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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 12620
Experience:  Licensed Attorney
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I, too, received a red light ticket at Wilshire Blvd. & Whittier

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I, too, received a red light ticket at Wilshire Blvd. & Whittier in Beverly Hills. They are VERY aggressive in enforcing in Beverly Hills and will certainly send me to "collection" if I ignore the ticket. I was told I could make an appearance by "Declaration." What would I need to say to get the ticket dismissed outright?
Hello there:

Thank you for your question. The answer would actually depend on your circumstances. The first thing I would ask is whether, regardless of what the evidence shows, you believe you are factually innocent and why?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

First, if all other red light cameras in Los Angeles County were turned off, I believe that it is discriminatory for Beverly Hills to keep theirs active.


That aside, when the light turned yellow I believed that I still had time to stop, which I attempted to do. When I realized that I would end up stopping in the middle of the intersection, I had a split second decision to make . . . slam harder on my brakes and send my 90 year old mother into the windshield, or attempt to make it across the intersection on the yellow. Unfortunately, the yellow light was so short that I didn't have adequate time to clear the intersection.

Thank you for that information. The question was how to get the ticket dismissed outright. For any traffic infraction, the burden of proof is on the state to prove guilt. So, for any given case, it's possible that a defendant could literally say nothing and have the ticket dismissed if the state's evidence isn't sufficiently persuasive. Naturally, every case is going to be different, so I am not suggesting that this or any other defense is necessarily right or wrong for you.

A discrimination defense would be without merit, first because Beverly Hills has the right to enforce the laws on the books even if other jurisdictions do not, and second because discrimination in law enforcement matters itself is not illegal---it is only illegal in certain circumstances, such as situations involving discriminating based on race, color, religion, ethnicity, gender, etc. The penal code discriminates against criminals. It is not illegally discriminatory for a city to enforce state law simply because others do not.

That said, not being able to stop safely generally is a valid defense to a failure to stop citation. If an intersection traffic signal is timed in a way that a driver can't stop safely, or if traffic conditions are such that a driver (through no fault of his own) , then there is a factual basis for acquittal. The law generally does not force the choice of either getting injured or getting a ticket (fortunately).

How to defend yourself is up to you, but I will alert you that it is usually a mistake to fight a ticket in writing if you can appear in person. A judge can ask questions and details can be explained in person, plus there is just a human aspect of dealing with someone in person that isn't achieved in writing, especially when the judge reviewing the written defenses is pouring over dozens per day, many appearing identical. I'm certainly not saying that a written declaration isn't a valid option or that it won't be successful, but consider a personal appearance if that is an option for you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I contacted your site after having researched many other sites that offer this type of assistance. On every other site I contacted they offered to provide language for a "trial by declaration." This option relieves the person who received the ticket the burden of having to make an appearance in person. The success rates of this form of "appearance" is reported at between 80-90%. If the judge accepts the "language" in the declaration then you have no further obligation of any kind. If the judge rules against the "declaration," you lose nothing and can still appeal to make an in-person appearance and have your trial in front of a judge.

I know that there is language to put in the declaration that in 80-90% of the cases almost guarantees a result of dismissal of the ticket. I specifically asked for this language (which seems to be widely known to other websites) and instead received a rather vague explanation of the law and was urged to appear in person in court.

I KNEW THAT MUCH MYSELF BEFORE I CONTACTED YOUR SITE! So the response I received was of NO help to me.

So unless someone else can answer my SPECIFIC question and provide the language I am seeking, I DO NOT WANT TO BE BILLED FOR THIS SERVICE.
I'm sorry that you were not happy with the information I provided, but I assure you that trial by declarations, even with legal guidance or magic language, yield an unfavorable result in over 90% of traffic disputes. Don't take my word for it--get a second opinion from any attorney anywhere in the state. Please feel free to come back to report your results.

The accusal that my explanation was vague is inaccurate-- it's almost never possible to give someone exactly what they are looking for without further discussion, and you are always invited to ask for any clarification that might be needed. Everyone's needs are different, and I did not consider the conversation complete.

Finally, I respectfully XXXXX XXXXX no information of value was passed: trial by declaration is the least successful option for a traffic dispute, and there is no magic boilerplate language that will result in a favorable outcome for any given case. You are certainly welcome to continue working with the information that you have and rejecting what I have given you, but I recommend that you get a second opinion before relying on a website offering to draft language with a 80%+ success rate. I would even be wary of providing my credit card information to anyone making those kinds of claims. Again, I invite you to come back and report your results. Best of luck.
One last point--upon re-reading your posting, it occurred to me that you were explaining the trial by declaration process as a "nothing to lose by trying" option. That's a valid perspective, but one that isn't necessarily shared among attorneys for any particular case. You can view it as a safety net, but if you're serious about winning then you will usually not commit yourself to statements made in a declaration prior to trial. Good attorneys can disagree on this for any given case because it is a question of strategy. I now must discontinue my involvement with this conversation. Let me know how that language almost guaranteeing a favorable result works out. I wish you the best.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX your follow-up response. Your advice about "not committing to statements in a declaration prior to trial" made sense, and I appreciate being reminded of that. Since time was running out on the 23rd to make an appearance on the ticket, I asked for an arraignment in person because I could avoid paying the humungous bail in advance doing it that way. I will take my chances with a trial in person as you suggested.