Can an officer ask for money in lieu of sending me to jail? 69 Answers as of July 08, 2013

When I was pulled over 6 months ago for expired registration and suspended license, I was told I would receive a citation in the mail that never came. So the cops showed up at my home saying they had 2 bench warrants and we could resolve it on the spot if I paid the officer 100 cash or I'd have to go to jail . I told him I didn't have it and he gave me until Friday to call his cell with the money and he'd return to pick it up. Is this a legal procedure?

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Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
Just received this so I suppose any answer is too late but because you were asked for a bribe I had to answer anyway. NO it is not legal procedure! It was a soliciation for a bribe which should have been reported to an independent agency or superior at the police department. Paying it would have a crime as well.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/13/2012
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
I would need to know all the details but it sounds like it is not legal. It sounds like it is solicitation of a bribe.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 1/20/2012
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
If there was an interim bond for the warrants, then perhaps the officer was simply noting that if you pay the one-hundred dollars, you won't have to go to jail. However, generally, with outstanding warrants, you are still supposed to get booked first, even if you post bond immediately, so the court will be notified and set the matter for your next court-appearance. I'd recommend you contact and notify a local defense attorney. There is always a possibility of some type of corruption. It sounds suspicious to me. It's really suspicious if the cop was asking essentially for a pay-off. They are supposed to arrest you if you have warrants and let you sort out the bond issues.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/19/2012
Law Office of James A Schoenberger
Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
Certainly not. Contact the court to see if there really is a bench warrant and contact the chief of police to report this incident.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 1/11/2012
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
I have never heard of such a procedure. If he does not give you a receipt then something is not right.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/10/2012
    The Law Offices of Stephen L. Richards | Stephen L. Richards
    No, that would be bribery.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/10/2012
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    It would seem to be a shady process. Normally if there is a warrant issued, the warrant must be served and returned in order to be fulfilled. If you never received a citation, I would suspect that it was never issued. I would consult with an attorney and have him contact the court to determine if there was in fact a citation which was not served and resulted in a warrant. The officer may be doing something unethical and should be reported if the warrant is not valid.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Robert Valles and Associates P.C.
    Robert Valles and Associates P.C. | Robert Valles Jr.
    No that sounds really odd. An officer cannot ask for money.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    It appears that the money asked for is for a bond. You would still need a Court date after that. In some jurisdictions if the officer collects a bond, then you do not need to be arrested, taken to the station, and then post $100 bond. This procedure is not commonly used as often now, and instead, appearance tickets are issued. This involves giving you the ticket and then you have to go to the Court to post the $100 bond within 10 or 14 days. Should you fail to go to court, then a warrant could be issued. It works the same way, only the police officer does not handle the bond, and instead, you go to the Court. You should call an attorney in the jurisdiction to see which is the common practice and if there is any need for alarm over the officer's actions.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    This definitely sounds suspicious. You should contact an attorney who can check with the Court to see if a warrant has been issued. If the court has issued a warrant, you will need to clear it up with the Court not the police.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    No, this is highly illegal. You need to contact the Texas Rangers ASAP and report this event.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    You should report this to the sheriff or the police chief where this officer is employed.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    It is legal if that was the amount of the citation.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    This is horrendous. He is trying to solicit a bribe. A BIG CRIME. Anyhow you should immediately go right to the DA office and offer to wear a wire when you talk to the cop. Probably even better is if you have a lawyer do this initial contact with the DA for you. Bust this POS. There are so many dishonest cops. It would be great if you could nail one.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    Does not sound right. You should contact the court and see what they say, and also contact the police department. If not legitimate, file a complaint with police internal affairs.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones | B. Elaine Jones
    No an officer cannot take money in exchange for charges or going to jail. You need to report this officer to his supervisor either the Chief of Police or the Sheriff depending on what force he is employed by. You definitely need to put an end to this bad cop routine. He will continue to do it to other people if you don't. Good Luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    Not in Georgia. You need to contact the district attoney or hire a private attorney to do so for you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    That sounds like a police officer who is trying to get you to pay him illegally. The police do not collect fines, they write tickets and make arrests. If you have a bench warrant you must surrender to the court. retain an attorney to investigate the matter. The officer will deny that he asked for a bribe and he may even claim that it was you that offered the bribe. He can get you in more trouble than you can cause for him so let an attorney handle this.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    No. It sounds like a set up to me. Don't give him a dime.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Law Offices of James H. Dippery, Jr. | James H. Dippery, Jr.
    Not legal this week or next. My suggestion is to contact a different local law enforcement agency, tell them what happened, and assist them in setting up a sting operation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    It sounds like an illegal procedure. Why not just turn yourself in at the station, or better yet, hire an attorney and contact the police chief or at least, a commanding officer and register your complaint with him.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    This is certainly not legal and if there was a valid warrant, the officer had a duty to arrest you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    No. That is soliciting a bribe.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    NO!!!!!! it is not. Call the internal affairs unit.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    What? This sounds like questionable behavior. You should speak with the officer's supervisor.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    No, that sounds like a bribe.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers | Alexander Sanchez
    If what you are reporting is accurate, the police appear to be engaging in criminal conduct. The police are not collection agencies for the court. This appears to be shakedown. Advice; Contact the local district attorney's office and ask to speak with one of the prosecutors. They may agree to set up a sting operation to capture the rouge police officers in action.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    That sounds like a corrupt cop. I would contact the State Patrol ASAP and let them know about this because you can go to the court and have the warrants quashed without having to pay anything. I would keep quiet and call the state patrol.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Law Office of Mark Bruce
    Law Office of Mark Bruce | Mark Corwin Bruce
    NO! This is a scam! Call the agency which allegedly issued the warrant (get the number from the telephone book) and talk to them.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/9/2012
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    No. That's called bribery or official oppression. Call the local police and ask for internal affairs department. They will set up a sting on this officer and take him down.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann | Christopher J. McCann
    Uh, No! That sounds pretty illegal to me. Go to the station and make a complaint to the watch commander. But take care of your warrants first in court. Best to call a lawyer immediately.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Absolutely not. You should contact the local news and have a reporter on standby at your house. Try and catch the cop in the act.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    AyerHoffman, LLP
    AyerHoffman, LLP | David C. Ayer
    While it is possible there is some statute where you live which allows this method of fine collection, it is highly unorthodox. You should call the court from which the warrant issued and inquire generally, and anonymously, about this. If speaking with the court does not resolve the question, speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. On its face, this sounds like a scam.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Other than an illegal bribe I have not come across any situation where an officer would take any form of payment on an infraction. The fact that he gave you his cell phone number and not an office number is also suspicion. You need to contact the court clerk and see if you have any warrants. Then deal only with the cashier at the court for money payments. You should report the contact of this officer to the police.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    Your fact situation sounds unusual. The only way his statement can be true is if the warrants specified that you could be released upon payment of the amount cited. If that amount is the same as the total fine, you could clear the files by making the payment. Be aware that payment of a "payable" fine is a plea of guilty. Both offenses would show up on your record as convictions.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey | Michael E. Dailey
    Such procedure as you have described is not followed in any jurisdiction that I have seen or heard of. In some areas it is possible to pay a ticket at the court even if a warrant has been issued and that may satisfy all requirements of the court and clear the warrant. I am not aware of any jurisdiction that permits officers to come personally to the home demanding cash be paid to them to take care of tickets. Call the court where the tickets are pending and check with them about this activity. If the officers are engaged in some sort of shakedown or improper activity please be willing to assist in bringing it to light. You may want to find an attorney to work with you just to make sure you don't fall between the cracks.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Law Offices of Eric J. Bell | Eric J. Bell
    An officer cannot ask you for money in exchange for going to jail unless the money is for your bond.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Ellman and Ellman PC
    Ellman and Ellman PC | Kevin Ellmann
    Absolutely not. This officer is likely committing a crime and you would be well served to contact your local Law Enforcement Agency (but not the same this officer belongs to) and advise them of the situation and cooperate with a sting to have this officer arrested. Not only will your payment to this officer not be legal, but it also probably would not serve to relieve you of the warrants if they actually exist. This officer needs to be taken down.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    Call the court. You will probably discover that you have warrants that the bail is $100.00. Call the court, in any event to take care of the warrants and do it NOW.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Law Office of William L Spern | William Spern
    Call the local prosecutor and turn the officer in immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC | Christopher G Humphrey
    In Wyoming, and officer can accept bond money from you in place of arresting you, but, i have never seen this done before. Take your ticket to the nearest criminal defense attorney, have that attorney call the court and the officer to determine the status. If there is already a warrant, it is better to pay the ticket directly to the court. the court can vacate te warrant. Do not give the money to the officer directly unless advised by an attorney to do so after consultation. This is a complicated scenario.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    I would report this officer to his supervisor. What he/she is doing is absolutely wrong. What he/she is doing is extortion. This officer needs to be reprimanded or fired.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Baner and Baner
    Baner and Baner | Jonathan Baner
    Call the local police office is my advice. Something sounds suspicious, but I do not know if that is a legal procedure where your at based on your facts or not. A Bench warrant is a warrant issued typically due to a failure to appear in court, and it is an arrest warrant directing officers in Washington to arrest you and bring you before the judge (bench) that issued it. You may also want to contact the court where the supposed bench warrant has been issued to schedule a motion to quash the warrant.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A bench warrant may be issued and a bail can be set when a party fails to appear or pay a citation. Whether that is what occurred in your case would require a review . It is extremely unusual for a person to pay the officer in order to remain free on bail. I am highly suspicious of the procedure described.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Sounds fishy. I would call the department and check on this to see if legitimate.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Myles Hahn III Attorney at Law | Myles Hahn III
    Either the officer is acting completely unethically, or something else is happening which you have not properly communicated. If there are charges against you on file, you need an attorney to defend them. It is a crime to give money to an officer or promise to do so, in order to obtain something of benefit.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    I have never heard of such a legal procedure.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/2/2013
    Rhoades & Miller, LLP
    Rhoades & Miller, LLP | M. Jason Rhoades
    No! This is not legal at all! Please call me immediately. If this is what it sounds like, the officers need to be exposed so they don't get away with things like this.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    H. Scott Basham, Attorney at Law, P.C. | H. Scott Basham
    It sounds quite fishy to me. If the person is indeed an officer, it sounds like he was asking for a bribe. I would call the court and verify if there are bench warrants and, if so, what you can do to take care of it.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    That is not legal. The officer would probably be arrested if his superiors found out.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/8/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Not a legal procedure. Call your local cops or state patrol if the local cop is the one asking for money and report it. At the very least you want a receipt and I would copy the money so it can be traced to the cop.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/8/2012
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