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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    5

    Default Is it Worth it to Request a Trial de Novo

    My question involves traffic court in the State of: California
    Hello,

    Long time lurker, first time poster. Got an unsafe lane change ticket about 2 mths ago. Completed a TBWD and just received notice it was rejected. I am eligible for traffice school. My question is simple. Given the fact I do have the job flexibility to waste a few hours in court, should I bother with a Trial de Novo? Is it worth taking the chance the officer will not show up and the court will dismiss the ticket or is this somehting that only happens in movies

    In the event someone answers this thread saying it is worth spending a few more hours on this.... Regarding the Trial de Novo, should I come up with a completely new & different approach than the one used in the TBWD or should I just elaborate (I actually thought I had a pretty good case....). And my last concern regarding this.... if you lose again at the Trial de Novo, can the court revoke your right to traffic school?

    Thank you for your time & consideration.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Trial De Novo or Just Forget About It

    Common..... 22 views, 0 reply. Did I offend anyone with my questions? If yes, I did not mean to. In the meantime I was reading about the 'Discovery Request'. Might try that as well. My biggest fear is for the judge to revoke my right to traffic school if I go down the road of TDN....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    10,119

    Default Re: Trial De Novo or Just Forget About It

    A little impatient are we? First off, more people read this site than ever answer questions. 90% of us aren't in California and don't know or give a hoot about how Californicate traffic offenses are adjudicated. Two hours is not a reasonable amount of time to wait before demanding an answer of volunteer advice givers.
    Most of us do have day jobs.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Trial De Novo or Just Forget About It

    My sincere apologies flyingron. You are absolutely correct. It was selfish of me to expect such a quick answer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,276

    Default Re: Trial De Novo or Just Forget About It

    Document discovery will do you no good,,,,as there are no documents to disclose. Two ways to win IMO: 1) depose the cop, when he cannot recall any specifics (in the dep he wont have his notes in front of him) then motion for dismissal & include a copy of the dep as an exhibit 2) go to court & attack him via cross examination. So, does your fear of no traffic school outweigh the effort involved w/no clear sign of victory? Up to you.. Beating such tickets is hard as it is he said she said & your the court's biiiiiiittk

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,175

    Default Re: Trial De Novo or Just Forget About It

    Quote Quoting gferrand
    View Post
    My sincere apologies flyingron. You are absolutely correct. It was selfish of me to expect such a quick answer.
    Aside from the high expectations for a quick answer:
    1. You'e asking us to predict whether the officer will show up... Answer: who knows!
    2. You're asking us if you should try a different strategy... But since we don't know what actions (or lack thereof) resulted in your being cited, nor do we know what your first strategy was, it would be hard to predict if either will work... and...
    3. The traffic school option "after a trial" is always up to the judge... So again, it is possible that it will still remain on the table but then again, it is possible that your request will be rejected.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Trial De Novo or Just Forget About It

    As a long-time lurker, you would have done well to pay enough attention to know to pick up a copy of the officer's declaration after losing the TBD, especially in the case of an allegation that involves a subjective judgment by the officer i.e. the exact set of factors that made your lane change "unsafe," rather than a typical tight lane change in heavy traffic. At the very least, posting the exact VC statute would've helped.

    Go down to the court and do two things:

    1: Pick up a copy of the officer's declaration and post it here after redacting any personal info.
    2: Find out if the clerk can give you traffic school after losing the TDN or if you will have to go ahead with trial de novo to get a shot at it (don't quote me on that, but different courts seem to have different rules on that). You do have 20 days after the notice of decision for the TBD was mailed by the court to make your decision so it's not too much of a rush if you don't live too far away from the court.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Trial De Novo or Just Forget About It

    Thank you all for the valuable advice. My citation was 21658a VC. Just noted on the ticket "abruptly changed lanes causing officer to break to avoid collision". Yes.... some of you must be laughing... it was in fact one of these 'undercover cars'. Of course I would have not forced my way in front of a police officer had it been a plain black & white....
    The only frutration here is that anyone who lives in L.A. and has the unfortunate misery to drive anywhere on the Westside in rush traffic HAS to sometimes force your way in the desired lane. Besides, between you and me, I know I did not violate anything else than his ego. After getting into his lane, he honked at me at which point I waved my arm out of the window (I can hear the laughs again!). Then and only then did he pull me over.

    I believe I might simply give up and go with traffic school. Just the remote possibility that this could then be denied is too much of a risk given the fact I can just pay the $64, buy some online traffic school and at least get it off the insurance! But just to make someting clear(er), in the court letter I received rejecting my TBD, 2 boxes are checked. The first one is "Guilty as to count 1" and the second one is "The judge has granted traffic shcool". So even though it is black on white in the court's letter he can still change his mind and deny it if he is in a bad mood after the TDN?

    I will try to make my way down to the court today, just out of curiosity to see what is on the file and what does the officer's declaration look like.

    Thanks again to all for your valuable time & advice.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Is it Worth it to Request a Trial de Novo

    I would definitely file a TDN in your case. The fact that the officer was in an undercover car leads me to believe that this particular officer does not have a normal beat writing tickets and is therefore IMO, alot less likely to show up. I've been to court several times and have seen more tickets dismissed for not showing up than anything else. In addition, thought not 100%, the traffic school option is still there most of the time. Don't even bother preparing a defense, if he shows, fold and ask for traffic school.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    LA LA Land
    Posts
    9,175

    Default Re: Is it Worth it to Request a Trial de Novo

    Quote Quoting dis737
    View Post
    The fact that the officer was in an undercover car leads me to believe that this particular officer does not have a normal beat writing tickets and is therefore IMO, alot less likely to show up.
    I won't argue the "definitely file a TDN"... As to the above part, the officer obviously had a citation book with him (which would suggest that he does write traffic citations)... So while it maybe true that his primary duty may not have been traffic enforcement, the odds of him appearing aren't any lower (or higher) than those for any other officer.

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