It stinks to be a driver in California. I’ve gotten pulled over a few times and have dealt with the legal system. My mom has had worse. Ultimately, it’s very time consuming and stressful. But, it doesn’t have to be!
I haven’t heard of Ticket Assassin until today, when someone I know got flashed by a red light camera. Now, I’m seraching and reading/skimming through as much information as I can to help out. Had I known about this website, maybe I wouldn’t have had to deal with all that garbage in the past.
I really like the site because it looks extremely thorough and honest. Here’s the statements from the website that stand out the most [to me]:
- The “courtesy notice” the court sends you after you are cited seems to suggest that you must appear in person twice for a single chance of winning at trial: the first time to plead not guilty, the second to stand trial. This is simply not true. The law allows you to contest your traffic infraction entirely by mail.
- A written not guilty plea takes 5 minutes or less to write and will save you the time and stress of a court appearance.
- Submitting a Written Not Guilty plea is your legal right (under 40519b), but there is no state approved form for this plea. It seems suspicious that the best and easiest way to contest a traffic ticket is not supported by a state approved pleading form. We at Ticket Assassin have created a Written Not Guilty Plea template since the state has neglected to do so. You can find this form in our shareware section. (requires [$25] registration)
- There are many advantages to contesting by written declaration. The most obvious advantage: the officer gets paid $200-300 to show up in person at a court trial but gets paid NOTHING to complete this declaration paperwork. In my experience, about 30% of police officers fail to submit a response to the court by the deadline. If the officer does not turn in his declaration on time, your case is DISMISSED and your bail is returned. By simply contesting by written declaration, you stand a decent chance of dismissal regardless of your argument.
- Why doesn’t the court clearly inform us that we can appear just once in court for two chances of contesting our traffic infractions? Money. Last year the traffic courts in California collected approximately one billion dollars in fines and forfeitures on uncontested traffic tickets. Ignorant of their legal rights, confused and intimidated by the courts and police, 99% of Californians ticketed simply pay up.
- A friend of mine submitted a written declaration for speeding on the freeway; he was driving 93 in a 65, clearly in violation of the law. On his written declaration he wrote,”I’m not Guilty” with an orange crayon, misspelling “guilty”. The officer who cited him did not respond; my friend received a dismissal notice and his $270 in bail back in the mail. If the officer does not respond, your case is dismissed and all your bail is returned, regardless of the merits of your argument.
Intrigued? You should be! What are you waiting for? Head over to Ticket Assassin and enlighten yourself! (I think I’m going to print a stack of “Why Fight?” flyers to help people. The PDF link is at the top of that page.)
Update July 23, 2008: I’m hearing more bad than good from this website, especially with the possible lack of response from Patrick. Let me clear things up for myself.
- I’ve only used it once to help fight my mom’s ticket.
- I’m not affiliated with Ticket Assassin.
If you’re having trouble with the website and haven’t heard a response, complain to the Better Business Bureau. As for me, I will not promote this service until I hear a lot of better feedback.