Tag Archives: ticket

St. Louis County Municipal court revenue down since Ferguson unrest

Looks as if the amount of revenue from St. Louis area municipal courts is way down since the social unrest in 2014 after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. This is according to research tabulated in an annual report by the Missouri state court system.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch tabulated information from the report and found that the data shows there has been a significant drop in revenue collected by municipal courts in St. Louis County.  Revenue was down from $53 million in fines and fees collected in year ending June 2014 to $29 million in year ending June 2016.

A similar trend can be seen in the number of traffic cases in the city of St. Louis.  The number of traffic cases filed last year fell to 66,008. This represents a drop of 69 percent compared to two years ago.

The data shows that the number of traffic cases in Ferguson last year, 1,736, had dropped 85 percent from two years ago, and non-traffic cases were down a similar percentage.  Fergusons court revenue plummeted from more than $2 million two years ago to just $579,000 this last year.  Ferguson had been under fire from the U.S. Department of Justice in the aftermath of Michael Brown. 

Ferguson’s municipal court system had been the target of a scathing U.S. Department of Justice report as well as intense scrutiny from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other media.  Local attorneys can tell you that the long lines out the door are no longer the case.

Other cities in North County known for their intense speed traps along the I-70 corridor have also seen a drop in revenue, according to the court report.

St. Ann, for example, saw revenue drop nearly a million dollars from $2.6 million two years ago to $1.7 million this last year. Tickets issued fell during that same time period from over 25,000 to 9,880. 

Florissant municipal court revenue went from $2.6 million to $1.7 million. Normandy fell from $1.4 million to slightly over $788,000.  Pine Lawn dropped from $2,2 million to $652,925.  Berkeley was down from $1.2 million to $378,327.

Court of Appeals strikes down ordinance establishing new police standards

A recent Eastern District of Missouri Court of Appeals ruling struck down an ordinance establishing new police standards in St. Louis County.

St. Louis County had enacted an ordinance authorizing the County Executive to impose countywide minimum police standards.  However, the cities affected by that ordinance filed a petition to have it invalidated. 

The trial court had ruled that the county had no authority to enact the ordinance.  The Court of Appeals affirmed. 

The reasoning was as follows: The Missouri Constitution provides that certain exercises of legislative authority be subject to a county-wide vote. At the same time, the state’s constitution also allows a county charter to authorize any action permitted by statute, including public health standards.  The Court says standards of police conduct fall within public safety and not public health as public health is limited to preventing disease.  Furthermore, the Court held that the county’s authority to legislate police conduct standards does not depend on the proposition that low standards harm residents. 

The Court said: “The County’s reliance on information presented to the County Council as to the impact of this ordinance on public health does not aid its argument for how this was a valid exercise of authority under Section 192.300.  The positive impact that improved law enforcement may have on the public – including the extent to which it improves the community’s physical and mental well-being – is simply not what was meant by “enhance public health” in Section 192.300.  To hold otherwise would be to broaden the scope of authority beyond what the legislature intended by granting counties the power to make “additional health rules” in Section 192.300.  Thus, this Ordinance was not a valid exercise of the County’s authority conferred by that statute.”

Law enforcement ups efforts to prevent DWIs over holidays

Watch out for intoxicated drivers this holiday season.  At least that’s what Missouri Highway Patrol is planning to do.  Law enforcement agencies around the country are expected to step up their efforts to curtail drinking and driving these next couple weeks.

Many law enforcement agencies from across the nation will be participating in an initiative called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

According to news reports, the Missouri State Highway Patrol intends to increase the number of officers and checkpoints for the holidays.  Law enforcement officials say the combination of bad weather such as ice and snow plus driving impaired leads to a significant number of accidents.

Many Missouri courts will punish the first time DWI offender with some combination of fines, jail time, probation, community service, victim impact panels, and treatment through DWI courts.  They hope to curtail the number of DWI’s and DWI repeat offenders.   Missouri in 2015 had 870 traffic fatalities of which just under one-fourth of them involved some form of alcohol or drug impairment.

Be sure to have fun and drive safe this holiday season.  Happy Holidays.

Man’s life ruined by Ferguson Court System

St. Louis native, Fred Watson, was watching baseball in his legally parked car in August of 2012 after playing basketball in Ferguson. Mr. Watson had frequented this specific park for many years.

Ferguson Police Officer, Eddie Boyd, III, parked his car in front of Watsons. The officer requested Watsons social security number, but as he was doing nothing wrong, Watson declined.  Officer Boyd then pulled his gun, removed Watson from the vehicle and arrested him for Driving without a license, failure to have insurance, failure to register and tinting his windows. Watson had his license, his car was registered in Florida and he had insurance.  Pursuant to Florida law, his windows were not excessively tinted. Watson was taken to jail where he posted a $700.00 bond to be released.

After he complained about the way he was treated, Ferguson added two more charges, including failure to comply with a police officer.

Watson worked for the National Geospatial – Intelligence Agency in St. Louis. This job requires special security clearance. At the time this happened he was undergoing a security clearance review. Watson tried to get the charges dropped on his own, but was forced to hire an attorney. His first attorney was unable to get the charges removed from his record. The goes on for a couple of years so Watson hires a second attorney. At this time, the Prosecuting Attorney indicated that all the charges had been amended down to illegal parking and/or littering and all the fines had been paid.

She was wrong. The failure to comply charges were still showing in some court records. Watson was fired because he couldn’t keep his security clearance without clearing up the charges in Ferguson.

His second attorney continued to try to clear his name. In March 2015, his letter criticizing the Ferguson Municipal Court was not responded. Prosecuting Attorney for Ferguson, Stephanie Karr resigned in May of 2016.

Now Watson is on his third set of attorneys, Arch City Defenders. This non-profit law firm has filed a Motion to withdraw the guilty pleas Watson never entered and to declare the convictions void.

New Missouri law bans traffic quotas, changes use-of-force laws

Missouri’s Governor Jay Nixon signed a new crime related bill that updates youth sentencing laws, changes use-of-force statutes, and bans traffic ticket quotas.

Changes will go into effect in 2018 and also make it easier to seal conviction records for some crimes. Currently state laws require a 20 year waiting period to file for an expungement of felonies and 10 years for misdemeanors. The new law reduces the waiting period for felonies to 7 years and 3 years for misdemeanors.  The cost to file is $250 and the person must not have received any other convictions during the waiting period.  Those convicted of dangerous felonies, domestic assault, certain violent crimes and sex offenses will not be eligible.

The legislation, approved by large margins in both the House and Senate, is designed to help former criminals find employment more easily. Records would be sealed from public viewing but prosecutors and police could still receive the information.

Legislation has changed how much physical force a police officer may use to bring Missouri in compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Tennessee v. Garner.

Ticket quotas, a practice in some Missouri municipals, will likely be abolished with laws now prohibiting cities from encouraging or requiring an employee to issue a certain number of tickets. This change has come about after a push in traffic ticket reforms post 2014 Ferguson unrest and protests.

Sentencing reform also was part of the changes, particularly involving juveniles.  Juvenile murders older than 16 can be assessed a minimum of 50 years and be eligible for a parole hearing. Juvenile murders under age 16 can be sentenced to a minimum of 35 years and be eligible for a parole hearing.  These sentencing options were added for juvenile murders after a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case ruled death sentences were unconstitutional, which left Missouri with only one option of a first-degree murder conviction.  And a later 2012 case stated that life without parole also was unconstitutional.


Missouri Legislature trying to stop ticket quotas

In May, the Missouri Legislature passed a law banning law enforcement agencies from setting quotas for traffic citations. The Bill is currently awaiting signature from Governor Nixon. The Bill was sponsored by Senate Republican Eric Schmitt from Glendale. He indicated the law was necessary to prevent local law enforcement agencies from using police officers to pad their budgets. For example, the Mayor of Edmundson sent a letter to the city’s police officers telling them they needed to issue more tickets in order to help pay their salaries.

Currently only St. Louis County has restrictions on traffic citations quotas. This new law would expand to all law enforcement agencies in the state. Punishments for violation of this new law could include Class A misdemeanor charges against city officials who order employees to issue a certain number of traffic citations.  

State Auditor has issued reports for Foristell and St. Ann

The State Auditor, Nicole Galloway, has begun looking into St. Louis-area municipalities regarding traffic revenue. These audits are due to the new law which limits fines, bans failure to appear charges for missing a court date, bans jail as a sentence for minor traffic offenses and restricts the revenue from court fines and fees.

Pursuant to the new law, cities are required to provide financial reports annually. Failure to do so could trigger loss of sales tax revenue and transfer of all pending cases to the county circuit court. Judges in each municipality must verify that the courts are in compliance.

Most recently Foristell, a municipality of 500, located on I-70 in St. Charles and Warren Counties the auditor’s office reviewed warrant fees. In the past, Foristell issued a $100 warrant fee for individuals that failed to pay their fines or appear in court. In 2014, this practice generated more than $65,000. Foristell has since stopped this practice.

Further Foristell had bookkeeping errors and other practices that may impair impartiality or damage credibility. Plea agreements were not always signed by the prosecuting attorney and the court issued two fees related to a failure to appear.

Also investigated was the municipality of St. Ann. St. Ann is located by the St. Louis Airport on I-70. Here, the auditor questioned a bond processing fee which had resulting in $38,000. Again the city has dropped the practice, even though they state they had authority to collect the fees.  City officials stopped accepting cash bonds to reduce the need for those additional fees.

The Auditor’s office indicated that the process worked due to local officials taking immediate action to end collection of questionable fees after the issue was raised.

Special Group Appointed to Review Missouri Municipal Court Practices

Headed by former Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justices, Edward D. Robertson, Jr and Ann K. Covington and Appellate Judge Booker t. Shaw, an eleven member group has been created by the Missouri Supreme Court to study municipal court practices and recommend improvements. Per an order from Chief Justice Mary R. Russell, the group will have a few public hearings.

After the Department of Justice report on municipal court practices, the Court felt it necessary to appoint this group to look into, among other things, the revenue raising for municipalities from the court system. This comes right on the heels of a recent General Assembly bill aimed at reducing the percentage of a city’s operating budget that comes from traffic fines.

We should expect a preliminary report by September 1, 2015 and the final by December 1, 2015.

Chesterfield Municipal Court

Chesterfield Traffic Lawyers

St. Louis County – 21st Judicial Circuit
The Chesterfield Traffic Lawyers at PulledOver.com can handle it,

Chesterfield Speeding Ticket Defense

Our Chesterfield traffic lawyers handle Chesterfield speeding ticket defense, where “no points” is the goal.

Chesterfield MIP Defense

Our Chesterfield MIP lawyers handle Minor in Possession defense, where the object is keeping your record clean and your driver license from being suspended or revoked.

Chesterfield DWI Defense

Our Chesterfield DWI attorneys handle drunk driving defense, where your driver license and your freedom are at stake.

Let our Chesterfield Traffic Lawyers start helping you today. Contact Us

Chesterfield Traffic Court Information

This page contains Court information Links for Chesterfield, Missouri.

Chesterfield Municipal Court

Nancy Morr, Court Administrator
690 Chesterfield Parkway West
Chesterfield, MO 63017
(636) 537-4718

(636) 537-4798 (facsimile)

Prosecuting Attorney
Timothy Englemeyer

Hon. Rick Brunk

Court is held on Tuesday Evenings at 7:00pm approximately 3 times per month.

In 2017, the Municipality of Chesterfield filed over 5,000 tickets. Did you get a ticket in the municipality of Chesterfield? What should you do?

If you received a moving violation you have 3 options:

  1. Pay it
  2. Go to court and try to fight it yourself
  3. Hire an attorney.

If you pay it, there will be points assessed to your license. This can cause your insurance rates to go up and/or cause your license to be suspended. Eight points in 18 months can result in a license suspension.

If you try to fight it yourself, the first time you appear in court, your case will not be heard. You will be required to wait and then stand in front of the judge to plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, the judge will set your case for trial and you will have to come back at another date. Taking care of the ticket yourself will result in at least two court appearances taking upwards of an hour a piece. Then if you lose, you will be required to pay the fine anyway.

If you hire an attorney, you will likely avoid the appearance and our goal is to get your moving violation amended to a non-moving violation. We have worked in the Chesterfield Municipal Court for over 10 years. We work with the prosecuting attorney to get your ticket reduced. We then notify you via email and hard copy and all you have to do is mail in your payment. Usually this process requires no appearance in court on your part saving you time and energy. For a free consultation, fill out our easy ticket submission form and one of our attorneys will contact you