Contesting a Ticket Without an Attorney
The defendant was charged with a single count of Careless Driving. The allegation arose after a citizen decided to file a traffic complaint against the defendant for an incident that she and the defendant were involved in. The defendant was convicted of the single count and ordered to pay a fine.
This case is important because it highlights a number of reasons why, if a person is going to contest tickets, they should get an attorney. It also highlights the havoc that a biased judge can have on a case. There is a law in Oregon that permits citizens to file traffic complaints against other citizens. My client received such a traffic complaint and decided to represent himself. Before contacting me my client had already represented himself at a trial. He was convicted at his first trial and contacted me for assistance in filing an appeal. In this circumstance his "appeal" was actually another trial in a different court in front of a different judge.
At his second trial we had prepared to show that the complainant had given different versions of what had happened. She had made inconsistent statements in her complaint versus what she had testified to at trial. When we sought to discredit the complainant's statements with a recorded phone call, the judge became angry and denied us the opportunity to present the recording. Instead of having a fair trial my client was convicted by a judge who had no interest in our evidence or what my client had to say. After the second trial my client opted not to file an actual appeal of the case because the cost to hire an appellate attorney would have been more than he could afford.
The case may have had a different outcome had my client obtained representation before doing the first trial on his own. Obviously, one cannot know this for certain, but there were a number of problems that were created in the first trial that carried over to the second trial. I have a strong suspicion we could have avoided those problems with some planning and strategy early on.
Jackson County, Oregon
Actual Case Summaries
Be advised that I never promise a client a particular outcome, details of prior cases should not be taken as an indication that other clients will necessarily see the same results.