2-Point Traffic Ticket

Our client was facing a 2-point traffic ticket that could have cost him his license, and would have definitely cost him his job as a truck driver. After multiple hearings in court and realizing that they would not cut him any slack, we were forced to go the distance and take it to trial.

Through some skillful legal maneuvering, Doug was able to convince the judge to entirely dismiss the ticket. That means no points and no fine for our client. The best part? Delivering the good news to the client and having him break down in tears of joy.

Background

Our client received a ticket for allegedly violating California Vehicle Code section 22348 by speeding more than 100 mph in their personal vehicle. VC 22348 is a “2-point” violation, meaning you can’t do traffic school to keep the points off your record. 

Our client was a commercial truck driver, and 2 points on his record would have made him unemployable due to the increased insurance costs and liability for his employer.

Urgent Tasks

The alleged violation occurred on on the remote portion of a freeway, so there was no potential surveillance video to find.

However, the client’s boss was breathing down his neck to get this taken care of or else he would be terminated. We were able to get in touch with the client’s boss immediately upon being hired to let him know we were on the case and would be able to help his employee.

Client Homework

Our client’s most important homework assignment was to not get any more tickets before we worked this one out! We also had him get a copy of his driving record so we knew whether he had a history of tickets. Thankfully, as he had told us, his record was clear of any prior tickets.

Investigation

Our office requested discovery (a fancy word for evidence) from the District Attorney. Usually in a traffic ticket case the only evidence is the ticket itself, or at least that’s the claim that law enforcement makes.

However, there is other evidence that is extremely relevant in a case like this. We want to know the method used to detect our client’s speed. Was it radar, lidar, or by pacing? From there we would want to know about the machine used to perform the speed check: was it calibrated properly, what are the instructions for us, what limitations does the device have? After that we would want to know the qualifications of the officer who used the device: had he been trained to use that device, how many times and how often had he used it, did he remember how to use it properly?

These are all questions that we would have loved to know the answer to, but we didn’t get any responses to our multiple requests to the District Attorney’s office, who said they did not handle traffic cases. We made sure to document well our clear and numerous requests, so they could not later plead ignorance.

Analysis

After our initial failures to get the evidence we want, our office had identified a little known Government Code that put the obligation on the District Attorney’s office to provide us with the discovery we requested, whether they were handling the case or not. Further research convinced us that their failure to provide the evidence might be leveraged in to get the charges dismissed if a motion to compel went our way.

Client Consult

We were able to tell our client that we believed we had a path towards a possible dismissal of the ticket. Sometimes, pursuing an aggressive strategy trying to get a case dismissed can be risky because if you lose, the remaining options may not be as good as they once were.

However, as we told our client, because this was a discovery dispute we would resolve it before trial. If things didn’t go our way we told our client that we were confident we’d still have another chance to resolve it in a way that protected him from DMV points. Of course, he happily agreed to let us pursue our plan.

Results

After arguing that that the District Attorney’s failure to provide us with the evidence violated our client’s rights, we could tell that the judge was sympathetic.

There was some discussion about postponing the trial to give another opportunity for us to get the evidence, but we skillfully argued that such a delay would harm our client further, and that in such a low-stakes case the only acceptable resolution was a dismissal of the ticket. And the judge agreed!

Followup

Thankfully, because the ticket was dismissed there was little followup needed. Our client didn’t have to pay a fine, and didn’t have any DMV points so we did not have to tell him when they would drop off his record in the future or when he would be eligible to do traffic point if he got another ticket.

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