Virtual court hearings for traffic violations could make it tougher to fight a ticket

Going to the courthouse to fight a ticket could soon be a thing of the past, as some cities want to expand virtual hearings for minor citations, since they have become so popular.

Throughout the day, we asked on social media about ticket beaters, and sure enough, they are out there.

"I've gotten out of a ticket because the officer failed to show. I believe he threw me a favor," read one comment.

"I went to court ready to fight a ticket, but the officer didn’t show," read another comment.

"It does sometimes happen. We'll set a civil traffic hearing, and the police officer doesn't show up," said attorney David Enevoldsen. "If that happens, generally speaking, the case is dismissed."

The common theme: a cop not showing up could save money on a citation. That, however, could get a lot harder, as the Phoenix Municipal Court is about to expand its virtual services for minor driving offenses. Currently, people can get a virtual hearing for a moving violation, and virtual hearings will be expanded to parking violations in 2022, and maybe for more violations later.

A driver and an officer can both do the hearing virtually. According to court officials, it is convenient, efficient, and COVID-friendly.

It might also make it tougher for alleged violators to get off the hook.

"I always tell clients don't rely on the idea that the cop will no-show," said Enevoldsen. "If you get lucky, it may happen. With everything shifting virtual, it’s becoming harder and harder to get that kind of approach, but because it’s easier for defendants to show up, it’ll be easier for cops to show up as well."

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