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You can beat a traffic ticket without a court appearance, website says

August 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
You're busted for going too fast or ignoring other traffic laws. Most drivers pay the fine or go to traffic school to keep their insurance rates from going sky high. Others fight their tickets in traffic court.

However, TicketBust.com says it's helping California traffic violators beat tickets without them ever having to show up in court.

In 2011, drivers in Los Angeles County alone received more than 2 million traffic tickets, and less than 5 percent contested those citations.

Gary Duboff was one of the many issued a citation. He admits he was speeding on an out-of-town trip.

"They clocked me at about 90 mph," he said.

His fine was more than $500, so he paid TicketBust less than half that cost to fight the ticket for him. Weeks later, the ticket was dismissed and he received a 100 percent refund on the fine.

"The risk was something I was willing to do, only because I was at a speed that they were reluctant to even allow me to go to traffic school," Duboff said.

TicketBust fights tickets by helping drivers file what's known as a Trial by Written Declaration, which allows drivers to contest the ticket in writing. The service costs $249. If you lose, you still pay $149, plus the cost of the ticket.

Company founder Steve Miller claims most customers win their cases, but like any trial, there's no guarantee the court will rule in your favor.

"A ticket on your record can average over $2,000. Now that's going to include the cost of the ticket," he said. "Red light tickets are $500-$600.It's going to include the cost of your insurance going up." You can save money by filing the paperwork yourself. The details are spelled out on the back of every ticket. You can't file a written declaration for a DUI, a misdemeanor - like driving more than 30 miles over the speed limit - or if your ticket is delinquent.

Actor Greg Grunberg, who has played a police officer on TV for years, said his familiar face has worked in his favor when he's been pulled over. But when he recently got ticketed, he decided to file for a trial by written declaration through TicketBust. It worked, the ticket was dismissed. His wife wasn't so fortunate. She lost her case and had to pay both the ticket and the TicketBust fee.

Tips:

- It's important to know that if you use TicketBust or another service and lose, you'll end up paying more than the original cost of the ticket because of the service fee you pay to the company.

- If you file a Trial by Written Declarationn, be prepared. Explain in detail why you think your ticket should be dismissed. Include evidence supporting your case like photographs or diagrams.

- Even if the court rules against you, you can request a new trial and you take your chance in traffic court.


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