how to fight traffic tickets

OK, we all know that revenue raising is related to the number of tickets being given to riders. We also know that governments everywhere is hurting. Add the fact that this is ticket season, and you have the makings of a slaughter.

Problem is, not only are the tickets expensive, but they raise your insurance even more. Economically, it makes sense to fight every ticket. Of course, this is a time consuming pain in the butt.

In California, you can file a form with the court to request a “trial by declaration”. You write up your defense and send it in. The officer then has to respond in writing. If he doesn’t, you win.

If you lose, you can demand a regular trial. How cool is that?

Moreover, the process will take some time, delaying your conviction, which is always a good thing. Convictions run from the day of the violation, so the longer it takes to finish the case, the less time the conviction actually shows on your record. You don’t get points until DMV is notified of the conviction, so this could save your license in the right situation.

Of course, sending in a declaration denying that you are speeding is not likely to be successful, since the cop will undoubtedly send in a declaration saying that you were, that he clocked you (or got you on radar), that the car or radar gun was calibrated, etc.

Much smarter is to use this process to raise your technical defenses. For example, if you exceeded the speed limit in a “business district”, you could look up the definition of “business district”. It defines a “business district” as being an area of a highway where, “for a distance of 600 feet, 50 percent or more of the contiguous property fronting thereon is occupied by buildings in use for business . . .”

Having checked this definition, you notice that a lot of the buildings are empty, because business have closed. Your declaration says that this is not a business district, because the buildings are not “in use for business”.

It is unlikely that the officer will be prepared to take on this kind of a technical challenge within the available time frame. Even if he does, you might win. At the very least, you will get a written statement from him that you can use to prepare your defense for trial.

There, now you have it. You have no excuse for not at least trying to beat your ticket.

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