ROCKLIN (CBS13) — Rick Neidhardt was trying to beat a red light, but the traffic ticket he received in the mail shows he did not.
“I thought I had made it,” He said.READ MORE: Ring Videos Show Creepy Encounters By Man At Home of Sacramento Mother And Her Children
The violation cost $541 and would leave a mark on his driving record.
Rick turned to Ticketbust.com, a website that claimed it has “…helped more people successfully contest and dismiss their traffic ticket than any other company.”
They use what is called trial by declaration to fight your ticket. It is a way of avoiding court, by signing a form and having the people at Ticketbust write our your plea to a judge.
It worked for Sacramento truck driver, Shane Gray, who paid the website $249. He thinks getting his red light ticket dismissed saved his job.
“I was scared, I was really scared.” Shane told CBS13.
The company confirms to us that it uses “…a library of stock defense templates.”
But Rick had doubts after paying for the service. He wondered if websites like Ticketbust can really defend you.
McGeorge School of Law Professor John Sims said websites serving as legal document services, like Ticketbust, cannot actually give any legal advice or recommend a defense – unless they are practicing attorneys.
“That’s what lawyers do,” he said. “They advise you this is the better course.”
Steve Miller, owner of Southern California-based Ticketbust, told us, “We make sure our customers are well aware that Ticketbust is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice.”READ MORE: 'I Thank God': More California Churches To Offer Vaccines In Effort To Reach Underserved Communities
Despite the website stating they have “helped over 50,000 drivers,” Miller admitted there is no way to know how many tickets they’ve actually helped get dismissed.
Shane Gray said it saved him point on his driving record.
“I know that whatever it was worked,” he told us.
Rick said he was too concerned it wouldn’t work for him, so he asked for a refund within 12 hours of paying the website.
“I didn’t use their service,” Rick said. “I just want to have my money back because I think I’m guilty.”
He said Ticketbust refused to refund him.
But after we got involved, the company agreed to credit him.
We reached out to the State Bar of California to see what they think; they declined to comment.
But if you have information about unlicensed practice of law, they will look into it.
Since we reached out to ticketbust.com, they have changed their website It no longer says they’ve helped more people successfully contest and dismiss their traffic ticket than any other company.MORE NEWS: 'A Trend That Won't Go Away': Sacramento City Leaders Consider Permanent Plans For Street Dining
If you don’t win in court, or have your ticket reduced, Ticketbust says they will refund you the $100 service fee. However, they will keep the $149 document processing fee.