How to Beat a Traffic Ticket

Here's some quick info on fighting a ticket via mail.

1. You need to pay your bail and plea "guilty" or "not guilty"
2. At the same time you will need to ask for a Trial by written declaration.
I have included a few things you can look at for examples. There is also a website that has very detailed explanation and examples of how to fill out the forms (Click me). The forms can be downloaded from CA court website.
3. The court will send you a TWD form which you will have to fill out with:
a) your argument as to why you are innocent
b) pictures and proof

After this is done, the court will make the officer that gave you the ticket write his own report to counter your arguments. A court officer will read both letters and decide guilty or not guilty.

You can be found not guilty if the officer doesn't write a report. Or if your case is really good and you are found not guilty by the court judge. Beware though, that the court judge are usually biased and would rather have you just pay. You will be notified by mail regarding the verdict of your trial by mail. The letter will only say if they found u guilty or not guilty. No reasons will be given, which can be frustrating.

If you are found guilty, you can then reply for a Trial de Novo. Forms are also available online. This is your constitutional right to be tried in front of a judge. At this time, you can plea again and state your case to a real judge. At this point, the officer that gave you the ticket will have to show up to court. If he fails to show, then there is no one to testify against you so the case is dismissed and they refund the bail that you paid originally, however, i heard recently that cops get paid overtime if they go to court so what used to be a 33% chance for them to show up is now 66%.

If he does show up, there are several tricks that you can do to win. The most reliable argument is his credibility. Generally by this time, the officer will have forgotten everything about the traffic stop. He is not allowed to read from his notes. Everything will have to be from his memory. When you cross examine him and he answers all the questions wrong, his credibility is down the toilet and you can argue for a dismissal based on un-credible witness and there is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

I have been to court twice, and have a 50% win rate. The first time, i lost my TWD, and went to court with Trial de novo. The cop didn't show so i won (no points, bail refund, clean record). The second time, i lost my TWD, and when i went to court the judge was a total jerk so i lost. However, the judge allowed me to attend traffic school (even though it was my second ticket in a year), and lowered my fine.

In my opinion fighting traffic tickets is always win-win. The only real time you will spend is going to court if you end up doing a trial de novo (this process usually takes half a day since you won't be the only one in court waiting to see the judge).

Hope this helps.