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Won the contested hearing for a traffic ticketExperience and Good Comments
I got a traffic ticket on 06/2x/2010 from an officer on the spot, because the officer said that I ran the red light. The location was on 40TH ST, crossing the 520.
There were some options after getting the traffic ticket:
1. Pay the full amount // about $124 at that time
2. File mitigation request // by given a sound reason, Judge may reduce some amount, say $30 or $50.
3. File the contested request
3.1 Contest by yourself // Don’t bet on the police man is No-Show in the courtroom because there will be a policy representative for all traffic cases on the court day. It is true for Redmond City.
3.2 Contest by an attorney // Per my knowledge, $250 is the bottom price for an experienced attorney. Why bother to pay $250 (at least) to save $124? I don't know the cost to involve the help from Microsoft Group Legal, so i leave it to others to comment.
I thought I ran the yellow light, not the red light. After some researching, I decided to attend the contested hearing by myself, without an attorney. I sent mail to Redmond Prosecuting Attorney for the policy cam video record. They refused to provide it to me, until my second mail, see my mail content in the section below.
The video showed nothing related to my case. It didn't prove that I ran the red light. It started to record at the next intersection, the one next to what it should capture, which happens to have a green light.
I went to the court with it and both the judge and prosecutor got confused about the video. My case was dismissed.
Besides my victory, I also learned a lot from my court experience. Per my observations, the defendants got more chance to win on that day. There were 6 cases without an attorney involved, including mine.
#1. A parking ticket. It was dismissed because the 2-hour parking sign was moved recently, so both judge and prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case.
#2. Didn’t stop at the 4-way stop sign. It is sustained. // I don’t think the defendant prepared good solid evidence other than verbal argument.
#3. A ticket based on traffic camera picture. It was dismissed because the driving person is not the defendant, it is his brother.
#4. Before the defendant said anything, this case is withdrawn by the prosecutor. // this mean the defendant only needs to show up in the court room.
#5. (I didn’t remember the details because I was preparing for mine case). It was dismissed after the defendant shows the print-out map and explain why it is not a violation.
#6. My case. It was dismissed after I showed the judge the video captured by the police car.
In summary, based on my observation, the chance to win a case with your own effort on that day was 5/6= 83.3%! So go to the court room to give a try next time.
***my 2nd mail***
Dear Redmond Prosecuting Attorney xxx,
I, Zheng xxxxx, got a traffic ticket on 06/2x/2010 from an officer on the spot, because the officer said that I ran the red light. The IR No of the ticket is IR135xxx.
I filed a request for Contested Hearing. For the hearing, I filed the request a copy of the citing officer’s sworn statement and request for a copy of video or photographic evidence the prosecutor proposes to introduce at trial on 07/2x/2010.
However, I got a mail from you on 07/2x/2010, saying:
‘In accordance with IRLJ 3.1(b) Discovery, the City has responded to your discovery request by herein providing “a copy of the citing officer’s sworn statement with the names of any witnesses not identified in the citing officer’s sworn statement.” No other discovery is required under IRLJ 3.1(b) and therefore no additional discovery will be provided.’
I doubled checked the official IRLJ3.1, available at http://www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/adopted/IRLJ3.1.doc. It says:
‘(b) Discovery. Upon written demand of the defendant at least 14 days before a contested hearing, filed with the court and served on the office of the prosecuting authority assigned to the court in which the infraction is filed, the prosecuting attorney shall at least 7 days before the hearing provide the defendant or the defendant's lawyer with (1) a copy of the citing officer's sworn statement (2) a copy of video or photographic evidence the prosecutor proposes to introduce at trial, unless in reply to the discovery request the prosecutor provides the address to a website where such evidence is accessible to the defendant; and (3)…’
Therefore, I have the right to ask for IRLJ 3.1(b) (2) - a copy of video or photographic evidence the prosecutor proposes to introduce at trial, or an alternative web site showing the evidence. I asked this because on 06/2x/2010, after the officer xxxxx xxxxx stopped me, he told me that he had video evidence of my violation which I don’t agree with.
P.S. I attached a copy of my request on 07/2x/2010, which included my request for video or photographic evidence.