ANSWERS: 3
  • There are several techniques you can try, but none are a slam dunk. The best advice I can give you is to fight the ticket with a “trial by declaration.” This is essentially a write in trial where you write what happens, then the cop writes what happened, and the judge decides. The advantage is that the cop does not know what you write (more on this in a second), and even if you lose you have the right to request an actual trial and to try again. Many people will tell you tricks about getting the cops not to show up. However, these rarely work. If the citing officer was a CHP officer, he will only miss court for a huge emergency (which is almost never). City cops are more likely not to show, but many agencies guarantee overtime or a set number of hours for going to court. However, this is where trial by declaration helps. The cop has 30 days to write his report. Many cops hate paperwork and put the trial by declaration aside to do later, and then miss the deadline. This is rare, but happens more often then a cop not showing up to court (especially CHP). When the cop does respond to the trial by declaration he will write what he observed, but he will not tailor his response to what you said (because he doesn’t get to see your declaration). For example, if you were in court and said that you swerved over the double line to avoid hitting something in the road, the cop will respond by saying there was nothing in the road. But if you write the same in your declaration, the cop may not make a mention of road conditions. So imagine this. The judge reads your declaration that says that you swerved to avoid an accident, etc, and then reads the cops declaration that just says “I observed the car swerve over the line.” Since the cop does not contradict you, the judge is likely to find your actions justified. But note that you are filing the declaration under penalty of perjury. So if you lie, and the cop had a dashboard cam that proves otherwise, you could be worse off. Your only other bet is to somehow prove that you didn’t cross the double line, which is nearly impossible since judges tend to take the word of cops.
  • That is what is called crossing a "double double" which is essentially treated as a median strip. The code reads, "When double parallel solid lines are in place, no person driving a vehicle shall drive to the left thereof, except as permitted in this section." If you feel that you did not actually cross the double double, you will have to demonstrate that the officer might not have been able to see that clearly. This is hard to do, not because his character is deemed better than yours, but because of his experience as a trained observer. That makes him credible as an expert witness who has taken note of more details. The more details you have, the better.
  • Speak with a strong Mexican accent!

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