Popular myths around traffic tickets

Most drivers have a strategy when it comes to traffic tickets. They hope to never need these strategies, but that they can use them to get out of most tickets.

Unfortunately, most of these are based on faulty information. Here are five persistent myths about traffic tickets:

1) Your ticket will be dropped if the officer doesn’t show in court

This has been the enduring opinion for decades. The thought is that you have the right to question any witnesses, and the officer who pulled you over is the main witness. Thus, if they do not show at court, your ticket is gone. Easy!

Unfortunately, it’s never that simple. Many courts in California will simply reschedule your hearing at a time that is more convenient for the officer (and probably less convenient for you).

2) Passing is an excuse to speed

In order to safely pass someone, you may need to push past the speed limit. If you’re pulled over while passing, you may feel safe in saying that your speed was justified to pass.

This will not fly. Any speeding violation is against the law, and your admission of speeding to pass is simply a convenient admission of guilt.

3) Officers have ticket quotas

Some drivers change their behavior at the beginning or end of each month in order to avoid a police district’s ticketing quota. The thought is that law enforcement requires each officer to produce a certain number of traffic tickets to ensure they are doing their job.

Most districts do not use a quota system to judge policing. If officers do have a quota, it’s likely so small that they don’t need to overcompensate in the last few days of a month.

4) Traffic tickets remain in-state

Some drivers mistakenly believe their infractions cannot follow them across state lines. In fact, 45 states (including California) are part of the Driver’s License Compact and share traffic information. This means points you earn in our state will follow you to almost any other.

5) You can pay more to keep a ticket off your record

It seems like everyone has that one friend who swears they slipped an extra twenty into the envelope and a point was never added to their license. This is, of course, completely false.

Your points will be coming unless you talk to a skilled attorney as soon as possible. It’s worth your time to fight these tickets. As small as they seem, the points can add up to massive penalties. [nap_names id=”FIRM-NAME-3″] can help.

California ignition interlock device law now in effect

Amid the hubbub of the holidays and the celebration of the new year, the news of a law that took effect Jan. 1 that affects people convicted of drunk driving in California could have been overlooked.

But it’s important to know.

The new law requires those with drunk driving convictions to install an ignition interlock device in their cars.

Years in the making, the law was signed by former Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016 and finally has been enacted.

California did a trial of the ignition interlock device in four counties, including Los Angeles, beginning in 2010. The results were positive. A Department of Motor Vehicles study showed that first offenders who used the device were 74 percent less likely to drink and drive again.

“Expanding this already successful program statewide helps ensure those convicted of DUI do not become repeat offenders, and make our roads safer,” Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) said. “This is a win for communities up and down the Golden State.”

Under the new law, first offenders in California whose actions don’t cause injuries can choose whether they want a restricted license for a year or to use the device for six months. Both first offenders who cause an injury to someone else and second offenders must install an ignition interlock device for a year.

Drivers convicted of their third offense will be required to have the device installed for two years. For those with four or more offenses, it is mandatory for three years.

The law was celebrated by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

“Ignition interlock devices are a game-changer in the fight to stop the revolving door of repeat offenders,” a representative said. “Law enforcement officers across the state are already working hard to keep drunk drivers off the road. [The law] helps the system work smarter by ensuring DUI offenders can continue to work, drive their kids to school, drive to and from treatment — they just cannot drive impaired.”

Making California roadways safer is a positive of the law. Still, not all people arrested on suspicion of DUI are guilty of a violation and deserve to fight the charges before being required to install such a device.

Why can’t you use your phone in the car?

In California, it’s not just texting and driving that is illegal. You’re essentially not allowed to use your phone in any way. That means no calls, no pictures, no videos — nothing. If the police see you with your phone in your hand, you can face legal trouble.

Why is the law so strict? Other states have also banned texting and driving, but not even all of them have done that. Why did lawmakers in California take things so far?

There are a lot of reasons, but it all comes back to distraction. People get distracted by their phones in numerous different ways. Texting is perhaps the main one, but that does not mean it’s the only one.

For instance, one police officer gave this account of what he saw on the state’s highways: “Sometimes when we’re at scenes of accidents, I have people that pass by during, trying to film the incident and that is definitely unsafe to drive like that through an incident.”

People want to get those striking videos to share with friends on social media but that type of distraction can cause secondary accidents. It can put police officers and other emergency workers in danger. That’s why California made the law so strict. It also makes it easier for officers to give out tickets since they don’t have to prove someone was specifically texting at the time.

It is important for you to know how this law works, especially if you’re not from California, and you’re not used to this strict type of policing. Make sure you also know your rights if you get a ticket.