Should drivers in Needles and Barstow forgo fighting their traffic tickets in the traditional way, and opt for a trial by written declaration (TBD) instead? If you asked the editorial staff of the Desert Independent, the answer is a resounding “yes.”
In the old days, a traffic ticket could be reset multiple times. Sooner or later, the officer would not appear, and the ticket would be dismissed. That strategy is now largely ineffective, as most departments pay peace officers overtime to testify in court. In a TBD, the driver and officer both write down their version of the events, and the judge decides who is right and who is wrong.
This procedure is often touted as something of a magic wand that makes tickets disappear. But a further review finds that like everything else in life, there is no magic wand.
The fatal flaw in this process is that there is typically no attorney and that your odds of success often depend on the judge, the officer, and all of the applicable defenses on that particular case. As a preliminary matter, there are specific rules as to formatting and content. If these rules are not followed to the “t” the judge will dismiss the TBD without even looking at it. But, an attorney is familiar with all the procedural and substantive rules, even the ones that are unwritten.
Furthermore, most TBDs simply contain a rather flimsy excuse for the violation, such as “I didn’t see the sign” or “I didn’t know it was a school day.” Without an attorney, there is no way to identify the proper legal and factual defenses that you have, and present them in a compelling way. Furthermore, if a judge is asked to believe an experienced peace officer or an excuses-making driver, who do you think the judge will believe, especially since the driver has no advocate?
As a rule of thumb, do-it-yourself legal services like the TBD are a losing proposition. Call an attorney instead, because it will be money and time well spent.
Getting Legal Help
The aggressive attorneys at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-349-9300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-349-9755.