Victory in Traffic Court: A Legal Dialogue

Marc Lopez: Traffic court. Okay, so while not as glamorous as major felony or doing a DUI trial, a big part of our business is helping people with their driver’s license and we’re in and out of traffic court all the time. And so, Zac, just had an amazing victory in traffic court. Zac, give me some details, what happened?

Zac Bailey: Alright, so this one was kind of crazy. Our client was called to the scene by his friend. And he looks like his friend, they’re similar looking guys. So the witnesses who were there point the police to our guy, and say he was the driver. But it wasn’t him. Our guy had his own car there. He was wearing different stuff. And he told us from day one, “I did not do this.”

ML: Literally came to this office, giant misunderstanding, “I didn’t do this.” Just like Zac said, there were two vehicles. When our guy was arrested, he had the keys to a vehicle that was not involved in a crash in his pocket. The police still arrested him for this car that was allegedly in an accident. Zac, tell us a little more about negotiations.

ZB: So, deputy prosecutor, to his credit, he’s going back and forth with us this whole time. He was looking into it on his end as well. Today we were set for bench trial, so all the witnesses were there, and the deputy prosecutor and I, we sat down with the witnesses and just kind of looked at the pictures of our client, and then the other person who was actually there. I mean, they looked alike and the witnesses agreed they looked alike. Except one witness said, “That was the driver,” and it wasn’t our client. And it got dismissed today.

ML: You know, number one, traffic court can be a little bit crazy. And so it’s not surprising to me that things weren’t done until the last minute, and that was not through lack of action on our part, but when you’re a traffic court prosecutor, you have hundreds of cases. It’s very fast moving. People call us all the time, “I’m innocent of these charges.” We take that very seriously. But you know, again, when you can provide independent evidence that, “I was not the one who was alleged to commit this crime, I’m actually innocent”—we love those type of cases.

ZB: Absolutely.

ML: We love advocating for our clients, and these are the type of cases when somebody claims actual innocence, we need the client’s help so much.

ZB: You have the best evidence. You can show us why you’re innocent. That’s what he did. He gave us his call records, pictures of the other person involved, because he did know him.

ML: The person that actually was involved in the crash that resulted in criminal charges, he wouldn’t come to court today. I don’t blame him. If he came to court, he’s going to admit he did a crime. And so this is the type of case where we’re never going to have someone come to court and be like, “I did it. You arrested the wrong man.” No one’s going to do that, because people aren’t like that, but we had to show through other ways: pictures, alibi evidence, “Hey he was coaching a soccer team.” We had other witnesses to help show our client was not the person involved in this criminal act. And you know, thank God for zealous advocacy. Again, Zac is on the phone meeting with our client, trying to drum up witnesses and a fantastic outcome. Do you agree?

ZB: I’m very happy for him.

ML: How happy was the client?

ZB: He was thrilled to get out of there. It’s been going on for awhile. They set the trial date out so long he’s just been . . . It’s been hanging over his head. This was a huge relief for him today to get it all over with. He’s back driving, and life is back to normal.

ML: And I want to clarify, this wasn’t a diversion—this was a dismissal. The prosecutor in this case did the right thing when the evidence was clear as day our client was not the one involved in this criminal act. So we give credit to the prosecutor where credit’s due, but also thank you for having amazing clients in this law firm. Going out of their way to help us help them, and oh, it’s just an amazing feeling.

ZB: Absolutely.

ML: Always plead the 5th.