The Driving in America Blog was started a year ago to bring more information to those who are beginning their journey as motorists’ rights advocates. Over the next several months, I will be working with each of the seven NMA principles to give readers of this weekly blog some idea of what we all are working towards as association members. We thank you for your support and please, if you have questions, ask below in the comments section.
- Check out the Driving in America on Principle Number 1: Traffic Safety through Sound Engineering and Real Driver Training
- Check out the Driving in America on Principle Number 2: Traffic Laws Fairly Written and Reasonably Enforced
- Check out the Driving in America on Principle Number 3: Freedom from Arbitrary Traffic Stops and Unwarranted Searches/Seizures
- Check out the Driving in America on Principle Number 4: Freedom from Invasive Surveillance
Full Due Process for Motorists
A fair trial is a fundamental constitutional right that has been increasingly stripped away from motorists. Our system of justice is based on the principle that people are considered innocent until proven guilty, but drivers – and vehicle owners in cases involving automated enforcement – are frequently presumed to be at fault and then subjected to administrative hearings that rubber-stamp guilty verdicts.
This denies them basic rights such as discovery, trial by jury, and often the ability to question their accuser.
The Sixth Amendment to the US Constitutes states quite plainly:
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to be confronted with the witnesses against him …”
This fundamental idea that a defendant should have the ability to face his or her accuser in order to cross examine is a pillar for the right to due process. How can this happen though when the ticket is given by a camera? Our Sixth Amendment rights continue to erode as automated camera company stockholders become wealthy and city governments are able to balance their budgets. The fleecing of the American motorist fundamentally stinks!
Some jurisdictions are now trying to move traffic tickets over to civil court (especially with automated camera tickets). If that happens, there is no due process. The burden is now on the defendant which goes against due process.
The NMA encourages motorists to fight their tickets. We know that it is an uphill battle when you are playing in an arena where the other side has a home advantage. Not only does the other side make all the rules, they own the referees and operate without any meaningful oversight.
Each year, it becomes harder and harder to fight a ticket due to the expense, the time and the sheer rules one has to understand in the jurisdiction of the ticket.
We applaud every motorist who challenges their ticket and their accuser because you are fighting for your Sixth Amendment rights and clogging up the machine.
NMA Founder James Baxter writes about this subject brilliantly in his post from 2010 called Due Process is a Right, Right? He also wrote about fighting tickets in 2009 in this post: Due Process for Traffic Ticket Defendants Threatened.
Here are some more recent entries concerning due process:
- Pushing Coercion of Motorists to the Edge of Legality
- Silence is No Longer Golden
- Sometimes There’s More at Stake than a Fine
- Resistance is Not Futile
- The myth of manual review
- The National Speeding Ticket Board
If you recently received a ticket and want to fight it, Join the NMA today and find out how you can effectively!