4 votes

Is It Legal For Traffic Courts To Require "bail" In Order To Plead Not Guilty?

Do we not have a right to a speedy trial? (or does that right have a price tag,ie bail amount, depending on what state you live in)?

I have a friend who got a ticket and they are adamant that they are not guilty, but they said they are supposed to pay the bail first .

How Can this be legal?

Anyone know?

Ok, so here are additional details. He was pulled over and got a ticket for no DL. He claims that it was a clerical error ticket(meaning the officer thought it was suspended, but the motor vehicles said it was good) He is confident that he can prove his case, yet is wondering how they (courts)can legally make or ask him to pay whatever the bail amount is on the ticket , just to claim not guilty. I had no answer for him, but thought someone here might.

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Read The Ticket

Perhaps your friend may have agreed to pay the bail when he signed the citation the cop gave him. I've heard that failure to sign a ticket in some places means you go directly to jail until your court date. Signing the ticket could be a form of agreeing to be released on your own recognizance and paying the bail afterwards.

I've heard of rare occasions where people have opted to go to jail as a form of protest against such forms of extortion rather than give a single cent to the courts. They choose to be a financial burden to the state instead of a source of revenue.

good point, the signature may have "given them authority"

to charge him for his ticket (even if he was claiming not guilty) In which case , he basically must pay , since he agreed.(assuming that is where they get their authority to do this in the first place)

Perhaps the answer you are ultimately seeking

is although a judge may perform a judicial function when making a determination, traffic courts perform an administrative function because anyone who has obtained a driver license and vehicle registration has consented to abide traffic codes/courts in advance which created a positive obligation that can be administratively arbitrated. Traffic court is unlike a criminal court in that an alleged criminal is trespassed against based on an accusation where there is no element of consent to the tribunal in advance. An alleged criminal is brought before a tribunal against their will, consent, and without any prior agreement.

any thoughts?

maybe a constitutional issue? Any ideas on this scam of the courts?

no one has any ideas??

where are the DP constitutionalists?

fireant's picture

You don't give us much to go on. Is he in jail?

Bail is to get out of jail. Maybe they are asking for a bond to insure court costs are paid if found guilty? Every jurisdiction has pauper considerations, if that is an issue. Traffic courts are notoriously traveling under presumed guilt. Everyone knows it, and few have the means to fight it, so most people just pay to be done with it.
If it's a bond, yes, it is legal. It would be no different than posting a bond in order to appeal from a lower court to a circuit court say. But if they are confident in their innocence and can offer a court proof, go for it. Just beware that if don't get a judge who is lenient with pro se cases, you won't win. They have so many legal tricks they can throw at you your head will spin.

Undo what Wilson did

no, see above for more details

I edited the thread to clarify the traffic case . Hope that helps.

fireant's picture

Well, the best thing to do is research the applicable code.

It still sounds like they are asking for a bond, but calling it bail. The code should help clarify.

Undo what Wilson did

I will tell him, thanks!

I think that is a good place to start.