet?  If so, mention that fact and present a receipt for the parts if asked.  Often the judge will cut you some slack if you have promptly corrected the equipment violation.

Politely and matter of factly correct the name on the citation "for the record".  Don't try to be Johnnie Cochran.
Link Posted: 5/2/2001 7:53:40 PM EDT
Well, We actually forgot it at our truck, The lantern, and made it out about 50 yards, turned back, and it so happened the Warden was there. He was pretty cocky with us, It was a simply light violation, we forgot, not like we were poaching. Is there going to be an officer present? One that was there? Just curious?

Link Posted: 5/2/2001 7:57:36 PM EDT
Don't try to make excuses. Tell the judge politely that you were driving without the light. When you noticed you turned back to shore to get it. He is going to do whatever he wants anyway, so just present the facts and stand back. Main thing I would say is don't try to hide the fact that you are guilty. The judge has to deal with people that do that all day every day. Showing that you know you did wrong and learned will separate you from the average person in there.
Link Posted: 5/2/2001 8:00:27 PM EDT
good luck
Link Posted: 5/2/2001 8:02:39 PM EDT
Jared -

I don't know the first thing about admiraly law, the law of your state, or your particular situation but I'll give it a crack. First off, this is probably a strict liability type violation.  You're presumed to know the condition of your vehicle, and keep it in good operating order.  If it isn't in good operating condition with all the required safety bells & whistles, you're guilty.  The fact that he put the wrong name on the ticket isn't really going to help you either - you are the owner/operator of the boat.  This is however, worth arguing; common sense dictates that there are times when it may be impossible to comply with the safety requirements (like if you're in the middle of the lake when a light blows).  If the light was not working when you took the boat out, you're pretty much toast.  They'll argue you had the opportunity to fix it before going out.  If, on the other hand, it was working when you left, and while you were out, the light went dead, you may have a chance.  If you have any witnesses that can testify the light was working when you left but went dead while you were out, bring them.  It may also help if you were making efforts to alert other nearby boats of your presence in the absence of your warning lights  - like if you had flares or flashlights going so other boats could see you since your lights weren't working.  Just stay calm and make your point.  The worst thats going to happen is that you'll lose and have to pay the fine.

Good luck.
Link Posted: 5/2/2001 8:06:37 PM EDT
Oops.  Just saw your follow up posts when mine went up.  Looks like you might have a problem, but still argue it...its always worth arguing the point.
Link Posted: 5/2/2001 8:40:59 PM EDT
If it's like traffic court you'll be asked to plead guilty or not guilty.
Again, if it's like traffic court and you plead not guilty, the officer must be present for you to be found guilty.
If you plead not guilty and the officer isn't there, an attempt will be made to find him and give him an opportunity to appear.

Link Posted: 5/2/2001 9:22:59 PM EDT
I once had a game warden pull his pistol on me.Over a registration.We put the registration in the battery compartment,and it fell in the gap.The water tight compartment wasn't.We were trying to get it out and he kept getting madder and madder.he finally pulled his pistol.All this over a tubing violation.I got out of the ticket because of the way rhe law was worded.(rear facing observer in a prop driven craft)Plus I got that jerk a little less important job.Good thing he had a decent partner.
Link Posted: 5/2/2001 9:27:18 PM EDT
We had a DNR jackass in NE iowa who I saw hangin at the boat ramp. A friend of mine was backing his boat in. The DNR guy stopped and talked to him while he was uncovering the boat and getting it ready to launch. He got back in the truck and launched it, tied it off and parked the truck. The DNR guy THEN told him his stickers were expired and wrote him up. The ass knew from the beginning but let him launch it so he could write him up.

Link Posted: 5/2/2001 9:58:00 PM EDT
plead guilty.  Where did this happen in WI?
Link Posted: 5/2/2001 10:46:40 PM EDT
Well, if you asked to have him appear as a witness and he doesn't show up, they might cut you some slack.  Or if you didn't request that before, you could try requesting it tomorrow, which would mean you might either get a dismissal or have to come back later.  

Here, many [b]traffic[/b] violations get tossed when the ticketing officer fails to show (about 1/3 the time).  Go early & see how the judge handles other ones, that may give you a clue about what will tick them off or what they are sympathetic to.

If you are asking to question the officer, prepare questions ahead of time but also anticipate thinking of new ones depending on the answers you get.

Did you offer to show the lantern in the truck to the officer & did he refuse to let you show him?  Will you have it with you in court?

If you're going to use the 'remembered after 50 yards, that should have only taken a few minutes.

You could frame that in questions about the time when the officer first arrived, when they saw the boat first go out, when you returned, etc.

However if you took an hour to go that 50 yards & come back, your honest mistake & good intention won't get so much.

It sounds like there were two or more of you.
Your friend going to testify for you?
I don't know who Richard is (you or one with you?) but the name discrepancy makes me wonder if who exactly he was citing if perfectly clear.
Otherwise, it might only help demonstrate the officer was not on the ball.  Unless you had some fake ID, of course.
Above all, don't try to concoct some BS because you have a very good chance of getting caught at it and that will not only tick them off and make things worse, it could also well get you some extra charges.

Good Luck,

Link Posted: 5/2/2001 11:23:46 PM EDT
First be honest, tell exactly what happened.
Second make sure the light works, either bring a receipt for it being fixed or a picture showing it works.
Third pray.
If the guy doesn't show up plead not guilty, if he does show up plead guilty with an excuse and explain steps 1 & 2.
Link Posted: 5/3/2001 7:56:19 AM EDT
Hey guys,
   Leaving in about a half hour! Need some more tips! See, I gave the officer my drivers liscence. ie. Name, phone number etc. NO one I was with is named Richard. I tried to contact the officer, as did my dad a couple times, I am guilty, but we were only out like 3 minutes. It was an honest mistake. We were coming back, regardless, and it just so happened 2 officers were there.

Link Posted: 5/3/2001 11:39:28 AM EDT
Hey guys,
   Ended up paying the fine just paying, and not appearing. Colt100, This happened in Waupaca county, Why do yo ask?

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