You can object to any evidence that comes in to a traffic court trial where you are representing yourself. After all, you have the right to cross examine witnesses against you and that includes the legality of the evidence offered against you in court (5th Amendment to the US Constitution).
|In traffic court, generally, the prosecutor is the police officer who cited the Defendant (you). And if you demand a trial, the officer appears and offers evidence against you consisting of: 1) a citation signed by the officer; 2) testimony in court about what he or she saw, and 3) testimony about other things the police officer wants to throw in (such as opinion as to speed, opinion as to safety, opinion as to distance, etc.)|
You can object to any evidence you feel should be excluded at the time it is offered, or when it is your time to speak.
In a jury trial, it is important to interrupt the prosecutor before inadmissible evidence is presented to the jury. After all, you cannot unscramble an egg. But in a traffic court trial – that’s not as important, because the judge is trained to be fair and impartial. Ahhh, ahh, ahh bulpchittz. … ..
Excuse me. had to sneeze.
You can object whenever you want to.
By objecting, you are really telling the judge the evidence offered is not legally admissible for some reason, and that you want a ruling on the objection. Here are the steps to a correct objection to accomplish that goal.
1. Say “OBJECTION”
2. State the Basis of your Objection (such as “Your honor that is inadmissible hearsay.”);
3. Tell the judge why it is inadmissible (“It is an out of court statement by a person who is not here in court, and there it can not be cross examined by me.”);
4. Ask for a ruling: (“I ask for a ruling on that point”);
5. Ask the court for a remedy to cure the problem (“I ask the court to exclude the officer’s testimony about what someone else said”)
MOST COMMON GROUNDS FOR OBJECTIONS TO TRAFFIC COURT EVIDENCE
1. Hearsay. Hearsay is inadmissible as a general rule. Good for objections.
Any out of court statement by someone who is not present is subject to hearsay objection – such as a letter written by a witness who is not in court;
2. The Evidence Lacks a Proper Foundation.
If the officer is testifying to some conclusion without stating how that conclusion was made, then there is a foundation problem. The Officer has failed to lay a foundation that would tell us how he came to that conclusion.
How did he know I was “speeding”? Did she measure my speed? With what device? How does she know that device works? Is she trained to use that device? – Those questions demand foundational facts to demonstrate that the offered conclusion is reliable.
3. Officer Not Qualified as an Expert and Cannot Give Expert Opinion.
Police officers often try to give “Opinion” evidence in court that would require expert knowledge. If that officer has not shown why he is an expert in that field, he is trying to give expert testimony without being a court qualified expert.
Example: “At that time of year, the sun sets in such an angles that drivers can not see the entire road.” WHAT?? WTF? Expert opinion without expert.
You can also object to evidence on the grounds that: 1) it was not produced to you prior to trial and you have not seen it (police notes); 2) it was not properly authenticated in court (engineering study book); etc.
TIPS FOR KEEPING UNRELIABLE EVIDENCE OUT OF YOUR COURT TRIAL
1. Statements by machines, such as radar guns and speedometers are hearsay. They are out of court statements and not admissible unless a foundation is laid to establish they are reliable statements. Government has the burden to prove reliability of an out of court statement by a machine – (did that blow your mind?);
2. All paperwork is hearsay and cannot be admitted without a Foundation that makes it reliable;
3. You are entitled to “Discovery” of all evidence against you, including a police officer’s notes if they ise them in court. If those notes are not disclosed to you, you have been denied the right to cross examine the witness against you – because the notes are testifying, not the cop.
THINGS YOU CANNOT OBJECT TO
1. Things you think are wrong or false (that’s a factual problem, not a legal admissibility problem);
2. Cops being rude
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This free legal self help article written by a licensed criminal defense attorney and supported by Google Ads.