Thursday, June 05, 2008

How I beat my California Speeding Ticket

I got the results of my Trial by Declaration in the mail today. My case was dismissed and noted at the bottom of my Decision and Notice of Decision, the words "insufficient evidence" was written. Unfortunately, I don't know if I won because of the motions, objections, and arguments that I presented, or because the officer never bothered to send in his side of the story. However, since I won because of "insufficient evidence" instead of "failure to prosecute" I probably won this out of my own merit.

Anyhow, the preparation that I did for my case provided me with a lot of information that might help some of you in the cases that you might face.

Know what you were cited for
I think most people would be surprised after reading the actual law behind the citation they got. Take for example a common citation, VC 22350, aka The Basic Speed Law:

No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.

Notice how there is no mention of a posted speed limit sign. As long as you can show that you were driving a safe speed for the conditions, you have not violated this law. I read of one case where the driver asked the officer if he thought he was driving at an unsafe speed. The officer responded no, and noted the conversation down on the ticket. During the trial, the driver said that by the officer's own account, he was driving at a safe speed, therefore he had not violated the law. The judge was then forced to rule in his favor.

Unfortunately for me, I was cited for a violation of VC22349(a) The Maximum Speed Law:

Except as provided in Section 22356, no person may drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than 65 miles per hour.

This is much harder to defend against since the officer only has to prove that I was going over 65. In addition, there is a popular defense known as the Speed Trap Defense which doesn't apply to this code.

Read the laws
I know its a pain, but California laws are actually quite readable. You don't need a law degree to read them. Just know that when they say "Notwithstanding XXX", it means that the following decree overrides the XXX. So if you are planning to use a part of the law like subdivision (b) of Section 22351 then make sure there are no other laws with the phrase "Notwithstanding subdivision (b) of Section 22351",... Like there is in VC22348. You don't need to read everything, just try to find anything that might be relavent to your case. If you can connect your defense strategies to an actual vehicle code or penal code then it will become much, much stronger. Even if you find out that a particular code that you want to use is negated by another code, you can still employ it as one of your many defense strategies. Just because you know it shouldn't work, doesn't mean that the judge, officer, and prosecutor will know.

PC 1054.1 is your Friend
Discovery is the process by which both the defense and the prosecution must share evidence and disclose witnesses with each other before they may be used at trial. Discovery is one of the cornerstones of due process in our judical system. Without it, prosecutions could easily ambush the defense with falsified or illegal evidence. They could also put on the stand witnesses that would otherwise be unfit to testify without fear of rebuttal from the defense. The key to using discovery to your advantage is that once you are in discovery, only evidence and witnesses presented in discovery will be allowed in court (you'll have to make an objection of course). So the strategy here is to make sure that you get into discovery (by sending an informal discovery request to the prosecution) and hope that either the prosecution doesn't send you anything or that they send you "exculpatory evidence" (ie evidence that will show your innocence). Make sure that for every discovery request you submit, you have your friend deliver it for you (to the post office) and have him fill out a "proof of service" form that you keep to prove that the request was indeed sent to the post office. Then make sure that you get signature confirmation for the delivery from the post office. That way, if the prosecution fails to send you anything, you can prove that somebody there received it. I sent a request to both the city attorney (where I was cited) and to the district attorney. Its very important that the request goes to all the people that could claim to be the prosecution. Luckily, none of the prosecutions gave me any evidence, therefore, at trial I could object to any evidence or witness presented against me.

Find out how to get a hearing at your court
I wish I had known about this sooner. Courts don't want to deal with traffic violations. Some courts, like the one I went to, have an ingenious plan to provide the least access while appearing to make the courts seem even more accessible. They call this "walk-in court". It really should be called, "wait outside in the cold for a few hours and hope court" because even if you waited all morning, the courts will only see a set number of cases that day and the rest get to go home (unless of course you wanna just pay up your fine). If the court you are assigned to has walk-in court demand that you want a scheduled court hearing as soon as possible, even if you don't know what you want it for. The court clerk on the phone told me, that I had to go to walk-in court but it wasn't until I got moved to the "get to go home" line that they told me I could go to a super tuesday night court session two weeks later. Remember that you can probably extend your due date by 2 months online if you search for it on the back of your ticket or courtesy notice. That should give you enough time to secure a hearing.

File your Motions
If you've secured your hearing date, then you should try to submit any motions you have a few days prior to the court clerk. Since no evidence was provided to me at discovery, I made a motion to exclude all evidence and testimony. The clerk I spoke with had no clue as to how to accept the motion so I was forced to submit it during my walk-in court hearing. At the hearing the commissioner said that she couldn't make a ruling then and alluded to the fact that I should have submitted it earlier if I wanted a ruling now! If I had know better, I would have gotten the traffic clerk to go talk to the criminal clerk and ask them how they accept pre-trial motions.
This also could have been a blessing in disguise. I read of another case where the judge refused to exclude the evidence and instead made a court order to compel the prosecution to produce the requested evidence. If this had happened to me, I would have argued that if the prosecution does not intend to produce the evidence at trial, then I don't care to have the evidence either.

Trial by Declaration
My trial started with more pre-trial motions reiterating my submitted motion to exclude evidence, followed by motions to dismiss due to lack of evidence. If the motion to dismiss did not work, I brought up objections to the prosecution use of any evidence not found in discovery as being a failure of due process. The only card left for the prosecution to pull out of the hat, was that courts often consider an officer's visual estimation of speed as an accurate measure of speed. I made a objection based on lack of foundation to any visual estimation. I that the prosecution needs to establish with evidence that the officer can accurately determine speed visually. Since all evidence is excluded, he has no foundation to support that claim. The officer would not need foundation if he could claim that he never calibrated himself using any devices. But, of course, if he never calibrated himself then, he's declaring that the even he doesn't know if he is accurate.

Additional Tips


  • Be nice to the court clerks, even if they aren't nice to you. You'll probably be asking them questions they never heard before and the last thing you need is to be labeled a troublemaker. If they ask you if you are a lawyer or a law student or a wanna-be lawyer always say "law student". You studied the law right? Anyhow they will be more cooperative with you if they think you are one.
  • Time your submittal for discovery to be as late as possible while still being in time for you to legitimately file a motion to exclude or compel evidence (20 days by mail) on the day of your hearing. This reduces the likelihood that the officer will recollect what happened or or be able to reproduce the evidence.
  • Don't testify if you can win without doing so, especially if you are going to incriminate yourself. Some people will say something like "I was only doing 70 in the 65 zone, but the officer said I was doing 80". Since they were still breaking the law at 70, they would be found guilty, even if all the other arguments they put up were successful. If your case does go to trial, you should phrase your questions to the witness (if you failed to get them excluded) so that they provide all the testimony that you need which you will later try to poke holes in.


I'd like to thank several websites that provided me with useful, but not entirely complete information on how to fight my ticket.

  • Ticket Assassin - This inspired me to fight my ticket. Although the information about the advantages of trial by declarations are accurate, their examples wouldn't work for my violation , a VC 22349(a). Chances are if you are on the highway when you get pulled over, then you will get one of these tickets instead of the much easier to defend VC 22350. I found their strategy to be too reliant on a single tactic which may or may not work. A good defense employs several strategies to increase their odds.
  • ExpertLaw.com - Their forums are packed with information about traffic ticket defense strategies, tactics used by the prosecution, and most importantly, info about discovery. Be sure to check that the tips you get are relavant to your state!
Since a lot of people have asked, I've included additional info on how to write the docs you need to send in. There are in Part 2 and Part 3 of this article. Links below.

Click here to read part 2

Click here to read part 3

138 comments:

Slytherin said...

Hi,
Was wondering if you could give me more details. I also received a 22349(a) violation for going 83 in a 65 mph on the 405 in Long Beach. Everything I researched online said it's a no win because even one mile over is still technically guilty. (Unlike the 22350 basic speed law which allows for varying "safe" conditions). I'm stumped. My friend says do traffic school and pay the fine but I really can't afford it. I have a perfect driving record and I don't want my insurance to go up. Suggestions? I'd love to hear exactly what you used as proof since most of the discovery stuff isn't making sense to me.

Thanks! :)

Slytherin said...

Also forgot to add... I did check out the Ticket Assassin site before and read up on their defenses for that particular violation. They claim that you can use the "Safe driving conditions/flow of traffic", but everywhere else I checked said that defense never wins.

Min said...

Hi, I just got a 22349a for going 90 in a 65mph on the 5. I'm preparing to write my trial of declaration. Could you please help me? I would love to see your TBD letter. thanks in advance

minjungwoo@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hi I also got a 22349 (a). He said for approx speed 81 mph in a 65mph on the 110 fwy. I would like to know exactly what you said to beat your ticket. it's funny I did say I was going 71 he said 81. I was truthful in all retrospect. So id Definitely. walk-in court would sound nice just interested in what you said exactly. thanks

no.spam187 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Where can I find examples of completed written declarations to fight CVC 22356(b)? I was doing 70 in a 70 on cruise control at 1am along side several big rigs trucks on I-5 south and a cop traveling the opposite direction north 40 yards across the median, lit up, crossed the median, pulled me over and told me I was doing 85 according to his radar. So I'd like a good legal example of how to word it all when I send in my declaration.

Sarit said...

The key to winning is to "request discovery". That means you write a formal letter to the city attourney or district attourney (of the place you got the ticket) requesting all the evidence they intend to use against you. Once you do that, you are officially in "Discovery" and only evidence that they present to you can be considered legal evidence.

My TBD essentially says that I asked for discovery yet no evidence was given to me therefore any evidence the cop provides in his TBD response is illegal. So no evidence, no conviction.

If you didn't get into discovery then my TBD won't help you at all.

Sarit said...

Slytherin, its true that if you try to use the "Basic Speed Law Defense" (ie saying it was safe for the conditions) and the officer submits his story for the TBD then you will probably lose.
However, if you request that the prosecution give you a list of their witnesses and they don't send you anything, then you can claim on your TBD that no testimony (including the officer's) should be allowed. No witness. No conviction.

Sarit said...

Anonymous 70 on cruise control,
If I were you I would do everything I wrote about to request for discovery and on top of that you will want to collect your own evidence. Remember, any evidence you collect must be provided to the prosecution (discovery works both ways). Specifically, I would ask a mechanic with a dyno if they could test your cruise control at 70. You will want him to provide you with a document showing that your speedometer and cruise control are accurate and functioning correctly. If the prosecution fails to give you discovery, then your TBD should start out like mine by objecting to all evidence not entered into discovery and the case dismissed. Then state that if your case is not dismissed, present your facts and the evidence you gathered (including proof that your evidence was provided to the prosecution).

Sarit said...

My walk-in court appearance was boring. I just handed in my "Pretrial Motion" and pleaded not guilty. My case was dismissed during the TBD so there was no need to appear in court again.

mimihung said...

Hi,
My ticket was cited 22349(a) violation for going 84 mph in a 65 mph. The cop indicated on the ticket that radar was used. I have done lots of research online and everyone says that 22349(a) is difficult to beat. Can you please provide me details to fight on this?

Thank you!

th3_d0c said...

Hello,

This is probably the best post I have seen on fighting a ticket to date. I was wondering if I could get a copy of your paperwork (just got a ticket on the 405 by LAX). Would be a great help to my cause.
rgehring a@t gmail dot.com

Slytherin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hi Sarit, GREAT advice all around thank you!

I received a 22350 speeding ticket on 12/31/08 from an LAPD Traffic Enforcement motorcycle policeman with Radar for going 54 in a 35 mph zone on Sunset going Eastbound at Westwood Place. Actually, I came to a complete stop at the green light on Sunset at Westwood because I saw his flashing red/blue lights while he was parked on the South/East corner. I thought he just wanted to cross Sunset to make a left turn in an unrelated persuit. He then motioned to me with his index finger to proceed. I slowly crossed Westwood and when I saw him behind me still flashing his lights I pulled over to the right and got this ticket. No great exchage took place, he stated that he pulled me over for speeding, gave me the ticket and I wished him a Happy New Year :))

I plan to fight this ticket since I don't think I was going at an unsafe speed since I stopped in front of him without much effort.

I'd like to ask you to provide a timeline for filling the motions and responding to court requests and such. That's what I'm still confused about after reading your blog. I appreciate the time you've put into giving people advice here and I plan to update my results so others may learn from my experience as well.

All the best and Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Me again with the 22350 on Sunset at Westwood, I forgot to leave my email: rawego[at]hotmail[dot]com

Thank You!

Sarit said...

Hi Anonymous,

By most accounts a 22350 is much easier to beat than a 22349 so using my approach may incur extra work for you if you want maintain all the advantages of a 22350 defense. This is because my strategy relies on requesting discovery and hoping that you don't get it. Discovery is a double-edged sword, because if you wish to provide evidence or testify in court then you must furnish that evidence & witness list to the prosecution during the discovery period. So make sure that you send (and have proof that you send) anything that you intend to show in court (ie. weather reports, traffic reports, photographs) and a witness list that includes yourself .

I forget the exact dates, but this is what I did (mind you, this may not be the optimal times to do everything):
1) Got ticket
2) Waited almost 2 months
3) Submitted a "due date extension"
4) Waited a bit longer
5) 1 month till due date, submitted request for discovery (to local city attorney)
6) 3 weeks till due date, submitted discovery request to DA
7) few days before due date, went to court to plea not-guilty and request TBD and submit pre-trial motion
8) submit TBD in person a day before deadline

elusion said...

you should be more clear about TBD since a TBD is a written portion. And TBD is an option when you pay for a ticket and TBD is something you dont have to appear in court for. So again be very fucking careful or youll land in a world of shit like I am in right now. Just a little frustrated here. oh and the 213-742-1884 # is always busy so no point in calling.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarit you have a great blog, glad to see that we're keeping the system honest.

quick questions on my CVC 22350 going 59 on 35 zone (4-lane, straight, no intersaction/pedestrian/property, light traffic):

1. I hear that LA (Pasadena) traffic cases are so backlogged that if I don't waive my speedy trial rights by showing up at court for arraigment, there's a good chance trial date will be set months later, I will then be able to wait 45 days and file motion to dismiss, your thought?

2. what is better? TBD or de Novo. I believe I should still have my speed trial rights in TBD but I will lose my chance to cross examine the citing officer who clearly clocked the wrong guy as my passenger can/will write a declaration that we have just turned onto that road 250 feet earlier. No one can go from 0 to 59 in 250 feet. However, I am trying to simplify life so if I can have the case dismiss without having to challenge details of the violation, it will be better and less time consuming.

3. If i go with TBD and assuming that deadline for both sides to submit evidence falls somewhere within 45-day limit of TBD trial date, when is best time to file informal discovery request? I want to give the prosecution as little time as possible, but also enough time to file motion to dismiss before TBD trial date. Say, 25 days before deadline and then file motion to dismiss 5 days before trial date? prosecution is supposed to reply with 15 days on discovery request, right?

My intention is to dismiss the case based on speedy trial rights or lack of response on discovery request. If this doesn't work, I will challenge traffic survey, speed trap, "unsafe speed" foundation based on weather, visibility, road conditions, officer training, lidar maintenance etc., If this doesn't work, then my passenger's declaration along with mine (two against one) that I couldn't possibly be going 59 having just turned on the road 250 feet, should throw out "beyond reasonable doubt" requirement to convict.

Your experience and comment will help make our judiciary system more accountable. Thanks,

Sarit said...

1) Yes. But, you have to be careful not to "accept" any court date after that 45 day limit that is proposed to you otherwise you may be implicitly waiving your right.

2) Trial de Novo is a trial after you're found guilty in the TBD so there's no point to saying one is better than the other. You will have your speedy trial rights if you choose to do a TBD and not waive your rights, but you should be prepared to defend your speedy trial rights 'tooth and nail'. Some judges are not as familiar with the law as they should be and make incorrect assumptions which you will have to correct by citing the relevant laws word for word. Since you can have a Trial de Novo if your TBD fails, I chose the TBD because I wanted to exercise every option I had. Only you can decide how much time/ease you want to put into fighting this.

3) When I put in my request for TBD, they set the TBD due date about 2-3 weeks from that day. I think the best time to submit the request is that day you put in the request since the judge cannot fault you for requesting it too soon before the trial. Once the 15 days are up, there's won't be enough time to file another request therefore the only option would be to disallow the evidence.

Good luck with your case.

Anonymous said...

Is there a standardized form for the "written not-guilty plea," or do I just type my own? I couldn't find any...
Thanks!

Sara said...

Hi Sarit,

Thanks for your helpful advice. I have a simple 22350 citation. It seems like a TBD would involve substantial paperwork on my part and that setting a date for a court trial could result in the officer not showing at which point I could ask for a dismissal. Does this seem like a reasonably smart way of dealing with a 22350?

Additionally, my sister was in my car with me and would be able to testify to safe driving conditions, etc, as well as the fact that the police officer said I was going "about 40" in a 25 zone, implying that he didn't actually have a radar read. She wouldn't be able to come to court with me, so how should I make use of her as a witness? Or would that require Request for Discovery paperwork?

Thanks!

Sarit said...

Hi Sara,

It's hard to say if you would be able to pick a date that would keep the officer from coming to court. I have read that one person used several continuances to delay his trial so long the officer had already been transferred and the case was dismissed. By delaying, you waive your right to a speedy trial, but you increase your chances that the officer will not remember what happened that day. If you can delay it enough the officer may not appear b/c they don't want to look foolish in the courtroom.

You should ask the court clerk if your sister can make a deposition for your trial and what she needs to do to make it official. If you submit a request for discovery to the prosecution, you will need to send a copy of the deposition to the prosecution otherwise the judge may not allow it if you try to get their evidence dismissed.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. However, you did NOT win this on your own merit through the brilliance of your arguments, sorry to say. Not to say you don't have valid arguments, lets not get into that. But if the officer fails to submit his declaration the case gets dismissed. So you could have done nothing but send in a letter and request a TBD and still won.

Also, as to your discovery requests, most traffic courts do not have a lawyer from the DA's office or the city attorney there, it is just the officer if you challenge it. So the court would likely ignore your discovery requests since you are not requesting discovery of any party that is appearing on the case.

Lawyer in California

Sarit said...

I beg to differ. If you remember at the beginning of my post my verdict was not "Failure to Prosecute" (FTP), it was "Insufficient Evidence".

Let me present as evidence to a pattern of behavior the testimonials for TicketAssassin (http://www.ticketassassin.com/testimonials.html). You see multiple references to getting a ticket dismissed via FTP. Only one case had the word "evidence" in it, and the exact phrase was "Evidence failed to establish all elements of the offense charged." plus the verdict was "Not Guilty" not "Dismissed" meaning that the police officer sent a reply forcing the judge to look at both sides and make a ruling.

Also if you look at this link (http://www.bayarearidersforum.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-135110.html) the member "christofu" alludes to what you were saying about only writing "I AM NOT GUILTY" in your TBD, but he says that they send out FTP's when the officer doesn't reply.

Next I believe you incorrectly assumed that I sent the discovery requests to the court. I did not, I sent them directly to the District/City Attourney's Office, which I would expect has lawyers representing the State of CA. Btw, the case was entitled something like "State of CA vs. Me" so I think those lawyers were the appropriate ones to receive my discovery request.

Lastly, would you mind stating what kind of lawyer you are (ex. Criminal, Traffic, Patent, Corporate, Divorce) and what law firm you represent?

Anonymous said...

are these the people to request discovery from? my court is West LA on Purdue and i can look up my ticket on Los Angeles Superior Court's website... thank you,

Rocky Delgadillo, City Attorney
800 City Hall East
200 North Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Phone: (213) 978-8100
Fax: (213) 978-8312
TDD: (213) 978-8310
Rocky.Delgadillo@lacity.org


District Attorney's Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

Telephone (213) 974-3512
Fax (213) 974-1484

Anonymous said...

Hi, I know this might be REALLY late, but I just received a ticket for 22349(a). The cop said i was going 87 in a 65, which is impossible given the fact i was in a right lane preparing to make an exit. It was on a Sunday at 1149am which i dont think i could even safely be traveling at such speeds in a right lane without injuring or causing an accident. there was medium traffic and during the ticket the cop behaved very unprofessional. he said i had been tailgating and erratic lane changes when someone had cut me off and i was close to him so i had preceeded to make the lane change which i was pulled over immediately. i said i really needed to use the rest room as my tampon was leaking and did not state that was an excuse for anything or admit to anything. he let me use the restroom and when i came out, he approached me and preceeded to threaten me. he said i was this close to being put into jail over night which i felt was quite an exagerration given the fact that it was a routine traffic violation and i didnt present any dangerous aspects. he then made commentary about how i was an adult and should know when i need to use the restroom which i felt was even more unprofessional given the fact that he is a male and doesnt necessarily understand how a period works. in addition i honestly do not know how he could have even said i was going 87 considering i was tail gating and in order to tail gate at 87, someone else would have to be going 87, and if i was really tail gating at 87 why did he not pull me over until i had changed lanes which only proves no way i could be going 87 in a right lane.

Sarit said...

Hi, Anonymous.
I'm not sure if you have a any question for me here. If, you are prepared to fight this, then I would recommend that you write down everything you remember now and make sure any witnesses that were with you can corroberate your account. Hopefully, you'll win your case w/o needing to go to court, but it never hurts to have this in case you do. If you do end up in court, this will help you to build a set of questions for the purpose of disqualifying the witness (the police officer).

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I was wondering what you would suggest i use to defend myself in this case. 87 mph in a 65 in a right lane is just a ridiculous speed to even cite me at. i didnt ask for the radar print out,which i assumed was a radar given that the ticket didnt state any ft which i read shoudl be listed with a lidar detector. there were no witnesses but me and the officer so i feel im basically in a he said she said game. i do plan on writing the officers superiors to complain about the unprofessional behavior i received from the officer. he had threatened arrest and being put into jail over night, but he had only cited me for the speeding violation which is considered an infraction. and after researching it states an infraction is not punishable by imprisonment, and i think he was abusing his power and trying to scare me into admitting something. would u suggest i send in this complaint after or during the time i contest my ticket? i plan to contest it because i believe the speed he radared was that of another car and happened to make me the scape goat.

elusion said...

FUCK THE POLICE!, thats my comment after being found guilty. Trial By Declaration will not make you win!. I followed these stupid instructions and found myself guilty as bush is to blame for this fucked up economy. With that being said, just pay the stupid ticket get traffic school, or do the written trial crap, and when you're found guilty just try to get traffic school.

03/16/09 7:07pm

Sarit said...

elusion, sorry to hear that you lost your case. I tried to review through the comments you've made (I really wish you had kept your comments to just one of my posts and not alternate between all 3).
I think your biggest mistake was not understanding the reasons why I won (not getting discovery). In your other post, you claimed that I should have told everyone to send the request to the CHP.
PLS update your blog if your cited by the chp (send the request to that dept) you can try the county da but very very laughable."
However, this is incorrect. It is the duty of the prosecution to give you discovery. They are required to request the materials from the CHP if they know it to be there. If you send the request to the CHP, you're merely helping the prosecution and increasing the chances that they send you discovery.
So if you had only followed my "stupid" instructions and not gone off and send a discovery request to the CHP, then the DA probably wouldn't have lifted a finger, the CHP wouldn't have sent you discovery, and you would have been able to claim that all of the prosecution's evidence is invalid because you got no discovery, like I did.
Anyhow, it doesn't hurt to try sending your request for a Trial de Novo, stating (under penalty of perjury) the date when the verdict was received and the date you are mailing it.

Anonymous said...

Sarit,

On that note, can you please confirm or advise on where to send the requests for discovery,

Rocky Delgadillo, City Attorney

or

District Attorney's Office
County of Los Angeles

This seems to be the critical piece to having any chance of winning these tickets... Thank you!

Anonymous said...

One more thing... what proof do you need to show that you've requested discovery (from City Attorney and then the DA)? I will be sending mine certified requesting a signature upon receipt. Is this enough? Also, when to send my discovery info (weather report, road conditions, etc) and to whom and with what proof of sending? I understand the over all procedure and just don't want to get hung up on the details :) Thank you!

Sarit said...

I actually sent 2 discovery requests. One to the City Attourney and one to the DA, that way I would have all my bases covered.

Sarit said...

To show proof that I sent the request and that it was received, I used the post office signature confirmation (i think that's what you did). I like the signature confirmation better, because you have proof that someone received it and it wasn't lost in a mailroom or something. Make sure you keep that ticket stub with the ID number so you can print out the signature of the person receiving the request. I also had a friend (who is not party to the case) fill out and sign a proof of service form showing that he mailed the discovery request on a specific day to the prosecution's address. If you have evidence that you want to show in court, you might as well send it with the request.

jimsamacguy said...

Sarit,

I received a 22350vc ticket mid Feb 09, in Simi Valley Cali with a promise to appear date of Mar 11, 09. I have already asked for and was granted an extension to my appear date which is now April 24, 2009. My plan is to appear at the clerks office and plead not guilty and request a court date( I also plan on requesting night court for this). My question is that once I have a court date, should I then make my request immediately to the prosecution for evidence? Also,since this was a "LIDAR" ticket, should I also be specific enough to ask for LIDAR device model, the calibration procedure and evidence of calibration for the LIDAR along with all their evidence?

Sarit said...

You need to leave at least enough time for the prosecution to respond and that depends on how you submit the request (I believe its 20 days by mail) and enough time for you to adequately review the material in case they do send it to you. I can't say how much time you will need. All I can say is that I made the request just a few days after pleading not guilty.

Remember it's most important to request the evidence that THEY plan to use to convict you. When you ask for stuff outside of this scope, you're expecting that it might disqualify their other evidence or prove your innocense. Its foolish to ask for evidence that only strengthens their case. With that in mind, I would phrase my request to use the phrase "speed measuring devices used to determine my speed" rather than saying "LIDAR". If the cop missrepresented himself on the ticket (eg Radar instead of LIDAR), then the prosecution could reply saying "no LIDAR equipment was used" and you wouldn't get evidence of what they actually used.

elusion said...

Well after fighting the postmans error I got re-instated and I have court on the 30th. So looks like this is a real deal hollifield fight. The cop is supposed to show up with evidence, and me too. so its a basic retrial. the trial de novo. I dunno what to say really other than I disagree with the ruling and can I get traffic school or if he cop dont show then I win, but Im pretty sure he might show. To your response (SARIT)

4/24/09 7:20am

Sarit said...

I'm glad you're still able to get a court trial. Just in case the judge tries to weasel out of letting you do traffic school you should print out this web page (http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/rules/index.cfm?title=four&linkid=rule4_104). At the bottom, section (c)(3), it says that you cannot be made ineligible for traffic school because you plead not guilty or exercised your right to a trial. Even if the judge doesn't give you traffic school after that, you can go to a court clerk and they should be able to give you traffic school (although I've never tried this).

jimsamacguy said...

Sarit - In researching where to send my requests for my city attorney, her was what I found on their website: Quote-The City Attorney’s office does not prosecute violations of the California Penal or Vehicle Code, or other violations of State law. The City Attorney’s office does not render private legal advice to citizens. END Quote - Any suggestions? Thankfully yours Jim

jimsamacguy said...

Sarit-I failed to provide you the entire quote. so here it is- QUOTE-The City Attorney’s office does not prosecute violations of the California Penal or Vehicle Code, or other violations of State law. The City Attorney’s office does not render private legal advice to citizens. If you need to seek legal representation, helpful links to other referral services are listed below for your convenience.
If you need to report a violation of State law, you should contact the Simi Valley Police Department or the Ventura County District Attorney’s office as listed below. If you wish to file a claim with the City you will need to contact the City Clerk’s office at (805) 583-6748 or for information available on the City’s website go to City Clerk Services. You can also come directly to City Hall to the City Clerk’s Office to pick up a claim form.-END QUOTE So should I mail my request to the clerk's office and the DA? -thanks-jim

jimsamacguy said...

Sarit, so heres the update. Neither the District Attorney nor the city attorney prosecutes speeding tickets, so I have to make my request directly to the police department. Do you have any thoughts on this? should go ahead and make my request to the police, but be vague enough to try and not get a response? Any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks Jim

Sarit said...

Many people ask this same question. Remember that PC 1054.1 says the "prosecution" must give this to you. Whether they claim that they don't handle it is irrelevant to what they are required to do. I would never ask the police for discovery since they are both likely to give it to me and they are not legally required to. What you can do is write back to the DA/City attorney saying that you are rejecting their claim that they do not handle discovery and cite PC 1054.1 as the reason why they must give it to you. Then in your TBD/Trial you can claim that you fought with the DA to give you discovery according to the wording of the law and they did not follow suit ergo no discovery. You could also not do anything and say that the prosecution never gave you discovery. I think both options are a gamble so that is the choice that you will have to make.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sarit,

Reading your blog I believe that there is some confusion as to what a TBD is. To me, a TBD is just that a Trial By (written) Declaration. There is no other "in person" trial after that, right? Once you deliver your TBD statement and any pre-trial motions, etc, this is it, there is no more "trial". You do not argue your point before a judge after that... Please confirm, and thank you for offering some hope in fighting these abuses of power :)

Gova said...

Sarit,

Nice blog.

I received a 22349(a) for speeding. I was travelling north on I-5 near Oregon border (Yreka). Cop pulled me over and said I was doing a 81 on 65.

I am planning to defend by TBD. Can I do what you did 'proof of evidence'. What should I do? I should send a letter to whom?

Also, I checked my ticket online at the County website. it had notes saying that 'I am not eligible for Traffic School as I am an out of state driver'. I am from Oregon and I don't have any tickets whatsoever in my history.

please let me know the best options I have. Also, is there anyway to make me eligible for traffic school.

Thanks a lot
I hate my ticket...

jimsamacguy said...

Just wanted give you guys a heads up. The officer in my case did not show...wahooo!!! any thanks for all the great advice. I will definitely be more prepared the next time this comes up. JIm ;)

Gova said...

Here is an update on my ticket.

I defended my 22349(a) ticket by TBD exactly as mentioned in ticketassasin website. I simply copy pasted the argument from the site and I won the case.

Anonymous said...

an update from "22350 speeding ticket on 12/31/08 from an LAPD Traffic Enforcement motorcycle policeman with Radar for going 54 in a 35 mph zone on Sunset going Eastbound at Westwood Place"

after doing the TBD bit, response from the Court came back with "Guilty" without any explanation. i've already requested a Trial De Novo. i plan to ask for traffic school if the policeman shows up... chances are he will :(( will let you know how it went...

Anonymous said...

an update from "22350 speeding ticket on 12/31/08 from an LAPD Traffic Enforcement motorcycle policeman with Radar for going 54 in a 35 mph zone on Sunset going Eastbound at Westwood Place"

the officer did NOT show up to my Trial De Novo so i won. others, were not so lucky :)

euro grinder said...

i just got a ticket on a pretty dark street going up a street/hill i basically really dark on that section his car was parked on the right side and he seemed he was away from his car pointing at me with a very weak flashlight i was going to keep going i figured it was some kids playing with a small flashlight ...i let him know his safety seemed in jeapordy by being posted in the dark with no lighting around ..basically i was going 53 in a 30 mile an hour street...plus i was ahead/in front of a group of cars basically in front of a pack of cars that were going about the same speed behind me...

Waggo99 said...

What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

In January (2009) I got a speeding ticket for going "85+" in a 65. I was going North on Highway 1 in Monterey California, it was a two lane road, I was in the fast lane going NO faster then 65 mph with several cars in front of me, and much slower traffic (40 mph at MOST) in the slow lane on the right. It had been raining all day long and the roads were a bit wet so everyone was being cautious on the road. I was cruising along about a car length behind the car in front of me (who was a car length behind the vehicle in front of them) and the all of a sudden I see the lights flash. I got off the highway and went into a parking lot b/c I didn't deem it safe to be pulled over on the highway at the time. The officer was extremely rude and asked me if I had been drinking (of course I was not) said I was speeding and tailgating. I was baffled by this because I'm positive i was going no faster then 65, but didn't argue. After he wrote me up and gave me the ticket I noticed he wrote down my middle name incorrectly. I went to the court for a trial by written declaration but they couldn't find my citation in their computer. Apparently the citing officer ALSO wrote down the wrong citation number (instead of 22349 he wrote 224349). I kept going back to the court every 30 days to see if the ticket went through. After 4 months the court finally had to send a letter to the CHP office after I filled out a Citation Inquiry Form. Eventually after almost 9 months, I get the Courtesy Notice in the mail last week (bail is 332 $). I'm definitely going to fight this because I feel the officer was way wrong in estimating my speed and must have made something up to give me a ticket. I have a clean record and there were 4 other passengers in the car willing to testify. My trial date is Dec 30th. Should I request a Discovery? What are the chances of me getting off if I do a trial by written declaration?

Thanks for your help!

Frustrated said...

Hi Sarit...

Regarding your earlier post: "However, this is incorrect. It is the duty of the prosecution to give you discovery. They are required to request the materials from the CHP if they know it to be there. If you send the request to the CHP, you're merely helping the prosecution and increasing the chances that they send you discovery.
So if you had only followed my "stupid" instructions and not gone off and send a discovery request to the CHP, then the DA probably wouldn't have lifted a finger, the CHP wouldn't have sent you discovery, and you would have been able to claim that all of the prosecution's evidence is invalid because you got no discovery, like I did.
Anyhow, it doesn't hurt to try sending your request for a Trial de Novo, stating (under penalty of perjury) the date when the verdict was received and the date you are mailing it. "

I followed the directions and sent in a TWD with the certified mailings and proof of service to the courts and didn't get a response from the DA's office. I included a motion to dismiss/suppress the officer's testimony but I was still found guilty! =( Now I have the option of trial de novo but I can't even build a proper case since I was paced for my ticket. Also, do you know anyone who was granted traffic school for 22349(a) 90+ in a 65mph? I wouldn't fight this ticket if I knew I was going that fast.

Sarit said...

Hi Frustrated,

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will get a fair trial in a traffic court where the city/county has a financial interest in convicting you. To help keep the courts "honest" see if you can request/pay for a court reporter. Be sure to call attention to him/her during the trial so that the judge knows he's being recorded.

Technically, its harder to suppress witness testimony if your ticket says who the officer is. How you build your case is based on what you can prove vs (what they can prove - what you can get excluded). You can certainly resend all those discovery requests again after you request the trial de novo. That will improve your chances at trial of getting evidence and/or testimony excluded. If you need more time you can request a continuance. You must also raise objections during trial asap and push your point using PC 1054.

If you know that the officer's speedo must be wrong then, its in your best interest to do whatever it takes to get calibration/maintenance records for it. However, if you suspect the officer is lying, then your focus should be excluding his testimony or showing that he is incompetent as a witness. Google "independent recollection" to see what I mean.

Frustrated said...

Sarit,

Thanks for the response. I feel confident that I have a good case to go up against the ticket. In reference to your prior comment:

"I'm glad you're still able to get a court trial. Just in case the judge tries to weasel out of letting you do traffic school you should print out this web page (http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/rules/index.cfm?title=four&linkid=rule4_104). At the bottom, section (c)(3), it says that you cannot be made ineligible for traffic school because you plead not guilty or exercised your right to a trial. Even if the judge doesn't give you traffic school after that, you can go to a court clerk and they should be able to give you traffic school (although I've never tried this)."

where does it show in the VC if the court clerk can grant you traffic school? I've only heard of it being granted through the Judge.

Thanks again.

Sarit said...

In section (b)(1) of that link it says "Except as provided in (2), a court clerk is authorized to grant...".

Inquiring Anon said...

Hi Sarit. This is quite a post. I have a question as to the accuracy of a traffic citation. I got the classic 22350 VC on April 19. Upon further inspection on what the officer wrote down, I noticed that the make of the vehicle was incorrect: I drive a Corolla not a Camry. Would that be sufficient enough to have this citation dismissed? Also, I'm in the process of requesting a Traffic Survey for the street where it occurred. Is it mandatory that I put down a yes for the citation question (and the date) or can I simply make the request without filling in that information? Thanks in advance.

Laurent said...

I have read all the comments and did my research and I am still confused by your process after receiving the traffic courtesy notice.
The choices stipulated on the notice are:
1 - clear the citation on or before the due date (amount indicated)
2 - Appear in court - Walk in court
3 - Choose a trial option (fill back of notice) and choice are:
- Trial by written declaration
- Court Trial

On your blog you mix the fact that you went to the walk in court to plead not guilty and ask for a court date but also did the TBD?
How is it possible?
I thought you do TBD, then if you are found guilty, you ask for the trial de novo, in your case, it appears (that's the fact I am trying to clear) that you ask for a court date at the arraignement and then still send your TBD paperwork in between the arraignment and court date, how is it possible since at the arraignment you have to make your choice??
Can you please explain more in details what happened between the time you received your notice and your arraignment choice.

Laurent said...

On where to send the informal discovery letter I have read the following from other reputable site (http://www.expertlaw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9341):

If you send your letter to the DA and they respond, they will mention that they don't have juridiction (they don't do traffic school) and that those should be directed to the citing agency, in most case the CHP or city.
Can you please comment on this?
I would like to avoid sending it to multiple target to reduce the chance of them responding.
In my case the citing officer was a CHP.

Sarit said...

Inquiring Anon,

When there is a discrepancy its usually up to the judge to decide whether it is sufficient to dismiss the ticket. Most likely they would not if they got the model slightly off.

If you go to a real trial one strategy to use (this should not be your only strategy) is to ask the officer what car did he pull over. Ask him if he was sure that it was a Camry and if that was his independent recollection. Then show a picture of a Camry in the same color and see if the officer agrees that is the same car. Then after officer steps down, present the evidence that you in fact do not have a Camry. And build your case around the fact that the officer does not remember what happened and is not fit to serve as a witness and ask that his testimony be thrown out.

Laurent said...

to Sarit

Could you please let me know the answer to my last 2 posts or let me know how to contact you.
I have to go to arraignment soon and would like to know which plea to take.
I also live in the SF Bay Area.

Thanks
Laurent

Sarit said...

Hi Laurent,

There are basically 3 phases in a court case: 1) arraignment, 2) the trial, and 3) appeals (if any). For traffic violations you have the additional ability to do some of these phases by mail/writing.

For traffic, you can do (1) arraigment either in person or by mail. You can also do (2)trial by mail (ie TBD) and/or in person.

The law says that if you do arraignment by mail, then you waive your right to a speedy trial. Nowhere does it say that doing a TBD waives this right. So if you go to the courthouse before your "Appear by date" and plead not guilty and request a TBD in front of a judge, you will have maintained your right to a speedy trial. Now, many judges are not going to be as familiar with the law and will assume that TBD waives your right so you should be prepared to defend it with the actual text of the law if you wish to go this route.

Who to send your discovery to is a risk/reward analysis. If you send the request to everyone including CHP and you get nothing, that would be the best scenario. If you get something from CHP then you probably won't be able to exclude their evidence. If on the other hand you make the request to everyone that could be considered "prosecutors" of your case, then you have the law on your side. The law clearly states that police are witnesses not advocates (ie prosecutors).

If you wish to contest by TBD this then your only plea is: Not Guilty, Request Trial by Declaration.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sarit!

I asked you about my court case a few months back. I just got back my TBD and was found guilty. Now I'm planning on doing a trial de Novo and was wondering when I should send in the "DISCOVERY" papers. I'm just really confused about this whole process. Any help would be great..

Thanks in advance!

aviateur said...

Hi Sarit,

Thanks for the update.
Can you describe your timing in term of request for discovery?
Did you request your disovery after you pleaded not guilty in person and ask for a TBD or before?
Did you file your motion to exclude evidence in your TBD response or you could not because of timing?
What did you say in your TBD not guilty plea since you did not know yet if the prosecution was going to respond to your discovery request?
How do you file the motion to exclude evidence in your TBD? (you mentioned you had to go to the courthouse to do so because the clerk did not know how to do it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarit,
This is a very good site to fite a ticket.
I got a citation [22349(a)] for 78 on 65 speed zone on CA-1N.
I m planning to fite this ticket.
I have some question regarding the discovery request.
When is the good time to send discovery request, before or after arraignment??
If I send my discovery request before arraignment, won't the DA/city attorney have enough time to respond back with their evidence.
Won't the time be sufficient for discovery after arraignment??

Saragosa_grl said...

HI Sarit

I just received a 22450 ticket: not stopping at a stop sign.
Do you think the process described above will help me beat my ticket?

Jurgen said...

Hello,

Thank you for your informative and helpful blog. I just went through the whole process, after I got a speeding ticket. Unfortunately, I lost. It happened in the Superior Court of Marin County. I filed an informal discovery request in time with the DA and the CHP. I did not get a response, but the officer showed up at the trial and handed me his response to my informal discovery request in person when I made a motion to dismiss the case. He claimed that it had been mailed about a week earlier. I received their package in the mail 2 days after the trial was over, about a week after they claimed to have mailed it. The judge allowed this to stand, the officer proceeded to testify, and I lost the case. Interestingly enough, the same thing happened to the defendant who came right after me. He complained about not receiving the response, oh, and the judge simply told him that he can look at it right there, think about it, and his case would be taken up again after the other cases finished.

What a bummer!

Anonymous said...

I have used a service to prepare my trial by declaration which helped me with a speeding ticket in the past. They did all the work for me here you go:
www.2FixYourTrafficTicket.com

Oliver said...

Hi Sarit,

Just have a quick question, i filed my informal discovery request about 10 days ago and received a response, all i got was a copy of the front of the original ticket. Do i make any pre-trial motions to exclude any other evidence? I have a TBD due in about 7 days and in this court there is no prosecution, only the officer. If i gather any evidence, do i need to provide the DA with it before the TBD deadline? I was ticketed for vc22350, going 58 in a 45 zone. Please let me know if you have any input.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarit, thank you for all your help.

I had not received any tickets in years, but a few weeks ago received two tickets in about a week. One by the City of Fullerton for 21453(a)Red Light Violation and the second one from a CHP in the City of Orange for 22349(a) going 85 in a 65mph zone. I am going to use your strategy on both of these cases and will keep you posted on both results.

I requested extensions for my tickets so the 22349(a) was rescheduled for 7/18/2001 and 21453(a) for 7/25/2011.

I am confused by timing and the procedures involved. Would you please confirm my understanding of your strategy.

Your previous comment indicated that I must:
1) 1 month before arraignment due dates (sat. 6/17/2011 and sat. 6/24/2011), submit my requests for discovery to local city attorneys.

2) 3 weeks till arraignment due date (6/24 and 6/31), submitted discovery requests to DA office
If I received requested discoveries’ then
a) Prepare my defense and
b) Since the 15 day discovery response deadline is met, I don’t need to be present in the court anymore. So submit TBD and plea not-guilty either by
i) MAIL (if there is 10 days or more left till court date) or
ii) in person any day before the court date
c) hope for the officer not to respond or to win your argument

OTHERWISE (if discovery not received):
a) Prepare my defense and
b) Go to each court on its arraignment dates to plea not-guilty AND request TBD AND get a trial date AND submit pre-trial motion. The reason for going to court in-person instead of mailing TBD is to qualify for our 45 day of Right to Speedy Trial (right?)

QUESTIONS:
Q1) what is this pre-trial motion? What should it contain? Is it different from the trial motion?

Q2) Are you saying that our motion to dismiss all evidences should be turned in on our arraignment? If so,

Q3) wouldn’t this prompt the DA to respond during the period between arraignment and the trial court date?

c) submit TBD in person a day before deadline

QUESTIONS:
Q4) does any motion need to be filed at this time?

Q5) Why does this has to be done in person as opposed to mailing the TBD like it’s intended to

Q6) is it legally permitted for the person requesting TBD to show up in-person. Don't I have to have a schedulled court date which I don't in this case? I only have a TBD dealline. What are the procedures involved?

Q7) is requesting TBD really necessary since we plan to attend all courts? Why?

Reading above, I feel I have missed the point. I really appreciate your clarifications for me I will keep you up to date with the progress of my case.

Regards,
Michael

Michael Farshad Khounani said...

Hi,
what do you mean by the last sentence in your paragraph "Time your submittal for discovery to be as late as possible while still being in time for you to legitimately file a motion to exclude or compel evidence (20 days by mail) on the day of your hearing. This reduces the likelihood that the officer will recollect what happened or or be able to reproduce the evidence"

and when do I file my discovery? Righr after the arainment?
Do I need to file anything with the court indicating that I have requested discovery?
When should I file my motion to exclude evidence? During the trial or in the period between the request date and the actual trial date?

Thanks.

Michael Farshad Khounani said...

Hi Sarit,

I'm confused, in one of your answers you said "My walk-in court appearance was boring. I just handed in my "Pretrial Motion" and pleaded not guilty." I thought you said that we should request TBD, pleade not guily and get a court trial date. Then we should send discovery out and file pre-trial motions. Above you are saying that not only you pleaded not guilty and requested TBD but also filed your pretrial motions. Did you send your discoveries out before the araignment? the walk-in court was for your araignment. Wasn't it?

Im Back Again after 3 years said...

Hi Sarit Couple of questions for ya. going in list order and bolded brackets are my responses / questions to your initial steps listed.

I forget the exact dates, but this is what I did (mind you, this may not be the optimal times to do everything):
1) Got ticket on 6/17/11
2) Waited almost 2 months.. My due date says 8/25/11
3) Submitted a "due date extension" (I assume this is online? My paper I received in the mail says Traffic School - Court Trial - Trial By Declaration)I got this paper today with the amount and mentions I could mail in or go online for my response but I must respond by 8/25/11
4) Waited a bit longer (How long exactly I want to do what you did with the speedy trial night court deal :))
5) 1 month till due date, submitted request for discovery (to local city attorney)
6) 3 weeks till due date, submitted discovery request to DA
7) few days before due date, went to court to plea not-guilty and request TBD and submit pre-trial motion (Are you allowed to show up to any court and say I have this ticket I would like to plead not guilty? I thought the whole not guilty and TBD was done initially once you extend?. You also mention do-not accept any court date as it will lessen your chances?)
8) submit TBD in person a day before deadline (How can you submit a TBD in person when it's ONLINE or via mail nothing mentions you have to go to a courthouse to file this TBD, by this step 8 should be step 3 or 4 as they require you to file a TBD or not so then it would go from there. This is my understanding) Time is 7/1/11 5:02pm

Anonymous said...

What is the code section that states that if an officer does not respond to a trial by declaration/submit his declaration that the case is automatically dismissed?? Is it the same code section as the one stating that non-appearance by an officer at a court trial requires dismissal of the case - if so what is that code section??

I know that California Rules of Court 4.210 and Vehicle Code section 40902 governs trial-by-declarations, but I dot see anything about non-responses by officers or dismissal.

The court found against me in my trial by dec., so I went to the courthouse to look at the courtfile (Metropolitan courthouse has everything scanned), and the clerk and I saw my declaration but no declaration from the officer in the computer (decs were due 3/3/11).

I want to write a letter to the judge (and file an appeal to preserve my rights), asking him why he found against me when there was not a response from the officer. I already did a trial de novo, and the officer showed up, and of course the court found against me.

I am pretty sure that an officer's non-response is a failure to prosecute and grounds for dismissal (particularly since the officer easily could have just filled out Judicial Council Form TR235 as his declaration by the given deadline/due date), just as when an officer doesn't appear for court trial as to an infraction (this is in California)

Anonymous said...

Code Sections re Dismissal for failure to prosecute when Defendant appears in court or files declaration in trial by declaration but no response filed by officer.

CA Penal Code 1385(a). The judge or magistrate may, either of his or her own motion or upon the application of the prosecuting attorney, and in furtherance of justice, order an action to be dismissed. The reasons
for the dismissal must be set forth in an order entered upon the
minutes.

CA Penal Code 1387(a)(3): An order terminating an action pursuant to this chapter or Section 859b, 861, 871, or 995, is a bar to any other prosecution for the same offense … , where subsequent to the dismissal of the felony or misdemeanor the judge or magistrate finds any of the
following:.. (3) That the termination of the action was the result of the failure to appear by the complaining witness, who had been personally subpoenaed in a prosecution arising under subdivision (e) of Section 243 or Section 262, 273.5, or 273.6. This paragraph shall apply only within six months of the original dismissal of the action, and may be invoked only once in each action. Nothing in this section shall preclude a defendant from being eligible for diversion.

Luke said...

Sarit,

Can I request my TBD at a court other than the one I'm supposed to appear. I got a speeding ticket in Ventura but I live in Los Angeles. It's over an hour away. I'd like to have a TBD without waiving my right to a speedy trial therefor I need to request it at the court right? Any court or only Ventura?

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarit,

Thanks for your blog. I followed your guidelines and my case was dismissed after TBD.

Anonymous said...

Hi
I got pulled over on an urban street the officer cited me with vc22349 b, the speed limit was 30, my speed was 42, how can I fight this ticket?
Thanks

Michael Farshad Khounani said...

when filing sepeona, the evidence goes to the court. The court will not send you the evidence and it is displayed only at the time of trial.

How is it that we file TBD which means that the communication takes place using mail only while not present to see the evidence or question it.

Sarit said...

Michael, I think you're mixing all the parts of the process together. First, you are asking for discovery from the prosecution. This is not the same as getting a subpoena from the court. With a discovery request, the prosecution is required to provide their evidence to you in a timely manner (such as before your TBD submission deadline). If you do not receive the discovery materials, and can show evidence that the prosecution has received the request, then submit a pre-trial motion to block any evidence/witnesses that should have come to you by discovery. I would then re-iterate my motions in the TBD itself. The argument could say something like, the prosecution had ample time to provide the evidence to me, so there should be no reason that they could only produce the evidence for the TBD. To allow evidence not shared in discovery is a clear violation of your right to a fair trial.

Anonymous said...

I was cited with 22356 (B) VC speed with 85+ at posted max speed of 70. Locaciot of I-10 WBE of Dillon Rd. My court date is 3/7/12. I am from Arizona and prefer to avoid any mail comming to my house. I can not afford to pay any ticket. What should I do. my email is jaime.f.reyna@us.army.mil

Sarit said...

If this is the date on your citation, then this is usually the day you go to claim if ur guilty or not guilty )(ie the arraignment date). If you say ur not guilty you'll be assigned another court date. If you also request TBD, then they will give you the info for TBD.
If you don't want mail coming to your house, you should update your address with the DMV to the address where you want your mail to go, and include this address in your correspondences.

tyler said...

Hi,
i received a 22349 violation for going 83 in a 65 mph freeway. he wrote down 80+ on the ticket. i was getting off my exit off hasley canyon on the I-5 north. i was probably going around 75 but i had sped up to get infront of two trucks that were not letting me in next to me, i had to get off but they wouldnt let me in. i then sped up a bit to about 75 to get in front as soon as i switched lanes i started to slow down and the cop was right there on the side in his car right before my exit. there was another car behind me. he then got behind em and waited till i was off the exit making getting to a round about to turn on his lights, claiming he radared me at aprox 83 in a 65. i think he visually assumed when i passed by him. i did not admit to anything. he wrote the ticket this was on a Monday at 5:25pm driving home from the mall. i cant afford paying for this and i cant afford having this on my record. i messed up once i got in a collision and it made my insurance rise. i cant afford for it tog o any higher either. please help with any suggestions. please and thank you

Michael said...

Sarit,

Thanks for all the info on this website. I am going to tril in two days on 22350 ticket (86 in a 60 zone). I did not do discovery on this ticket, and considerind what points I need to bring up at the trial to have the best chance of winning (if the officer shows up).

1. This zoe on I-5 was and is now again a 70 mile zone. Unfortunately, at the time when I got pulled over, it may have been 60 due to a construction sign (though, there was no actual construction going on anywhere in that area). I am thinking of video taping that area of that highway to show the sign showing 70sing.

2. The ticket says 86 in a 60 zone, but the code is 22350 VC, which as you know only talks about the safe speed (without mentioning the speed limit). However, it would be hard to argue that going 86 was still safe, though there were several other cars on the freeway ahead and behind me that appear to have been going at a similar speed limit.

3. How accurate is a radar used by office? Could it be that it was off by at least a few miles per hour when determining my speed? And has this been effectively used to fight a ticket? Obviously, i couldn't argue that it was by 26, but if i could get down to below 26 miles/hour, my finie could be smaller. On the other hand, if I argue that I was going above speed limit (let's say 82-83 instead of 86, but still well above 60 or even 70), the judge may still confict me of the original 86 in 60.

I appreciate your help. Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Hello and thanks for your good work. I am supplying stuff here that might not be as explicit in your great info. Making a long story short i was stopped near LAX for a 57 by radar in a 40 zone. I began to dig on surveys and speed trap defenses and it is starting to look good for my defense. One the of links below specifies what type of document the survey MUST show as and indeed it is really strict. If they fail that type of submission, it is NOT admissible so the speed trap defense should work to my advantage. I resent this ticket for it is basically the city of LA pushing quotas on cops for budget reasons....$$$... but i think now that i have an 80-90% shot at making this so hard for them i will win by making their task almost impossible. Thanks again for all your work!!

""Even if the survey was conducted within the required time frame and it justifies the speed limit, the prosecution must provide the court with either the original survey or a certified copy per People v. Earnest (40 CalRptr 2d 304), otherwise the survey is "hearsay" and not admissable.""

http://www.helpigotaticket.com/speed/stepbystep.html
http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/tsip/hseb/crs_map

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarit,
Hope you can help with this…..
I got an speeding ticket 22350 by a Traffic Enforcement motorcycle policeman with Radar for going 54 in a 40 mph zone. This area is well knows as a speed trap which I do not know if that will help me or not since you notice the officers are (most of the times) the same for what I can assumed they may be familiar with all kind of process at the time they expect to have a fight for a ticket; Despite of that, I am completely convinced I do not deserved that ticket. The area where I was driving is very crowded in the morning between 7:30 to 8:30 so it is almost impossible to be at more than 40 unless I get into a car accident. Also he mentioned on the ticket I was on the first line when I was on the second since I was just taking the ramp coming from the freeway and before you can take the main street (where I was stopped) you need to stop at the light which 99% of the times is on red. I stop and then I accelerate normal – BTW I drive a regular beetle and those cars do not have accelerate as a corvette or something like that – I was close to the next light on the main road which is not even a block apart and right when I was ready to stop it changed to green, so I accelerate again, at that point the officer was located and mentioned he had the radar on me. I accelerate again for the next light to make a left turn, again not even a block apart and, he turn on the lights and start talking over the speaker.
I was in the middle of the road with traffic in all directions and sides and this person want me to pull over? I had definitely to wait to turn to make a safe stop and not to cause traffic or make it worst.
The officer was really annoyed because I make him go a little further but it was the only place I could park. When I finally stopped, he came to me and ask me for my license and registration, which I gave to him (honestly it has been my first ticket and I did not know what to do or what to ask so I was quite all the time), he left for a moment took some notes and after that he came to me and told me I was speeding and he was giving me a ticket for that. He also said they are doing that to make people more aware of the danger when speeding, he make me sign and he took off.
As you can see I feel really dump about the situation not because what happen but how it happen, I think I made it really easy for him, he saw the opportunity and took advantage of it. I should argument a little more but I did not know what to do.

Hope you can give me some guidance on this case because I am determinate to fight it if I can.

Regards!

Sarit said...

Just a reminder, that I am not a lawyer, just a citizen who has studied the law so I cannot give you legal advice. First of all you are lucky that you got a 22350 which means that if you go to court, they would have to show you were driving an unsafe speed. However, even before you go to court it doesn't hurt go through the trial by declaration process that I described in these blog postings. Since it sounds like that the officer was giving these ticket out to lots of people, you have a good chance that he might not respond to your TBD challenge and the whole case gets dismissed. Even if you lose in TBD, you still have a chance to go to court in person and plead your case. If it gets that far, you'll want to question the officer about the traffic and weather conditions and try leading him to saying that you were not endangering anyone. If you really want to fight this to the bitter end with all guns blazing, you'll have to dig up traffic surveys to see if you can do a "speed trap defense". You could request the surveys during discovery which might save you some time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarit,

Thank you for sharing this info with us. When making "request discovery" from the DA and City attorney, is there a specific form we are required to use or a letter drafted on a blank paper adequate? Do you have a sample letter with appropriate wording you could share with us?

Also, with the "request discovery" letter, do you also send in evidences (photographs, diagrams, etc.) you will use along with TBD?

Sarit said...

It can be drafted on blank paper. Checkout part 2 of this post for examples.
You should send your evidence together if possible since all the work you put in to get proof of delivery will apply to everything you send. You can send it separately, but be sure to get proof of delivery for it also.

brandon said...

hey sarit-
1st of all, thanks so much for devoting the amount of time to help all of us who have reached out to you for advice. it's very generous of you, to say the least.

okay, i have a situation that i haven't seen addressed here or anywhere else i have looked.
on 02/03/12 i got a 22349a ticket for going 85 in a 65 on the 2 frwy. the on-ramp i had just used to get on the frwy is on a very steep incline and so is the actual frwy (probably the steepest frwy spot in socal that i know of). when i reached the top of the incline i was in the #2 lane going the speed limit (not by choice, but bc of the hill i couldn't go faster). the cars in the 3 lanes to my left were flying by me and right at the top i saw a motorcycle chp parked on the shoulder to the right, standing about 10-12 feet to the right of his bike with no radar gun or anything. we made eye contact and i thought "oh sh*t". then i decided he surely wouldn't come after me out of the crowd bc i was literally the only car not speeding. he did pull me over and wrote me a ticket. he only said "license and insurance" then he left and came back with a ticket in 10 mins. he never said another word to me, except "sign please". which i thought a bit strange. so he didn't use a radar gun and he never told me my speed except he wrote it in the ticket. when i exited the frwy i stopped at a convenient store and a woman approached me to ask me why he had pulled me over. she had been one of the cars speeding past me and thought it must have been for some reason other than speeding. when i told her, she gave me her contact info and offered to write her testimony on my behalf that she had passed me because i was just getting on the frwy and not going the speed limit, because of the hill. i guess he pulled me over bc i was driving my gorgeous new car.
so my ticket had a court date of 03/30/12. it said to call or check online for my bail amount owed. i wanted to do a TBD so i checked daily for the ticket to show up in either place. it never did, so i just went to glendale at 8 am to court on that date. took off work, sat in morning traffic, paid to park, walked to the courthouse and the door was locked. i finally asked some of the people standing why it wasn't open and the bailiff unlocked the door and told us that court had decided at the last minute to close for cesar chavez day. i mentioned that i hadn't been able to find my ticket on the website or the phone line and he told me that the chp doesn't post their tickets in either place, so i should call the court to find out how to do a TBD. it took me days to find a number that wasn't a recording and when i asked a woman what i should do because i was afraid it would appear in the system like i just didn't go to court and the automated system would issue a warrant for me. mind you, i couldn't pay it in full if i had wanted to, because i had no idea how much it was. she told me to keep calling and checking online until i saw it. i checked a couple of times a week from 03/30/12 until two days ago when i got a "notice of correction and proof of service". obviously the officer had to go back and correct all of our tickets changing the court date from 03/30/12 to 10/30/12. 7 months later?

brandon said...

so i found your site in order to win my TBD but then i started thinking about my "right to a speedy trial". i think the fact that the court decided to close at the last minute, as if it's a mom and pop hamburger stand or something, with no warning, the fact that i took off from work, went there for nothing, that i have been bugged by this in the back of my mind for months and worried i have had a warrant out for my arrest...all of those things should appeal to a judge to dismiss but do i have legal grounds for a dismissal based on my right to a speedy trial so that i don't have to plead those factors and hope the judge is sympathetic? i don't know the legal parameters of the phrase or if it's just gratuitous wording.
(continued)
do you know what to do in my case? is there a way to dismiss for the length of time? if i do go to TBD, should i do discovery and use this woman's testimony? i also have a passenger in my car as a witness. did you pay your ticket and get reimbursed later? i think that's all my questions for now.
if your advice helps me get this disissed, i'll make a donation to a charity of your choice in your name. best- and thanks in advance for your help-
brandon
sorry for the novel.

Help said...

Hi Sarit,
I was on my way home from a tournament and got a 22349(a) violation The cop said I was going at 85 in a 65 mph on the 101 in Thousand Oaks. It was a rainy day and there was a car in front of me. This is my second offense and I have already done traffic school once. Is there any way I can get out of this without paying the fine and increasing my insurance rate?

Brian White said...

Hi Sarit,

I recently wrote a guidebook on how to fight tickets. Would you be willing to review my book? I could not find any contact information for you. You can view my site at http://www.fightcaliforniatraffictickets.com/

Thanks,

Brian

Anonymous said...

Dear Sarit,
Congrats on your victory, and thank you for your posts.
I hope you can clarify something.
I received a 22349(a). Can I use any of 22349(b) to fight it? Specifically, I was on a 4-lane divided hwy w/o a current survey; not a 2-lane un-divided hwy as specified in (b).
You see, I’m not clear if “notwithstanding” at beginning of (b) excludes its application to (a), or is just adding particulars to (a).
Thanks in advance.

Ruby Walters said...

Thanks for the information. I am still reading through some of the comments but there is so much good information here. I have several traffic tickets that I need to get out of and I am definitely going to use your advice.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest removing the link to Expert Law. I went there for help recently and it seems it's full of police who try to discourage everyone from fighting their cases. It looks like it was a good site with good members back when you fought your ticket, but it looks like they banned all the members who were actually tying to help people fight and win. I posted on there and it's very discouraging reading the latest posts on that site. Plus the majority of posters on that site are extremely rude.

Thanks for writing this blog, I am in the middle of fighting my own speeding ticket. I almost gave up after reading the Expert Law forum, but then I purchased Fight Your Ticket & Win in California and it renewed my desire to fight the ticket. I just don't want anyone else going to Expert Law and getting discouraged.

Erin Fred said...

You are a nice writer, keep up your spirit
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Anonymous said...

Hi Sarit and other readers,

Firstly, I just want to say how awesome it is you are helping so many people with your blog! Thanks! I really hope you (or someone who can help me) still check this blog. I got a 22350VC (basic speed law) ticket 9/19/2012 for driving 38 in a 25 in San Diego, CA. (First ticket ever). I submitted a TBD with the speed trap argument and was found guilty. I'm thinking of requesting a new trial and did some research. My road is officially not a local road so the speed trap arguement is valid, but the speed survey I got (over 5 years old! Yay) says the speed limit is justified. I've examined the speed trap law thoroughly and it seems the prosecution has to prove I was driving at an unsafe speed (this is so subjective though right?)-it was at 8am and there were no school zones/construction zones. I wanted to find a record of all reported accidents on the section of the road over the past 10 yrs to show it is low. I want to avoid contacting the police department (like so many have suggested) but I have been told the PD is the only place I can get the info. (The dept that gave me a copy of the speed survey said so.) Any suggestions at all would be greatly appreciated. (The asshole cop also referred me to driver safety SOLELY because he didn't think I pulled over fast enough-he said so himself. The entire stretch of road from where he was staked out to where I stopped was under 500 ft! I'm worried he'll use this to his advantage to say I was driving unsafely.) Any advice/ documents to obtain etc?

Suzy Frame said...

I have only gotten one traffic ticket and it was for speeding! I didn't try to fight it. I just let it happen. Can you tell me where I can find more information like this? I think it is crazy that so many people can get out of them like this all the time!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I got a ticket Sept of 2012 22349a vc-1 and I hate dealing withcourts so I extended my court date to its fullest May. I want to know if what he did was legal. It was an empty road late night I never saw him until he pulled up behind me whenI was stoped to make a left but his lights were completly off he was driving with no lights at all to sneak up behind me. As soon as I made the left he turned his lights and cop lights on. He said he got me going 82 but that he was going to put on the ticket 75 on a 65 and no comments. There is month till I go in and plead not guilty but I was woundering if the sneaking up behind me was legal? If so any advice on how I should proceed with the case. Arrrt8@gmail.com please and thank you I could use any help available

Sarit said...

Anonymous,
Driving w/o headlights on after a certain time after dusk is not legal and technically, breaking the law in order to gather evidence against you is considered fruit from the poisonous tree", however that is illegal in Federal law. I'm not sure whether and how it applies to CA law. Of course it doesn't hurt to use the argument anyways to try and get that evidence dismissed.

Its good you pushed the dates out as far as possible. If you get to trial your strategy should include proving the officer as an unfit witness. Request discovery and challenge all the evidence presented.

Greg Prosmushkin said...

philadelphia
thank you for sharing..

Daiboten said...

Two suggestions to people tempted to use your procedure.

1.Serve the discovery request on the officer and the district attorney office and have the proof of service indicate that you did so.

2. If the officer shows up fr the court trial, they typically try to act as prosecutor. Unless they have passed the state bar exam and are an attorney they cannot do so. It is unauthorized practice of law. They can only testify as to the facts. They cannot ask you questions or make legal arguments. If the officer tries to do either immediately object. While the judge can ask questions he cannot act as prosecutor either as he is supposed to be an impartial arbiter of the facts. So if e starts acting like a prosecutor, politely remind him of this and object that his actions are a denial of due process.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

Thanks for all the info. Unfortunately, I found this blog to late to go for the discovery so I would like to still try to fight it if the police officer shows up.

My Arraignement was on 4/30 but then I delayed it. My arraignement and trial date are now on the 23rd of Oct. Ticket was March 5th! So I hope either the officer will not show up or challenge his memory since it's been 6 months and in 22350 CVC it's my understanding he needs to prove that I was not driving safely.

Nothing is written in the ticket other than 22350 CVC speed and (44 e 395'). I don't know what this last part means. I still have to research it.
He had a speed gun. Apparently a L58 (that's what's written under the box Radar).

Can I ask for the calibration docs without doing the discovery since it's too late? Since he needs to prove that I was speeding, how does he do that? How can he prove that his gun was correctly calibrated? How can he prove that I was driving unsafely?. I am confused as of how can he do that.

It's a 30 zone I was supposedly going at 44 (the box on teh ticket says Speed Approx and he wrote 44). There are no schools around, nobody but me driving at 9:10am tuesday. It's a road without stop signs and without lights for a while.

Thank you for letting me know what you think could be my best strategy. I read several times that the 22350 is easier to fight, I hope I will!

Thank you



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INFOMAMA said...

Hello Sarit,
I had followed your instructions and requested Discovery. The cop has sent me everything I asked for now what?
How do I find flaws and how do I contest this now?
I was traveling 85 on a 65 mph toll road, it was a sunny day and no other vehicle around. It was safe but over the legal speed

Jenni Shai said...

Question about the discovery process. My trial date before the judge is in 2 weeks. Do I have to file for discovery before then? This was for a speeding ticket in Los Angeles. I already got my extensions. Im just unclear how to actually file for discovery and if it needs to be done before my court date?

Sarit said...

Are you sure its the trial date and not the arraignment date? If you haven't pleaded not guilty yet, then its most likely the arraignment date where the judge will ask you to plead guilty or not guilty. If that's the case then the judge will schedule the actual trial some time later and you will have time to request discovery. If two weeks is really all the time you have till trial, you can still request discovery, but you may have a hard time getting the evidence dismissed if they don't respond in a timely manner. It might be possible to request a continuance (delay the trial date) from the court if you explain that you're waiting for prosecution to provide discovery.

Ryan said...

Hello Sarits, I recieved a 22349 (A) tickets for going 84 in a 65, I was in a HOV lane maybe going 75 with a vehicle on my right passing me going clearly faster than i was. A motorcycle cop started getting on his bike to pull out. Both the other driver and I slowed down to see who he was going to pull over, he pulled me over and stated I was going 84 and he got me with lidar. He took my info and came back 10min later and I signed the ticket and left. Any suggestions you may have to fight this would be great. Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
My husband received a parking ticket in California and he did sent the payment and it wasn't on time, the ticket was for $93 dollars that they already received and now they are asking for $145 because it didn't was on time, what rule will help us?
thank you so much.

Charlotte said...

I received a ticket yesterday for turning right on red after stopping for the light, and apparently there was a sign there before the stoplight that I did not notice which said "No Turn on Red". The intersection was completely devoid of any traffic and I did stop first before I made the right turn. I was not speeding or in a hurry, it was a weekend afternoon and there was no foot traffic either. Is there any way to fight this ticket? I have a good driving record. Someone told me this could be a $300 ticket which is a hardship for me right now. I am in San Diego.

Margarita Black said...

Hello Charlotte,

It is great that your driving records are clean. Though I am not a lawyer, I don't think this would be such a serious issue. It is always better to consult a ticket attorney. That will help you to decide whether to pay off or to fight the ticket.

Anonymous said...

Hi,(From Anonymous PCH)
This is super late and you might not respond but... I was cited for a 22349(b) VC, but the way I was "caught" on radar was... I was driving north bound on PCH and the cop was driving south bound. All within 150 yards of seeing me turning around and then flashing his lights for me to pull over he said he clocked me doing 76mph in a 55. I was wondering if that's even possible since we both were in motion on top of different direction in such a short distance? How accurate can it be? These were my conditions:

-It was 6AM so there was no traffic and the weather was clear.
-No cars in front of me nor behind me.

Is there any way I can fight this or should I just pay the fines and traffic school? Hope to get a response in time. Thank you!

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Shannon Brooks said...

You admitted it so it's probably a losing case. I told him I thought he was trying to get around me, I had no idea as to why I would be pulled over ..which was true...

Shannon Brooks said...

You admitted it so it's probably a losing case. I told him I thought he was trying to get around me, I had no idea as to why I would be pulled over ..which was true...

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Unknown said...

Any special recommendation to beat a 22249(b) VC (55 MPH speed zone) Trial by Declaration I am hopping to use all legal artifacts to beat this ticket.

Thanks
Let me know the strategy you had to beat this violation code.

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