Take heart, California scofflaws, from this wily treatise on the art of beating traffic tickets.
The authors run TicketBust.com, an online consultancy that specializes in “Trial by Written Declaration,” a Californian court proceeding under which drivers plead with a judge by mail to dismiss or reduce their tickets. Having handled 30,000 such cases, they are bursting with tips on getting out of tickets for speeding, running reds, illegal lane changes and other moving violations. Tickets can be challenged, they note, by impeaching the policeman’s line of sight, alleging that the radar gun mistook the defendant for some other car or documenting obscured signage. Tickets from red-light cameras fall prey to countless technicalities; they are invalid if sufficient warning of the camera’s presence was not posted, if no evidence is presented that it was functioning properly or if the ticket was not mailed within 15 days. And there’s always good old lawyerly sophistry—yes, the cop saw you using your cell phone in the car, but how could he know whether you were texting someone (illegal) or just browsing the web (100 percent possibly legal, according to plausible readings of the relevant statute)? The authors’ main recommendation, though, is to pay them to write and process your Written Declaration. (They reprint samples of their work, bristling with ferocious legalese: “[I]f the People wish to convict me of violating a signal, it is their duty pursuant to VC§ 21455.5 (c)(2)(C) to first establish that the signal was installed and operating according to the law.”) Organizationally, the book is an 18-car pile-up; Miller and Vega simply downloaded the contents of their website and blog in no discernible order, with some passages repeated several times. Still, it’s a lucid browse that makes up for its promotional slant and jumbled structure with lots of detailed, useful advice on navigating the legal system, presented in straightforward laymen’s terms.
An informative, readable primer on the rules—and ruses—of the road.