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  #1  
Old 02-08-2014, 11:44 PM
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Default Charging a fee to sign off on ticket (+do new cops get sent out to "train"?)

PART 1
So I recently found out that a lot of police departments and CHP will charge a fee, upward of $20-$25 to sign off on a correctable violation (like a busted headlamp).

This is ON TOP of the court fee that you have to pay.

Could any LEOs chime in and comment on this? It feels like a money-grab scheme and I would be totally okay with it if it were in the law somewhere that said a fee would be charged by the entity enforcing the CVC to sign off on a ticket. But it doesn't. In the past, I've had a correctable violation signed off and no fee was charged.

Just to be clear, this is merely out of curiosity. The fee isn't a big deal and it's clearly my fault that I had a busted headlight.

PART 2
On a brighter note, the officer was probably the most pleasant officer to ever pull me over -- he first apologized for pulling me over and then kept asking me if I had any other questions and whatnot (still ended up giving me a ticket despite being so apologetic ). I had left my place maybe 3 blocks and had seen 3 different cars pulled over by police, and then I passed two more police cars before this one saw me coming.

We were going in opposite directions. I saw the driving officer stick his head out of the window (it was pretty exaggerated) to look at my car as I passed. I passed, saw him make a U-turn in my rearview--which caused him to cut off traffic behind me in a somewhat dangerous manner (he didn't put his lights on, just suddenly pulled out of traffic)--also didn't make the turn so ended up doing a 3 point turn.

Anyway, long story short, I knew I was in for it already so the next street over I just stopped on the side and waited to get lit up. My question is: do police departments "invade" neighborhoods and use it to "train" all their new officers or something? The officer that cited me was extremely nervous. His partner made it to my window first and I asked him why I was stopped, to which he responded: "Hold on, my partner will talk to you." Everything about it felt like I was being targeted for "practice" -- that doesn't excuse my moving infraction but just curious if that's what happened.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 02-09-2014, 12:30 AM
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Part 1

LASD has done this for years. The fee helps offset the time involved, but not much. The courts in LA require a certificate of correction to be issued due to fraud in the past. LASD figured out how much it was costing the department to process the certificate and set the fee accordingly. When I retired in 2011, the fee was $15.

Part 2

They don't "invade" neighborhoods but if an area is having a high numer of traffic incidents, it might get some saturation patrol, which has a definite impact on the number of accidents. It puts drivers on their best behavior when they see cars getting stopped everywhere.

Good chance you were stopped by a training car, with a trainee and training officer. Everyone has to learn how it's done, and doing it is the best way. LASD's field training program is generally 6 months once you are assigned to a station after working custody or the courts. That is in addition to a 16-18 week academy. (academy classes that run thru the holidays may go longer than 16 weeks because of said holidays and scheduling issues. The State POST requires a minimum number of instruction hours)
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Last edited by Ron-Solo; 02-09-2014 at 12:33 AM..
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  #3  
Old 02-09-2014, 8:32 AM
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Ill do it for 10...
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron-Solo View Post
Part 1

LASD has done this for years. The fee helps offset the time involved, but not much. The courts in LA require a certificate of correction to be issued due to fraud in the past. LASD figured out how much it was costing the department to process the certificate and set the fee accordingly. When I retired in 2011, the fee was $15.

Part 2

They don't "invade" neighborhoods but if an area is having a high numer of traffic incidents, it might get some saturation patrol, which has a definite impact on the number of accidents. It puts drivers on their best behavior when they see cars getting stopped everywhere.

Good chance you were stopped by a training car, with a trainee and training officer. Everyone has to learn how it's done, and doing it is the best way. LASD's field training program is generally 6 months once you are assigned to a station after working custody or the courts. That is in addition to a 16-18 week academy. (academy classes that run thru the holidays may go longer than 16 weeks because of said holidays and scheduling issues. The State POST requires a minimum number of instruction hours)
Awesome! Thanks for the very informative post. It definitely felt like a trainee trainer situation.
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:19 AM
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Last I checked CHP doesn't charge a fee.
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:26 AM
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If u go to a CHP office and tell them u fixed it, they come check it out and sign it for you. I did that and was not charged a fee.

Also, I was in Montebello. I stopped by and asked an officer to sign it. He said they usually charge but since i didnt live in that city, he signed it without fee.
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:24 PM
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chp does not charge a fee.
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Old 02-09-2014, 12:42 PM
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Sweet, thanks guys!
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Old 02-09-2014, 1:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron-Solo View Post
Part 1

LASD has done this for years. The fee helps offset the time involved, but not much. The courts in LA require a certificate of correction to be issued due to fraud in the past. LASD figured out how much it was costing the department to process the certificate and set the fee accordingly. When I retired in 2011, the fee was $15.

Part 2

They don't "invade" neighborhoods but if an area is having a high numer of traffic incidents, it might get some saturation patrol, which has a definite impact on the number of accidents. It puts drivers on their best behavior when they see cars getting stopped everywhere.

Good chance you were stopped by a training car, with a trainee and training officer. Everyone has to learn how it's done, and doing it is the best way. LASD's field training program is generally 6 months once you are assigned to a station after working custody or the courts. That is in addition to a 16-18 week academy. (academy classes that run thru the holidays may go longer than 16 weeks because of said holidays and scheduling issues. The State POST requires a minimum number of instruction hours)
Ron,

You're absolutely right about the fraud issue. The old process didn't really have a good way of verifying that the signature on the "sign-off" block was really even a peace officer.

But I think the department was "Double-Dipping" on the sign off fee. Under Vehicle Code section 40611, portions of the $25.00 court fee get kicked back to local governmental agencies issuing the cite to cover their costs in administering the cite.
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Old 02-09-2014, 2:08 PM
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Baca wouldn't let anything inappropriate go on within the Department.....
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Old 02-09-2014, 4:10 PM
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Quote:
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Baca wouldn't let anything inappropriate go on within the Department.....
Of course not, but maybe his staff didn't tell him.
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Old 02-09-2014, 4:22 PM
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Out in my area I have signed off dozens of tickets when asked nicely by people and I wasn't busy aka on my way to a call or eating lunch. I have never charged a fee of any sort; If I was busy working or eating I would just direct the person to the nearest police/sheriff/chp station.
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Old 02-09-2014, 4:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickD427 View Post
Ron,

You're absolutely right about the fraud issue. The old process didn't really have a good way of verifying that the signature on the "sign-off" block was really even a peace officer.

But I think the department was "Double-Dipping" on the sign off fee. Under Vehicle Code section 40611, portions of the $25.00 court fee get kicked back to local governmental agencies issuing the cite to cover their costs in administering the cite.
This is what I was trying to get at but couldn't really put into proper words late last night.

Also, interestingly, the officer that cited me told me, multiple times (because I kept asking "really?"), that he (PD) could not sign off the ticket that he gave me, only CHP and the Sheriff's Department could. I looked up VC 40616 and sure enough, it says that any of the following can sign off, which includes the PD (I called a few offices to check and they all said they could, including the department where this particular officer worked for):

"Any violation may be certified as corrected by a police department, the California Highway Patrol, sheriff, marshal, or other law enforcement agency regularly engaged in enforcement of the Vehicle Code."

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d17/vc40616.htm

Not *****ing about it or anything, I wonder what made the officer think that his department couldn't sign off on it (other than he was probably new).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ls2monaro View Post
Out in my area I have signed off dozens of tickets when asked nicely by people and I wasn't busy aka on my way to a call or eating lunch. I have never charged a fee of any sort; If I was busy working or eating I would just direct the person to the nearest police/sheriff/chp station.
Is this as of recently? Ron-Solo made it sound like there is some sort of certificate that comes with it now. Last time this happened (5+ years ago), I had an officer sign it for me in a random parking lot, he was kind enough to do it and I went off on my way.
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Old 02-09-2014, 4:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatwhy View Post
This is what I was trying to get at but couldn't really put into proper words late last night.

Also, interestingly, the officer that cited me told me, multiple times (because I kept asking "really?"), that he (PD) could not sign off the ticket that he gave me, only CHP and the Sheriff's Department could. I looked up VC 40616 and sure enough, it says that any of the following can sign off, which includes the PD (I called a few offices to check and they all said they could, including the department where this particular officer worked for):

"Any violation may be certified as corrected by a police department, the California Highway Patrol, sheriff, marshal, or other law enforcement agency regularly engaged in enforcement of the Vehicle Code."

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d17/vc40616.htm

Not *****ing about it or anything, I wonder what made the officer think that his department couldn't sign off on it (other than he was probably new).



Is this as of recently? Ron-Solo made it sound like there is some sort of certificate that comes with it now. Last time this happened (5+ years ago), I had an officer sign it for me in a random parking lot, he was kind enough to do it and I went off on my way.
The key word in CVC section 40616 is "may". The agency is not required to sign off on corrections. Several years ago, my agency permitted us to sign off on notices in the field and we did so by signing our name, and listing our agency and serial number. The problem came up with fraud. When the citation was returned to the court, it was impossible to determine if I had signed it off, or if some other person having knowledge of my agency and serial number had done so. By having only designated personnel doing the sign-offs, and affixing a stampt to the cite, the instances of fraud were reduced.
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Old 02-09-2014, 5:18 PM
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Of course not, but maybe his staff didn't tell him.
You forgot, as of the date you posted this, Baca doesn't have a staff anymore.
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Old 02-09-2014, 5:19 PM
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Ill do it for 10...
Do you offer a discount for seniors?
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Old 02-09-2014, 5:26 PM
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its all BS, a way to get more money to the PD. because if you know a cop he'll sign it off free. **** my son has a friend that charges $10 for his dad to sign them.
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Old 02-09-2014, 5:57 PM
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You forgot, as of the date you posted this, Baca doesn't have a staff anymore.
Touche'
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Old 02-09-2014, 8:21 PM
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This varies greatly by County. As I stated earlier, LA County courts now require the LE certification form because of fraud. Riverside and San Bernardino county courts do not.

Many PD's chose not to hassle with it.
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Old 02-09-2014, 11:11 PM
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**** my son has a friend that charges $10 for his dad to sign them.
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I would be careful with what I post.
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Old 02-10-2014, 7:40 AM
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A fee for signing off a fix-it ticket is new to me. I have never heard of that. In San Diego there is zero charge for signing off a traffic cite. I just suggest you go to a station instead of flagging a cop down or walking up on him during a call since you do not know the particulars and it might be an unsafe situation they are working.
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Stop the thread, I want to get off.
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Old 02-10-2014, 8:14 AM
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CVC states "may" not "shall". A department's policy is likely more restrictive and does not allow officers to sign off in the field. The policy may state sign-offs are done at the front counter or by specific staff (traffic division).
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:40 AM
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My agency allows us to sign and doesn't charge. Although my previous agency assigned a fee. Not sure how they got away with that. As for the getting pulled over, FTOs typically know cherry spots where VC violations are an abundance.
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Old 02-10-2014, 6:45 PM
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One of the government or civil codes (I don't remember which) allows for a fee, but most courts outside of LA don't require a certificate and just allow any officer to sign the back. LASD didn't charges fee until the courts in LA started requiring the certificate, which costs the Department to process and track.
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Old 02-10-2014, 8:37 PM
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I was in Morgan Hill PD before the New Year. Looking at their list of fees (from collision reports to fingerprinting) was the fee for signing off a correctable violation...I'd look for an officer in the field (unless they have a policy that you can only get them signed at the station...)
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Old 02-10-2014, 9:12 PM
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SO many agencies are trying to fill the budget gaps however they can, and if the law allows. CHP used to charge $10 to sign off, while us small town Dept's did for free. However, the officer signing off never collected the fee. Reduce the fraud. The counterperson took the money and gave a receipt.
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