Diluted gas: More common than you think

By Naomi Muller

Mechanics are reporting that they’re seeing an uptick in cases of water and sediment in vehicles’ gas tanks. Affected cars run normally for a while and later may require towing to be serviced. In such cases, repairs can add up as the tank needs to be drained and replenished if a fuel sample shows evidence of dilution. This is not typically due to tampering but from the gasoline sitting around for extended periods gathering sentiment and other external factors that allow water to seep into stations’ storage tanks over time.

Encouraging the growth of full service stations with attendants who are more likely to catch leaks is one solution but these are rare outside of Oregon and New Jersey where attendants are a requirement for business. So how can consumers spot possible dilution and protect themselves from purchasing bad gas in the first place?

Spot diluted gas while driving
The most common signs of water in the tank are hesitation in driving and acceleration, stumbling, and jerking. Notice if your vehicle suddenly has these issues while you’re behind the wheel. It can be hard to diagnose and requires testing of the fuel itself since cars don’t have alerts for water in the tank.

How to avoid fueling with bad gas
Some gas stations are more likely to have this issue than others. Avoid unbranded stations–they’re less likely to consistently pass inspections and change their fuel filters. If you have to refuel at a lesser-known station–avoid filling your tank while there is a tanker truck refilling their supply. This can stir up any sediment that can then slip into your tank.

What to do if you suspect you’re driving with diluted gasoline in your tank
Report bad gas to the station and call the number on the sticker at the pumps. You’ll also want to immediately address the affected gasoline in your tank at a reputable mechanic who can drain and refill it with fresh fuel.

6 ways to improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency (maybe)

By Naomi Muller

When gas prices are up, any action you take to reduce your bill at the pump counts. We can’t all take public transportation all the time. There isn’t one big routine adjustment you can opt for that will make a noticeable difference but there are a few small things you can do that will add up and hopefully save you some money.

Here are a few tips for drivers who already have a vehicle and want to work with what they have to save a little at the pump.

  1. Stay on top of routine maintenance. Try to stay up to date on regularly scheduled oil changes and have a mechanic check on your vehicle’s engine annually. Poor alignment, underinflated tires, dirty air filters, and clogged fuel injectors are some of the issues that arise under the hood without drivers noticing. These types of mechanical problems affect the longevity of your car and it’s fuel efficiency. Prioritize getting your vehicle serviced regularly. It is one of the main keys to avoiding wasting gasoline regardless of other changes you make in your driving habits and routine.
  2. Limit idling as much as possible. If you’re sitting in one place for longer than 10 seconds, you’re probably wasting fuel. Turn your engine off if you’re going to be stationary for more than a minute. Restarting modern cars isn’t hard on the engine or the battery, idling leads to worse wear and tear. Now you know!
  3. Drive conservatively. Slow it down if you’re a habitual speeder. Keep steady and within the speed limit. Make use of cruise control if you have it. Accelerate gently and coast to decelerate. If you’re having to hit the brakes often, remember you’re using gas to do so.

  4. Clear out clutter to lighten your load. Maybe you don’t have a full trunk from the last time you tried taking donations to your local thrift store only to find they were closed. Maybe you don’t have enough old receipts on your floorboard to wrap a gift in a pinch. Maybe you don’t travel with a duffel bag of snacks just in case—if you do, consider cleaning up your interior junk piles. They may be weighing your car down more than you realize. Keep some emergency tools and a first aid kit in your ride but ditch the rest. Let go of heavy old phone books and find a cloud data provider to help you manage contact data and lists.
  5. Anticipate traffic and try to avoid rush hour. This goes back to the idling point. Sitting in one spot or moving at a snail’s space bumper-to-bumper equates to not making the most of the fuel in your tank. Of course, we can’t always avoid busy times on the road—but a slightly longer, less-traveled backroad where you have the ability to coast may be a better choice for stretching your gas further.
  6. Roll up your windows when driving on the highway. Contrary to popular belief, running your car’s air conditioning is more fuel efficient in some cases. At higher speeds, it is better for saving gas to use AC than it is to ride with your windows down to stay cool. This also varies by car design, for boxier vehicles like SUVs this tip likely won’t make a difference, and at slower speeds it doesn’t apply.

One thing some drivers may try that doesn’t seem to significantly help with fuel efficiency is springing for the premium options at the pump when not required for your vehicle. It may make a slight difference but for the price, it’s not a cost-saving method to stretch gas and get more mileage for less.

Seeing red: What color cars really get the most tickets?

By Naomi Muller

You’ve probably heard that drivers of red cars are most often ticketed for speeding and traffic violations. It makes sense why bright red vehicles would be singled out more than other cars on the road. Red is eye-catching and a bold color choice for a personal vehicle. Maybe you can even picture the type of person who might choose to get behind the wheel of a candy-apple-hued sports car running red lights and speeding down a highway. Unconsciously, we may also associate red with anger or frustration which could bring to mind road rage and visions of reckless driving.

This often-repeated car “fact” is actually just a myth that has persisted over the years. It is easy to believe and many people assume it’s true without verifying it by taking a look at the data available from insurance providers.

In reality, red automobiles are the second most pulled-over after white cars, with silver and gray vehicles ranking 3rd and 4th on the list. This is not because white grabs attention or because drivers of white cars are especially reckless—there are simply more of them on the road. 77.1% of all cars currently being driven are on the grayscale spectrum–meaning they’re mostly white, black, and shades of gray in-between. The number one color is white. While the most popular car color fads reported change from year-to-year, grayscale cars may be viewed by consumers as easier to keep clean and more neutral for buyers who seek utility over style and don’t care to follow current trends.

It also must be considered, the average car on the road is around 12 years old according to the industry research firm IHS Markit. So, the trends of the past are still represented heavily on the road today with drivers of older vehicles waiting at the same red lights as new car buyers.

Stereotypes and common media tropes aside, the idea that there is a certain type of person who gravitates toward buying and driving a red car extends beyond a simple decision from what color options are available on the sales lot. Research related to consumer choices in car brands and models offer a wealth of information about the people driving them–much of which may seem unrelated without comparing multiple data sources. The relationship between modern consumers and their buying choices holds valuable information about who they are, how they think, and what they prioritize in other aspects of their lives. For marketing purposes, car preferences may be combined by marketers with other data append products such as contact information or even wealth scores.

According to a survey of American drivers conducted by Strategic Vision in 2020, Subaru drivers were more likely to vote for Joe Biden because they tend to lean Democrat. Pickup truck drivers, on the other hand, were more likely to have voted for Trump because they more often lean Republican. Democrats reported being more interested in car brands with environmentally-friendly options (and more likely to travel via public transportation) while Republicans responded that they preferred to purchase cars based on their personal aesthetics–especially brands marketed to reflect luxury and the power of the driver.

These insights provided from the 46,000 drivers who were asked about their political preferences also suggested Democrats typically hold onto their cars much longer than Republicans who typically buy new cars every three to six years. This is also because, according to the same survey responses, Democrats and progressives skew younger and therefore have less buying power than Republican car buyers who may more easily afford their desired vehicle upgrades.

According to the Pew Research Center, 50% of American households with reported incomes of less than $30,000 annually represent adults who identify as Democrats, 27% who identify as Republicans, and the remaining 23% claiming no political lean in either direction. Forty-seven percent of households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more are Republicans, 44% are Democrats, and 10% report no political preference.

Through comparison of the most current data available related to wealth distribution between Democrats and Republican by household, and examination of the relationship between car-buying trends and drivers’ self-reported political affiliations, other consumer preferences that people may be less inclined to share may be more easily illuminated and understood.

Reddit question: will you review my Trial By Written Declaration Draft?

Q: This is my first ever speeding ticket, so I am nervous about it. I decided to do a Trial By Written Declaration. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Please and Thank you.

So here it is;
Your Honor, I respectfully request this citation be dismissed based on the statement that will be provided. This correspondence can be considered my formal plea of not guilty. So I submit this Trial By Written Declaration and plead not guilty to violating California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22350

On April 13, 2021, I was driving northbound on Railroad Avenue. I was pulled over by Officer Griffy and cited for violating CVC 22350. Allegedly, I was driving over the posted speed limit. I do believe I was driving at an appropriate speed following the flow of traffic in safe conditions.

CVC 22350 states; “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”

The road was dry with clear visibility, the only issue was that there was a train on the tracks, so it made it a little hard to hear at that time. There was light traffic with cars ahead of me seemingly driving at a faster speed than I was and a few cars behind me were catching up to me. So I believe my speed at the time was adequate since going any faster would be speeding and slowing down may put the cars behind me in an unsafe position. So, I do believe my driving was not a danger to anyone’s safety and/or property.

If however this case is not dismissed, even though I believe I am not guilty of this violation, I believe there are alternatives;

– If possible I would like this case to be dismissed since this would be my first offense and would greatly affect my financial situation. Or pay a reduced fine or make payments for the fine. As long as this does not go on my driving record.

– If possible, I would attend a court-approved traffic school. So this conviction can not be in my DMV record.

– If none of these alternatives are possible I would like to request a Trial De Novo.

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.


A:

Your declaration seems to be resting on a “flow of traffic” arguments. Judges HATE flow of traffic arguments. The flow of traffic is not an excuse for exceeding the speed limit. When you say you were keeping up with the flow of traffic (or some other wording that means the same thing, like, cars ahead of me seemingly driving at a faster speed than I was and a few cars behind me were catching up to me) you are admitting guilt, which is bad, and using an excuse judges never accept, which is even worse. Don’t do it.

There are better strategies for fighting a 22350. Did the officer use radar, laser, or pacing to record your alleged speed? Start there. Don’t know? File discovery. Filing for discovery for a traffic ticket is explained here.

If you find out the officer used radar, you can attack his radar evidence. After all, there were cars ahead of you and behind you. Same thing with laser. It doesn’t sound like he paced you, but if he did, there are defenses for that, as well. I’d start here for recent winning examples.

Also, re:

– If possible I would like this case to be dismissed since this would be my first offense and would greatly affect my financial situation. Or pay a reduced fine or make payments for the fine. As long as this does not go on my driving record.- If possible, I would attend a court-approved traffic school. So this conviction can not be in my DMV record.

I believe it is RISKY to request traffic school in a Trial by Written Declaration defense. At minimum, a traffic school request weakens your defense somewhat. At maximum, it could get you sent to traffic school even if the cop does not respond (which would otherwise lead to a dismissal).

Asking for traffic school in your declaration is often interpreted as making a No Contest plea. Without admitting guilt, you accept traffic school (and the admin fee) in exchange for a dismissal.

By contesting, you are pleading NOT GUILTY, not NO CONTEST. Asking for traffic school in your defense contradicts your NOT GUILTY plea and pushes your declaration into NO CONTEST territory. A lazy judge could see the traffic school request and simply direct you to traffic school without considering your defense or even issuing a verdict.

Even if you don’t request traffic school, the judge will sometimes offer it when you lose. Also, you can always request traffic school post-TBD if you lose your Trial by Written Declaration. So, there’s no need to weaken your declaration with a meek beg for traffic school.

I believe the best possible ending to your Trial by Written Declaration is this:

“I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the above is true. If the court does not find in my favor in this case, I request a trial de novo. I have included a completed TR-220 Trial de Novo form to be used in the event the court does not find in my favor in this case.”

Reddit question: 22356 (b) VC, Riverside County, 97 mph in 70

Q:

I was driving with my cruise control set at 85, and was trying to overtake the car ahead of me. This is actually my 2nd ticket where I was going 90+ (although the other was for a 65 speed limit not 70), is that what the (#2) is for under the Description with the Code and Section? The other one had gotten dropped. Even if it was dropped, do they keep track of them? I’m assuming that because I missed the 25 mph cutoff by 2 mph, I wont have traffic school offered?

For the stop itself, it was professional and I was polite the whole time. He did ask what speed I was going and I mentioned “I had set the thing for 85” (I had forgotten the term cruise control, but idk if he understood through context) and followed up by saying that I had been overtaking someone in front of me. He said that he clocked me going 97. Unfortunately I wasn’t paying attention as I was trying to overtake so I don’t really remember what my speed was. He then asked me if I was late to work (I was in my uniform) and I replied “no, not yet”. That was pretty much it before he explained the ticket and had me sign it.

A:

Were there any other cars on the road near you at the time you think the officer got his reading?

(answer: Yes there were several cars around me in all the lanes at the time, I wasn’t on an open stretch of road on my own)

Ah, then you attack the radar evidence in your Trial by Written Declaration. You can include a diagram such as this one with beam spread and other cars, and here’s the same photo from officer’s POV. Or something like this one, showing beam spread with labels. This looks fancy but all it is, is a screenshot of the Google Maps and then writing on it with the drawing program on whatever computer you are using.

This works well with an argument like: “Given the distance from the officer to my car, and given the other cars that were near me and well within the spread of the officer’s radar beam, the officer’s assumption that his radar reading came from my car is in serious doubt. There was a large pickup truck in front of my small sedan hatchback along with another SUV that had just passed my car and was going faster. An overhead map of the area is attached. I have also included a photo from the officer’s perspective facing traffic coming from the opposing direction. These vehicles were between my car and the officer’s. Many vehicles also passed me just prior to my stop. The officer’s radar could have targeted any one of these.” Etc., etc.

Extra evidence is always good. If everything is clearly labeled, and you refer to it in your declaration, it shows you were paying attention. And if you were paying attention, you likely were following the law. Cops often do not pay attention, but are often quite successful in using their badge of office and authority to steamroll over defendants during adjudication. You can counter this by having better evidence. The best evidence usually wins in court, so have good evidence.

These Trial by Written Declaration arguments came from here. Here are directions for how to do a Trial by Written Declaration. Access requires basic registration. The guides are free (sort of) but if you want specific examples, then they want a $25 contribution.

If you lose your Trial by Written Declaration, you can ask for a new trial (a Trial de Novo), or you can ask for court assignment to traffic school and a fine reduction. If you lose your Trial de Novo, then you can ask the judge for traffic school afterwards. In other words, fight it as far as you can, and then ask the judge for traffic school.

Reddit question: California Vehicle Code 22450(A)

Q: Hi! Got a ticket for not stoping at stop sign officer said I didn’t stop for 3 seconds this happened in Carson ca, LA county. I know their is no excuse I did a rolling stop I stoped for probably 2 seconds and kept going. If I pay by mail do I still have to go to court ? I have a clean record first ticket ever. I don’t want a point so I’m willing to do traffic school but just wondering if I have to still go to court ?

A: Did the officer say “three seconds”?

The police will often will cite you for not stopping long enough at a stop sign. However the stop sign code, CVC 22450, does not require you to stop for any specific period of time. It merely requires that a driver actually “stop.”

A “stop” is defined in CVC 587 Stop or Stopping: “Stop or stopping… shall mean any cessation of movement of a vehicle.”

Most officers will state that you should stop for 3-5 seconds, but a “stop” is defined in the vehicle code as “any cessation of movement;” no specific time period is specified. If you stop for a brief moment, the law recognizes this as a stop.

Many cops will site you because they did not see you stop. This is also why they tell you to stop for 3-5 seconds, to give them time to look and verify that you stopped. This is bullshit, obviously. The law clearly states that “any” cessation of mom event constitutes a stop. Cops should only cite you if they see you “not stop.”

Many cops guess that you didn’t stop from their concealed position around the corner at an intersection. Since they know that 80% of drivers do not stop at an uncontested intersection, they will assume that you also did not stop, even if it is impossible to see this from their position. In this way many drivers who do stop are cited based on a false assumption on the officer’s part.

There is a 22450(a) Trial by Written Declaration example on the Ticket Assassin website.

Reddit question: CVC 22349(a), San Diego

Q:

A month ago I was pulled over on a road with a 50 mph speed limit going 73mph according to the officer’s speedometer. The area were I was pulled over is in a 2 mile stretch without any traffic lights with three lanes on each side. There were no other cars around me, which the officer called out when he was telling me my speed (meaning I couldn’t argue that it wasn’t my car). I’ve been driving for about 10 years and this was my first time getting pulled over and getting a ticket, so I was a bit flustered. I didn’t realize I was going that fast, so I was shocked. The officer was nice and wrote that I was going 73 mph in an 65 mph area.

I was considering just paying the fine and doing traffic school, but after reading more on this subreddit I’m wondering what would happen if I showed up to court on my court date and asked for a point dismissal… or if I send out a TBWD. Is there a possibility that they would correct the speed limit on my ticket to 50mph and change my fine? I’m also really worried about the point. Even if I do traffic school, I’m scared that if I get another ticket in the next 18 months my insurance can be impacted for up to 10 years, if I read it correctly online.

If I do show up to court on the date on my ticket, what does the process look like? From what I read on this subreddit, the arrangements are done prior to speaking with the judge? Do I need to set a time or do I go anytime that day?

Please let me know if I can provide more information. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

A:

I was considering just paying the fine and doing traffic school,

You can ask for court assignment to traffic school after losing a Trial by Written Declaration. Or, you can ask for court assignment to traffic school after you lose your Trial de Novo.

If you win either one, you won’t need to ask.

I’m wondering what would happen if I showed up to court on my court date and asked for a point dismissal…

Judges don’t hand out point dismissals. They hand out assignments to Traffic School.

or if I send out a TBWD. Is there a possibility that they would correct the speed limit on my ticket to 50mph and change my fine?

There is zero chance of this. You did not sign a plea bargain agreement, you signed a promise to appear. That’s it.

I’m also really worried about the point. Even if I do traffic school, I’m scared that if I get another ticket in the next 18 months my insurance can be impacted for up to 10 years, if I read it correctly online.

You should be worried. The insurance increase is not small. It is large and painful, way more than the traffic ticket fines.

It behooves you to vigorously contest this ticket as hard as you can. That means a Trial by Written Declaration, and if that’s not successful, then also a Trial de Novo.

If you do not want to make a court appearance, then the bare ass minimum is a Trial by Written Declaration. You can fight the entire ticket by mail. And if you lose, you can ask for traffic school and a fine reduction by mail as well.

Reddit: After arraignment and pleading not guilty can I do TWD?

Q:

I think I have a case to argue with a ticket that I received 10/2020. I have exhausted my extensions and pled not guilty at arraignment.I’m scheduled a court date for 08/11 at OC Westminster Justice.

Ticket violation VC21453(a) = Red or stop violation limit line or x-walk stop.

Details of the violation:

  • Busy day with traffic. I was approaching a traffic light to turn right with cars in front of me and behind.
  • I have slowed down and stopped to get my turn then slowly and safely turned right.
  • 2 motor-officers followed me and one of them gave me a ticket for violation above. Only one officer signed it.
  • Officer didn’t know the year or model of the car out of the registration and has the “model” wrong. He asked me about the year, and I told him.

I think I was unfairly given that violation since its typical for going straight through a red light (I’ve asked a traffic attorney and he confirmed). A lesser amount would have been VC21453(d); almost half of the fees.

Details of arraignment:

  • I asked the judge to lower the fees and I may consider guilty. He said nope.
  • I mentioned to him my financial inability to pay. He said nope.
  • I plead NOT guilty and was given a court date to argue my case.

I have 2 questions.

  1. Can I do TWD before the court date?
  2. Do I have a case to argue for the wrong violation and either getting lowered or dismissed?

A: Can I do TWD before the court date?

You can ONLY do a Trial by Written Declaration before the court date. So get to it. Directions for how to do a Trial by Written Declaration are here, along with a blank TR-205 form and directions on how to fill it out. Access requires basic registration. The guides are free (sort of) but if you want specific examples, it’s a $25 contribution.

Do I have a case to argue for the wrong violation and either getting lowered or dismissed?

A 21453(a) means you didn’t come to a complete stop at the intersection. You can argue that you did, and that the officers didn’t (or couldn’t) see you come to a complete stop given their position, line of view, etc. There are plenty of examples on that site.

You can ask for a fine reduction and traffic school after you lose your Trial by Written Declaration or after your in-person court trial (the Trial de Novo you may have heard about).

Reddit question: CVC 21461 (a) with MUTCD references

Q:

I got my first ticket in Pomona on June 23 for disobeying sign R60B (CA) in the California MUTCD and continuing straight through the intersection where the sign was posted. This is my first ticket in 6 years of driving and I am eligible for traffic school if I decide to plead guilty. I think that I have an argument to get my ticket dismissed, but I wanted to get some input on if I am correct or if I should just pay the fine and go to traffic school.

The sign was posted over the middle lane of a three lane freeway exit on Rio Rancho Rd in Pomona. Being in the middle lane and seeing that there was a clear path back to the freeway by going straight, I thought that it would legal to do so since there was no sign or obstacle that would indicate otherwise. Here is how the sign looks:

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.0318137,-117.7573433,3a,75y,339.54h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sqRaIm1y3oiEBL26_0rFLFg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

After crossing the intersection I (along with a few other cars) were all stopped and given tickets for disobeying the sign. There were either 2 or 3 officers present so that they could give everyone their tickets since a lot of people made the same mistake that I did. The first question I have is whether I could ask all of the officers who were involved in ticketing the cars to attend my trial even if I do not know all of their names. I can not remember if it was the same officer that stopped me who gave me the ticket, so I would assume it is a fair request.

I think that I have a valid argument based on what I read in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which is directly referenced in the vehicle code the officer wrote. In section 2B.21 standard 09 of the manual the sign I disobeyed is defined as an “optional movement lane control” sign. This is important because standard 04 in the same section states that “The Optional Movement Lane Control sign shall not be used alone to effect a turn prohibition.”, which I interpret as meaning that they should have had some kind of sign prohibiting people from going straight at the intersection. Is this actually correct or am I mistaken?

A:

Bringing up the MUTCD is a great idea for a defense. I don’t know why you wouldn’t FIRST try this argument in a Trial by Written Declaration, where you can quote from the California Vehicle Code and from the MUTCD. I would use some argument based around this:

CVC 21461(a) states: ”It is unlawful for a driver of a vehicle to fail to obey a sign or signal defined as regulatory in the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or a Department of Transportation approved supplement to that manual of a regulatory nature erected or maintained to enhance traffic safety and operations or to indicate and carry out the provisions of this code or a local traffic ordinance.”

The text of 21461(a) indicates that this code only applies to regulatory signs as defined in the federal MUTCD. For the court to even consider the officer’s claims, he should provide proof that this is a regulatory sign that must be obeyed and not an optional movement lane control.

That argument, along with your photo(s), should make a good declaration.

Furthermore, you could try using the cops’ behavior against them. You can bring up the fact that many many other drivers drove straight through this intersection and that the officers fell on them like dolphins on school of sardines. The officers apparently believe that this is not enough of a safety concern that traffic engineers needed to be notified in order to make the signage more clear, but they also recognized the confusing nature of the sign well enough to take advantage of the constant stream of people who believed that the sign was, in fact, a sign indicating optional movement lane control, and drove as such.

Directions for how to do a Trial by Written Declaration are on the Ticket Assassin site. Access requires basic registration. The guides are free (sort of) but if you want specific examples, then they want a $25 contribution. My two paragraphs came from one of their declarations examples.

I think it’s a GREAT idea to file for discovery to get the name of the officer who actually saw you drive through the intersection and signaled for you to pull over. If you lose at the Trial by Written Declaration stage, in your in-person court trial, if both the arresting officer (the one whose name is on your citation) AND the officer who saw your alleged lawbreaking are not in court, you can ask for a dismissal on those grounds even before you start reading your declaration. Filing for discovery is explained here.

Reddit question: CVC 22350 v.c. 55mph in a 35mph zone in Torrance (Actual zone speed was 40mph)

Q:

I read the 12 step guide and am considering writing a TBDW asking the officer to provide proof that the zone was actually 35mph. I have a video of the street with the 40mph sign. I fear I am too close to the court date, 05/04. Would this be a good course if action?

The street starts at 40mph and turns into a residential where the speed comes down to 35. The officer pulled me over in the 40mph part of the zone but wrote 35mph on the ticket.

Ideally I would like to get this over with, without acquiring a point. I do not mind traffic school, just want this behind me, and corrected. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

A:

05/04 is time enough to write and submit to the court a written not guilty plea with request for a Trial by Written Declaration. Assuming the court gets it on time, you will get a new deadline to turn in your Trial by Written Declaration paperwork, usually around four weeks. SEND IT CERTIFIED, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED.

You have a better defense than most: along with the other standard arguments, you can include proof that the speed limit is not what the officer said it was. You can make the argument that if the officer was so inattentive to details as to get the SPEED LIMIT wrong, then the rest of his evidence should be considered as dubious and should be dismissed.

In any event, the Trial by Written Declaration process is explained here. It’s a seven-minute read, and it could save you a several-hundred-dollar fine, a point on your license, and an increase in your insurance.

If you’re found guilty, you can still request traffic school and a fine reduction, or try again with an in-person court trial. The trial de novo process is explained here.