Legal Question in Traffic Law in Texas

traffic burden of proof question

Hello, I was recently written a citation for speeding. I was not speeding and have a witness to confirm this. I asked the officer if I could look at his radar reading, and he said no. He then told me I could get a copy of his video tape from the court and view it myself. I was okay with this because I knew I wasn't speeding. A few days later I am told there was not a video tape all along. The court will not dismiss the citation and I am forced to go to jury trial. He did not show the radar screen to anyone and there were no witnesses to support his story. Since I did not get a chance to examine the only real evidence (the radar reading) does this mean I've been denied my rights to due process? I feel like the officer suspected me of drinking and driving, but once he saw that I wasn't he created a crime to justify the traffic stop. Doesn't he need physical evidence and/or witnesses to support his accusation? There is nothing except this radar reading that no one else can confirm accurate. I could not go into a police station and say I saw a person speeding and get them to issue a citation, they would laugh at me! Please advise me on this situation.


central Texas

Asked on 1/15/01, 8:38 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Gerald R. Yoakum The Practice of Gerald R. Yoakum, P.C. A Full Service Law Firm

Re: traffic burden of proof question

Find yourself a lawyer that is not afraid of a

jury trial and will not charge you a ton of money

I have tried and beat traffic stops before when

the officer will not let you see the radar reading

of the serial number on the gun. The reason being

that when your attorney asks to see the records

of the last time the particular radar gun the

police can not now prove which gun it was.

The problem is the cost of taking a case like this

to trial is usually not cost effective so people

just plea out. Worst case you can ask the DA to

agree to a deferred adjudication and the ticket

will all go away in about 90 days.

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Answered on 2/01/01, 5:44 pm

Charles Aspinwall Charles S. Aspinwall, J.D., LLC

Re: traffic burden of proof question

At trial it is the obligation of the govenment [police] to prove you guilty of speeding beyond a reasonable doubt. How they attempt to do this is up to them.

You need not testify, but if you and your witness chose to do so, the credibility of all witnesses will be called into question.

The Court will make a decision based upon witness credibility in the absence of any other evidence.

You may advise the court that you were denied the opportunity to observe the radar fix and/or a video of the stop, but you have no legal right to have either if the officer decides not to let you.

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Answered on 1/30/01, 12:01 pm

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