Traffic Violations Attorney in Santa Cruz, California
Most drivers in California spend a significant amount of time in their vehicles, which increases the odds that at some point, they will receive a ticket for any number of traffic violations.
Any conviction for a traffic offense sets into motion a string of events that may cost you time and money. The conviction will be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Points will be assessed on your driver’s license and can remain there for three to seven years. Your insurance premiums will rise, or your policy will be canceled.
Many traffic violations are well worth fighting, but you should have a seasoned defense attorney in your corner. At the Law Offices of Andrew C. Janecki, I have helped hundreds of clients from Santa Cruz, San Jose, Berkeley, Palo Alto, and San Francisco, California, contest tickets for traffic violations to avoid the long-term consequences of a conviction.
What Are Traffic Violations in California?
Traffic violations include any violation of the laws and regulations pertaining to operating vehicles on California streets and roadways. Examples of traffic violations include tickets issued for parking a vehicle illegally, driving with an expired driver’s license or plates, failure to provide proof of mandatory auto insurance, speeding, disobeying traffic signals, and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What Are Moving Violations and What Are Non-Moving Violations?
As the names imply, a moving violation is those committed while a vehicle is in motion, and non-moving violations are those committed while it is not. In general, moving violations are more serious than non-moving violations. That is why most people, if cited for a moving violation, will attempt to have it reduced to a non-moving violation. Points are not assessed on your driver’s license for non-moving convictions; however, traffic fines, court costs, and even bail apply.
Moving violations include speeding, running a red light or stop sign, failure to yield the right of way, reckless and imprudent driving, driving on a suspended license, or driving under the influence.
Non-moving violations include parking violations, equipment problems like a missing catalytic converter or a broken taillight, failure to wear a seatbelt, and driving with expired plates.
How Does the Driver’s License Point System Work?
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has assigned a specific number of points per individual moving violation(s). If you are convicted of one of these violations, the corresponding points will be assessed to your driver’s license. A speeding ticket may net one point and a hit-and-run violation, two points.
The points alert your auto insurance company that you are a riskier driver. In turn, the company increases the cost of your premiums to offset the risk. Too many points on your license, and the company will refuse to insure you and your vehicle at all. Accumulating a certain number of points within a certain period and the DMV will suspend or revoke your driver’s license. For example, if four or more points are assessed within 12 months will result in a suspension or revocation.
The cost of insurance, courts costs, and fines, as well as the threat of the revocation or suspension of your driver’s license, make hiring an aggressive traffic violations attorney a wise investment. An attorney can often reduce a moving violation to a non-moving violation or present evidence that results in your acquittal. Without insurance and a license, you cannot legally operate a vehicle. If you cannot drive, you risk your job, your ability to transport your kids, even your ability to get to a grocery store.
What Are the Fines and Penalties for Traffic Violations in California?
Even if you plead guilty to a ticket, pay the fine, and are not required to appear in court, you will have to pay a certain amount for bail. Bail is refundable if you are found not guilty of the violation.
There are court costs and fines ranging from less than $100 to more than $1,000, depending on the offense. There may also be jail time for some convictions and impoundment of your vehicle for others. You will pay for the time your vehicle is impounded.
Driving with an expired driver’s license, for example, maybe a misdemeanor offense. However, the possible penalties you face include up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and impoundment of your vehicle for as long as 30 days. That is in addition to the points and suspension penalties assessed by the DMV.
How Can I Fight a Ticket?
An experienced defense attorney will explore every option for challenging a ticket so you can avoid conviction. Your attorney may dispute the law enforcement officer’s record of circumstances and events, including whether the stop itself was justified. Your lawyer may also dispute the evidence presented against you, for example, an incorrectly calibrated speed gun or proof of insurance.
In some cases, there is a mistake of fact. Mistakes of fact could include identifying your vehicle in a hit-and-run collision or a traffic camera.
Your attorney could also challenge charges if your actions were justified. For example, you swerved into a different lane to avoid an accident, or you were speeding to get someone to an emergency room.
Traffic Violations Attorney Serving Santa Cruz, California
Fighting a traffic violation may cost you attorney’s fees, but the investment may pay huge dividends. At the Law Offices of Andrew C. Janecki, I understand the investment my clients from California make in me. If you have been cited for a traffic violation that may cost you your license, your freedom, and your money, call my office to schedule a case consultation. I proudly serve clients in Santa Cruz, San Jose, Berkeley, Palo Alto, and San Francisco, California.