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California Traffic Tickets: Are They Considered a Misdemeanor?

If you’ve been driving in California, chances are you’ve been pulled over and given a traffic ticket. But what exactly are these tickets? Are they considered a misdemeanor?

The answer is: it depends. Traffic tickets can be either a misdemeanor or an infraction, depending on the severity of the offense. For example, a ticket for speeding is an infraction, while a ticket for DUI is a misdemeanor.

So, if you’re ever pulled over and given a traffic ticket in California, make sure you know whether it’s a misdemeanor or an infraction. Otherwise, you could be in for a big surprise!

Understanding the Two Types of Traffic Tickets in California

There are two types of traffic tickets in California: infractions and misdemeanors. Infractions are less serious than misdemeanors and usually result in a fine. Misdemeanors are more serious and can result in a jail sentence.

Infractions

Infractions are the less serious of the two types of traffic tickets. They are usually punishable by a fine, and sometimes by one or two points on your driving record. Infractions are not punishable by jail time.

Some examples of infractions include:

Speeding

Running a stop sign

Failure to signal

Illegal U-turn

Misdemeanors

Misdemeanors are more serious than infractions and can be punishable by a jail sentence, in addition to a fine. Misdemeanors can also result in two points on your driving record, also one to five years of probation. For misdemeanors, you must be represented by an attorney in court.

Some examples of misdemeanors include:

  • DUI
  • Reckless driving
  • Street racing
  • Driving on a suspended/without a license
  • Running from an officer
  • Disability placard misuse
  • Hit-and-run

If you receive a traffic ticket, it will be either an infraction or a misdemeanor. Be sure to read the ticket carefully so that you know what you’re being charged with and what the potential penalties are.

What are the Punishments for Misdemeanors?

The punishment for a misdemeanor in California can vary depending on the severity of the offense. For example, a first-time offender convicted of a DUI will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days in jail, a $2,000 fine or more, and a six-month license suspension.

However, if the offender commits a misdemeanor traffic offense, such as running from an officer, then the mandatory minimum sentence increases to 365 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, and a six-month license suspension.

In the state of California, hit-and-run is a serious offense that can result in severe penalties. If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, you could be facing felony charges. The penalties for a hit-and-run can include three to four years in prison, a $10,000 fine, and a one-year suspended driver’s license.

For misdemeanor charges, the only difference is that the imprisonment is up to 364 days.

The Bottom Line: The Importance of Having a Traffic Attorney by Your Side

It’s no secret that traffic violations can result in serious consequences. In addition to the possibility of expensive fines, you may also be facing points on your driver’s license, an increase in your insurance rates, and even the loss of your driving privileges.

While the consequences of a traffic violation may be severe, you don’t have to face them alone. A qualified traffic attorney can help you navigate the legal system, negotiate with prosecutors, and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. In all infractions and some misdemeanor, You don’t have to go to the court, our attorney will do that for you.

Looking for a Los Angeles traffic lawyer? Look no further than Mr. Ticket. Our experienced and knowledgeable team can help you with any traffic-related issue you may be facing, from tickets and fines to license suspensions and more.

We understand the ins and outs of California traffic laws, and we’re here to help you navigate the often complicated legal system. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you get back on the road.

Basic Things to Know When Hiring a Traffic Violation Lawyer

When you get a traffic violation, you may be tempted to just pay the fine and move on. However, this is a big mistake! Traffic violations can lead to higher insurance rates, points on your license, and even jail time. So it’s always worth it to hire a lawyer to fight your ticket.

Here are five reasons you should always hire a traffic attorney for a ticket:

1. Lawyers Are Well-Versed in the Law

It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to remember that lawyers have spent years studying the law. They know all the ins and outs of the legal system, and they can use this knowledge to your advantage.

2. Lawyers Can Negotiate

Most people don’t realize that plea bargaining is an option when it comes to traffic violations. But a lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss your charges.

3. Lawyers Can Save You Money

While you may have to pay a lawyer to fight your traffic violation, it’s important to remember that the alternative is usually much more expensive. If you just pay the fine, you’ll end up with points on your license, leading to higher insurance rates. And if you’re convicted of a more serious offense, you could end up paying thousands of dollars in fines and even spending time in jail.

4. Lawyers Can Save You Time

If you hire a lawyer to fight your traffic violation, you won’t have to waste your time going to court. Your lawyer can handle everything for you so that you can focus on more important things.

5. Lawyers Can Help You Avoid a Criminal Record

A traffic violation may not seem like a big deal, but it can actually lead to a criminal record. Getting a job, a loan, or even housing can make it difficult. But if you hire a lawyer, they may be able to get the charges against you dropped or reduced so that you won’t have a criminal record.

Hiring a lawyer to fight your traffic violation may seem like a hassle, but it’s always worth it. Traffic violations can lead to severe consequences, but a lawyer can help you avoid them. So if you’ve been ticketed, don’t hesitate to call a lawyer.

What to Expect When You Hire a Lawyer to Fight Your Traffic Violation

When you hire a lawyer to fight your traffic violation, you can expect the lawyer to do a number of things on your behalf. The lawyer will likely review the facts of your case and the applicable law to determine whether there are any defenses to the ticket. If there are, the lawyer will work to have the ticket dismissed or reduced.

If your case goes to trial, the lawyer will represent you in court and work to get the best possible outcome for you. The lawyer may also be able to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor if that is in your best interests.

The lawyer you hire should be experienced in handling traffic cases and should be able to give you an estimate of the time and cost involved in fighting your ticket. You should also feel comfortable communicating with the lawyer and have confidence in the lawyer’s ability to represent you.

How to Find the Right Lawyer for Your Traffic Violation Case

There are a few things you should keep in mind when you are looking for a traffic lawyer. First, you should ensure that the lawyer you are considering is licensed to practice law in your state. Second, you should find out how long the lawyer has been practicing traffic law. The more experience the lawyer has, the better.

Third, you should ask the lawyer for references. A good lawyer will be able to provide you with references from past clients. These references can help you determine whether or not the lawyer is someone you would like to work with.

Finally, it would be best if you met with the lawyer to discuss your case. This meeting will give you a feel for the lawyer and how they handle cases. It will also allow you to ask any questions about your case.

When you follow these tips, you can find the right traffic lawyer for your case.

Conclusion

If you have received a traffic violation, it is vital to seek legal assistance to ensure you have the best chance of winning your case. Lawyers can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the process and help you understand your case’s potential consequences. They can help you understand the law and fight for your rights in court. If you have a strong case, they can even help you get the ticket dismissed.

The Law Offices of Amir Soleimanian & Associates, Inc. is your Los Angeles traffic attorney. We are a team of experienced traffic violation lawyers dedicated to fighting for our client’s rights. We have a proven track record of success in fighting traffic violations and are passionate about what we do. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start working on your case.

What is an Infraction on a Ticket?

An infraction is a less serious offense than a misdemeanor. The biggest difference between the two is their severity and how they are punished. Unlike a misdemeanor, you can not be incarcerated for an infraction.

Some of the most common infractions in California are:

  • Speeding, per Vehicle Code 22350 VC
  • Tailgating, per Vehicle Code 21703 VC and
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian, per Vehicle Code 21950

Vehicle Code 22350

Vehicle Code 22350 is California’s basic speed law. This means that drivers may not exceed a speed limit that is deemed safe for the current conditions and circumstances.

22350 VC reads that “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.”

An individual cited under this infraction faces a fine. You have the option to pay the fine, attend traffic school (allowance is once every 18 months), or you can fight the ticket in court.

Vehicle Code 21703 VC

Vehicle Code 21703 VC is California’s tailgating code that prevents drivers from following too closely to one another. A driver following another may not drive closer than is “reasonable and prudent”.

If you are cited in California for tailgating you face fines, DMV points, and potentially a license suspension for negligent operation. It is best not to ignore this citation as it can lead to a failure to appear charge which can be increased to a misdemeanor.

Vehicle Code 21950

Vehicle Code 21950 requires drivers to stop for pedestrians at any marked or unmarked crosswalk. While drivers must stop for pedestrians, pedestrians must also exude safety when crossing a roadway.

If you are cited in California for failure to yield to a pedestrian you face fines, DMV points, and potentially a license suspension for negligent operation. It is best not to ignore this citation as it can lead to a failure to appear charge which can be increased to a misdemeanor.

Call Mr. Ticket!

If you choose to appear in court and fight any infraction you are cited with, you are able to hire a lawyer like Mr. Ticket to represent you!

Can I Lose my CDL for a Traffic Ticket?

Commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders are held to a higher driving standard, even while driving their personal vehicle. They often face more serious consequences than other drivers for traffic violations. Some traffic violations can lead to the revocation of a CDL holder’s privileges for a few months, years, or even for life depending on the severity of the infraction.

A violation in a commercial vehicle is subject to 1.5 the number of points for the same infraction or violation in a non-commercial vehicle. CDL holders can lose their license for up to a year if they receive: six points in a 12-month period, eight points in a 24-month period, or ten points in a 36-month period. Some violations, including a DUI, can lead to the loss of CDL privileges for life.

Speeding in a Commercial Vehicle

In the state of California, commercial vehicles are not allowed to travel over 55mph on any road or highway. To put it simply, the higher the speed the higher the speeding ticket.

  • 1-15mph over=$230-$250
  • 16-25mph over=$360-$380
  • 26+mph over=$490-$500

In addition, the DMV will add anywhere from 1-1.5 the number of points to your record.

It is important to note that you should speak with a legal representative first before you pay any fine or assume any guilt if you receive a ticket in California.

Other Common Violations

  • Driving 15mph or more over the posted speed limit, reckless driving, following too closely, improper lane changes: 60-day loss of your CDL
  • Failing to reduce speed at railroad tracks: no less than 60 days loss of driving privileges
  • Driving with a blood alcohol of .04% or greater: one-year loss of driving privileges
  • Refusal to take a breath test for suspicion of DUI or being convicted of a DUI: one-year loss of license
  • Second refusal to take a breath test for suspicion of DUI: loss of CDL for life

Can I Benefit from Traffic School as a CDL Holder?

If you are a CDL holder and you receive a traffic violation in the state of California in your personal vehicle, you may be eligible for traffic school. Completing traffic school for an off-duty citation can prevent certain infractions from touching your driving record and potentially prevent punishment from your employer. Before the law was passed in 2012 that CDL holders could complete traffic school for off-duty citations, many faced ramifications from their employers.

Circumstances Where Traffic School for CDL Holder’s is not allowed:

  • Any violation involving the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Speed violations that are 15+mph over the listed speed limit
  • Reckless Driving
  • Tailgating

If you are a CDL holder and receive a ticket in California, Call Mr. Ticket!

What Happens on a First-Time DUI Offense?

If you are facing a DUI charge in the state of California you can expect to have to plead your case to the DMV as well as to the prosecutors against criminal charges. Whether it is your first, second, or third DUI there are always consequences that you will have to face. However, the severity of the consequences can vary based on how many times you have encountered a DUI in the past. First-time offenders, with effective legal counsel, can often have the penalties reduced or avoided altogether.

What Consequences Am I Facing As A First-Time DUI Offender?

First time DUI offenders in the state of California are usually faced with a misdemeanor. Typically the punishment is fines, probation, DUI school, and driver’s license suspension.

Fines are about $390 plus “penalty assessments” totaling about $2000. You will also have to pay for a 30-hour first offender alcohol program which is approximately $500.

Some counties in California (Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento, and Tulare) require an ignition lock for first-time offenders for four months. This will add about a $500 cost.

Drivers License Suspension/Restriction

Suspension

A DUI arrest for alcohol automatically sets off a chain of events within the DMV that can result in the suspension of your driver’s license.

It is possible to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license with the DMV by requesting a hearing within 10 days of your arrest. If you don’t your driver’s license will automatically be suspended within 30 days of your DUI arrest date.

It can be very difficult to plead your case at the DMV hearing to challenge the suspension unless you have effective counsel to represent your case.

Restriction

It is possible, even if you have a suspended license, to get permission for a restricted driver’s license that will allow you to drive to and from work as well as your drug and alcohol program.

Will I Have To Do Jail-Time For My DUI?

Most people are released from jail after a DUI arrest within a few hours. Posting bail, in a first-time offense, is usually not necessary unless someone sustained injuries.

There is no jail time that is required for a first time DUI offense unless there are other aggravating circumstances present. Some of those circumstances would be if a minor were present in the vehicle or if the driver was going more than 25 miles per hour over the speed limit on a roadway or 30 miles per hour over on the freeway.

If you are facing a DUI charge in the state of California call Mr. Ticket to represent your case!

I Got A Speeding Ticket While Visiting California – Do I Have To Pay It?

I Got A Speeding Ticket While Visiting California – Do I Have To Pay It?

While in years past it was sometimes common to rip up an out-of-state speeding ticket, this practice is no longer acceptable. Individual states now share large amounts of information, including information about traffic tickets. Letting a speeding ticket go unpaid can have serious effects on your driving record, even if that ticket wasn’t issued in your home state.

Millions of visitors flock to California every year for the sunshine, beaches and palm trees as well as the skiing, national parks and many other sights the great state of California has to offer. These visitors are at just as much of a risk of getting a speeding ticket as the locals themselves. If you’ve gotten a ticket while visiting California, you have options!

Pay the Ticket

Your first option is simply to pay the out-of-state ticket and be done with it. This option is certainly the fastest, but it’s not ideal. A traffic fine is never as simple as it seems. Paying a ticket is an admission of guilt and can come with other consequences in both your home state and California. California applies points to your drivers license for speeding tickets (and your home state might, too, making it extra painful), and these points remain even after the ticket has been paid. There’s only a matter of time until your insurance company is notified and your rates go up. Lucky for you, there’s a better option than simply paying your speeding ticket.

Hire Professional Representation

The better way to handle an out-of-state speeding ticket is to fight it. Fighting a ticket often requires you to attend court in person in California, which can be difficult and expensive if you live in another state. Instead, hire an attorney to represent you. They will negotiate the ticket to have it thrown out, or at the very least reduced to a no-point violation where you simply pay the fine and then the ticket is gone.

Mr. Ticket Will Handle Your Out-Of-State Speeding Ticket

As you can see, if you get a speeding ticket in California your best option is to seek legal representation. Mr. Ticket is the man for the job! He and his team will handle everything from start to finish, saving you from wasting your valuable time in court. Call us today for and let us fight your speeding ticket for you!

Are ticket quotas real or just an urban myth?

One of the oldest urban myths involves whether police work harder at or near the end of the month to issue traffic tickets so that they may meet monthly quotas. Part of the reason why the “myth” remains in force is because there are rarely verifiable actions to support the truth behind law enforcement.

But ever so often, there are stories about officers forced into complying with ticket quotas. For instance, a LAPD officer was awarded $1 million in 2016 after he was dismissed from the force for reportedly refusing to take part in a quota scheme. Also, a 2017 study on traffic tickets in New York City suggested that quotas were being enforced.

Basically, researchers found that at the beginning of a given month, fewer than 2,500 tickets are issued each day. That number increases to more than 3,000 near the 16th day of the month, and surges again by the 30th.

While these instances may be dismissed as anecdotal evidence, the fact remains that quota based enforcement of traffic laws is illegal. Also most law enforcement agencies say (at least publicly) that they will take disciplinary action against any supervisor who uses them. But when a motorist is ticketed for what appears to be an innocuous violation, what is a driver to do?

Indeed, challenging the violation is the standard response. But should this be done alone? After all, the old adage “the person who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer” has some truth to it. Essentially, an attorney well-versed in criminal procedure may be able to spot issues that could form a legitimate defense in court. One of the most common stems from the legal authority the police must have in order to initiate a stop.

This means that a law enforcement officer must have a reasonable articulable suspicion that you have violated a traffic law. This cannot simply be a “hunch” or “officer’s intuition.” Instead, such a suspicion must be based on personal knowledge of a violation. This represents one of a number of defenses that can be raised to defend against a traffic ticket. If you have additional questions about defending tickets, an experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you.

Autopilot is not to blame if you have had one too many drinks

Drunk driving a self-driving car sounds like an oxymoron. Last month in two separate incidents in California both drivers blamed their vehicle for the crashes. In both cases the drivers told authorities they were not driving, the cars were. It can feel like a leap of faith to take your feet off the pedals and let the car continue moving on its own. Although self-driving vehicles are supposed to

 

Blame the car

In the first incident, police came upon a Tesla stopped on the Bay Bridge. They found a man passed out in the driver’s seat, with a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit. He gamely contended that the car was driving, but he was nonetheless arrested for drunk driving.

In the second incident, a man had activated the autopilot on his Tesla, which subsequently slammed into a fire truck parked on the side of the road. Miraculously, no one was seriously injured. The driver could be found civilly and criminally negligent. And in turn he could sue Tesla for product liability.

Even if your car can drive itself, that does not mean you can pin the blame on just the vehicle itself. Tesla cautions its patrons that “autopilot is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver.” The human driver must remain alert and ready to assume the controls because ultimately they are ultimately responsible for the vehicle and its actions. If it was possible to claim that you were not driving, there are still laws related to physical control of that could apply. These regulations are used if the driver can take control of the vehicle from the auto-drive system.

Dependent on technology

Partially autonomous driving systems are giving drivers a false sense of security. As the industry continues to grow and technology advances, drivers could become overconfident in their vehicle’s ability making it all the easier to forget they are not foolproof. The DMV states they are committed to requiring the highest safety standards for the roads but it is difficult to keep pace with ever-changing technology.

Driving primer: Speed limits in California

Drivers around the world, whether in California or on the Autobahn, have to follow the laws and rules of the road. These laws and rules are in place to keep people as safe as possible. When you don’t follow them, you can receive a ticket (or worse, of course, when accidents occur). This means that you will have to come out of pocket to pay a fine. You might have to appear in court. If you get enough tickets, it can impact your ability to legally drive.

One common traffic violation that people face in California is speeding. The speed limits on the roads here are set according to the maximum speed that people can drive without it becoming overly dangerous.

Basic speed law

California uses the concept of the basic speed law to govern speeding in the state. This means that you can get a speeding ticket even if you are going the posted limit if the conditions on the road make it unsafe to go that fast. For example, driving 45 mph on a road with that speed limit can get you a ticket if there is dense fog.

Another point of the basic speed law concept is that you can’t drive faster than the posted speed limit. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t legally drive five miles per hour over the speed limit. You can get a speeding ticket for driving one or two miles per hour over the posted speed limit.

General speed limits

On most roads in California, the speed limit is 65 miles per hour. There are some roads that have speed limits as high as 70, but there are also some roads with slower speed limits.

School zones have a reduced speed limit of 25 miles per hour when children are going to or leaving school.

Alleys have a speed limit of 15 miles per hour.

Two lane undivided highways have a speed limit of 55 miles per hour unless other limits are posted.

Construction zones also have a reduced speed limit that is stated by signs leading to and in the work zone.

Business and residential areas have a maximum speed limit of 25 unless there is another limit posted.

Actions for a speeding ticket

You can simply pay the fine stated on the ticket. However, this might not always be the best course of action. You need to find out how the points will impact your license and insurance. You might decide that you are going to fight the ticket, which is possible if you know that you weren’t speeding or contesting the circumstances of the ticket.

How to fight your traffic violation ticket in court

Are you a person with strong principles who believes in taking a stand and fighting for your rights when you have been falsely accused? Or are you more likely to choose the path of least resistance to close the books on an incident?

If you see yourself more as the former and less of the latter, it may be worthwhile for you to fight back in court against your traffic violation.

The courts count on far more drivers choosing to simply pay their traffic tickets rather than spending the better part of a day tied up in court. But remember that you have the right to defend yourself or to hire an attorney who will handle your traffic violation defense for you.

Effective defenses require a clear understanding of the law

Look up the statute that the officer accused you of violating. Read it over carefully and break it down into words and brief phrases to make sure that all apply in your case.

Remember that little words like “shall” and “may” can have a major outcome on the success of your defense. From a purely legal standpoint, “shall” is a synonym for “is required to” while “may” expresses possibility or permission. That interpretation alone could be enough to get a ticket dropped in some cases.

Tipping the odds in your favor

There are small, perfectly legal steps that you can take to give yourself a slight advantage over the police officer and prosecutor. First, if you plan to fight it in court, never pay it first. It’s an admission of guilt.

Your traffic violation ticket will likely have a court date set already. Typically this will be about four to six weeks from the date of the alleged offense. Wait a couple of weeks and then call the court and explain that you have a scheduling conflict that day and politely request a new court date. The scheduling officer is not required to grant this, but polite requests are usually accommodated.

If you have any options for the rescheduled appearance, choose a date closest to a major holiday when the officer is likely to be taking a vacation day and has no inclination to return to court for your ticket. If he or she is a no-show, your ticket will get dismissed.

Don’t waive your rights to a speedy trial

There is a form that the court typically requests all defendants sign, but under the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, defendants cannot be compelled to waive this right. The dockets are crowded and it may be impossible for the court to hear your case before the 45 days (the length of time California defines as “a speedy” trial) have lapsed. This, too, can result in the traffic violation being dismissed.

Spot any errors on the ticket

The court recognizes the difference between minor errors like misspelling a defendant’s name or something similar, and egregious mistakes like citing the wrong statute entirely. That alone may be enough to warrant a dismissal of your charge.

You may not feel confident in your ability to challenge your ticket alone — that’s okay. Retaining a traffic ticket defense attorney may, in some instances, turn the tide in your favor.