Citations seek more information

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 19, 2009

Don’t be alarmed – the officer is not trying to hit on yourdaughter.

When highway patrolmen, police officers and deputies ask for anaddress and phone number to accompany traffic citations, they’renot on the dating scene, they’re just following a new statelaw.

Mississippi Highway Patrol Public Affairs Officer Sgt. RustyBoyd said the new Uniform Traffic Ticket Law, passed in Senate Bill2919 earlier this year, requires officers to request a mailingaddress and phone number for the benefit of the court system. Asold traffic booklets are used up and the new ones begin arriving,Boyd said concern is growing in the law enforcement community thatrequests for addresses and phone numbers may be perceived the wrongway.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We had some concerns come up that some parents may be callingabout why a law enforcement officer is asking for a phone numberfor their daughter,” he said. “We wanted to make the public awareof these changes.”

Boyd said the courts sometimes run into problems contactingmotorists who have been ticketed because Mississippi driver’slicenses list physical addresses, while some citizens may havetheir mail delivered elsewhere. Officers’ requests for mailingaddresses and phone numbers are meant to provide the courts with anavenue for contacting someone in of case court dates change orother information must be passed on to the citizen.

Boyd said ticketed motorists are not legally required to givetheir mailing addresses and phone numbers for the citation, andofficers will simply write, “refused,” on the ticket if theinformation is withheld. Refusing to give the information is not acrime and will not result in punishment, he said.

However, refusing the information could lead to problems downthe road if the court needs to contact someone, Boyd said. If courtdates are changed and the motorist can’t be contacted, they couldmiss court and find themselves in contempt.

“If you do choose to do that and not give a current mailingaddress or phone number and the court needs to contact you, theywon’t be able to,” he said. “You may end up with a suspendeddriver’s license.”