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Officer writing ticket

Lincoln Police Department Officer Nate Hill writes a speeding ticket in this file photo from 2013.

A Lincoln police officer pulls you over, handing you a ticket for failure to obey a traffic control device, and asks for your signature on the ticket.

You don’t want to sign.

Signing doesn’t mean you agree you are guilty. It just means you promise to show up in court.

You still don’t want to sign.

Under current city ordinance, it’s unclear what is the next step. But, generally, an officer will hand in the ticket without your signature.

Under state law, refusing to sign is an automatic misdemeanor.

In a few weeks, city code will include that same misdemeanor language, with a potential penalty of up to a $500 fine or up to three months in jail.

That change will make it more likely people will just sign the ticket and make it easier for the city to process the ticket quickly, according to city staff.

The change is one of almost two dozen code changes that are scheduled for public hearing before the Lincoln City Council at Monday’s 3 p.m. meeting.

The changes, which clarify city code or assure city ordinances correspond with state law, aren't significant. But they can be instructive, reminding people what is the law.

One license plate allowed

For the past year, car owners could use just one license plate — on the rear of the car — if they had a vehicle that did not have a front bracket for a plate and were willing to pay $100 a year.

So far, during the first year, 1,218 car owners have elected the one-plate, $100 option, according to state records.

The city code is being updated to reflect that change, said Jessica Kerkhofs, chief assistant city prosecutor.

At the same time, city ordinance language has also been changed to clearly state that others must be able to read your plate. That it be free from “grease, dust or other blurring matter” so that (letters, numbers and other identification marks) “shall be plainly visibly during daylight and under artificial light in the nighttime.”

Accident report fee 

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Several years ago the Legislature eliminated the ability for the city to charge a fee for an accident report. That $15 fee is now being eliminated from the city code as a part of the clean-up process.

Red means stop

The city code will explain that a red arrow — a newer traffic signal — means stop.

Making left-hand turns

The proposed language makes it clear a driver should use the “extreme left-hand lane” to make a left-hand turn. It allows a police officer to write a ticket specific to not using the left lane, rather than a more general traffic ticket.

No more volunteer officer

The city is ending the volunteer position for a Handicapped Parking Patrol Officer because there have been no volunteer officers for years.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7250 or

On Twitter @LJSNancyHicks.



Nancy Hicks reports on Lincoln city government, but she’s been following the leaders of local and state government for more than 40 years.

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