My chances of beating a traffic ticket in California?

If I use trial by declaration or a court trial? I'm open to plea bargaining if the point does not stay on my record, but I would need to request second offender traffic school because I got my last one in January of this year. I'm considering showing up to court, but would rather do a written declaration because I have alot of evidence and am clear with the written language. In real life I say "um" alot. Can I still request 12 hour traffic school and a reduction in fines through a written declaration or is that request only made in court before a Judge? I am pleading not guilty but wrote in my written declaration that "if the court does not find in my favor in this case, that I request 12 hour traffic school and a reduction in my fines." Is it better to show up to the arraignment to plead not guilty and then set a trial date or are my chances better with the written declaration? Thanks for the advice in advance.

2 Answers

  • <R>
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    OK, here's what you need to do: Study in depth This is a free site with all you need to know about your situation. Its not a lawyer trying to sell you anything.

    Its no better to plead in person. Its actually worse because its a waste of time. Plead not guilty by mail and request a Trial by Declaration (TBD). Even if you have great arguments, save them for court if it is necessary. DO NOT PUT "I request 12 hour traffic school and a reduction in my fines."(!!!!) That's exactly what you'll get. Except you won't get a reduction in fines. Just put, "I stand by my not guilty plea." The reason is that if the officer answers, you have a very slim chance of winning. Its not necessarily going to hurt you to state your defense but its kind a waste of time.

    If that is unsuccessful, you get an entirely new trial. If the officer answers and you have to go to court, simply write down exactly what you want to say and read it. Delivery isn't as important as the facts. Just practice to not say "um." Of course, we're hoping you may not need it if the officer doesn't show.

    If you are still not successful, you will still be eligible for traffic school under the rules of the court. The judge has some latitude in this, especially since its the 12 hour school.

    Make sure you look at that site in depth. There are a plethora of other tactics. For example, requesting informal discovery from the DA/City attorney. If they don't respond or direct you to the police department, you've got some legal grounds for dismissal. The exact forms and letters are all there.

    There really is no plea bargaining in traffic court. You either committed the offense or you didn't and the fine is uniform throughout the state. This process requires a whole LOT of work. You have to be motivated and there is no guarantee of success.

    By the way, another good resource to use is NOLO's "Fight Your Ticket and Win in California." Its only partially available on Google Books so you may have to buy it (or try to get it from the library)

    Good luck.

    Source(s): UC Berkeley Legal Studies
  • Since the state is nearly bankrupt, you can be assured that they will figure out a way to squeeze the most money out of you regardless of your guilt or innocence.

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