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California Traffic Ticket Law Blog

Understanding prima facie speed limits

Upon being pulled over for speeding by a law enforcement officer in Encino, the first question that you are likely to be asked is “Do you know what the speed limit is on this road?” Many of those that we here at Mr. Ticket – Law Offices of Amir Soleimanian and Associates, Inc. have represented in the past may have reasonably claimed to answer “No” that question. That is because in many areas, speed limits may not be posted. In such cases, the state relies on prima facie (generally accepted) guidelines in order to regulate traffic. Understanding what these prima facie speed limits are may help you in contesting a citation.

California’s prima facie speed limits can be found in section 22352 of the state’s Vehicle Code. According to this statute, you should observe a speed limit of 25 miles per hour in the following situations:

  •          On any highway (other than a state highway) going through a residential or business district where a different speed limit is not posted.
  •          When driving near a school building or grounds designated by a “SCHOOL” warning sign while children are arriving or leaving school during school hours.
  •          When driving near any facility primarily used by senior citizens where the road is marked by a “SENIOR” warning sign.

What is financial responsibility in California?

If you are like most California drivers, you know that you are required to carry automobile insurance if you drive on public roads. However, the law is actually more broad than what many people may know or realize. As explained by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the state recognizes what it called financial responsibility.

Financial responsibility essentially states that anyone who drives or even parks a vehicle on public property in California must be able to prove their ability to financially compensate others in the event that they are at fault for an accident. For most people, this financial responsibility requirement is met by carrying the appropriate level of liability insurance. However, there are other ways of fulfilling this requirement.

What you can expect at the DMV after a DUI arrest

Nothing can ruin a fun night out faster than being pulled over for suspicion of driving while under the influence (DUI). Imagine having a night out with your friends at your favorite watering-hole, then seeing the red and blue lights in your rearview just a few blocks from your house.

While a DUI is a serious charge in California, it is possible to fight it. If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important to know your rights and options. A California criminal defense attorney can advise you on your case. Read further for what you can expect at the Department of Motor Vehicles after a DUI arrest.

Drivers may have ticket fines refunded

Many California residents who receive basic traffic tickets might think there is no option for them other than to pay the fine and move on. When a ticket has been issued at an intersection controlled by a camera, a driver may feel even less that there is a chance to defend against it. A situation recently discovered in the Bay Area, however, provides a great example to drivers of how they may have options they might otherwise be unaware of.

A series of miscommunications involving an intern and others at a police department and a municipal public works department resulted in a change to the programming of red-light cameras at two different intersections. The amount of time drivers were given to legally cross the intersections on yellow lights was reduced by seven-tenths of one second. At one of the intersections, 140 red-light tickets were issued in the first month after the change was made. In the month before the change, only 14 such tickets were issued. At the other intersection, tickets jumped from 66 to 383 due to the change.

Can minors have their licenses suspended?

When it comes to teenage traffic laws, strict guidelines are in place to prevent accidents and encourage your teen's obedience. These rules are necessary, as evidenced by the studies reported by the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles which claims that the highest rates of injury, collision and traffic conviction belong to drivers between the ages of 15 and 19. Even though these drivers only travel half as many miles as adults, they are twice as likely to end up in a collision.

What is the walk-and-turn test?

You may have heard people in California reference field sobriety tests and wonder exactly what types of things are tested and how these tests are administered. One of the standardized tests is called the walk-and-turn test. As explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, this test alone is considered to have an accuracy rate of 66 percent.

In this test, an officer must first give you instructions and personally demonstrate what you are asked to do. One thing that can work against you in this test is if you do not keep yourself balanced while you are listening to the instructions. Another potential probiem is any premature commencement of the test before you are officially instructed to begin. When taking the test, you are supposed to walk a certain number of steps in heel-to-toe fashion, turn in a specific manner and walk that same number of steps back to your original starting point.

The one-legged stand field sobriety test

Have you been arrested and charged with drunk driving in California? If so, you know how scary the whole experience can be? Upon seeing flashing lights behind you, it's not uncommon for a person's heart rate to increase and a general level of nervousness and fear sets in. This type of emotional response can understandably make even the most basic tasks difficult to execute. When asked to participate in a field sobriety test, your ability to pass these tests may be compromised with or without alcohol.

In fact, FieldSobrietyTests.org indicates that the one-legged stand test alone is only 65-percent accurate in determining intoxication in a driver. When administering this or any other field sobriety test, an officer must follow strict guidelines as developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Evaluating your test process can be an important part of your defense.

4 reasons you could appear drunk when you're not

Everyone makes mistakes, and it's an odd day when you're pulled over for no reason. If you were accused of driving while drunk but know you didn't have anything to drink, several explanations are possible. Certain medical conditions affect the way you act and appear. Your balance, speech or other movements may appear intoxicated.

Defining the difference between infractions and misdemeanors

Those in Encino who watch courtroom dramas or listen to legal stories on the local news may often be inundated with legal terms that, while they may think they understand their meaning, they do not fully comprehend their application. One such term is “misdemeanor.” Most may associate misdemeanors with felonies in that each classifies a category of crimes, with felony offenses being more serious. This may lead people to assume that any minor crime or offense is a misdemeanor. However, there is third recognized category of offenses: infractions.

The Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles defines an infraction as a crime not punishable by imprisonment that can typically be processed through the county clerk’s office. At the same time, it recognizes a misdemeanor to be an offense punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and/or one year of jail time. Additionally, a misdemeanor offense may also require the payment of restitution to those affected by the action.

What are the legal consequences of underage drinking and driving?

If you have been caught drinking and driving in California and are under the legal age of consumption, then you will face stiff penalties from the Department of Motor Vehicles. It is important to understand that the DMV notes whatever underage drinking penalties it imposes are in addition to anything that may be imposed by the court.

When you are pulled over or otherwise caught driving under the influence of alcohol as a minor, you cannot have a blood alcohol content of 0.01 percent or more. If you are at or over that percentage, you will immediately lose your license. Do note that if you refuse to take a BAC test that it will result in you immediately losing your license as if you failed the test. In either case, the officer in charge will take your license from you at the scene. He or she will then give you a temporary license. This temporary license can be used for 30 days. The officer may also give you a suspension/revocation order or one will be mailed to you. This will outline the terms of your suspension as imposed by the DMV, including the effective date.

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