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Did You Plead Guilty Before a Magistrate or a Judge in Municipal Court?


Almost 95% of people in Alabama will have a speeding ticket or a motor vehicle violation in their lifetime.  Sometimes a ticket can be dismissed by providing a copy of insurance, getting a taillight fixed, or some other minor issue.  Also, I understand that hiring a lawyer for such routine tasks may seem like a waste of money.  However, a lawyer is worth every penny if you end up paying court costs and are found guilty for something you did not do.  Especially when you provide the insurance later or fix the taillight as requested. 

The case at issue here is in reference to In re: Rogers v. City of Montgomery, Alabama.  Rogers received a ticket for driving without a license and improper lights on his vehicle.  The cases were given individual case numbers and filed with the Montgomery Municipal Court.  The law states that if a person appears within 24 hours before the court date and enters a guilty plea, that person waives their rights on the back of the traffic ticket. 

Rogers appeared before a magistrate in Municipal court and pled guilty to both tickets and was charged two separate court costs that arose from the same event.  The municipality and Rogers both agreed that he appeared before a magistrate instead of a municipal judge.  Rogers filed an appeal because the two traffic tickets arose from the same event and that Alabama law prohibits charging someone multiple court costs under such circumstances.  Rogers appealed and relied on the court case of Ex Parte Kelley, 246 So. 3d 1068, (Ala. 2015)

In the case of Kelley, the Court concluded that an appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals was not ripe unless a judgment of conviction has been uttered formally.  In other words, the person pled guilty in open court and was found guilty or pled guilty on a traffic citation. 

      Rogers filed a petition for Writ of Cert with the Alabama Supreme Court.  Writ denied. 

The Alabama Supreme Court found that there was not a record on appeal.  There was not a transcript or oral tape of the guilty plea.  The record did contain the guilty plea on the back of the two traffic citations of Rogers before a municipal magistrate.  The Alabama Supreme Court said this case was different from Kelley because there was no oral testimony to rely on.  Therefore, the record was silent and Rogers did not have any evidence to present in support of his position.

One lesson for all Alabama citizens and motorists is that hiring a lawyer in municipal court is cheaper than paying twice for court costs.  It is worth every penny to hire a lawyer in municipal court.  I appear in municipal courts multiple times on a weekly basis and my clients receive fair treatment and there case receives better results than the people I see sitting there trying to handle the traffic case themselves  

If you have a municipal law case, traffic violation, or DUI hire a lawyer.  Consider Ingram Law LLC if you have a case in municipal court, call (205) 335-2640 today and see what can be done to save you money and give you peace.  Get Relief * Get Results


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