SEE ALSO: Lunatic CHP cops go berzerk as female motorist successfully demands her rights under CA Vehicle code 3/22/13
(Woman demands County Seat and cops try to deny her demand, but she wins in the end.)
Presumption of innocence is important to remember, especially for freedom-lovers, so I like to pass along this type of information. It's available in the California vehicle code, but most people don't read that. This involves a change of venue, and dictates where your traffic case will be heard. I've personally used this particular tactic twice with success. This is a pre-emptive meassure, it's not arguing the merit of the charge. If the cop shows up to the county seat, which is unlikely, then you will fight the ticket which you planned on doing anyway if you pled not guilty. So nothing is lost.
Here's what you do. My wife and I were driving to Palm Springs a few years ago and this CHP motorcycle cop pulls me over, claiming I was doing about 85MPH (which may or may not have been true; since the state failed to convict me I suppose we'll never know, eh? Who the heck goes 65 in the middle of nowhere anyway?)
So I say "I'd like to request the county seat". To be precise, it's not technically a 'request', it's a demand; they have to give it to you, as per the California Vehicle code). The local court that he had checked on my ticket was close to Palm Springs, but after my request, he had to scratch that one out and write in the county seat, which in this case was in the city of Riverside. Palm Springs is in Riverside County, but is pretty far from the actual city of Riverside. Probably at least an hour to the west in morning traffic. So, the cop didn't show up. case dismissed.
My friend Victor used this tactic when he got a ticket in Upland, CA. He got pulled over and told the cop he'd like to request a county seat, which in this case was in the city of San Bernardino. He said the cop got mad, angry and huffy with him. 'WHY DO YOU WANT THAT?' the cop demanded. The cop eventually relented (because he had to) and gave Victor the county seat. The reason the cop was mad is that the ordinary traffic court for tickets in Upland is in the city of Rancho Cucamunga, right next door. This change of venue greatly inconveniences the cop, who then has to drive much further, pay for more gas and time in traffic. Victor called me up after the trial and told me the cop didn't show up in San Bernardino. Case dismissed. Not one dime paid, not one hour sitting through 'traffic school'.
It was a great feeling to have helped someone learn how to beat the system. It made my day. Better than any football game victory or any other such trivial nonsense.
When I got that ticket in Palm Springs my wife insisted that I was guilty. "But you WERE speeding!', she teased. Sure honey, of course I was. We're in the middle of nowhere on a beautiful sunny day. No one goes 65 out here. But this is America, and it's incumbent upon the state to prove my guilt, so let them try.
Once again, they came up short. The Palm Springs cop, who was the only witness for the prosecution, chose not to drive to Riverside. I learned this info from the great free website, HelpiGotaTicket.com:
CHANGE OF VENUE
In California if you live or work closer to the county seat than to the court which would normally have jurisdiction, you may demand a change of venue to the county seat per California Vehicle Code section 40502(b).
40502. The place specified in the notice to appear shall be any of the following:
(b) Upon demand of the person arrested, before a judge or other magistrate having jurisdiction of the offense at the county seat of the county in which the offense is alleged to have been committed. This subdivision applies only if the person arrested resides, or the person's principal place of employment is located, closer to the county seat than to the court or other magistrate nearest or most accessible to the place where the arrest is made.
Please note that I am not a lawyer, nor would I want to be one, as I will defer to Luke 11:46 on this issue: "Woe to you lawyers also, because you load men with burdens which they cannot bear" . Happy motoring!