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Experience:  30 years legal experience
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Hi, Yesterday I took the Cal train from Lawrence station

Resolved Question:

Hi,
Yesterday I took the Cal train from Lawrence station which is in Zone 4 to San francisco (last stop) in Zone 1. I made a mistake and bought a day pass from Zone 4 to Zone 2 costing $14 (The day pass from Zone 4 to Zone 1 would have cost me $18). The ticket inspector checked my ticket at the last stop and cited me for fare evasion. He suggested that I get a one zone upgrade on my way back.
My questions are:
1. Can I argue that the additional zones I had purchased for my return could have been used against the extra zone I travelled? It is not like I had not paid enough money fro the trip, I just paid it for the wrong segment.
2. Is it mandatory to appear in court? Can I pay the fine by mail? If I write to the judge if paying by mail, will it help? Should I do this right away?
3.Will this go on my record?

Thanks in advance for your help,
Usha
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good morning,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation.

The reason it was suggested that you purchace the upgrade on the return trip was to be able to show the court that you did not intend to violate the law---and that when it was pointed out, you immediately paid the additional money.

Yes, you still have to go to court unless you want to pay about a $300 fine, but pleas No Contest, show the judge proof that you paid after getting the citation and you will likely be allowed off with only about a $100 fine, and possibly less than that.

Keep in mind that these fines are revenue producing for the state and cities and like traffic tickets they fund many millions every year. This is a cash cow and they generally won't let you off entirely.

You may reply back to me using the Continue the Conversation or Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions; and if you do, I ask that you please keep in mind that I do not know what you may already know or with what you need help, unless you tell me.


Please remember to press the smiley faces/stars on the right of your screen when we are finished with our communication so I will be credited for my time in assisting you. Kindly remember to ONLY rate my answer when you are fully satisfied. If you feel the need to rate anything less than OK, please stop and contact me with whatever issue or clarification you may need. I will be happy to continue further and assist you until I am able to address your concerns to your satisfaction.

I wish you the best in 2012,

Doug

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the response. Couple of clarifications:


I must point out that I only paid for the zone upgrade on my trip back.


If I write to the judge if paying by mail, will it help? Should I do this right away?
Will this go on my record?

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good morning,

Well, it legally constitutes a misdemeanor---so yes, any conviction or guilty plea will be on your record. If that is critical to you, then you should get an attorney to fight the charge as it requires that you intended to avoid the fare.

If you pay by mail, there is no need to write a separate letter to the judge. you either pay the fine and be done with it, or you go to the scheduled hearing.

So long as you pay before the hearing date, and you have proof that payment was received, you don;t need to appear. Don;t wait until the last minute though---if you make a mistake and then don't show up at the hearing you may have a warrant issued for your arrest on top of all of it.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

Would you please rate me highly now, based on my assistance to you in understanding the law.

I wish you the best in 2012,

Doug
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

On the citation it is marked as an infraction not a misdemeanor. What does that mean?Will it still be on my record?

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon,

Thank you for the additional information.

That means that you got a big break. The infraction is like a regular speeding ticket. There will be no permanent criminal record---even if you pay the fine. That is very fortunate. You really can save yourself a couple of hundred dollars by going to the hearing though---so consider that.

You will not have a permanent criminal record based on this citation.


You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

Would you please rate me highly now, based on my assistance to you in understanding the law.

I wish you the best in 2012,

Doug
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

That is good to hear. One last question. Some sites indicate that this be on the dmv records. That does not make any sense to me. What do you think?

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon,

It is not a moving violation and so any plea or finding of guilt to the infraction will not appear on the CA DMV records.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

Until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be credited with helping you. Would you be so kind as to highly rate my service to you so that I will be credited with assisting you.

I wish you the best in 2012,

Doug

LawTalk, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27888
Experience: 30 years legal experience
LawTalk and 8 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks Doug for answering all my questions.


I will provide my rating now.

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