How to Beat a Ticket

Lowballing lawyers cost city a bundle

ATRAFFIC TICKET MAY SEEM TO be a pretty picayune problem, but there’s money to be made-and lost-in chose little slips of paper. The six lawyers in the Dallas firm of John Gioffredi & Associates handle some 6,000 traffic infractions a year. About 70 percent of the time, Gioffredi claims, his clients walk away without paying anything.

Giofreddi’s strategy might be summed up this way: Always demand a jury trial, then wait for the system to screw up. Often, the police officer who issued the citation has more pressing business and fails to show up in court. About 15 percent of traffic violations get dismissed because of a technical mistake on the ticket- the officer misspells the driver’s last name or puts down the wrong location for the offense.

You can’t blame drivers for wanting to keep tickets off their records, especially when the average ticket runs about $70 and numerous local lawyers charge less than $50 to fight them. But the ticket-busters’ success, touted in a recent Wall Street Journal story, means considerable lost revenue for the city.

How far will the ticket kings go to beat the system? Gioffredi says he once took a traffic case to trial, lost, appealed the verdict, got another jury trial and won-all for $45. “The court doesn’t have the resources to fight you,”be declares. At chat price, he’s probably right.

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