My question involves an Unsafe Lane Change driving ticket from the State of: California
I got a ticket for "unsafe lane change" a few weeks back. It was during rush hours and I was driving in the carpool lane (I have a Prius with a carpool sticker). I wasn't speeding or anything. But I saw a Highway Patrol car approaching me from behind. So I changed lane into the busier lane, which wasn't exactly bumper-to-bumper and stop-and-go but it was significantly slower than the carpool lane and pretty packed with cars (i.e. short distance from car to car). To my surprise, the Highway Patrol officer pulled me over and said I changed lanes unsafely because the car behind me had to press on the brake to let me in. Well, I thought that was kind of how it works sometimes when you move from a faster carpool lane to a slower and busier lane. I hit my brake all the time when I needed to let the car from the carpool lane in, which was no big deal.
Anyway, I was planning to do a Trial By Declaration and explain my situation. But when I got the court letter, it said I was "not eligible for a Trial by Declaration". My friend who lives by me had done Trial by Declaration several times and he has never had a case where he was not eligible. Does anyone know why I don't have that option? Is it because of my driving record (I did get a speeding ticket earlier this year) or is it because of the type of the violation?