Everything You Need to Know About Renewing Your California Drivers’ License

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is notorious for long lines and slow service. In recent years, the state has taken steps to speed up and improve the processes for obtaining a drivers’ license, registering a vehicle, and other DMV-related tasks.

Renewing your California drivers’ license is getting easier, and in many cases can now be done online.

Online Renewal

Although first-time California drivers’ license holders will need to have an in-person appointment at a DMV office, renewals can usually be done online. The state’s new DMV website has a list of eligibility requirements for online renewal.

If you meet the requirements, you will be prompted to create an online account to continue your renewal. You should be prepared to pay your renewal fee as listed on your renewal notice. Follow the on-screen prompts to renew your California drivers’ license.

In-Person Appointments

If you are a first-time drivers’ license holder or you are new to the state of California, you will probably need to visit the DMV. You could go to your closest location without an appointment and wait in line all day, but a better option is to make an appointment online.

For drivers coming from other states, no driving test will be required. You will only need to provide your old license and proof of residency.

Driving With an Expired License

Driving with an expired license is chargeable as a misdemeanor offense in California. The good news is that it’s not nearly as serious of an offense as driving with a suspended, revoked or cancelled license.

When you are caught driving with an expired license, prosecutors will often reduce the charge from a misdemeanor to a simple infraction. This is provided you renew your license in a timely manner.

New to California?

For those who move to California from another state where they still have an active drivers’ license, the same offense could be charged. Driving with a license from a previous state, even if it’s still valid, is considered the same as driving with an expired license in California.

Legally, the state of California requires newcomers to obtain a California drivers’ license within 10 days of becoming a resident. But most of the time, when you are caught with an expired or out-of-state drivers’ license, you are offered some leeway if you obtain a new, valid license within 20 days of the infraction.

Got a Ticket for an Expired License? Call Mr. Ticket!

If you’ve been issued a traffic violation because you delayed renewing your California drivers’ license, your best option is to seek legal representation. Mr. Ticket has ample experience reducing charges in traffic violations and he can help reduce your misdemeanor to an infraction or even get the charge removed altogether. Call Mr. Ticket today!

8 Traffic Laws to Know Before Driving in California

Millions of visitors flock to California by car every year for road trips and to enjoy theme parks and beaches. Although most state’s traffic laws are similar, it’s important to know the traffic laws pertaining to any new state you find yourself driving in.

Whether you live in California or are just visiting, there are 8 traffic laws you need to be aware of.

1. Speed Limits – As in every state in the United States, the speed limits in California are posted in miles per hour (mph). Freeway speeds in this state are lower than most states, generally 65 mph.

2. Eyes-on-the-Road Laws – In California it is against the law to write, send or read text messages while driving. If you choose to speak on the phone while operating a vehicle, you must use a hands-free device. Although you may drive with headphones, you must not have them in or over both ears.

3. Carpool Lanes – Many of California’s freeways have carpool lanes, marked by the diamond pattern painted on the lane’s surface. These lanes typically require at least two people in the vehicle, including the driver.

4. Traffic Stop Protocol – If you get pulled over for a traffic violation in California, you must produce a drivers’ license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. You do, however, have rights. You have the right to say no if an officer asks your permission to do something. An officer may also ask for the identification of any passengers in the vehicle.

5. Immigration Status – California traffic laws prohibit police officers from asking any drivers or passengers about immigration status. Only federal law enforcement officers have that ability. You can refuse to answer any questions about immigration status during a traffic stop.

6. Pedestrian Laws – Under California Law, pedestrians have the right-of-way even in unmarked crosswalks. When you are driving, be aware of pedestrians at intersections and even in roundabouts.

7. Passengers in the Back of a Truck – it is illegal in California to transport people in the back of a pickup truck. The one exception to this law is if the back of the truck is equipped with seats and seatbelts, and the passenger is properly seated and buckled in. It is also against the law to transport animals in the back of a vehicle unless they are properly secured.

8. Headlights – The law states that headlights must be turned on 30 minutes after the sun goes down and left on until 30 minutes before sunrise.

Got a Traffic Ticket in California? Mr. Ticket can help! We know our way around California traffic laws. Our experienced team will go to court for you and help protect your rights. Give us a call today!

3 Surprising Facts Surrounding Pedestrian Right-of-Way Laws

Pedestrian Right-of-Way Laws In California

In the state of California, an alarming number of traffic incidents involve pedestrians. In fact, over 20% of all these accidents are pedestrian fatalities. It’s a common saying that pedestrians always have the right-of-way. This is not always accurate. These three facts surrounding California pedestrian right-of-way laws might surprise you.

1. Drivers must yield to pedestrians crossing the street, even if they are in an unmarked crosswalk.

The California Vehicle Code 21950 states that drivers must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the road at an intersection in a marked or an unmarked crosswalk. Unmarked crosswalks can be confusing. It’s best for both drivers and pedestrians to use extreme caution around unmarked intersections.

The code specifies that just because a pedestrian has the right-of-way, they are not relieved from the duty of using care for his or her safety.

2. Pedestrians don’t always have the right-of-way.

The same code mentioned above also states that pedestrians may not suddenly leave the curb to walk into the road when a vehicle is close enough to constitute an immediate hazard. What constitutes an “immediate hazard”? The law is not very clear here. Because of this, these types of cases and offenses easy to contest.

Additionally, a pedestrian crossing the street at a place other than a marked or unmarked crosswalk (commonly known as jay-walking) must yield to traffic. These are two common cases where a pedestrian does not have the right-of-way.

3. Drivers can get a ticket for driving through a crosswalk while a pedestrian is crossing.

While the California Driver Handbook reiterates the need for vehicles to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, it does not state that drivers must wait for pedestrians to clear the entire crosswalk before proceeding. In fact, there is no pedestrian right-of-way law in California stating that drivers can’t move forward once the pedestrian is a safe distance from the vehicle. 

It is possible, however, for a driver to still get pulled over and ticketed for proceeding before the pedestrian reaches the sidewalk. These cases are up to the discretion of the police officer, and their opinion may differ from that of the driver.

Mr. Ticket Can Help Fight Your Traffic Ticket

If you’ve been issued a traffic ticket involving pedestrian right-of-way laws or any other charges, it’s in your best interest to seek legal help immediately. We are here to protect your rights and minimize consequences. Give us a call today