Defenders investigate ticketing policies on drivers without IDs

Officials say it's not uncommon to pull over drivers without licenses

By April Molina - Reporter
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SAN ANTONIO - In January of this year, Sergio Campos was surprised to find three notices in the mail, all pertaining to a traffic stop by a Bexar County sheriff's deputy in August of 2012.

"It said I had warrants out for my arrest and I was curious why," said Campos.

Over the next five months, Campos would argue his case numerous times before eventually bringing enough evidence to the assistant district attorney to show someone other than himself was actually pulled over.

When Campos got to Precinct 4, he told the judge it wasn't him. He said he hadn't been pulled over or ticketed and he didn't have any intention of paying the fines totaling more than $1,100.

Campos then decided to do his own research.

"The next day, that's when I got a copy of the citation. I noticed, 'Hey somebody used my identity,'" Campos said.

The Defenders contacted Bexar County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman, Rosanne Hughes, to inquire about the August 2012 traffic stop.

"He pulled him over because he had a defective headlight and asked to see his ID because he was cited. Our deputy cited him for failure to produce a license," Hughes said.

While Hughes said the deputy remembers very little about the stop that happened almost two years ago, the ticket reveals the deputy did not obtain a drivers license number or proof of insurance either.

Campos doesn't think the deputy was thorough enough in identifying the driver.

"Our standard operating procedure is to ask to see a drivers license and then if they don't produce a drivers license, they'd be asked for another form of identification. If they're not given either one, they're going to be ticketed. They would not be taken to jail for not having a drivers license," Hughes said.
"I'm not second guessing the sheriff's department. They have their procedures. They do what they do, but this is not my procedure. We would've investigated a little bit further before we wrote the ticket to him to see if it was him or not," said Precinct 4 Constable, Robert Blount.

Campos was eventually able to get his case dropped, but he is still out almost $1,200 in non-refundable money he paid to a bondsman.

The Defenders inquired with other local law enforcement agencies to see how their policies compare.

Comal County does not have a standing policy.

If a driver doesn't have any identification, they could be arrested at the officer's discretion.

San Antonio and Boerne police said they do ask for other forms of identification.

If drivers can not provide any ID, they could be cited or arrested, depending on the situation. 

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