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traffic ticket laws - IE Criminal Defense

I. Traffic Tickets

Everyone will not be arrested in their lifetime for a misdemeanor or a felony crime. However, almost every person has been stopped and ticketed by the police at some point in their lives. It can be for a myriad of reasons. You could be late to work and speeding or using the carpool lane solo, it could be late at night and you didn’t see the stop sign, or it could be that you ran the stop sign because you didn’t think anyone would see you.

Traffic tickets affect everyone. Not simply because of the fear of being stopped by police, but of being ticketed with a traffic violation and a having to pay a hefty fine. Even worse, is the increase to your insurance if you accumulate too many points on your driving record. If you have too many points on your license, your license will be suspended, and driving on a suspended license could land you in jail with a misdemeanor charge.

In order to have your licenses suspended based on points, the following has to occur:

  1. 4 points received within one year;
  2. 6 points received within two years; or
  3. 8 points within three years.

If any of the above occurs, you could be facing jail time and a misdemeanor on your record. That is why, unfortunately, you cannot ignore traffic tickets. However, because traffic tickets are only Infraction offenses, you cannot go to jail simply for an infraction. But you can, if that infraction leads to your license being suspended.

II. Common Traffic Ticket Offenses

VC 21453(a) Failure to Stop at a Red Light

A driver facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a marked limit line…before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or if none, then before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication to proceed is shown…

Red Light tickets can happen in one of two ways, first, either the officer witnessed you running the red light, or two, you ran a red light that has a camera in place and received the ticket in the mail. If found guilty under this section, you could suffer a point on your driver’s license, and pay a hefty fine.

VC 21655.5(b) Carpool Lane Violation

The Department of Transportation and local authorities…to designate the exclusive or preferential lanes, to advise motorists of the applicable vehicle occupancy levels, and, except where ramp metering and bypass lanes are regulated with the activation of traffic signals, to advise motorists of the hours of high-occupancy vehicle usage. A person shall not drive a vehicle upon those lanes except in conformity with the instructions imparted by the official traffic control devices. A motorcycle, a mass transit vehicle, a blood transport vehicle that is clearly and identifiably marked as such on all sides of the vehicle, or a paratransit vehicle that is clearly and identifiably marked on all sides of the vehicle with the name of the paratransit provider may be operated upon those exclusive or preferential use lanes unless specifically prohibited by a traffic control device.

Carpool lane tickets involve a person driving in an HOV lane, without fitting into one of the exceptions listed above. These tickets do not come with points, however, the fine is generally among the highest, usually around $500, if not more.

VC 21655.8 Crossing over Double Yellow Lines

…no person driving a vehicle may cross over these double lines to enter into or exit from the exclusive or preferential use lanes and entrance or exit may be made only in areas designated for these purposes or where a single broken line is in place to the right of the exclusive or preferential use lanes.

Similar to the above, if you enter or exit an HOV lane and do so over the double yellow lines, you could be faced with this violation. Many times officers will choose to cite you for this violation instead of the HOV violation, because this violation comes with a point on your driving record, making your insurance go up.

VC 22350 Basic Speeding

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.

This is the general speeding violation, where if you travel over the speed limit, you could receive a $480 fine, as well as a point on your driving record that will increase your insurance payments. If your speed is over 100 mph, you could be found guilty of VC 22348(b), which subjects you to over a $500, a point on your license, and a minimum of a 30-day suspension of your driver’s license. You cannot take Traffic School by violation VC 22348(b).

VC 22450 Stop Sign Violations

The driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the entrance to, or within, an intersection shall stop at a limit line, if marked, otherwise before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.

Many times people will get to a stop sign, and slow down, but not stop fully at the stop sign. Failure to do so can result in a ticket under this section. Because this is a moving violation, you could also be subject to one point on your license, as well as a fine of around $234.

VC 23123 Texting while Driving

A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.

This is one of the most common traffic tickets people receive in California. Since it is not a moving violation, you are not subject to a point on your driving record. However, the fines for these charges are generally around $150 and go up with each violation you receive.

VC 22103 Illegal U-Turn in a Residential District

No person in a residence district shall make a U-turn when any other vehicle is approaching from either direction within 200 feet, except at an intersection when the approaching vehicle is controlled by an official traffic control device.

This common offense happens when driving lost in a neighborhood and trying to make a quick turn to get back on the right track. This is a moving violation, so you would be subject to a point on your driving record, and a fine ranging between $200 and can be upwards of $400.

III. Common Defenses

  1. Violation of your Rights
  2. Insufficient Evidence

Many defenses can be utilized to try to reduce or ultimately dismiss your traffic ticket. For example, if a police officer accuses you of speeding, if they used a radar, was that radar properly calibrated? Were their other vehicles in the area where the police radar maybe got the wrong car? These are all possible defenses to a speeding ticket.

For red light or camera tickets, it can be shown that you actually did stop behind the double white line, or passed through the intersection, for a red light ticket, after having passed those lines before the light turned to red.

Many other times, officers can just be wrong. It’s extremely hard, for example, to actually see a person on their cell phone while driving. Maybe you’re looking down at something you dropped, so there are times as well where the officer could just have made a mistake and guessed wrong.

IV. Why Hire an Attorney for my Traffic Ticket?

Hiring a traffic attorney is important because many times, an officer will fail to appear in court for your Traffic Trial. In those cases, your case is dismissed. Hiring an attorney also affords you the ability to have an attorney appear in Court for you to argue your case in front of a Judge. A good cross-examination by an attorney can be the difference between you driving, or being unable to drive with a suspension.

An attorney can also negotiate your case with the police officer if they show up. You can have your charge reduced to a non-point moving violation, which will allow you to avoid having your insurance go up at all. Only attorneys can negotiate with the police officers, so another benefit to having an attorney is to have this ability to negotiate.

Finally, you can also attend Traffic School. Traffic School is a way for you to have your entire traffic case dismissed, and no points appear on your record. You can only attend Traffic School once a year for a ticket. You would have to pay your fine, but your insurance rates will be protected. Many times as well, your attorney can request Traffic School on your behalf and have your fines reduced by a Judge at the same time.

V. Call Today

Fines can be huge in traffic cases, and the lasting effects of points on your record can land you eventually in jail. Our Ontario Traffic Ticket attorney has successfully defended numerous and personally specialize in all kinds of traffic violations. The initial consultation is free and we are available to answer your questions 24/7. Call the Inland Empire Criminal Defense today at 909-939-7126! Located in Ontario.

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a consultation.

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