Can a Cop Make me Pay a Ticket on the Spot?
Getting pulled over by a police officer who asks for payment on the spot is harrowing. When this happens to you, the police officer may even threaten to take you to jail.
And believe it or not, it does happen in some states. Some jurisdictions do this to out-of-state drivers. They carry mobile card readers to take the payment. And while you can refuse, in certain jurisdictions that could mean getting detained until you end up in front of a judge.
Some jurisdictions even take cash, and will escort you to the nearest Walmart or bank to give you a chance to get the money. If they do this, they are supposed to put it in an official envelope with a copy of the citation, and the receipt.
If they don’t follow this procedure or something like it, or give you some sort of legal acknowledgement that you’ve paid your ticket by credit card, you’ll want to report them to their own state’s Attorney General.
It should not, however, happen in the state of New York, even to out-of-state drivers. In New York, out-of-state drivers receive traffic citations just like in-state drivers do, and are released with their notice to appear just like anyone else.
If a New York police officer asks you to pay on the spot you should report them our state’s Attorney General, since they’re engaged in a “shakedown” and are themselves committing a crime.
Paying a ticket on the spot in these states doesn’t always mean entering a guilty plea like it does in New York. In some states it is like posting bond, and some won’t even let you contest the ticket until you’ve paid, issuing a refund if you win your case.
Meanwhile, if you are not from New York you might be worried about how you can possibly fight the ticket. After all, you might not be able to get back up here on your court date.
A good traffic lawyer can help, since a lawyer can appear in traffic court in your place to handle all but the most egregious of traffic violations. And when you hire your lawyer, you can describe the violation so he or she will know whether they’re clear to simply handle the problem for you.
In the long run, doing this is often the cheapest way to handle a ticket.
As for those other jurisdictions, break the traffic laws at your own risk. Even being detained can be a massive inconvenience for most people. It’s a good idea to research laws before you go on a road trip. And it’s a good idea to carry money with you.