Traffic Trial in California
A traffic trial is the second and final stage in your traffic case. A trial for an Infraction is held in a Superior Court in front of a Judge, traffic referee or commissioner. After you have set your case for trial, you will be given a date and time to appear. In addition to the Judge, the officer who issued your citation will be present, in addition to any witnesses you choose to call as part of your defense.
The police officer will then begin the case by giving their testimony as to what they claim occurred on the date of the incident. After the officer presents his or her testimony, you will have an opportunity to question the officer. This is called “cross-examination”. You are allowed to ask questions of the officer in an attempt to illustrate to the judge that the officer’s version of events is not accurate.
Common Misconceptions About Traffic Trials
Many times people believe that they can simply tell the Judge that they didn’t “feel” they were speeding, or did not “believe” they ran a stop sign. However, these are not legal arguments, nor do they attack the credibility of the police officer. The purpose of a traffic trial for your attorney is to show reasonable doubt. Thus, your attorney can make skilled legal arguments to attempt to persuade the Judge to believe there is reasonable doubt as to whether you committed the offense.
Another common misconception is that because police officers write so many traffic tickets, that they will not remember your case well enough to prove their accusations beyond a reasonable doubt. However, most officer make notes on the citations they issue, and are able to prepare and re-read these notes before the trial. So chances are very high the officer will remember your case, based on what notes they took at the time of the incident.
How Can your Attorney Prepare for your Traffic Trial?
Your attorney can make an informal discovery request to obtain all necessary documents needed to review your case. Your attorney can also cross-examine the officer in court about what they saw, remember, and even their perception of how the traffic was that day. This will help to show that there is reasonable doubt as to whether you have committed the offense charged. Your attorney can also use their experience and knowledge of the law to object if the officer does not properly follow the required procedures in court.
The Traffic Trial Process
After the officer’s testimony concludes you will be allowed to present your case to the judge. This often includes you providing testimony under oath as to your version of the events that lead up to the issuance of your citation. You may prepare and introduce drawings, diagrams or other visual aids in your attempt to persuade the court of your innocence. You can also call witnesses to testify in an attempt to support your argument.
In many cases, the judge may decide to question either party or the witnesses involved so he or she can better understand the facts of the case.
When the evidence and testimony has been presented by both parties, the judge will then make his ruling. The Judge will make a decision as to whether your guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If the Judge does not believe the evidence shows you were guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then the Judge is required by law to find you “not guilty”.
If you are found guilty, the court will impose punishment at that time. Punishment will be in the form of a fine as you cannot be sentenced to time in jail for an infraction.
If you are found not guilty, then you be reimbursed for any bail posted. This would also mean that this infraction will not appear on your driving record. Your insurance cannot be increased if you are found not guilty.
Police officers often have years of training and experience in testifying in court at traffic trials. Without an experienced traffic defense attorney representing you, it will be very difficult for you to be able to properly fight your case in court.
Should I Hire an Attorney for my Traffic Trial?
An experienced traffic attorney can prepare an adequate defense for you in your traffic matters. They will save you the trip to court and handle your entire case from start to finish. Your attorney should be very experienced in the court in which your case is pending, knowing the procedures and judges in that court.
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
At Wallin & Klarich, we have been handling traffic trials successfully for over 40 years. Our skilled traffic attorneys can help you in your attempt to avoid getting points on your driving record and prevent you from the risk of losing your license.
With offices in Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange County, West Covina, and Victorville, we can help you no matter where you work or live.
Call Wallin & Klarich today at 877-466-5245. We will be there when you call.