California Driving Violations

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The state of California encompasses a wide geographic area including millions of drivers.  In order to keep track of dangerous or reckless drivers, the state has implemented a points system for traffic violation offenses.  Like most states, the accumulation of a given amount of points results in administrative action, including mandatory traffic school or license suspension.  In the state of California, other offenses also immediately suspend one’s driving privileges.  Many of these offenses do not directly relate to moving violations in some cases.  Convictions of graffiti, drug possession, or use of a vehicle when committing a felony all will result in immediate license suspension, although an individual may have not been driving at the time.  The state of California strictly adheres to the statement that driving is a privilege and not a right, and enforcement of the points system and other traffic violation laws is strict.

California Traffic Points System

In the state of California, accumulation of four (4) points in twelve months, six (6) points in twenty-four (24) months, or eight (8) points in thirty-six (36) months deems a driver a negligent operator.  This means that as a negligent operator, a traffic court judge may be able to suspend your license.  Typically, a negligent operator is placed on a one year probation with a six (6) month long suspension period.  However, drivers may attend Traffic Violator School to reduce their overall point total, if permitted by a traffic court judge.

California Fines and Penalties

Traffic Violations Fine Amounts Points Traffic School Jail License Suspension?
Aggressive Driving Set at municipal levels, but more than $200 in most jurisdictions 2 Judge's decision, but potentially required in event of suspension Court discretion, but likely for repeat offenses Judge's discretion
Driving Under Influence - DUI $390 to $1000 in fines, plus treble amount mandated in penalty assessment by courts 2 Required attendance and completion of DUI school mandated Up to six (6) month jail sentence possible for first time offenders Mandatory six (6) month license suspension
Driving While Imparied - DWI $390 to $1000 in fines, plus treble amount mandated in penalty assessment by courts 2 Required attendance and completion of DUI school mandated Up to six (6) month jail sentence possible for first time offenders Mandatory six (6) month license suspension
Driving With License Suspended Set at municipal levels, but more than $200 in most jurisdictions 2 Judge's decision, but potentially required in order to end existing and future suspension Court discretion, but likely for repeat offenses Continued suspension of license
Driving With a Suspended License in California
Driving Without Headlights No more than $200, set by municipalities 1 Traffic violator school, if offered by judge, can be used to dismiss points Not relevant to single infraction Judge's discretion
Exhibition of Speed Set at municipal levels, but more than $200 in most jurisdictions, at 100 MPH or more fine of $500 for first offense 2 Judge's decision, but potentially required in event of suspension Court discretion, but likely for repeat offenses Judge's discretion
Failure to Yield No more than $200, set by municipalities 1 Traffic violator school, if offered by judge, can be used to dismiss points Not relevant to single infraction Judge's discretion
Failure to Signal No more than $200, set by municipalities 1 Traffic violator school, if offered by judge, can be used to dismiss points Not relevant to single infraction Judge's discretion
Failure to Stop No more than $200, set by municipalities 1 Traffic violator school, if offered by judge, can be used to dismiss points Not relevant to single infraction Judge's discretion
Hit and Run Set at municipal levels, but is criminal a felony criminal charge 2 Traffic violator school mandated to reinstate license in future Court discretion, but jail sentences a very real possibility for even first time offenders Judge's discretion, highly likely
Illegal Passing No more than $200, set by municipalities 1 Traffic violator school, if offered by judge, can be used to dismiss points Not relevant to single infraction Judge's discretion
Illegal u-turn No more than $200, set by municipalities 1 Traffic violator school, if offered by judge, can be used to dismiss points Not relevant to single infraction Judge's discretion
Intoxication Manslaughter Set at municipal levels, but is criminal a felony criminal charge 2 Required attendance and completion of DUI school mandated Court discretion, jail or even prison sentences highly likely Judge's discretion, highly likely
No Drivers License No more than $200, set by municipalities 2 Judge's decision, but potentially required in order to end existing and future suspension Court discretion, but likely for repeat offenses Continued suspension of license
Running a Red Light $50 to $100 for first time offenders 1 Traffic violator school, if offered by judge, can be used to dismiss points Not relevant to single infraction Judge's discretion
Running Stop Sign $50 to $100 for first time offenders 1 Traffic violator school, if offered by judge, can be used to dismiss points Not relevant to single infraction Judge's discretion
Reckless Driving Set at municipal levels, but more than $200 in most jurisdictions 2 Judge's decision, but potentially required in event of suspension Court discretion, but likely for repeat offenses Judge's discretion, highly likely
Speeding in School Zone Set at municipal levels, but more than $200 in most jurisdictions 1 Traffic violator school, if offered by judge, can be used to dismiss points Not relevant to single infraction Judge's discretion
Unsafe Lane Change No more than $200, set by municipalities 1 Traffic violator school, if offered by judge, can be used to dismiss points Not relevant to single infraction Judge's discretion

What to Expect in a California Traffic Court

In the state of California, traffic court hearings allow a driver to present their case regarding a citation for a given traffic offense.  In many cases, an attorney will represent the driver, which will undoubtedly garner a much better outcome than pro se representation.  Ideally, a driver will either have their ticket dismissed, or be able to address outstanding traffic point totals, which may jeopardize their ability to drive in the future.  For more information on California driving laws and traffic courts, refer to the links below:

California Driving Violations Legal Help from a Lawyer

Having an attorney represent your traffic violations case will only bolster the potential for a favorable outcome.  In cases where an individual’s license, and in turn their livelihood, may be at stake, having an attorney is essential.

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