A $25 fix-it ticket turned into a $497 headache for one California woman,
in part because the officer wrote the wrong digit on her address. Although
this particular episode took place in Pacifica, these kinds of things
regularly occur in Bishop, Independence, and almost any other city in
Gail Cottrell received a citation in San Francisco for a broken headlight.
The officer signed off on the ticket, and she sent in a check for $21.
But, she misread the amount, because the fine was $25. The state promptly
suspended her license and added on additional fees because of the partial nonpayment. Ms. Cottrell
never received the notice, because the officer wrote a “5”
instead of an “8” in the address field. Then, when she tried
to renew her auto insurance, she learned about the suspension. The officer
also inadvertently listed January 22 as her appearance date; January 22
was the ticket date.
Ms. Cottrell said she hopes to resolve the matter so she can get her drivers’
license reinstated and find another job as a commercial truck driver.
Typos on the Ticket
It is a persistent myth that judges will throw out tickets based on typos,
spelling errors, and other minor mistakes. These things are not unusual,
in traffic tickets and other criminal cases. However, courts like to point
out that a person is entitled to a fair trial, but not a perfect trial.
In these particular instances, many judges rely on the doctrine of
idem sonans. That’s Latin for “sounds alike” and Legalese for “close
enough.” But that theory does not apply to a core part of the state’s
case. For example, a number of years ago, a Texas court ruled that the
“Ruger” and “Luger” in an aggravated assault case constituted a fatal variance.
Getting Legal Help
The aggressive lawyers at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving
individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call
today at 661-859-1177 or email
firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español,
llame al 661-376-0214.