Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ticket: case dismissed! (English)

Anyways, here's the English version of what I just posted here, if it's worth anything.

Basically last November, I got a traffic ticket for running a stop sign.  It was close to midnight, two blocks away from where I live, and there were literally no pedestrians in sight.  And as almost every Californian would do, I pulled the running California stop.  Of course, I noticed a car some distance behind me.   And of course, he just had to be a cop.

Being pulled over, the first human instinct is not honesty, but complete denial.  Of course, the cop wouldn't have any of it and promptly wrote me a ticket.  Two days ago I was just cited for a broken rear brake light (how do you check them on your own anyways? ) and I was totally bummed out. 

I returned home upset, understandably, and I started reading for ways to contest the ticket.  I found out that in California, there's this thing called trial by written declaration, where in lieu of appearing in person, you get to submit a written statement as your testimony.  The citing officer would also be asked to submit his statement, and then those two statements square off in traffic court.

Now, if the officer actually does turn in his testimony, it's basically game over for you.  However, there's a good chance that he won't, because unlike showing up to traffic court in person, the cop doesn't get extra pay for writing the statement.  In short, it's a hassle. 

The beauty of trial by written declaration is that, if you lose the trial, you can request a trial de novo (new trial), where you have to then appear in court in person.  However, you will have been given two chances that the cop won't actually show up, as opposed to the traditional route of just one chance.  So why not take that extra chance?

Also, the worse scenario is that you pay the original fine, which you certainly will if you don't contest the ticket from the start.  So once again, why not take the given opportunities?

This time around, I got lucky, and the officer didn't submit his statement.  The charge was dropped and my case was dismissed.  Of course, I shouldn't be just celebrating over my good fortunes.  I now make a full stop every time at that stop sign, so in the end, it's a lesson well-earned, but without that huge fine :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it's the year of the dragon, your lucky year!

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