Clients frequently ask me about mistakes that the officer made when filling out the traffic ticket the received. Under some circumstances, those mistakes may become a defense to the underlying charge. However, those mistakes, especially if they are considered technical deficiencies, will not be fatal to the State’s case.
For example, if the defendant’s date of birth is incorrect or the name of the defendant is spelled incorrectly, those are most likely correctable errors and the court will allow the state to amend the ticket under most circumstances.
In other instances, the errors will be harder to correct. Specifically, errors that call into question the identity of the defendant, the time and date of the offense, or the nature of the violation, spell big problems for the prosecutor. For example, an incorrect car color, offense date, license plate, etc., may provide a defense lawyer with a strong defense to the underlying charge.
Although technical errors on the face of the summons are not likely to be a complete defense to the charge, in some instances, and if those mistakes are serious enough, the State may be doubtful about its ability to prove the case. An experienced defense attorney knows better than to run into court and say you have to dismiss because of these mistakes. Instead, a knowledgeable lawyer will use those mistakes as part of the overall theory of his defense and bring important proofs into question such as identity and location.
If there are mistakes on your summons/traffic ticket, you may want to speak with a lawyer to see if you have a good defense.