Saturday, February 15, 2014

GREAT STUFF: How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in California Through The Mail

I had no idea this could be done. Martin Hill writes:
The revenue agents are getting pretty aggressive issuing expensive tickets, so everyone should fight them whenever possible. Contrary to popular belief, you don't always have to 'take a day off work' to fight a ticket. The California Vehicle Code outlines the rights of all motorists ticketed in CA. One good way to fight a ticket is through the mail, using a TRIAL BY DECLARATION. And if you lose, you're entitled to a whole new trial in person! It's like a free shot, with nothing to lose.
This is one of the most rudimentary steps that motorists ticketed in California can take to challenge their tickets. It is outlined in the CA Vehicle Code: 
V C Section 40902 Trial by Written Declaration

I have beaten nearly fifteen tickets of all sorts since I learned how to properly challenge traffic 'revenue' tickets in 2001. I've beaten speeding tickets, 'dog off leash' ticket, cell phone ticket, a commercial logbook ticket, parking tickets, etc. It is very easy. We encourage others to do the same. We have an extensive Traffic Ticket Archive Section outlining many victories included with court documents. I should note that I have also won in California Superior Court of Appeals, without a lawyer- in 2003. I wrote my own legal briefs and had a phony speeding ticket conviction overturned by a panel of three Superior Court Appellate Judges. I came across the ruling recently in some files, and will post it next week, along with my brief which they ruled on. My friend John Shanahan has beaten five tickets through the mail using TRIAL BY DECLARTION without ever having to appear in court. John beat three seat belt tickets, one red light camera ticket, and one stop sign ticket all through the mail. His archive page with court documents is here. Recently, a Pasadena, CA newspaper ran the story of an 81 year old man who beats a red-light camera ticket, and credited with the know-how.

Sometimes I outline specific victories but neglect to explain the most basic simple things that people can do to save time and money. A niece of mine, for example, who's only 20 and had never been to court in her life, beat the first ticket she ever got and later beat two additional ones, for three tickets total- she beat a seat belt ticket, a speeding ticket, and a parking ticket. This is not brain surgery folks. Don't be a lazy slug and submit to the state. Make these rotten revenue agents work for your money.

Or be a good slave, it's up to you. To each their own, right?
To any lawyers out there, are there any similar laws in any other states?


  1. Be warned that there are risks associated with the Trial By Declaration tactic. You will have to pay the bail amount up front and you may lose your ability to go to traffic school to have the points deducted from your driving record.

    1. The first part is correct, the second isn't. Trial by declaration does not affect your eligibility for traffic school (or chances to get approval) in case if you're declared guilty. It is a good idea to include conditional request for traffic school and fine reduction into the declaration.

      I have been successfully fending off traffic citations for many years using this feature of CA traffic law, by the way. The most common outcome is that case is dismissed because the cop was too lazy to write his declaration. So, yes, even the one-sentence plea of not guilty is better than meekly paying the fine. And if the outcome not satisfactory you can always request a "real" trial, which then may result in case being dismissed because the cop fails to show up or because enough time passed that he forgot some critical detail.

    2. Anon, as the original complete article (link above) points out, "In theory, if you lose the trial by declaration, you get a trial de novo, meaning all things are new. The judge should not hold the trial by declaration against you. If the judge denies you traffic school because of the trial by declaration, point out that you are not there for that trial, but, per CVC 40902(d), a trial de novo. You can also point to Vehicle Code section 42005 and People v Wozniak which say you can still have traffic school even after a conviction. In reality, the courts make more money if you go to traffic school. Odds are the judge will let you go to traffic school if there is any way he/she can". As far as BAIL, anyone can request a BAIL WAIVER. ive done it many times and didn't pay a dime bail. [See

    3. averros, good information. I am interested doing "Trial by declaration" but no time to go trial de novo. In other words, if I failed in "Trial by declaration" I will select going to traffic school. In the letter court replies to my "Trial by declaration", will they provide option to traffic school (as the original ticket has)?

  2. Anonymous @5:37PM - you can add sentence like "If the Court decides this case against me, I politely request traffic school and reduction of fine" though advises against it.

  3. The best site for Trial by Declaration is They give you a complete set of documents, all filled out for you. And it only takes a minute to do. It worked for me and it only cost $22!! If you get a ticket, use