Call Kurtis: Should You Have to Pay Up Front for a Ticket You’re Fighting?

LAKE BERRYESSA (CBS13) — It’s one thing to get a ticket. It’s another when the ticket you get is a mistake. Dixon father Klas Holgerson says he got a boating ticket on Lake Berryessa because his 3-year-old wasn’t wearing a life vest.

He looked up the law and found the ticket isn’t valid.

“Any boat that’s over 26 feet, you don’t have to have vests on at all times,” he said.

His boat is 28 feet. He says the Napa County Sheriff’s Peace officer who wrote the ticket later admitted he made a mistake.

“I thought it’d be really easy just go to court. There’s a court date on it.”

On that court date, he says a Napa County Court Clerk told him he’d have to pay the $305 fine, even before seeing the judge and he’d have to come back another day.

“When I get a ticket I’m not supposed to pay for my due process,” he remembers thinking.

Consumer Attorney Anthony Garilli thinks that’s being treated like you’re guilty until proven innocent.

“People are essentially forced to pay money when they’re pleading not guilty,” he said.

We reached out to Napa County Superior Court which claimed, “There was a misunderstanding between our clerk and Mr. Holgerson…He could have seen a judicial officer for an arraignment and bail hearing without paying”.

In the end, the officer who wrote the ticket dropped it. Klas got most of his money back. He was also cited for another reason that was legitimate. Klas doesn’t like the way he was treated.

“That was very humiliating,” he said. “Here I think we live in a nation of innocent before proven guilty.”

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