Traffic Offenses

Traffic offenses in California are treated as infractions, meaning they are punishable by a fine or possibly community service but never jail time. In addition to the aforementioned penalties, conviction of some traffic offenses can result in “points” on your driving record. Too many points on your driving record can result in a suspension of your driver’s license. This presents a particular problem for commercial drivers who accrue points at 1.5 times the rate of class c drivers. Even if a commercial driver’s license is not suspended by the DMV, having points one one’s record may result in a commercial insurer’s unwillingness to grant coverage which could indirectly result in a commercial driver losing his job.

The good news is that it is within the court’s discretion to award traffic school every 18 months which will prevent a point from being lodged on your DMV driving record.

Technically when you are issued a ticket by a police officer, that encounter constitutes an “arrest” for legal purposes. When you sign the ticket, you are indicating that you will appear at your arraignment for the infraction. If you do not sign, the police may arrest you and bring you to court to be arraigned according to the applicable rules of criminal procedure. When you appear for arraignment, you are given an opportunity to plea to the infraction. If you plead not guilty, the total amount of the fine is due even though you have yet to be convicted. The court gets around this by calling the amount of the fine “bail”. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to convince the court to release you on your own recognizance (OR), or without paying “bail”. The next date set will be your trial date.

Except for the fact that traffic infraction cases are held as bench trials rather than in front of a jury, according to Penal Code section 19.7, all the rules of misdemeanor cases apply to infractions as well. This means that an experienced defense attorney can ensure that the evidence provided by police and prosecutors is challenged.

The information contained on this website represents opinion only and is not intended to, nor should be relied on as legal advice of any kind. Should you wish to consult with an attorney, contact an attorney at the Law Office of Jesse Terrell at (323) 638-4712.
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