Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Traffic Court 101: What To Do With The Discovery Letter

The discovery letter is full of information that can be of use to you when contesting a ticket. The first thing you should do is READ it. Carefully. Read the officer's sworn statement. Completely. You may find that there are errors in the report. Errors like
where you were pulled over. I watched a lady get her ticket dismissed because the officer wrote down the wrong road. Documenting the correct place that someone committed an infraction is imperative. If it's wrong then it alters other factors in the ticket. And truly gives you reasonable cause to suspect other mistakes are present.

The discovery letter will tell you what type of speed measuring device was used for a speeding ticket. The court has a record of each device and the date it was last calibrated. Go there and look it up. In Washington, they must be tested every 2 years. I watched one guy start his hearing and say that he never got to see the calibration records. The judge told him to go out to the reception area and look it up. When he came back 10 minutes later, he was able to prove that the device that measured his speed was overdue for a test by 4 or 5 months. Thus his ticket was dismissed.

The discovery letter will also let you know who the expert witnesses are. If you make a timely request from one and get no response then your ticket should be dismissed.

You must bear in mind that it is up to the State to bear the burden of proof that you "more likely than not" committed the infraction. So look over the paperwork. Make sure it's accurate. Unfortunately, equipment can fail, distracted police make mistakes and you may have been wrongfully accused. An important step to standing up for yourself is knowing the details behind the infraction.

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