someone who just got a ticket? Print this out and leave it on their
desk, shove it under their door, or slip it under their windshield
wiper. Tape it up in the bathroom stall. At the very least, bookmark
this page. Above all, remember: Friends don't let friends get shafted.
(Printer friendly PDF version)
Why should you always fight your traffic
When you receive a traffic ticket, the court
will usually suggest that you must appear twice to contest it: first
to appear and plead not guilty and second to stand trial with the
officer present. This is not true. You can contest your
ticket by mail without making a single court appearance. Contesting
your citation through the mail gives you a better chance of winning
your case than at a court trial. Even if you seem to be guilty of
violating the law, the procedural hassles for the prosecution will
often lead to a dismissal. If the prosecution does not submit its
version of events in writing to the court by the deadline date,
your case will be dismissed regardless of your guilt or innocence.
Dismissals due to lack of prosecution are won in approximately 30%
of written defenses.
The law allows you to contest any traffic
infraction entirely by mail. You can appear via mail through a Written
Not Guilty Plea pursuant to CVC 40519(b). In your plea you can
request a Trial by Written Declaration
pursuant to CVC 40902. In this way you can contest your citation
without appearing at all and, for reasons already discussed, will
have a better chance of winning than at trial. Further, if you lose
your trial by declaration, you have 20 days to request a Trial de
Novo (new trial) pursuant to CVC 40902(d). You then can appear in
court for the first time for your second chance of winning.
Why doesn't the court inform every defendant
of their legal right to appear in court via mail (Written Not Guilty
Plea), contest via mail (Trial by Written Declaration), and have
a new trial (Trial de Novo) if they are not happy with the outcome
of the first trial? Money.
Most courtesy notices hardly mention or do not mention these rights
at all. Many courtesy notices from California traffic courts begin,
"To avoid the inconvenience and long lines associated with a court
appearance... pay the bail amount listed above." The justice
system uses its own bureaucratic inefficiency to discourage you
from seeking justice. Nice.
If they even mention the possibility of contesting
a citation, they also mention that this generally requires two court
appearances, one to plead not guilty, a second for the actual trial.
If you do appear in person to plead not guilty, most courts will
make you enter your plea last, inconveniencing you to the maximum.
Then it will ask you to return to court for a trial. The two days'
pay lost through these two separate appearances amounts to more
than the traffic fine for most people. This is why less than 1%
of cited motorist ever bother to contest their citation. Ignorant
of their legal rights, confused and intimidated by the courts and
police, 99% of Californians ticketed simply pay up.
The California Traffic Court System extorts
over a billion dollars a year from California citizens by keeping
us ignorant of our rights. They confuse and intimidate us with a
muddled "courtesy" notice mentioning license suspension
and jail as possibilities (these are only possibilities for those
who ignore the citation entirely). The courts also benefit from
the inherent respect most people have for the police that keeps
them from questioning the officers' often-arbitrary decision to
issue a citation.
California traffic courts use the formality
of the courthouse to further intimidate those brave enough to appear,
scaring them into pleading guilty or accepting an assignment to
attend traffic school. The court strong-arms the majority of defendants,
too busy or too intimidated to appear, to surrender without a fight:
we collapse like a piece of IKEA
furniture and meekly mail in the protection money hoping these
bullies will leave us alone. By sustaining this proctological racket,
California traffic courts rake in a small fortune for state, county,
and local governments. Al Capone would be proud.
The court has done its best to discourage you from contesting
your ticket. My site is designed to expose the not-so-scary Wizard
of Oz hiding behind the trappings and formality of the law. You
can contest your ticket by mail without a single court appearance.
You can win your case with a single letter. You can exercise your
right as a citizen to be heard. The state-sponsored car tax via
unfair citation can be overcome.
My site will show you how to contest by mail with step-by-step
instructions contained in the Shareware. If you are ready to fight
back, go to my Shareware Registration page
and join ticketassassin.com. I'll be here to guide you in using
my shareware once you join. I hope to hear from you soon.