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ASK A COP — Are traffic tickets valid without the accused’s signature?

Peter from Port Arthur asks: I was debating with a friend about NOT signing a ticket that was issued by a police officer. It’s not that she refused to sign the ticket, but the police officer somehow must have omitted acquiring her signature because it’s not on the ticket? Is the ticket still valid if she didn’t sign it?

Answer: When someone is issued a citation, commonly known as a ticket, by a police officer in the state of Texas, the usual procedure is to have the person being issued the citation sign it as a promise to appear before the court on or before a specified date and time. If there was no signature on your friend’s citation, warn her it’s still a VALID document and they should address the court about the charge(s) on the citation. The court will normally subpoena any person who received a citation that doesn’t have an accused violator’s signature and hasn’t appeared by the court date listed on the citation.

Jack from Winnie asks: Thanks for the previous information about police radars; now I’m interested to know about the legality of radar detectors in vehicles in Texas. Can motorists have radar detectors in their cars in Texas?

Answer: Radar detectors are legal in the great state of Texas to have in passenger vehicles, but it is illegal to have radar detectors in commercial vehicles. Actually, radar detectors are legal in every state in this country except Virginia. Now I must ask the question, why do you want a radar detector in your vehicle? Radar detectors can alert a motorist of the near presence of a police radar that is meant to detect speeders. So if you’re not speeding, why would you want to know where police officers that are working to slow down speeders? It always amazes me when I stop a speeding motorist that has a radar detector in the vehicle, and they tell me they don’t usually speed. Why get radar detectors if you’re not a law-breaking speeder?

Janette from Port Neches asks: My sister and I were discussing your article the other day, and the pleading in a court proceeding came to be the topic of discussion. Can you help us understand the difference between pleading guilty and no contest in court?

Answer: There are only five states that allow the no contest or nolo contendere, and they are Alaska, California, Florida, Virginia and the great state of Texas. Janette, there’s really no difference in the plea of no contest and guilty because when pleading no contest in a criminal court, the punishment will basically have the same effect as if one pled guilty. What this nolo contendere or no contest plea does is afford a defendant to go through the process without having to admit guilt by actually pleading GUILTY!

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Call in and ask a question live to Officer Antoine at 409-982-0247. Remember to email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, or call 409-983-8673 and leave a message or voice mail question, or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!