Category Archives: Misdemeanor Traffic Violations

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!

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!

DUI vs DWI – What’s the Difference?

DUI vs. DWI – What’s the Difference?

You’ve likely heard both the terms “DUI” and “DWI” when it comes to drunk driving arrests, but what is the difference between the two?

  • DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence
  • DWI means Driving While Intoxicated
  • Both refer to driving while impaired by some substance, whether alcohol or drugs.

In some states, the terms DUI and DWI refer to two different infractions. A DUI indicates that a person has alcohol in their system. This infraction is easier to prove since a simple breathalyzer test can show the presence of alcohol. A DWI, however, is a little more complicated to prove since it requires significant evidence that the driver is absolutely impaired. Of the two, DWI’s tend to have more severe consequences and be a more serious charge.

Recently, most states have stopped separating DUI and DWI infractions. In these states, including California, the two terms are used interchangeably. The state of California exclusively uses DUI, though you may still see DWI used in some cases since it’s such a familiar term. Whether convicted of a DUI due to drugs or alcohol, in California the charges and penalties are the same.

DUI in California

A first time DUI offense in California is classified as a misdemeanor and the penalty typically involves 3-5 years of probation as well as hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fines. Additionally, an ignition interlock device is installed in the vehicle of the offender, requiring the driver to pass a breathalyzer test before operating the vehicle. Other penalties of a DUI conviction include required DUI school, a 6-month driver’s license suspension, and even up to six months in jail.

In the cases where a DUI is not the first offense, the consequences are far more severe. Longer jail time and more expensive fines are just the start. The requirements for DUI school are extended, and driver’s license suspensions may last longer.

Mr. Ticket Can Help With Your Drunk Driving Arrest

If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving in California, it’s important to seek legal representation right away. Mr. Ticket is practiced in representing clients in traffic violations and will protect your rights while helping to minimize consequences. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a licensed attorney.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony Traffic Violations

Not all traffic violations are created equal, and the type of violation you face can have different consequences for your record, insurance, and drivers license. Today we’ll explain the differences and help you understand your options for each. 

Misdemeanor Traffic Violations

The usual and more common traffic violations are called “infractions” and would include speeding, improper stop at a stop sign, failure to signal, and even minor collisions. These are not classified as misdemeanor offenses, and as such are usually more minor in consequence (points on your license, fines). The following will often bump your violation into the class of misdemeanor: 

  • Someone is injured by the traffic violation
  • Property is damaged by the traffic violation, such as another’s car or mailbox
  • Driving without a license or insurance
  • Reckless driving
  • Disorderly conduct 

Misdemeanor traffic violations will go on your criminal record and can include court and legal fees. 

Felony Traffic Violations

If you’re guilty of committing a more serious traffic offense, you may be charged with a felony traffic violation. While these charges can depend on the severity of the incident and the local traffic laws, a felony traffic violation is usually associated with a DUI but can also include: 

  • Hit-and-run
  • Vehicular homicide or manslaughter
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI)
  • Racing
  • Fleeing law enforcement
  • Repeated offenses of driving without license or insurance

Felony traffic violations incur much more serious consequences, such as permanent felony marking on your record, a breathalyzer for DUIs, suspension or revocation of a drivers license, criminal court proceedings, and legal fees. 

If you’re facing a traffic violation, whether misdemeanor or felony charges, it’s in your best interest to seek legal representation to protect your rights and minimize any consequences. We’re practiced and ready to help you.

What are my rights during a traffic stop?

Traffic stops are incredibly common throughout the nation, but far too many drivers fail to understand their basic rights. Police are supposed to protect the rights of all citizens regardless of the traffic infraction, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. It’s important that every individual understands their rights when driving a car so that they can keep themselves and others safe. 

 

Silence – the fifth amendment guarantees this right to everyone, including drivers who have been pulled over. Regardless of the reason for the traffic stop you have the right to remain silent. The right to remain silent isn’t just for the driver—it’s also for the passengers. 

 

Lawyer – if you are arrested or it appears that the situation is growing more tense, you are within your rights to call a lawyer to represent you. We recommend calling us right away for assistance and protection. 

 

Searches – without a warrant, police can search your car if you give consent, if they’re able to see something in “plain view,” if you’ve been arrested, or if they have probable cause (such as seeing blood or weapons). Without something in obvious view or clear and reported probable cause, you do not have to allow a search of your car. 

 

Recording – recording videos of police officers has been a hot topic recently, and it’s important to cover. You are within your rights to record any traffic stop. You should comply with reasonable requests, such as showing your hands, and you cannot interfere or obstruct their actions. They cannot demand to see any photos or videos. 

Drive safely and make sure you’re always aware of your rights as a driver and passenger. If you run into any trouble, don’t hesitate to use our services to protect your rights and future.

What if you’re not sure a police officer is really an officer?

A man pulls up beside you on the highway and tells you to pull over, motioning out the window. You have no idea what happened, but you think maybe he needs help, so you pull over. Then he comes up to you, wearing normal street clothes. He tells you that he is a police officer, that you are under arrest and that you need to come with him.

Now what? Do you just go get in this stranger’s car and hope for the best? Or do you lock your door and drive away? If this is someone impersonating an officer in order to kidnap you, for instance, you may need to flee just to protect yourself. If it is a police officer, though, they could then claim you were evading the law.

The problem here is that you honestly may not know. You’re not trying to break the law. You just do not understand what’s happening, and you know that whatever choice you make could have a massive impact on the rest of your life.

Evading a police officer is a serious charge, but keep in mind that the officer needs to have:

  • Proper markings on their vehicle
  • Special vehicle lighting that makes it clear it is a police car
  • A siren on the car, in many cases
  • A police uniform that is easily identifiable

In other words, it needs to be obvious that you really are dealing with the police for you to get convicted of fleeing from an officer. If you didn’t know that’s what you were doing, you may be able to fight the charges. If you have any questions about your rights and options, our helpful website can answer them today.

Why you should put your empty bottles and cans in the trunk

You support recycling and environmental action, so you always take your empty cans and bottles back to turn them in. It’s just one way that you do your part for the planet.

However, you know about open container laws in California. You cannot drive with open containers of alcohol in the car. If the police pull you over while you’re taking some empties back, are they going to assume you have been drinking and driving?

They may. After all, since recycling is one of the common exceptions to the law, people have tried to use it as an excuse. Rather than admitting that they drank while driving, they try to say they’re just bringing back some returns. The police may be skeptical, even when you make this claim honestly.

What you can do to avoid any legal trouble is simple: Keep your bottles and cans out of reach. Put them in paper bags and lock them in the trunk of your car. Never drive with them in the passenger seat or even the back seat. Doing that may be faster and easier, but it opens the door to police suspicion because, technically, you now have open containers within arm’s reach. When you lock them in the trunk, it is clear that you had no way to access them while you were behind the wheel.

Simple mistakes can lead to arrests and even legal charges. If you do get arrested, especially when you think you did not really do anything wrong, it is important to understand all of the legal defense options you have. Remember that you have a right to a lawyer and a fair trial.

How do I get my driver’s license reinstated?

The ability to drive is a privilege and not a right. This means that you can easily lose that privilege if you commit too many driving offenses or commit serious offenses such as driving under the influence or vehicular homicide. If you have your driver’s license suspended, you likely want to know what it takes to have it reinstated in California.

A license suspension in California can last as little as 30 days for a misdemeanor traffic violation and for one year or more for a more serious crime, such as reckless driving. If you have been ordered not to drive due to an emotional or mental disorder and you do, you could have your license taken away permanently.

In order to get your driver’s license reinstated in California, you will need to pay the applicable court fees, fines and bring the required paperwork to a local Department of Motor Vehicles office in Encino.

Depending on the reason for the suspension, you might be required to complete a course or two. For example, if the license was suspended for DUI, you will need to complete a DUI course.

The fees for reinstating your license are hefty. Some charges come with fees totaling $35,000 if you want to get your license back, which might have to be paid in cash using a surety bond.

The loss of a driver’s license does not have to stop you from getting to work, to school or from running errands. All you need to do is research the crime you were charged with and find out how it can be expunged so that your driver’s license can be reinstated. It’s best to work on reinstatement with the help of a traffic violations attorney.

What are some consequences of getting a traffic ticket?

Seeing those flashing red and blue lights in your mirror is an uneasy feeling. It’s likely you are being pulled over by the police in Encino. Your mind begins to race as you try to figure out what it is you did to warrant a traffic stop. Maybe you were speeding. Maybe you illegally changed lanes. Maybe you were tailgating. Whatever the reason, you could very well be issued a traffic ticket. Here are some consequences of that ticket.

First and foremost you will be hit with fines. They can range couple $70 to a couple hundred dollars in California. It all depends on the seriousness of the violation and if you are a first, second or subsequent offender. The fines are typically written on the ticket. If they are not, they can be looked up online.

Depending on the law, your insurance rates could increase. Most minor traffic tickets will not affect your insurance. However, almost all moving violations will increase your rates. Moving violations include speeding, failure to yield and others will force your rates to increase.

Points can also be placed on your license with each traffic ticket issued. The points system is how violations are tracked. If you accrue too many points in a specific period of time, you could have your driver’s license suspended for anywhere from a couple of months to more than a year.

Now that you know the consequences of a traffic ticket in Encino, California, you can better prepare yourself should you ever be issued one. These tickets can be fought in court so know that they are not always final.

Source: DMV.org, “Ticket Fines and Penalties,” accessed May 04, 2018

Drive hands-free or pay the fee

As most drivers know, texting while driving is against the law in California. Yet the laws go further than texting, and it is worth making sure drivers in the Golden State understand exactly what is–and is not–allowed when they get behind the wheel.

As the Sacremento Bee reports, 2017 marked the beginning of a new state law that bans holding a cell phone while driving for any reason. Not only is texting while driving outlawed, this means it is unlawful to use any apps for music or social media with the device in hand while on the road, and taking photos or video is also outlawed. Phones are able to be used while driving in hands-free mode only, but they must be in a holster mounting on the driver’s console, dashboard or on the windshield, so drivers who may need GPS to get where they are going are not totally at a loss. Lawmakers hope that this will make it easier for law enforcement officers to pull over drivers who are breaking the law.

The law comes on the heels of reports that 80 percent of accidents are at least partially to blame on distracted driving. Yet a new report from NBC Los Angeles found that the number of citations for cell phone use while driving has been on the decline since 2011. However, there are some law enforcement agencies in the state that conduct undercover operations to issue citations to drivers for being on the phone behind the wheel. At times these include undercover officers riding the bus or dressing up as a person begging for money on the street to observe drivers breaking the law. If caught, a ticket for a first offense is $20, but with penalties, the driver typically pays over $200.