What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California
What happened to me is I got a ticket (CVC 24250) for driving about "two blocks" according to the officer with my lights off at around 10:45 PM (the two blocks consisted of the shopping center and the turn out of the shopping center in which I was immediately pulled over). My argument against the charge is that my 1987 Honda Civic is being repaired by a mechanic, and I borrowed my mom's 2004 Lexus RX330 to go to work. My mom's car has automatic lights and I have driven her car many times over the years never needing to turn the headlights on until this incident. What probably happened is because my parents left to go to a missionary trip in Africa, the friend that took their car to drop them off at the airport must have mistakenly turned the lights off automatic mode. At approximately 10:40 PM I left work which is a Best Buy located in a heavily lit shopping center. The car itself lights up the dash when the key is turned making the dash light up during the day and night (unlike my car where you cannot see anything at night when the lights are not turned on). Anyways after being disorientated by the lit up dash, the heavily lit area, as well as oncoming traffic I turned out of the shopping center and immediately got pulled over (the cop asked if I was intoxicated even though I was in my Best Buy uniform). Because it was late at night I was not putting anyone immediately in danger as there were not many people on the road and I think because of the context of the situation the charge should have been a warning or a fix-it-ticket. I would like to do a trial by declaration, but do not know how to say "Yea, I am guilty but I think the charge is excessive and would like it to be changed to a warning” without shooting myself in the foot. It is not like I dive around all the time with my lights off, it is not my car, and I have a clean record. All it is is a simple one time mistake caused by a distracting and confusing environment involving a car that was not owned by the driver. If my trial by declaration fails, I would do a trial de novo, but would like to know if what I said in the trial by declaration can still be used against me. I think at the point of an actual court case I would request a lower fine and traffic school if all else failed. What are your opinions on what I should do? I am an 18 year old college student (living in a dorm 90 miles away from where this happened) and cannot afford paying for the ticket and driving school but also cannot afford the point on my record.
• I just got off work and was driving a car that was not my own
• The lighted dashboard, the heavily lit area, and the oncoming traffic were confusing and disorientating causing me to believe that the night time lights were in fact turned on
• Minor things on the ticket appear to be wrong such as "Time" appears to state 2245 AM
• What are your opinions on what I should do and how I can win?
• What do I say in my TBD to make it effective?
• Can my TBD be used against me if I do trial de novo?
• Since the court is over 90 miles away from where I live and go to school (but close to my actual house) what do I do especially since I will be in school on the Dec court date?