Defending a Traffic Citation with Request for Trial by Written Declaration
(The content of this blog post is relevant only for those people who live in the parts of the United States where 'Request for Trial by Written Declaration' is an option for the defendants
Got a citation for any kind of traffic infraction? If you plan to plead guilty or to defend yourself in the traffic court, consider sending a
Request for Trial by Written Declaration
(aka TBD). Trial by written declaration effectively eliminates two trips to the court; and improves the chance of winning the case as long as the defendant do not exhibit any sign of admitting the guilt.
The major steps involved in requesting the trial by written declaration are as follows:
- Read the instructions posted for the defendants who are considering 'Trial by Written Declaration'. For example, California folks have to look at the Form TR-200 for the instructions.
- Complete the 'Request for Trial by Written Declaration' form. Again, California drivers can fill out the Form TR-205 to request the trial by written declaration.
- Carefully draft all the facts, evidence etc., that are relevant to the citation under 'STATEMENT OF FACTS' section in the 'Request for Trial by Written Declaration' form. It is very important that you do NOT plead guilty and NOT write anything that admits the guilt of any sort implicitly or explicitly. Admitting the guilt in any form hurts the chances of winning the case.
- It is required to include the following sentence in the 'STATEMENT OF FACTS' section.
I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of [INSERT_YOUR_STATE_NAME_HERE] that the foregoing is true and correct.
- Send the bail amount in the form of a check along with the 'Request for Trial by Written Declaration' form, or pay the bail amount over the web or by phone if the traffic court accepts such payments.
- Send the filled in 'Request for Trial by Written Declaration' form along with the bail amount, if not paid already, at least 5 days prior to the due date (excluding holidays) indicated on the traffic citation. Check the instructions and the citation for the exact deadlines.
- The 'Request for Trial by Written Declaration' form and the bail amount must be sent via 'Certified Mail' with a request for the return receipt.
- Once the request has been sent, it may take a while for the court to review the evidence/facts submitted by the defendant and the patrol officer before they mail the decision. So just relax and wait for court's decision. That is all there is to it.
It is strongly suggested to do diligent research about various steps involved in fighting a citation involving traffic infraction.
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