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I received a traffic ticket. It's been a month and the court has still not received the ticket. I have been calling every few days, and they tell me to call again in a few days everytime. The court date is approaching and they tell me if it's not received by the court date, I will not be in trouble, but to just keep calling every few days. I've told them I don't want to call for the rest of my life, but they have made it clear that if they ever receive the ticket I am liable, and they insist that I call until they receive the ticket, which may be never. I am on probation which makes this even more important to resolve. I have asked that they send an email or some proof that I am attempting to pay the ticket, but they refuse. The ticket did not include an amount to pay.

This is Houston Texas, Harris County Constable, court of David Patronella. I live in Florida, so appearing in person is rather impractical. Ticket was running a red light. Ticket was before I started probation. Ticket does not break terms of probation.

How can I resolve a ticket that was never received.

  • Do you have a PO? Keeping them in the loop is probably better than not. – user3851 Mar 3 '16 at 19:53
  • They are in the loop. They said to just keep calling until the ticket comes in. – Goose Mar 3 '16 at 20:01
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Original answer:

I am on probation which makes this even more important to resolve.

Because you are on probation, you really should consult a lawyer because you might be violating the terms or conditions of probation when you received your ticket. For example, some people's probation require them to tell their probation officer every time they have police contact.

See page 2 condition 2 of Colorado's Standard Terms and Conditions of Adult Probation as an example of probation conditions that require you to report all police contact.

I received a traffic ticket. It's been a month and the court has still not received the ticket.

The normal procedure with traffic tickets in most parts of the country is:

  1. The officer writes you the ticket.

    • If it is a violation where you must appear in court, it will include a court date and time. This is so that if you don't show up for court, they will have proof that knew of the Court date and can issue a warrant. This is also why you must sign a traffic ticket in most jurisdictions.
    • If it is not a violation where you are required to appear in court, the ticket it will usually have instructions on how to resolve the ticket by paying a fine, OR request a court date to contest the hearing.
  2. The officer files a copy of the ticket with his department and the court (the police department usually files them with the Court to ensure chain of custody).

  3. The court clerks receives the ticket and open a court file. The court file almost always has a copy of the ticket.

What you should do:

If you don't want to get an attorney, show up to court at the date and time on your ticket and bring a copy of the ticket with you. When the court has no record of the ticket, it is safe to assume that the police officer or his department never filed it with the court. But talk to an attorney before deciding to plead guilty. You don't want this to be an issue with your probation and this site is not for legal advice.

Are you completely off the hook for running the red light?

No.

Assuming this ticket for running a red light was a red light under Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 544.007, there is a 2 year statute of limitations here is a 2 year statute of limitation for class C misdemeanors under Tex. Crim. Proc. Code Ann. § art. 12.02. What a 2 year statute of limitations means is that they (the police) have 2 years to start the prosecution from when an offense occurred. In the case of a traffic ticket, they would start the prosecution by filing the ticket/complaint with the court.

This means that if your ticket wasn't filed with the Court, the police will have up to 2 years to track you down and re-serve you the traffic ticket. Is this likely? No, not for running a red light. But that is me speculating.

Why is a misdemeanor traffic offense treated as a class C misdemeanor under Texas Law?

It's a little bit confusing, but here are the cross references.

A person commits an offense if the person performs an act prohibited or fails to perform an act required by this subtitle" and "Except as otherwise provided, an offense under this subtitle is a misdemeanor.

The "subtitle" that a red light ticket falls under is "Subtitle C. Rules of the Road."

"An offense designated a misdemeanor in this code without specification as to punishment or category is a Class C misdemeanor."

Therefore, running a red light (assuming you were charged with it under Texas' state statutes and not a local statute) has a 2 year statute of limitations.

Updated Answer

You edited your question after I posted my original answer . . . . however, I left the original post above because it may be helpful to others.

To answer your new question, you cannot resolve a ticket that was never received because there is no ticket in the eyes of the Court until it is received.

By not showing up, you take the risk that the cop will file the ticket with the court the day before your hearing and you will get a bench warrant for failing to appear.

Your best bet is to write a letter to the Judge David Patronella and explain your situation. It is probably wise to leave out the fact you are on probation in a different state. Explain the repeated phone calls and attempts and ask him to have his clerk:

  1. notify you if the ticket shows up, or
  2. reschedule your court date.

While you already know what the answer is your goal is to make a paper trail that you could show a judge if this ticket somehow does get filed and you miss court. So, be sure to keep a copy for your records and consider having it sent some method where you can confirm it was received by the Court.

Being able to show this letter to a judge if the ticket ultimately gets filed makes you look responsible and responsive.

The reality is that you are probably catching a break and don't need to worry about this--especially since it doesn't violate your probation. You could just sit and do nothing, but based on your comments, I think you are looking for "advice" on what to do; however, there isn't a "right" answer for this type of situation.

  • I live in Florida, so appearing in court is impractical and I'd like to avoid taking off work and making the drive for them to tell me that they have no record of it. Knowing it's only a 2 year statue of limitations is good to know. Still, your answer seems to suggest that I need to continue to check in on the ticket for the next 2 years. – Goose Mar 3 '16 at 19:51
  • No. In fact the opposite. Show up at the time of the ticket, hope the cop still didn't file it, then go back to Florida and avoid/forget about Texas! – Mr_V Mar 3 '16 at 21:05
  • The people that work at the court and my probation officer are telling me not to show up. Also, my question isn't how to avoid legal trouble, it's how to resolve it without calling weekly for two years. Showing up to court does not resolve this issue. – Goose Mar 3 '16 at 22:12
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This happened to me twice. My advice is go to the court with a copy of the ticket and pay the fine or ask to see the judge. Insist on taking care of the ticket and also insist on receiving a paid receipt showing that you took care of the ticket. If yo don't then it will turn into a warrant and you could be arrested. I do not believe you are catching a break. I believe it is a systematic way of setting citizens up to be arrested for minor traffic violations. Not all cops are good and honest. Believe it or not, sime have alterior motives.

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