New bill considered for motor vehicle citation fines

Most people in California try hard to be safe when they are driving their vehicles. Certainly avoiding an accident is important to people but so too is avoiding a traffic ticket. Some tickets can end up being very expensive, even for seemingly minor traffic offenses. For people who do not earn much money or maybe are even unemployed, a single ticket can place a huge financial burden on people. 

The California State Senate is actually taking a look at the problems associated with the high cost of moving violations and the impact on people who cannot afford to pay their fines. If a person does not pay a traffic ticket, they may actually end up having their driver’s license suspended. Not only does this provide an additional complication for them but it also adds to the financial burden they must endure as there are costs involved with reinstating a suspended license.

Senate Bill 185 would give drivers the ability to have their traffic ticket fines reduced by as much as 80 percent depending upon their income and the amount of their fines. The bill may also institute a cap on charges based upon a maximum percent of a household income. Once an amount is settled on, monthly installments can be established and a license will not be suspeneded during that installment period.

Whether or not this bill passes, talking to an attorney after getting a traffic ticket can be helpful as drivers can learn how to either fight a ticket or best approach paying a fine. 

Source: ABC10, “California bill would base traffic fines on income,” Frances Wang and Anthony Cave, May 17, 2017

Open container laws in California

California residents and people who may live in other states but live in California should understand the state’s laws about alcohol in vehicles. Certainly there are clear drunk driving laws that govern the amount of alcohol a driver may have in their system before being arrested for driving under the influence. But, the laws do not stop there. There are also regulations that govern what and where alcohol may be kept or transported in vehicles.

Commonly referred to as open container laws, the California Legislative Information explains that no container of alcohol is allowed to be kept by a driver in any area of the vehicle where a person may ride if it has been opened. This includes even a bottle of wine that may appear full but that has had its seal broken, for example. It includes a bottle of any alcoholic beverage that has some of its contents gone.

American TriStar Insurance Services adds that these laws apply to passengers as well as to drivers. Both a passenger and a driver may be able to be cited if a container of alcohol is found in the seating area of a vehicle and is deemed to be an open container. Storing alcohol in a glove box or other compartment that is accessible from the front or back seat of the vehicle may also result in a violation. Open containers of alcohol may be stored or transported in a trunk.

If a vehicle has no trunk and is designated as an off-road vehicle, it may be transported legally if it is secured in a locked compartment or carrying case of some sort.




Filing for a restricted license

As has been detailed on this blog before, refusing to take a chemical sobriety test or registering a blood alcohol concentration reading of greater than the legal limit for your current situation will likely result in your license being suspended or revoked. Yet like many of those in Encino that we at [nap_names id=”FIRM-NAME-3″] – The Law Offices of Amir Soleimanian and Associates, Inc. have worked with in the past, you still may need to travel to work as well as other places. If your public transportation options are limited, is there a way to regain your driving privileges, even if only on a conditional basis?

California law does allow you to apply for a restricted driver’s license, yet only if you meet certain qualifications. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, these include:

  •          This current offense being your first.
  •          Your having completed a chemical test
  •          The results of that test showing a BAC level of 0.08 or more if you were driving a noncommercial vehicle (0.04 if you were operating a commercial vehicle)
  •          You being over the age of 21
  •          You not having had your license revoked for any other reason

You must first wait 30 days to apply for a restricted license. The court will also likely require you to enroll in a DUI prevention course or some other form of treatment course in order to qualify. You must also obtain a form SR-22 from your insurance company in order to prove you meet minimum state coverage standards. Once you have completed these steps, you apply for your restricted license through the DMV.

A restricted license allows you to travel to and from your treatment courses as well as your work. You can discover more information about reclaiming your driving privileges by continuing to explore our site.  

3 things to consider when you get a speeding ticket

You were late to work, and you may have gone a little faster than you should have on the roads. You weren’t speeding an excessive amount, just 6 mph over the limit. Despite this, when you were pulled over, the officer decided that you deserved a ticket for the act.

You’ve heard about people getting warnings in the past, but clearly you didn’t get that lucky. You know that you could face fines and other problems because of this ticket, so what can you do? Here are a few things you can consider before paying for your ticket.

1. You have a right to defend yourself

On the traffic ticket, you’ll notice that there is a court date. You have a right to attend court on that date to defend yourself. There are various ways to do so. You can argue that the officer’s opinion was flawed, that you had to speed due to the rate of other people (you were keeping up with traffic) or that you had to speed to avoid a danger, like a drunk driver.

2. Your insurance may not actually increase

Despite the fact that most people believe that insurance rates skyrocket after a traffic ticket, that’s not always the case. In fact, many insurance carriers don’t adjust insurance rates much or at all when you have your first ticket. However, if you receive subsequent tickets, it can mean that your rates will skyrocket. Another thing to remember is that the number of traffic violations you have does matter. If you have too many, the insurance carrier might think you’re a high-risk driver and cancel your policy.

3. A ticket could affect your work

If you’re a professional driver, remember that your company may have its own policies for what happens if you break traffic laws. If you’re a high-risk driver, you’re more likely to be fired or let go over your driving habits. If you’re worried about your job, then fighting a ticket can be a good idea, since you have a chance to have the ticket dismissed in court.

These are a few things to think about before you accept a traffic ticket and the responsibility for it. Your attorney can help you decide if fighting a ticket is a good idea in your case.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

Undercover operation cites 65 drivers

Getting a trafffic ticket is something that many people in California have experienced during the time that they have been driving. However, it is never something that a person wants to happen. First there is the hassle factor about how long the process may take and concerns can be raised about being late to get somewhere because of it. Additionally, many drivers understandably feel very nervous when they see flashing lights behind them, even if they know they have done nothing wrong.

As distracted driving continues to get more attention these days, it should come as no shock to drivers in California that officers may be more actively looking for people engaged in behaviors that they may identify as being distracted driving. A law that went into effect this year strengthened the approach that law enforcement may take with these types of alleged offenses so that may also encourage more enforcement.

In fact, the California Highway Patrol is said to have engaged in an undercover operation designed to nab alleged distracted drivers in the act recently. Along a stretch of Wilshire Boulevard in a mere two hours, 65 drivers were cited for distracted driving. That means that one ticket was handed out roughly every two minutes. In addition to fines, drivers who get these tickets may have to pay processing or court fees which can drive up the overall cost.

Talking to an attorney after being ticketed for a traffic offense might help to give drivers an idea of how they may defend against the charges.

Source: CBS Los Angeles, “Law Enforcement Cracks Down On Drivers Using Cellphones,” April 26, 2017