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California Traffic Ticket Law Blog

Hit-and-run accident may be a felony

Users of the California roadways are not immune to the unfortunate prevalence of automobile accidents that involve a fleeing from the scene by one of the vehicles involved. Commonly noted as a hit-and-run, this fleeing an accident scene can amount to more than a misdemeanor traffic offense and may be a felony with a very stiff punishment.

In the recent publicized tragedy involving Chris Soules, formerly of the television show The Bachelor, Mr. Soules was a driver who allegedly fled the scene of a fatal accident he allegedly caused. Prison time for the felony is a distinct possibility, if convicted. Leaving the scene may also result in steep penalties that would otherwise not have occurred based on the fact of a fatal accident alone. Moreover, calling 911 after leaving the scene of one’s accident does not negate the hit-and-run, although it remains to be seen if doing so will have an effect on the outcome of Mr. Soules’ case.

New marijuana laws for drivers

With the legalization of marijuana becoming law in California in 2018, lawmakers are preparing to create regulations to help law enforcement and prosecutors. Part of this preparation are laws restricting the use of pot behind the wheel.

As Courthouse News Services reports, Governor Brown signed legislation into law that restricts driving while drugged and prohibiting open containers of pot in a moving vehicle. The laws were written by Assemblyman Bob Lackey, R-Palmdale, who was previously a California Highway Patrol officer before taking office. The laws are meant to make the rules clear to motorists who are soon legally able to partake of marijuana. Both Washington and Colorado ran into problems on the road when legalization occurred, and lawmakers are hoping to avoid the same growing pains.

Alcohol a factor in auto-pedestrian accident in Santa Ana

Often, the circumstances of an arrest in Encino may prompt law enforcement officials to charge an individual with multiple offenses. An example may be were one was alleged driving drunk while also committing a moving violation or driving with a suspended or revoked license. In such situations, one facing criminal charges may be concerned that authorities may be overzealous in leveling accusations against him or her, perhaps in an attempt to make an example to others. It should be remembered in such cases that one should only face the charges that his or her actions may have warranted.

A myriad of charges appear to be awaiting the driver allegedly responsible for injuring five teens in Santa Ana. Three of the teens were taken to local trauma centers for treatment, while one suffered only minor injuries (the status of the fifth was not reported). The accident occurred when the vehicle involved struck a pole, injuring the two teens that were standing nearby. There were reportedly three teenage occupants traveling in the car, in which investigators subsequently found open alcohol containers. Not only to officials say that the driver was allegedly drunk, but they claim that the driver was also unlicensed and underage.

Points on your license can affect your insurance

When you get a speeding ticket or are stopped for other traffic infractions, it's usually not the end of the world. One of the things it can do, though, is raise the cost of your insurance as a result of points on your license.

This is one reason why many people choose to fight their speeding tickets or other types of tickets. If the ticket is dismissed, then the points don't go on their licenses and they don't have to worry about an increase in their insurance rates.

Camera use by officers

Have you been stopped by a police officer in California recently? If so, were you told that your interaction with the officer was being recorded on camera? In the last few years, the use of cameras worn by police officers has been increasing and interest in this technology and its potential benefits and pitfalls has also grown. 

PoliceMisconduct.net explains that one of the alleged or desired benefits of police body cameras is greater oversight of police officer behavior. Even in what may begin as a seemingly simple or routine traffic stop, the potential for officers to become hostile or discriminatory against drivers exists. By capturing stops on camera, the hope is that police misconduct may be curbed or ideally even eliminated.

Sonoma County officials find drunk man driving stolen U-Haul

Many in Encino often wonder what may be the differentiating factor between one facing misdemeanor and felony DUI charges. Factors such as one’s personal history of DUI-related offenses may come into play when making such a determination, yet often it is the circumstances in which a DUI arrest was made or the results that come from an accident caused by one who was allegedly driving while intoxicated. One might be at a greater risk of being charged with felony DUI if it is believed that he or she was involved in other crimes or moving violations while also being under the influence.

A recent case in Sonoma County could very well end up producing such a charge given the wide array of offenses allegedly involved. At the center of the incident is a Nevada man whom authorities questioned after noticing that the windshield, side mirrors and headlight on the U-Haul truck he was driving were shattered. Upon approaching the vehicle, they noticed the smell of alcohol on the man. He claimed that a “crazy person” attacked the truck with a bat, causing the damage. Also in the vehicle were his wife and three children, none of whom were wearing seatbelts. He was subsequently arrested for DUI and child endangerment. A charge of vehicle theft may soon follow, as it was revealed that the U-Haul he was driving was stolen.

Why was my driver's license suspended?

Have you received a notice in the mail from the California Department of Motor Vehicles saying that your driver's license has been suspended? Did this surprise you? If so, you are not alone as many times such notification does not happen directly after another event and may not always be understood.

According to the Supreme Court of California, there are several reasons for which the state DMV may end up issuing a suspension of your driving privileges. Interestingly, two of those reasons have nothing to do with driving at all. One is for the failure to pay child support as ordered by a court and the other is for acts of vandalism.

State looks at changing approach to some traffic infractions

Any California driver who has ever received even so much as a speeding ticket knows that the cost of a single traffic ticket can add up fast. For some people, the addition of surcharges can make paying a fine all but impossible and then a downward spiral can begin that may even lead to a driver's license being suspended.

State lawmakers are actually trying to look at options that may reduce the number of people who have their licenses suspended for some select infractions. Certain traffic tickets might be handled in civil court while others are handled as criminal offenses. Of those, some involve the payment of fines while others may tack on jail sentences as part of the penalties. It is that former group of criminal infractions that do not involve jail time that lawmakers want to move to civil court.

Can you get an open container ticket for transporting alcohol?

You're sitting at home on a Friday night with no plans of going out, but then your phone buzzes. It's a text from one of your friends, telling you to come over for a drink.

You decide to go, but you know your friend's taste in alcohol, and it's not the same as your own. There's likely to be nothing but beer at the house, and you prefer bourbon.

How can I avoid distracted driving?

As a California driver, you know that the road can be a dangerous place. This is especially true if you partake in distracted driving behaviors, which will not only imperil you but also put other drivers in danger. Accordingly, it’s important to know the proper tips for avoiding distracted driving behaviors to ensure that safety remains a top priority.

Farmers Insurance has a few common sense recommendations you can utilize to avoid distracted driving behaviors. For instance, take a moment to organize your belongings before setting out on the road to prevent the need for unnecessary distractions when you are behind the wheel. This can entail punching in GPS coordinates, placing your beverage in the cup holder or even having any money needed for tolls ready and accessible.

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