Dodging Traffic Tickets
Workshop Teaches Students How to Deal With Tickets and Fines
November 14, 2006 8:05 PM
The Legal Resource Center held a workshop titled “How to Get Out of a Traffic Ticket” Tuesday. The handful of students that attended were able to hear court experiences and ask legal questions of an attorney.
Sherry Gendelman, an attorney in South San Francisco, spent two hours answering legal questions from students. Some of these questions involved minor offenses like parking in a handicapped zone. others were about more serious offenses such as what to do if you are facing a DUI.
“She answered plenty,” said Hannah Wagner, 19, a sophomore who is studying criminal justice. “I could still ask a billion more things, but I’m slightly less clueless.”
Gendelman emphasized during the workshop that after a traffic ticket has been issued the driver shouldn’t pay it through the mail. By going to court the fine will be reduced, especially in San Francisco.
“It always pays to see the judge,” said Gendelman.
She also answered questions about Project 20, which allows offenders to pay their fines by volunteering at designated nonprofit organizations. For every hour spent volunteering they earn $10. To participate in Project 20, one must ask the judge if they can do community service to pay the fine and get a list of designated nonprofit organizations from the clerk.
Gendelman said the best thing to do once stopped by an officer is to be polite, but quiet. Don’t give excuses or do anything that will make the officer remember giving the ticket because the officer writes everything down on back of ticket.
“If you have to kiss ass do it,” said Gendelman.
Her suggestion for getting out of a ticket for parking in a handicap zone was to show the space wasn’t clearly marked. This can be done by taking a picture of the parking space and presenting it to the judge.
To fight a DUI, Gendelman urged students to first get a lawyer and talk to someone from the Legal Resource Center because a lawyer might be able to get the charges reduced.
Although The Legal Resource Center also held a similar workshop last semester, they haven’t been as consistent in holding the workshop as they would like.
Jamie Gillaspie, assistant director of the Legal Resource Center, who also helped organize this semester’s workshop, said the Legal Resource Center is hoping to hold at least one per semester in the future.
Gillaspie invited Gendelman to speak to students and people being trained to work in the Legal Resource Center after she heard her speak at an event downtown San Francisco a month ago.
Students who attended were pleased with the advice given and enjoyed listening to some of her experiences.
“You could ask her any question,” said Lisette Aparicio, 26, a senior who is studying business administration.
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