Can I get a speeding ticket dismissed if the officer misspelled the violation on the ticket?

Asked over 4 years ago - Victorville, CA

While driving on the I-10 in California, I was pulled over and issued a ticket because the officer believed that I was driving 85 MPH, 15 miles over the 70 MPH limit (he came to the conclusion that I was driving 85 MPH just by observing me on the road, not with a radar). He then proceeded to issue me a ticket. However, once I got home I saw that the ticket that was issued to me (which I signed at the bottom), said that I violated "22356 (5) VC." Upon checking the DMV's website, I found that there is NO "22356 (5)". The officer probably meant to write '22356 (b).'
The officer clearly wrote "22356 (5)," NOT "22356 (b)." Is the fact that he issued me a violation that doesn't exist, "22356 (5)," enough to get the charge dismissed in a Trial by Declaration?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. S Edmond ElDabe

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . Alan is correct. You cannot win on that reason alone. I suggest trial by declaration first and if you lose, then ask for a trial de novo.

  2. Elliot S Stomel

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    1

    Answered . The purpose of a traffic summons is to place the driver on notice essentially of "who? what? when? and where?" The test of whether your ticket should be dismissed is not necessarily whether it contained a technical flaw, but whether you were placed on notice of the specific charge. If the statute number has been cited incorrectly, but the ticket states on its face that you have been charged with speeding 85 mph in a 70 mph zone, it probably passes the test and will not be dismissed by the Court on a technical flaw. Alternatively, if the ticket does not contain any verbal description of the charge other than the statute number, you may be on firmer legal ground. After all, how can you defend yourself when you don't even know what you're charged with. By the way, sometimes a Police Officer's handwriting may appear to be illegible, especially when you have only been provided with a carbon copy of the original summons. It is not entirely out of the question that what you perceive to be a "(5)" was actually the way the officer wrote "(b)".

  3. Alan James Brinkmeier

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . No that error will not win the case for you.

    I would recommend spending an entire day in the traffic court to observe how judges handle self-represented defendants to get an idea of how irritated they get at amateur lawyering. If you really want to represent yourself, you should purchase an hour of an attorney's time to have her or him coach you on how to handle things.

    You might find my Legal Guide helpful "Pro Se: Why Risk It?"

    http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/pro-se--wh...
    A better choice is simply to hire an attorney.

    You might find my Legal Guide helpful "What Do I Tell My Lawyer?"

    http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/what-do-i-...

    Good luck to you.

    God bless.

    NOTE: This observation is made available by the out-of-state lawyer for educational purposes only. This observation is not like a communication with a lawyer with whom you have an attorney-client relationship along with all the privileges that relationship provides.

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