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Typos on the Traffic Ticket

Some mistakes on your traffic ticket are completely innocuous, but others can cause it to be thrown out, in some circumstances. An attorney practicing in Tulare County courts knows the difference. Basically, the judge must determine whether the mistake was a nonfatal or a fatal error.

This type of mistake has little or nothing to do with the elements of the offense. For example, in a stop sign case, the elements are that there was a stop sign at the intersection and the driver failed to come to a complete stop at the correct place, which is either the stop line, the crosswalk or the point where the streets converge.

The color of the vehicle has nothing to do with whether or not the vehicle stopped. The weather, the officer's name and the time of day also have very little to do with the elements of the offense.

Now, suppose that the driver is not identified or misidentified. The state may not be able to prove that you were driving the car. Or, suppose that the ticket has the incorrect intersection. Again, the state might have a hard time proving that there was a stop sign where the officer observed you.

Most of the time, there are valid arguments on both sides, and the judge determines whether the error was fatal or nonfatal. The doctrine of idem sonans may come into effect. Idem sonans is Latin for "having the same sound" and Legalese for "close enough." If the officer transposed a digit on the license plate number or wrote your name as "Kathy" instead of "Cathy," the judge might see this otherwise fatal error as nonfatal. An attorney practicing in Lamont and Shafter traffic courts can advocate for you, and develop the best legal arguments for you case. This skill means there is a much greater chance that the case gets thrown out.