I am often asked, “why should I hire an attorney?”. My general response is that we know the officers, the judges, and what the officer is required to say in order to meet his or her burden. Thus, we know when the officer has made a mistake. An unrepresented motorist must rely on the judge to catch any mistake and will never know if a mistake is in fact overlooked. I have often found that knowing the judge’s individual style can mean the difference between a guilty and a not guilty.
I tried a case recently for disobey traffic device ticket. The officer testified that the sign said “No Left Turns”. However, thie particular judge presiding always wants an exact description of any sign the motorist is accused of violating. Any mistake will warrant a dismissal of the ticket. It in fact took only one question to give her that reason. The officer mentioned pavement markings as well as a sign that he testified directed all traffic to proceed straight. However, such signs are not just words alone and have a graphic as well. Since the officer did not testify to the graphic in his original testimony, the ticket was dismissed for an inadequate description of the sign.
Knowing the particular quirk of this judge gave me all the ammunition I needed to make a winning motion on this ticket. With other judges, I would have known I’d have to keep digging for something else.
Andrea Casellas, Esq.