ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — One woman has discovered a major loophole in City of Albuquerque parking tickets and got her ticket thrown out as a result. It’s a loophole that could affect everyone who has gotten one.
In Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court Wednesday, Naomi Salazar argued her two parking tickets should be dismissed. Both were issued on October 29 while she was parked on Kit Carson Southwest.
Her citations were for unlawful stopping/standing/parking and for being within 30 feet of a stop sign. In the court hearing yesterday, the officer who issued the tickets testified.
“When I cited this vehicle, I was in full uniform displaying my badge as an officer. It occurred in the city of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, in New Mexico,” said Officer C. Gonzales with the Albuquerque Police Department.
However, when Officer Gonzales went to show the judge the pictures she took as proof, Salazar objected to it.
“I object to those being used; they have not been shared with defense,” Salazar said.
There was a back-and-forth between Salazar and the officer. It should be noted, Salazar is an attorney and knows the law well. She argued she was not provided with those pictures the officer took showing she was illegally parked.
“They are online, ma’am, when you go to the online, you press the info button, ma’am, and the photos that I took are there,” the officer said.
“Your honor, I still object that doesn’t comply with the rules of criminal procedure. There’s nothing stated on the citation about this online database that we can access, so I’d ask that those be excluded,” Salazar countered, The rules she is referencing state the prosecution has 30 days after arraignment to provide evidence to a defendant.
The judge on the case, Judge Yvette Gonzales, asked the officer where on the back of the ticket it directs someone to look online for pictures or proof of their alleged traffic violations. Officer Gonzales said the parking ticket lists the city’s website to make a payment, but the judge ultimately sided with Salazar since the tickets don’t explicitly tell people they can find this type of documentation online.
“I think that’s something the city needs to remedy. I don’t see that it tells her that. If it did say that she can go on there to get discovery or any photos that were downloaded, then I think that’s something different, but it doesn’t say that. It says for her to go on there to make payments, so I’m not going to allow defense’s or state’s evidence at this point in time,” Judge Gonzales said.
The ticket then got dismissed because the evidence was not allowed.
A city spokesperson said this is the first time someone’s alerted them to this omission, and they said they immediately began changing the language on the back of the tickets.
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This was the first time we had received this feedback. As soon as the judge instructed us to remedy, Parking Services immediately began working on changing the language that is printed on the back of citations (rather than waiting for the outcome of this particular case). Since then, the language has been changed and directs folks to the parking website where they can look up the necessary documentation using their citation number.Scott Cilke, public information officer, City of Albuquerque Department of Municipal Developmen