Thank you for the opportunity to assist you.
Q) How do we resolve this without driving a few hundred miles to attend court ... and her plead innocent
Unfortunately, I have to be the bearer of bad news. It is my duty and obligation to be straight forward with customers, and not simply give people an incorrect answer for the sake of avoiding unpleasant truths. In this case, there's really no way to achieve your goals without your friend going to court. Here's why...
If your friend does not go to court, or she pays the fine
and court costs online or through the mail before the trial date, she will be found guilty. You're also right that any other consequences, such as demerit points added to her license, or insurance rates going up, etc., will fall on your friend, and not you.
If your friend decides to go to court, she can plead "not guilty" (which is the way to say, "I'm innocent, I didn't do this!
") and explain that she was not driving the car. She can then testify that you were driving the car. The judge may or may not believe her. After all, how many people would come into court and conveniently testify that someone else was driving their car?!?! The judge probably hears this a lot and may or may not believe her testimony.
You could go too, and testify that YOU were driving the car, not your friend. Of course, you've then admitted under oath that you've committed a traffic infraction, and you may get stuck with the ticket. Good news for your friend, not so good news for you. It also possible that the judge and the officers will applaud you for your honesty and efforts on behalf of your friend, and will realize all the trouble and expense you and she went to in order to be in court. Maybe the judge will find your friend not guilty and the police will not pursue a charge against you. (At least, that's what I
would do if I
were the judge!!!)
But, again, this all involves going to court. I realize that's what you wanted to avoid. Unfortunately, I don't think there is a way to achieve your stated goals without being present at trial. The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that there is no way to plead not guilty and have a trial without going to trial and being present in court.
While I could not give you the answer you were hoping to hear, I hope my response has been helpful. If you have follow-up questions or concerns on this topic, please ask. Otherwise, please rate my answer positively so that I can receive credit for my work. Doing so will NOT cost you any additional fee.