Articles Posted in Traffic Tickets

If you get on the Internet and use any popular search engine, you’ll find many web pages devoted to attempting to answer the question, “How do I get points on my driver’s license removed?” In California, there are some options. If you have been charged with a traffic violation, you should definitely consult a knowledgeable San Francisco traffic ticket defense attorney about your possibilities.

The least proactive way to get points off your license is also one of the slowest methods for achieving results. That option is, simply, waiting. Minor offenses generally are removed from your record after approximately 39 months. More significant offenses, like DUI, can stay on your record for up to 10 years, however.

Another way that you possibly can clear points is by successfully completing traffic school. Successfully completing traffic school does not take a point off your license, exactly; it allows you to avoid ever having that point attached to the license at all. Today, there are various options for completing traffic school. You can do it in person or can complete a program online. It is important to make sure that the program you complete is one that is recognized and approved by California.

Any speeding offense has the potential to inflict a negative impact on your life. However, an offense where you are accused of traveling at 100 mph or greater can have especially bad consequences, from higher fines to a higher number of points on your license to a loss of driving privileges – even if this was your first moving violation. Because these offenses can be particularly harmful, you should take them seriously. Be sure to defend yourself aggressively, starting with retaining the services of an experienced San Francisco speeding defense attorney.

Back in August, the Richmond Standard reported on two drivers whom CHP officers arrested while traveling across eastbound Interstate 580. The drivers, according to police, were weaving in and out of traffic while traveling at speeds in excess of 100 mph. The two drivers were arrested on suspected reckless driving and speeding, according to an ABC 7 News report.

Getting convicted of driving in excess of 100 mph can lead to profoundly serious outcomes. Unlike other speeding offenses, you will be required to make an appearance before a judge Whereas a judge cannot suspend your license for a first-time speeding offense if you were caught going less than 100, a conviction for going 100 mph or more gives the judge the ability to suspend your license for up to 30 days, and that’s if you have no prior offenses. Additionally, the court can fine you up to $500.

News sources recently reported on a “crackdown” on speeding violations in one Bay Area city. The crackdown included catching drivers using state-of-the-art technology for calculating drivers’ speeds. However, even if you’ve been ticketed by an officer equipped with the latest in cutting-edge technology, do not despair. You may still have a very viable opportunity to contest your speeding ticket and do so successfully. To give yourself the best chance possible to avoid the fines, driver’s license point deductions and insurance rate increase that can go with a speeding ticket, contact an experienced San Francisco traffic ticket attorney today.

The news report, which appeared on sfgate.com, discussed a speed enforcement “crackdown” in South San Francisco. On a single August day, police in that city wrote 72 speeding tickets. Police told sfgate.com that the crackdown focused on “streets where speed and other traffic issues have been a recurring problem.”

The crackdown was part a “saturation patrol” that was possible thanks to funding by the state Office of Traffic Safety through the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to the report. In the well-funded crackdown, officers used something called a “lidar” device. Lidar devices use lasers to determine an object’s speed and are touted as being highly accurate. If you are issued a speeding citation, and if the officer who issued the ticket used a lidar device to assess your speed, do you have any chance of success, especially given how accurate lidar is? The answer is “Yes!” Even if you were ticketed by an officer using lidar, there may still be ways to contest your ticket successfully.

Everyone responds to agitation in different ways, and almost anyone experiences some sort of agitation when they’re pulled over by the police for a speeding violation. Some people cry. Some become hostile. Others panic. Still others try to debate their way out of the ticket while sitting on the shoulder of the road. The reality is that the best way to handle your ticket often is simply to sign the citation and then retain knowledgeable San Francisco traffic ticket attorneys to handle your case and get you a favorable outcome.Judges and journalists both love a good story, sometimes. In a recent criminal case decision, a federal appeals judge in Atlanta, while putting the “kibosh” on a novel defense argument, opined that America’s “history contains many…stories of triumph over long odds. This, however, is not one of those.” What the judge was saying was that, while the defense’s argument was creative, the judge wasn’t buying it. Closer to home, the Sacramento Bee reported on another encounter with the legal system that involved a “long shot” argument and an audience that wasn’t buying it.

According to the Bee report, a driver traveling on I-980 in Oakland was pulled over by the CHP for excessive speed. Advised of the speed the officer recorded, the driver contested that he was not going that fast. The officer showed the driver the display of his device, which read “99.” The driver theorized that the device was erroneously providing the officer with the current air temperature. There were two major problems with the driver’s effort to avoid the ticket in this manner. Besides the obvious (officers’ speed detecting devices do not sense, record, or display the temperature), the high that day in Oakland was only 81.

While this driver’s destined-to-fail effort to avoid a ticket may be good for a laugh for the rest of us, there are some things that you should know if you find yourself in a situation like this driver’s situation. While it may be tempting to attempt to argue with a law enforcement officer and try to “discuss” your way out of a speeding ticket, there are more effective methods of achieving success. In fact, sometimes the less you say at the scene, the better off you will be in the long run.

A year ago this month, the governor signed into law Assembly Bill 103, which served to end the state’s practice of suspending drivers’ licenses solely because they had unpaid traffic fines. The new law is a major boost for many California drivers, especially low-income individuals. However, just because you cannot lose your license from not paying a traffic ticket doesn’t mean that a traffic ticket will no longer have any major negative consequences on your personal finances and your life. There are still ways in which unpaid tickets can seriously harm your life. That is why it is important not to ignore your ticket, to take it seriously, and to contact a California traffic ticket attorney to discuss your options.

The new legislation ended the practice of suspending licenses through a procedural means. The law brought a stop to the process of California courts notifying the Department of Motor Vehicles about drivers’ unpaid traffic fines. With that notification process ended, the law also ended the DMV’s requirement to suspend licenses for that reason, according to the Porterville Recorder.

The state ended the practice because it was ineffective and potentially unfair, according to a Los Angeles Times report. The governor stated that the suspensions did not serve their actual purpose (to help the state increase its collection of unpaid traffic fines) and could potentially serve to “send low-income people into a cycle of job losses and more poverty.” An East Bay Express article highlighted the case of one Northern California man who received a traffic ticket but was unable to pay his fine. Since he did not pay, the state suspended his driver’s license. Needing to drive from Richmond to San Leandro for work, the man eventually ended up with four holds on his license and between $5,000 and $6,000 in fines owed.

News reports from the first part of this year highlighted a trend that many in both the legal and civil rights communities believed to be a harmful thing: the significant uptick in federal immigration authorities using courthouses as locations to identify and arrest undocumented immigrants. Whether they are parties to cases or witnesses, undocumented immigrants are often being asked under oath about their immigration status. Fearing that the answers they give could be used against them in deportation proceedings, many are simply avoiding court altogether. According to one Boston Globe report about the nationwide trend, immigrants are violating judges’ orders, violating probation and losing out on mental health services due to fear that their appearance inside the courthouse will end up getting them deported. To give yourself the best chance of protecting your rights, don’t just ignore your traffic ticket or other legal issue, though; contact a knowledgeable California defense attorney instead.

According to some California legislators, this issue of immigration enforcement inside courthouses is causing a wide range of problems in the legal system. Sen. Scott Weiner, one of the sponsors of a new bill, told KCRA 3 that many immigrants “won’t even show up in court for something as simple as a traffic ticket because they’re afraid they may be deported.”

Simply doing nothing in response to a traffic ticket is, of course, generally one of the worst options you can select. As the state’s Judicial Branch web page puts it, if “you ignore (do not respond to) your ticket, your situation will only get worse. Your fine will increase and additional penalties can be added.” Your driver’s license may be suspended. If you no-show on the court date stated on the ticket you signed, you may become guilty of committing an additional crime. Potentially, you can rack up hundreds of dollars of additional fines and even get arrested. Many immigrants are apparently willing to take these risks due to fear of deportation.

Interactions with law enforcement can be stressful events. You may think that you are being pulled over for a traffic violation, only to find that the scope of the stop has expanded now that the officer has you pulled over. The law places certain limits on what the police can do, however, and that includes the searches they perform without a warrant. If your person or possessions have been the subject of a warrantless police search, and you have subsequently been charged with a crime, make sure that you promptly retain an experienced San Francisco criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights.

An example of how a warrantless search can lead to the exclusion of evidence was the criminal trial of a man named Leroy. Leroy’s March 2015 interaction with law enforcement began the way many encounters do:  an officer stopped him for committing a traffic violation. While that officer had Leroy stopped, another officer contacted him to let him know that Leroy was a suspect in a domestic violence incident that had happened 1-2 days earlier.

The two Fairfield officers took Leroy from his car, handcuffed him, and put him in a police vehicle. They then proceeded to search Leroy’s car. Since Leroy was alone in the car, and, allegedly, no one was available to take possession of the car, the police had it towed. In their search, the police found a two-foot-long brown wooden baton with a red tape handle. Based on that find, the prosecution added another charge against Leroy:  violation of Penal Code Section 22210, which bars possessing “any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a billy, blackjack, sandbag, sandclub, sap, or slingshot.”

Back in 2001, the BBC launched a television show entitled What Not to Wear. (An American version of the show ran on basic cable in the States from 2003-13.) The premises of both shows were roughly the same:  two “fashion experts” helped one person fix the alleged sartorial flaws in her wardrobe. The theoretical benefit was that, by watching, viewers learned…what not to wear. Sometimes, court cases and news stories can serve a similar benefit when it comes to legal matters. By seeing or reading about the egregious errors others make, you can theoretically learn from their mistakes and know, in advance, what not to do when it comes to certain legal problems. As a basic tip for almost any vehicle-related encounter with law enforcement, one of the first things you should do is contact an experienced California traffic ticket lawyer.

A doctor’s encounter with law enforcement reported by KRCR in Redding provides one very clear “what not to do” scenario. In April 2013, the doctor was stopped by a CHP officer for doing 95 mph on Highway 99. Sometimes, drivers may hope to escape the encounter with a warning, and they may give the officer an “explanation” of their speeding in order to appear more sympathetic and hopefully increase their chances of avoiding a ticket.

What not to do in this situation is lie to the officer. The doctor on Highway 99, however, did exactly that. He told the officer he was en route to a medical emergency. The officer simply called the clinic to which the doctor claimed he was headed. The clinic stated that there was no emergency, and the doctor received his speeding ticket, according to the KRCR report.

If you are ticketed for a traffic offense while operating your motor vehicle, you likely understand that you have certain options. You can pay the fine, you can go to court and contest the matter, or you may be able to get your citation expunged and your fines dropped if you complete an approved driving school program within the allowed period of time. Recently, a new statute has allowed for the creation of traffic schools for bicyclists, meaning that, if you are cited while operating your bike, you may have all of the same options as vehicle drivers. If you have received a citation, before you make a decision regarding how to resolve it, talk to a knowledgeable California traffic ticket attorney, who understands the process and can advise you on your options and what might work best for your situation.

In 2016, Assembly Bill 902 became law, allowing cities to create traffic schools for bicyclists. The bill, created by a Santa Monica assemblyman, represents the first time that bicycle traffic schools have been allowed under California law. Recently, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported on the one of the newest additions to the group of available bicycle traffic schools. That school is based in El Monte in Los Angeles County.

The El Monte-based bicycle traffic school is one of the first in the state. Two of the state’s major universities, UC Berkeley and UC Davis, have established diversion programs for bicyclists, according to the Tribune. Despite bicycle advocates’ efforts, several Northern California cities, like Oakland, Berkeley, and Alameda, have not yet elected to create bicycle traffic schools, according to the report. Because of the wording of AB902, the decision regarding whether or not to create a bicycle traffic school is made independently by each city.