If you've been looking for a way to get out of a traffic violation ticket that was issued in California, a company in Westlake Village called TicketBust thinks you should talk to them first.
"There’s 18 million tickets issued in California every year," says the company's founder and President, Steve Miller. "Only about nine percent of those tickets get contested every year."
Miller founded the company nearly eight years ago, after his brother got a ticket.
"He looked on the back of the ticket and most people don't turn over the ticket and read it," said Miller. "And it says that you can contest the ticket using a trial by written declaration. He did it on his own and won the ticket."
So, what is a trial by declaration?
"It's a way to present your case to the court without going into the court," explains Miller. "You complete the documents. You put all of your search and case together, send it in to the court, the court sends it to the officer, the officer responds to it and then the judge renders its decision."
Although anyone can do this, Miller says TicketBust has perfected the process.
Miller says his team of busters are constantly looking for different ways to get tickets dismissed. Their goal is to cut fines and keep the dreaded "points" off your driving record.
"We started with maybe 20 pages of defenses that we could use," says TicketBust consultant Alexis Vega. "Now we have over 400. The laws are constantly changing. It’s important to constantly research the different laws."
While TicketBust can help with just about all traffic violations, it does have its limits. The service can't help minors, it won't deal with misdemeanors, unlicensed drivers or drunk driving cases. Miller says the company processes about 150 tickets each week.
"The bad economy has helped this business because people don't want to pay those outrageous fines," says Miller. "They are looking for places to help them legally contest a ticket and remove the points."
The company's expertise is not cheap. Miller says he charges $249 for most cases. There's a partial refund if the ticket is not dismissed.
And if the ticket isn't dismissed, all is not lost.
"You can take your shot at a trial by declaration," says Miller. "If it doesn’t get dismissed, you are right back to where you are now. You can go to court or traffic school."