Summary of what to do if you get a ticket in CA:Back in the 1990s Nolo press (https://www.nolo.com) had a book called "Fight Your Ticket". It walks you through all the legal procedures. There are so many steps, usually your case gets dismissed before you have to show up in court. You don't need a lawyer. Following this book's advice, when I used to live in CA my record was 4 for 5 over the years - pretty good.
Or, you can keep it simple and write a letter to the court requesting traffic school. You pay the fine and fees, but it doesn't go on your record so your insurance doesn't go up.
- Write a letter to the court exercising your right to trial by mail.
- If trial by mail finds you not guilty, you're done.
- Else (the court found you guilty), write a letter to the court exercising your right to a trial de novo
- After the court grants it, file for discovery
- The city attorney must respond within 2 weeks and at least 30 days before trial
- If he doesn't, then you have grounds for dismissal of your case - file for that
- Else (he does), then you receive a copy of all evidence that will be used against you
- When your court date arrives, by this time after all the above you're about a year out...
- If the officer doesn't show up (he may have transferred, etc.), the state has no witness - case dismissed
- As the state presents its case, they can't use anything they didn't send you - it's inadmissible unless provided in discovery
- If you win in court, you're done.
- Radar evidence must be accompanied by documentation of the radar's most recent calibration - if not provided, it's inadmissible
- Speed limits must not be lower than recommended by the most recent traffic survey at that location (85% percentile) - if it is lower, then radar evidence is inadmissible even if the radar is calibrated
- After all this, if you still haven't gotten the case dismissed, you can ask for traffic school, or to plead guilty to a lesser charge.