California Traffic Violations: Five Ways to Win Your Case in Court
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Though a traffic violation may seem minor at the time, if you accumulate enough of them there can be severe penalties including loss of license. There are some California traffic violations considered much more serious than others, and you will need to obtain legal advice in these situations. Many times there are extenuating circumstances that need to be explained to a judge.
Following are 5 possible ways to win your case in court.
1. Minor Violations You Contest Yourself
In California anyone can plead Not Guilty after receiving a traffic violation by requesting a Trial by Written Declaration. This is usually a good method to use if the violation is for something like speeding or running a red light.
You will get a letter in the mail from the court after receiving the violation. It is important to not admit guilt. Instead you will plead not guilty in a written declaration and then follow the process carefully. After sending your letter, you will receive forms where you can explain the facts of the violation and submit evidence.
If the minor violation led to injuries then consult an attorney before sending a Trial by Written Declaration.
2. Submit Evidence in Court that Shows You are Not Guilty
Even officers can make a mistake or sometimes there are circumstances that you could not control. For example, if a stop sign is hidden by a tree branch because the county road department failed to keep it trimmed, then you could not be expected to stop. The police officer knows the stop sign is there but you had no way of knowing. Pictures of the scene would make excellent evidence.
3. Your Conduct Was Necessary and Justified by the Circumstances
There are circumstances where you may violate traffic laws and the violations can be justified. For example, you may need to swerve to avoid something in the road and failed to make a legal lane change. In these situations you are agreeing that a road rule was violated but the violation should be thrown out because the action was legally justified.
4. Your Conduct Was Necessary for the Safety of Others
If you violated a traffic law in order to avoid harming someone else, you should present the evidence to the judge. For example, you may have made a quick illegal maneuver to avoid hitting a pedestrian who was jaywalking.
5. Prove Another Driver Forced You to Violate the Law
It is possible to show that another driver forced you to violate the law. For example, if someone suddenly swerves in front of you, and you respond by making a lane change without signaling to avoid a rear end accident, then you may be able to win your case in court. This will be difficult to prove without some kind of evidence such as a license plate number or a witness.
Consult an Attorney
Traffic violations have gotten quite expensive and impact your driving record and insurance rates. If you get an expensive or serious traffic violation, or if any injuries are involved, you should immediately consult a California attorney to get advice on the best way to win your case.