I ended a 30 year spree of never getting a moving voilation ticket this afternoon when one of LA’s finest wrote me up and I’m still not sure why. As you can see from this illustration:
I was in the right lane, and just the road split I got into the left lane. I actually thought to my self “that was as close to the solid white line I’ve ever come, but luckily I did actually cross on the broken line.” So I merge left and I see Johnny Law standing on the side of the road waving his hands like a freak. He’s pointing, screaming, causing a fuss, so I look around to see what the hell he’s going on about. Turns out, he’s going on about me. I pull over and he comes up and say “Who did you think I was pointing at?” Uh.. I don’t know it was rush hour and you were a block away, so maybe any one of the other 50 cars within 10 feet of me? He goes on to say something about how I knew I just did something wrong, so who else would he have been pointing at? But I didn’t think I did. So I ask “What did I do wrong?” He stammers and says something about all the signs and crossing a median. At this point I figure that since he was a block ahead of me he probably thought I’d crossed on the solid white, I didn’t, I crossed on the broken line, but I’m not dumb enough to think I’m going to convince this guy of that. So I give him my papers, he writes it up and comes back saying I’m being cited for “failure to obey a sign.” I ask which sign. He says “Any of them.” What?? I guess he picks up on my confused look and says something about a “right lane must exit” sign and walks away. Then, as if that’s not bad enough, he wrote the wrong address on the ticket, so now when they mail me the big package of crap telling me what to do that he said they’d be mailing, it’s going to go to the wrong place. So now, not only did my perfect driving record get tarnished, I don’t know how much I have to pay, or how to contest it because this tool wrote down the wrong thing. And, of course, there’s NO contact info on the receipt he gave me. Shit. What do I do from here?

12 thoughts on “ticketed”

  1. Which intersection are we talking here? There’s a crazy sweep going on at Vermont and Wilshire. I got tagged for making a right on a red AFTER a pedestrian stepped into the crosswalk 500 feet away. Might as well put on a hood and gown, stand on a box and attach wires to yur fingers, cuz there’s no negotiatiing w/ the LAPD.

  2. What agency was this ticket issued from?

    If there is any discrepancy between what was written on the ticket (I don’t think address counts), it may be worth going to traffic court. Check everything from the license #s and even description of the car. My friend once went to traffic court and contested a ticket on the basis that although her car was silver/gray, the officer had written gold. She said either the officer had a hard time seeing or that he thought one thing and wrote another. And the officier was in the room, too. Heh.

    Anyway, be sure to take a few moments and look up the supposed moving violation you committed on the California Vehicle Code.


    If the officer was good enough to screw up your address from the ticket, he might have also screwed up the violation #, which means YOU WIN in traffic court.

    Otherwise, it sounds like we’ll be hearing about your adventures in traffic school soon.

  3. Thirty years of driving, huh? Happy 46th birthday, Sean!! You really don’t look it. Those Botox treatments are worth every penny!

  4. Easy Boy-O. Think a moment of the placid L.A. River and just calm the hell down.

    Though he messed up your address, doubtful the cop messed up your citation number as that’s probably pre-printed on your ticket. And as to the bad address, they run everything against your DMV records so more likely than not you’ll get the info in the mail. Such shoddy police work usually isn’t counted against the cop in court.

    If it happened in greater Los Angeles, all traffic citations are processed through the L.A. Superior Court. Give their website (at http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/traffic) a visit for more info about your citation questions. You can search a variety of ways.

    Your options are: 1) pay the fine and have your driving record sullied for three years, 2) Fight the ticket in court, and 3) traffic school.

    Let’s dismiss Option #1 right away, shall we? Option #2 is problematic. Even if you return to the scene of the citation, and photographically document the lack of signage and diagram your entirely lawful route, you only have one witness ó the cop ó and he’s decidedly biased against you (as will be the judge biased in favor of Mr. Upstanding Law Enforcement Officer). So if you contest the ticket (which involves the above-mentioned documentation time as well as hours stressed and wasted in court), you’re best hope is for the cop to fail to appear. In that case you’re case goes poof and you’re found not guilty. But if he shows, it’ll be your word against his and you can object all you want to the judge about how your case should be dismissed because Mr. Can’t Even Get My Address Right should be held accountable for his inattention to detail. See how far that get’s ya. You may get a recovered dyslexic judge who suffered through a sea of typos growing up, and then where will you be ó held in contempt you damn scofflaw you!

    So Option #3 is your best bet. But that whole “eight hours in a dank room with bad coffee trapped with other dank citationees in front of some wannabe stand-up comic trying to make you laugh while reading the DMV manual” is soooooo 1980s. Nowadays there’s online traffic school and it rocks. I’ve done it twice in the last five years from the comfort of my own ‘puter and i’ve finished and passed in a scant 60-90 minutes. Finito.

    Sure, you still have to pay the fine and t-school fees, but the end result is your clean record stays clean until your next ticket (statistically) 30 years down the highway.,

    Who loves ya, baby!?

  5. With your attitude, you better get started practicing now on eating 50 eggs, ’cause I hear no one can eat fifty eggs…

  6. On line traffic school?
    What the hell kind of punishment is that??
    Looks like good ol’ Leadfoot McNoturnsignal gets to come out of hiding now that I no longer have to fear the comic stylings of DMV employees.
    Fear my Hyundai.

  7. You know, without having to read ANY of that entry and without having to scroll down to see the name of the post author, I just knew it was you as soon as I saw that fabulous diagram.

  8. definitely don’t wait for them to contact you.
    a friend of mine, who – also did not agree w/the cop’s opinion – when he inquired of the citing “awfulsir” what he could do next, was instructed to “wait for the letter” (which would answer his question), never received anything until he got a notice telling him he had missed his court appearance.
    ultimately he was told by the judge that it didn’t matter that he hadn’t received the original communication, he was still responsible – AND that now his fine, w/penalty was $625 – AND that only 40% of such letters actually ARE received!
    that’s a 60% failure rate!!!
    hooray for our tax dollars at work!

  9. fight it and you will feel better. Document it.take photos from the cops view point. If he doesn’t show up you are ok, but if he does argue that he did not have a clear sighting of where your car was.

  10. i bet the citing code is 21461(a) if it is then the case is simple THAT CITATION CANNOT BE GIVEN OUT UNLESS YOU ARE GUILTY OF SOMTHING ELSE so unless you were doing somthing else wrong well.. ur off the hook.. as long as you know how to fight it.. anyway.. if you need help.. darkfire01 AT dslextreme DOT com

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