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Can an officer change a citation after I've signed it?

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  • Can an officer change a citation after I've signed it?

    A couple of weeks ago I came home to find a note on my door from Animal Control. It said my dogs had gotten out, one had been taken to the shelter and they were unable to capture the other. I immediately went to the backyard to find out how they could have gotten out around a privacy fence surrounded by a chainlink fence on the outside. When I opened the back door there was my other dog. Still not sure how they got out.
    Long story short, we have a leash law here and when I went to pick up my other dog I had to wait for an officer to come and issue a citation for leash law violation. I was fine with that, I knew that if they had picked him up then I had in fact violated the leash law whether intentionally or not.

    Long story short I called to verify the amount of the fine (103.00) and went to pay it yesterday. When I arrived the clerk told me 206.00. When I questioned the amount she pulled the ticket and another officer had written in the narrative section "2 counts". This was not on the ticket I signed, I rechecked my copy. I asked the clerk if they could change a ticket like that after I signed it and she suggestd I go to court.

    I've never been to court before, this was actually the first citation I have ever gotten for anything. I am just wondering if they are actually allowed to do that esp without notifying me. I am not disputing the original citation, I take full responsibility for that. However my other dog was in my yard when I got home so I have no reason to believe she was even out and that was not the citation I was issued. I am just unsure how to handle this and would appreciate any info. Thanks!
    Jess

  • #2
    As always, every state and judge is different. In KS, an officer can amend a citation if he finds a mistake or forgot something. By you signing a citation does not mean that is a final document. That just means that you will pay the fine or show up in court. So yes, the office can ammend the citation if he/she forgot to put two counts on the citation.
    "In God we trust, all others we run NCIC"

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    • #3
      Take the citation to court. Explain it to the judge and tell him how you have no problem with paying the fine for the one dog and if the citation only states its $103 for one dog I'm sure the judge will probably amend it.
      I'm sorry, Bruce. These boys get that syrup in 'em, they get all antsy in their pantsy.

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      • #4
        Thanks! I meant to add I am in TN. I just didn't wnt to be a pain, and am honestly a little intimidated about going to court. I didn't know if I could dispute just part of the ticket. It seemed stranfe to me that it wasn't the officer who wrote the ticket that added to it.

        Thanks again for the help!

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        • #5
          I would do as the others suggested. Judges are human as well and probably will understand. Perhaps a neighbor returned the dog and the Officer actually saw the dog at large, I dunno, but I'd personally go to court and ask.
          sigpic

          I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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          • #6
            Perfectly legal. The only question is, did you do what he amended it to. If you did, pay it and be done with it.

            If what he amended it to is untrue, fight the scoundrel with all your might.
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            • #7
              I don't see how the dog could have been out and gotten back in, honestly she just isn't that bright. The fence is locked so no one could have put her back in. If I knew she had been out also I would just pay it and be done like I was going to pay for the citation for the one dog that was out (we think he jumped the fence he is the much larger of the two).

              I don't want to find a loophole for anything I actually am guilty of, I just don't see how it is possible or understand why they changed it after I called to check the fine. Is the right way to go about it just to ask in court if he actually saw the dog out? I don't know which officer will even be there, one picked up the loose dog, one wrote the ticket and a third ammended it.

              I really do appreciate all the replies.

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              • #8
                $103 for a loose dog? Ouch! $206? Double whammy!

                Anyway, go to court and explain it. What is the worst that can happen? You might still have to pay both fines? But I think you can get it reduced.

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                • #9
                  Dog out

                  Your dog might have been re-secured by a neighbor or the officer. Ask him or wait to hear him testify in court. Then you will know on that point.
                  "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The MARINES don't have that problem." ....Ronald Reagan

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nightshift va
                    Your dog might have been re-secured by a neighbor or the officer. Ask him or wait to hear him testify in court. Then you will know on that point.
                    I'd say this is probably a very likely scenario...maybe the officer saw both dogs but could only catch one at the time. The only way to find out is to go to court...and there is no reason to be intimidated by court. Either that or if you believe the possibility that both dogs were out (regardless of the other one getting back), then pay both fines.

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                    • #11
                      I could not add an additional citation after obtaining a signature. The whole purpose of the signature is to acknowledge that you are aware of the crarges against you and agree to come to court or pay yhe fine before the court date. In my opinion, you are actually charged with one count. The officer can write an additional citation for the same offense and deliver it to you. I believe that the second count is not valid.
                      If one man can make a difference, every man should.

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                      • #12
                        Thar is what I thought, that signing was acknowledging but not admitting to, the charges. I also would have thought they would have brought or even mailed another citation or at least something telling me it had been changed.

                        I would also think someone resecured the dog but unless they picked her up and threw her over the locked fence I don't see how. She is old and can't jump anymore like the one that actually was out can.

                        I am wondering which officer will come to court. There are 3 involved, the one who saw everything and picked up the dog, one who wasn't there who wrote the citation and a third who also wasn't there that changed it to 2 counts.

                        If the original officer says they were both out I have no reason to believe he would go out of his way to fabricate anything, he has nothing personally to gain from that so why bother? I guess I'll find out Monday.

                        Thanks again!

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                        • #13
                          update

                          I wanted to thank you all for your help. I went to court this evening and the judge said that the citation itself had been altered but that there was only one count on record. He told me if I pled no contest it would be dismissed upon paying court cost or I could reschedule for a time when the three officers involved could all be present. I was upfront and told him I have no idea if the other dog was out or not since I was not home but she was inside the fence when I came home. I told him I had no reason to believe the officer was lying but that I also had no reason to believe the dog was out. He said that it is okay to question especially if you actually don't know and that I wouldn't believe the things people try to say when in court.
                          The judge actually laughed at me a little and told me I am the first person he has felt sorry for in years because I looked so nervous and embarassed to be there. He reminded me that it really wasn't a big deal at all and was really nice about it. Court costs were 130 bucks, but at least it's over.

                          I definitely have a whole new respect for officers in general after seeing some of the insanity they deal with tonight. I know I heard the argument that "they just had it in for me" at least ten times.

                          Thanks again to everyone who replied!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mommy28

                            I definitely have a whole new respect for officers in general after seeing some of the insanity they deal with tonight. I know I heard the argument that "they just had it in for me" at least ten times.

                            Thanks again to everyone who replied!

                            Thank you. I think it should be mandatory that everyone sits in traffic court one time to see the three ring circus. I cant believe how many people will blatantly lie in court or start acting like an #$%@. Before I was an officer I got a few tickets over the years and would have never dreamed of acting the way some of these people do. I love some of the theories they come up with too.....the officer only ticketed me because I drive a nice car or because I'm (insert race here). I also love the person who I cut a break and didnt cite them for their 5 violations (only cited one hazardous) yet they show up in court saying how I was rude, had it in for them and they are just an innocent victim of police brutality. I had to laugh one time when the judge asked them how issuing them a ticket was "brutality" and the person just stared like a deer inthe headlights.

                            Glad to see you were actually happy with the officer and the justice system.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Fuzz
                              Thank you. I think it should be mandatory that everyone sits in traffic court one time to see the three ring circus. I cant believe how many people will blatantly lie in court or start acting like an #$%@. Before I was an officer I got a few tickets over the years and would have never dreamed of acting the way some of these people do. I love some of the theories they come up with too.....the officer only ticketed me because I drive a nice car or because I'm (insert race here). I also love the person who I cut a break and didnt cite them for their 5 violations (only cited one hazardous) yet they show up in court saying how I was rude, had it in for them and they are just an innocent victim of police brutality. I had to laugh one time when the judge asked them how issuing them a ticket was "brutality" and the person just stared like a deer inthe headlights.

                              Glad to see you were actually happy with the officer and the justice system.
                              Good stuff.

                              Comment

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