Pitfalls Of Trying To Compose A Trial By Declaration On Your Own
Traffic citations can be a real pain whether or not you think you deserved the ticket. Maybe the stop sign snuck up on you just as you were leaving work. Or maybe that broken tail light you have been ignoring finally caught up with you and you were cited. Whatever the case, no one wants something so trivial tainting their nearly perfect driving record.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to deal with traffic tickets is by opting for a Trial by Declaration.
This unique opportunity is currently available only in a couple of states including California. It allows cited citizen to contest and deal with traffic citations without having to go to court. Below is a bit more on this option and why it is never a good idea to do it all by yourself.
What is trial by declaration?
Trial by Declaration is an opportunity offered to challenge traffic citations in writing. It is provided for under Vehicle Code section 40902 under California law. This process involves multiple steps and is concluded in the form of a verdict from the court once your case is considered. Basically, all you have to do is figure out whether or not you qualify, request a trial by declaration and submit your evidence. The evidence could be anything from signed statements by witnesses to sworn declarations by the citing officer. Once this is submitted, the court takes its time to review your case after which you will be notified of the verdict in writing.
4 key reasons why you shouldn’t do it on your own
It seems pretty simple and straightforward on paper. After all how hard can it be to write a letter defending your innocence right? Wrong. It is actually harder than it looks and you could end up doing more harm to yourself than good if you do not really know what you are doing. Below are 4 of the main pitfalls of composing a trial by declaration on your own.
1. You might not qualify for trial by declaration
The first and most important step in this process is determining whether or not you actually qualify for trial by declaration. As a layman with no clue as to what the different legal terms and requirements mean, this might be a little hard. Doing it by yourself means that there is always a risk of you wasting your time composing a declaration only to get rejected because you do not qualify.
2. There are many technical details that need explaining
Another reason why you shouldn’t do it on your own is because of all the complex technical details involved. There are things like filing that needs to be done right, the requests that should be specific and timely and so much more. The thing with Trial by Declaration is the fact that one false move could cost you a lot including dismissal of your request despite you having a valid claim. It is therefore a good idea to get help in order to ensure that you follow each and every step meticulously as required by law.
3. You need to understand all the legal aspects that could save or hurt you
Sometimes all you have is personal conviction that you are innocent and truly didn’t deserve to be cited. However, this might not be enough. What most people fail to realize is the fact that there are many laws and codes out there that could help strengthen your challenging of the infraction. There is also the fact that you might end up incriminating yourself through statements submitted if you are unaware of the important legal aspects. Getting help allows you to learn about these weapons that will definitely boost your chances of success.
4. You might need legal representation if you are unsuccessful
Finally, doing it yourself is not a good idea as you might need to appeal later on if your challenge is unsuccessful. Instead of hiring a legal professional to clean up the mess, simply work with one from the very beginning to prevent the mess from happening.
Bottom line, get professional help
Trial by Declaration is a long, challenging and tricky process with the possibility of a lot going wrong if you don’t know what you are doing. For this and the many other reasons highlighted above, it is not exactly a good idea to wing it and turn it into a DIY project. Getting professional help ensures that you get this annoying part of your life out of your way in a quick and effective manner. So seriously consider investing in a professional organization and benefit from this otherwise very useful code.