Spending or Taxes?

Given a choice between:

a.  Cutting spending
b.  Raising taxes

It seems that most people choose “c.  Magic more money into existence.”  Presto:  you have California.  Also, our federal government.

Proof of Service – What is it?

Note:  This is part of series of posts on contesting California traffic tickets.  If you haven’t already, you should read my earlier post on how I beat my traffic ticket.

In legal terms service is when you serve, or deliver, documents to a party in a legal proceeding.  For example, in my traffic ticket I served the DA a motion to suppress the testimony of the citing officer.  That means I had my motion delivered to the DA.  The motion contained specific arguments, as well as a statement informing the DA that a motion hearing would be held at a specific time and place.  Local rules of court generally have specific rules on when motions may be heard (the process of setting up a time with the court to hear your motion is called to calendar the motion) and how far in advance motion paperwork may be sent to the opposing side.  If this had been a case the DA was actively prosecuting, an assistant district attorney would have filed an opposing brief prior to the motion hearing, and then showed up to the motion hearing to give an oral argument.

Proof of service is how the court ensures that you actually delivered the documents.  Using my proof of service form, you can effect proof of service.  You must have someone who is not a party to your case (i.e. a friend) mail the forms and fill out the proof of service.  Mail one set (documents being served + proof of service form) to the party being served and another copy to the court.  Otherwise you could lie about whether you actually served the forms in order to show up to your hearing unopposed.

Entering A Plea In Your California Traffic Ticket

Note:  This is part of series of posts on contesting California traffic tickets.  If you haven’t already, you should read my earlier post on how I beat my traffic ticket.

Your courtesy notice likely tells you that in order to contest your ticket you have to show up at court twice:  once to enter a plea (your arraignment), and a second time for your actual trial.  If you’ve visited Help! I Got A Ticket or any of several other wonderful websites, you know by now that both events can be handled via mail without a court appearance.

Your right to plead not guilty via mail is spelled out in Vehicle Code section 40519(b):

Any person who has received a written notice to appear may, prior to the time at which the person is required to appear, plead not guilty in writing in lieu of appearing in person…

If you want to plead not guilty via mail, you can use my simple plea form.

If the court is far away or your time is of a premium, this is likely the preferred method.  Unfortunately, there’s a catch at the very end of VC 40519(b):

Any person using this procedure shall be deemed to have waived the right to be tried within the statutory period.

In other words you just waived your right to a speedy trial, which is a major downside of this method.  So if you have the time the best way to handle your arraignment is to show up and when you case is called say “I plead not guilty and request trial by written declaration.”  Make sure you say it all in one breath like that — the judge is likely processing many cases that morning/afternoon.  Once they move on you won’t get another chance to speak and you’ll be scheduled for an in person trial.  To cover your bases and properly follow the applicable rule of court, you’re technically supposed to file written notice with the court prior to your arraignment that you intend to request trial by written declaration.  Details on that are here.