With the ever failing U.S. economy, more Americans may opt to fight the commonly overpriced traffic ticket. As it stands, a mere 2 or 3 per cent of people generally choose to plead not guilty after being ticketed by a traffic cop. This small number of resisters says an awful lot about the submissive nature of Americans. Many are probably tired after working all week, struggling to pay the bills and feed their families. Fighting a ticket, although probably the least difficult way to resist government, just seems to onerous and complicated for them. I can't recall the number of people who told me they wanted to fight it, or began fighting a ticket but 'just paid it' because they didn't want to deal with the 'hassle'.
Sorry, but this shows a subservient, lazy slug-like attitude! To fight a ticket, in California at least, is a piece of cake. I have written much about this, and have beaten seven tickets in court. You don't even have to show up in person to fight a ticket! You can do it through the mail, in what's called a trial by declaration. You can visit my traffic ticket section for a list of articles.
What I wanted to share today is something even more important than fighting a ticket- and that is making sure the violation does not appear as a conviction on your record after you win! "Well, if I beat it, why would they leave it on there?' you may ask. Because they are crooked, scumbag revenue goblins, that's why. With little to no morals. If the court records your citation correctly, as dismissed instead of convicted, that's great. It's always good to check with the court a week or so after your victory to make sure it is not on your record as a conviction.
But what about your auto insurance company? I once had a conflict with my car insurance company after beating a ticket. I had been cited in for violating CVC 22350, otherwise known as 'basic speed law'. The cop had been using radar and was hiding in the bushes.
After getting several extensions I scheduled an arraignment date and a few days before the court date, I went to the clerk's window, asked for and received a 'bail waiver', and pled not guilty. (An arraignment is simply a hearing where the judge only wants you to say one of two things: guilty or not guilty. This is not the time to argue your case.) In my case, they scheduled a trial date for me right at the clerk's window. Contrary to popular belief, it's not usually necessary to wait in those hour long lines and to sit in the courtroom to do something as simple as pleading not guilty. You can plead guilty at the clerk's window too, if you so desire, and even ask for traffic school, pay the bail and fees, and be done with it like a good obedient sheep.
In my case, I didn't opt to fight it through the mail since the courthouse was right near my house. On the day of the trial, I refused to waive my right and allow a 'commissioner' to hear my case, thus demanding a superior court judge. The arrogant 'superior court' judge was peeved at this, when a lowly traffic defendant appeared in her courtroom with junkies, muggers and parole violators. The witness in the case, the ticketing officer (Mr. hide in the bushes to generate revenue), also had to go upstairs and wait for the judge to get to our case. I thought this was funny. (Hey, if they want my money may as well make them work for it, right?) The first thing the female judge did was lean towards the officer from her bench and said "don't worry officer, this won't take long'! Wow, what a weird thing to say, I thought. How did she know the case wouldn't take long? Had she already decided it? Why didn't she tell me, the defendant, that it wouldn't take long? Wasn't I worthy of the
same courtesy as the cop? Nevertheless, I thought her weird and hostile behavior showed that she was plainly on the cop's side instead of on the side of justice.
Anyway, the details of the case itself, and how I won it, is the topic of another article. The judge that day pronounced me guilty after being very nasty, dismissive, and arrogant. It didn't bother me too much though, because I not only knew I was innocent, but I proved it in Superior Court of Appeals when I appealed the shrew's fraudulent guilty ruling. A panel of three superior court judges, effectively the shrew's bosses, so to speak, heard the case and ruled for me. They overturned the guilty conviction for speeding. This was very gratifying. Not many people can beat a rap in superior court of appeals without a lawyer. I simply studied the case law at Helpigotaticket.com, wrote my own legal brief, filed it, and won. This particular county notified me through the mail. I did not have to appear in the appeals court in person, which was nice.
But a few weeks later, I received a notice from my insurance company, which at the time was State Farm. They claimed that my car insurance premium was going up because I had a speeding ticket on my record. Well I'll be damned. The heck I do, I thought. I went through all this nonsense to beat the ticket, and I beat it. How could they dare claim that I am now gonna have higher insurance rates for a ticket I beat? Sure, I had been initially convicted, but it was overturned. By a court. Legal. Binding. Not confusing, except to a moron.
I called them up and the State Farm clerk was insistent that I had a ticket on my record and they were gonna charge me for it. I asked her who told them that I had a conviction on my record, because the court itself says I don't, and the DMV , who gets their info from the court, knows I don't either. I had never had a problem with State Farm before, and had been with them for years, so this was kind of upsetting.
We went back and forth until the woman revealed that they get their information from an outfit called 'Choicepoint'. What the hell is that? I asked. Choicepoint? Turns out they are some sort of credit reporting outfit that compiles traffic record info and other data for companies. Well, I told the State Farm clerk, I don't care what or who Choicepoint is, I don't care what some third party corporation says about my record. I don't have a conviction, so take it off your records and reduce my rates to their proper price. The stupid insurance agent refused, so I sent them a nice one paragraph letter the next day.
I said I demand you immediately cease charging me for a fraudulent traffic conviction which does not exist, as the legitimate court and DMV will verify. If you do not lower my rates to the proper previous rate I will sue you in five days for purposeful insurance fraud.
I sent this certified, with a return receipt. The reason I always ask for a return receipt when sending legal things is because the scumbag recipient will deny receiving a letter of demand & intent if you don't have proof that they received it. The U.S. Postal Service offers an electronic return receipt now, which is a few bucks cheaper than that green card they use. You can choose either though. You simply log onto the post office website and print out a copy of the recipient's signature.
I also sent a copy to 'choicepoint', just for good measure.
Whad'ya know? The idiots took the fraudulent price increase off my insurance in no time flat. Wow, wasn't that complicated? Sheesh. I can't stand crooked incompetent people.
I switched insurance companies soon afterwards, because even though they fixed their 'mistake', they didn't deserve my business because of the way they handled it.