How to Get a Ticket Dismissed (Almost) Every Time
Have you ever known someone who received a traffic ticket? Chances are, you’ve heard your friend complain about the speeding ticket he got last week. He was only doing 80 with the flow of traffic, how could the cop write him a ticket! Or, how about your aunt who received one of those red light camera tickets in the mail claiming she didn’t stop completely before making a right on a red. She was sure she stopped that day, but now she faces a $500 ticket fine that she can’t afford since her husband was recently laid off, and she really doesn’t want to deal with fighting it in court.
These circumstances make us really start to appreciate living in California (or the few other states with a similar court system). Our courts make it fairly easy for drivers to fight their traffic ticket…and win! Most people think that their only option to fight their ticket is to go to court, wait in line, and plead their case in front of an intimidating judge only to be found guilty and left with few options but to just pay it off and drive really carefully for the next three years. But there is another option that most people seem to overlook-it’s called the trial by written declaration and it allows drivers to contest their ticket through the mail without ever having to appear in court. In fact, you will find information for the trial by written declaration right on the back of your ticket.
What kind of tickets are eligible for a trial by written declaration?
Just about every traffic infraction with a California vehicle code that is not past-due is eligible for a trial by written declaration, i.e. speeding tickets, stop sign tickets, red light tickets, red light camera tickets, cell phone tickets, tail-gaiting, etc. The trial by written declaration forms can be downloaded from most court websites. Some courthouses have their own policies for filing a trial by written declaration, so be sure to check your court’s website or contact them for specific instructions.
For those who doubt, there are several benefits to pursuing a trial by written declaration.
● It’s convenient. No long trips to the courthouse. No waiting in lines.
● It allows for a comprehensive written argument based on well prepared legal research.
● It’s a great place to start, assuring that if you are found guilty, you would then have the option for a trial de novo (retrial) or the opportunity to request traffic school. It’s a no-brainer to give it a shot.
1. It’s effective.The officers are required to write in their statement but they don’t get paid to do so, so generally they don’t have a huge incentive to write a lengthy statement against you.
So what do you write in your trial by written declaration, anyhow?
Here’s an insider look at how one of the top legal companies in California formulates defenses for their drivers. Greg Muender, president and founder of TicketKick shares his tips:
● Become fully aware of what you’re dealing with. Research what the law says about your violation, break it down, and find the loopholes that apply to your case. For example, red light camera law establishes lengthy requirements that cities must abide by in operating the camera systems. Use public resources to determine if all requirements have been met.
● Research similar published cases (case precedent) and cite them when applicable.
● Stick to the facts about your case. Do not formulate any excuses about why you did whatever you did. Do not admit guilt.
● Remember, the trial by written declaration is a legal document which leaves no room for spelling or grammatical errors. If your statement includes legal jargon, including cited case precedent, be sure to use it properly and authoritatively.
● Identify the ways that you are not guilty, and use that as a foundation to convince the judge why he should dismiss the case.
With ticket fines higher than ever, and the average speeding ticket costing between $250-$400 and everyone’s favorite red light camera tickets about $500 a pop, the trial by written declaration has proven to millions of drivers to be an effective way to beat traffic tickets, saving drivers hundreds of dollars in ticket fines, adding no points to their record or raising insurance rates, and saving the time and hassle it takes in going to the courthouse or taking traffic school.
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