When are police officers permitted to testify

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When are police officers permitted to testify

I was cited for a non criminal traffic violation in Tampa, Florida. The citing officer did
not witness this violation. After the officer explained my options of either paying the
penalty or electing a court hearing, he also stated that since he did not witness the
violation, he is not permitted to testify at the hearing, therefore the violation would
be thrown out.

My questions are
Is this true the officer is not permitted to testify for my violation, and, if so does this
mean the judge will throw out infraction?

Thank you

Asked on May 12, 2018 under General Practice, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

That's not quite right: any person can be called up to the witness stand to testify, but a person can only (with a few narrow exceptions that would not apply in this case) testify as to things they have "personal knowledge" of (i.e. have personally witnessed or perceived). So if the office did not witness the violation, he cannot testify as to whether or not you did it. However, if there is other evidence of the violation--i.e. testimony by non-police officer witnesses; video or photographic evidence; etc.--that evidence can be used against you; the law does not require police officer testimony. If there is no evidence, the case will be dismissed, but it does not have to be if there is other evidence of the infraction. (The prosecutor could choose to voluntarily dismiss if there is other evidence but it's weak or witnesses are uncooperative, but as long as there is some evidence, he can put on his case if he wants and see if the court is persuaded by it.)


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