Articles Posted in Traffic Tickets

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.

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