Why do innocent people plead guilty? Ticket edition.
Much has been written about why innocent people plead guilty to serious charges. Basically, it’s because the possible sentence and penalties (prison/fines) for going to trial are so great that the risk-averse will avoid trial when possible. But why do innocent people plead guilty when the stakes are low? Like Class-C misdemeanor low? That’s a simpler explanation, the cost of fighting the case is so much higher than the penalty, that most won’t bother trying to avoid the penalty.
Example- You are involved in an argument with a neighbor over loud fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Neighbor says you pushed him, you tell the cops that Neighbor fell down because he was drunk. The police show up, don’t know who to believe, and write you a ticket for assault since you aren’t claiming the neighbor did anything illegal. The police would probably prefer to not write any citations, but they are worried that the next time you guys argue someone might get hurt, so this creates a record of events and is a decent way to CYA the situation in case of future conflict.
Now you are facing a Class C Assault By Contact in your local Muni Court. Too many local municipal courts in Texas are run as profit-making ventures. Cities hire Municipal court judges and prosecutors (city attorneys), and often do so with the goal of maximizing fines (revenue).