Should I Challenge a Traffic Ticket in Los Angeles Courts?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Aug 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

If you believe you did not commit a traffic violation for which you have been ticketed, you may be wondering if you should even bother challenging it in court. Is it even possible to beat a traffic ticket in Los Angeles court? The answer is, yes, it is possible. But should you?

Understand that by paying your traffic ticket, you are pleading guilty to the offense of which you have been accused. Of course, the more serious the alleged traffic violation, the more significant the penalties.

Depending upon the violation, a California traffic ticket conviction can result in:

  • Fines;
  • Points on your driving record;
  • Suspended license;
  • Possible jail or prison sentence;
  • Increased auto insurance rates.

Police often make split-second judgment calls related to many traffic violations.  They are also aware that only a small percentage of ticketed drivers will actually want to go through the hassle of going to court to dispute the charges.

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Challenging a Traffic Ticket in Los Angeles Court

Consequently, police often issue tickets for traffic violations even when they do not have a strong case. You should know that the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove that you committed the offense.  All you need to do is create a reasonable doubt.

The most common traffic tickets issued are for speeding violations (such as Vehicle Code 22350 CVC).  The following are some strategies for challenging a speeding ticket in order to create a reasonable doubt.

  • Demand production of an Engineering and Traffic Survey

The California Vehicle Code requires that police only use radar on roads that have had an Engineering and Traffic Survey performed on them within the last five to seven years. If not, it is considered an illegal speed trap (see Vehicle Code 40801).

  • Demonstrate that your speed was safe for the prevailing conditions.

In California, when you are ticketed for driving at a speed greater than the posted speed limit, the actual legal violation is that you were traveling at a speed faster than was safe for the prevailing conditions. You can challenge the charge by proving your speed was reasonable under the prevailing conditions.

  • Challenge the training of the officer and/or accuracy of the radar.

Was the officer properly trained to use the radar device? The officer could have mistakenly received a reading from another vehicle, a nearby train, wind or rain.

  • Create a reasonable doubt regarding the identification of your vehicle. 

Mistakes related to vehicle identification are actually quite common, which is why this is a good strategy to create a reasonable doubt.

Hiring an experienced California traffic ticket defense attorney to represent you in court will improve your chances of winning your case.  Your attorney can also negotiate with the prosecution to reduce the charges and penalties. Contact us to discuss possible defenses to your Los Angeles traffic ticket.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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