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California Traffic Ticket Law Blog

What if you're not sure a police officer is really an officer?

A man pulls up beside you on the highway and tells you to pull over, motioning out the window. You have no idea what happened, but you think maybe he needs help, so you pull over. Then he comes up to you, wearing normal street clothes. He tells you that he is a police officer, that you are under arrest and that you need to come with him.

Now what? Do you just go get in this stranger's car and hope for the best? Or do you lock your door and drive away? If this is someone impersonating an officer in order to kidnap you, for instance, you may need to flee just to protect yourself. If it is a police officer, though, they could then claim you were evading the law.

Are you obligated to have insurance in California?

Car insurance sounds like something that should be your own personal choice, like life insurance. If you want to take the risk and drive without it, knowing you'll have to cover the costs if you get into an accident, shouldn't you be able to do that?

It is important to note that this is not how lawmakers see it at all. You have a legal obligation to carry insurance. It's one of the main things that a police officer will ask you for after an accident or even if you get pulled over. You need to prove that you have valid coverage while showing that you have a license and that the car is properly registered in your name.

Reasons people give for speeding

As soon as the police officer pulls you over for speeding, do you start thinking about what excuse you're going to use? Do you start wondering if you can talk your way out of the ticket?

Most of us do, but it's important to remember that the police have heard it all before. They get excuses with almost every single traffic stop. This is nothing new. Here are a few of the most common ones:

  • You actually thought it would be safer. For instance, maybe the car behind you was tailgating and you thought that speeding would help avoid a rear-end accident.
  • The flow of traffic was moving above the speed limit, and you were just following the example of the other cars. You thought that driving slowly would cause a traffic jam and may put people in more danger.
  • You are late for something important. It could be work, school, a doctor's appointment, a court date or an interview, just to name a few examples.
  • You never saw a speed limit sign. Maybe you got pulled over doing 60 mph zone, but you thought it was a 55-mph zone.
  • You had a medical emergency of your own and needed to speed. Perhaps the most common example is a man saying that his pregnant wife is in labor, and he needs to get to the hospital.

Popular myths around traffic tickets

Most drivers have a strategy when it comes to traffic tickets. They hope to never need these strategies, but that they can use them to get out of most tickets.

Unfortunately, most of these are based on faulty information. Here are five persistent myths about traffic tickets:

California ignition interlock device law now in effect

Amid the hubbub of the holidays and the celebration of the new year, the news of a law that took effect Jan. 1 that affects people convicted of drunk driving in California could have been overlooked.

But it's important to know.

Why can't you use your phone in the car?

In California, it's not just texting and driving that is illegal. You're essentially not allowed to use your phone in any way. That means no calls, no pictures, no videos -- nothing. If the police see you with your phone in your hand, you can face legal trouble.

Why is the law so strict? Other states have also banned texting and driving, but not even all of them have done that. Why did lawmakers in California take things so far?

Did you know that there are 2 types of speed restriction laws?

Everyone knows that when you see a speed limit sign, you're supposed to keep your car traveling below that speed level. However, this is not the only type of speed restriction law that you're in danger of violating. In fact, you could get in trouble for a speeding violation even if you're not driving above the posted speed limit.

First, we have the normal laws that everybody is familiar with. For example, the speed limit on the highway throughout the state might be 65 mph. In a residential area, it might be 25 mph. These signs will be visible along the side of the road, and motorists are expected to adhere to them.

Tips for dealing with police after getting pulled over

A police officer pulls you over and tells you that he or she thinks you were speeding. Let's not get into whether you actually were or not, but that's the reason for the stop. The officer is thinking about giving you a ticket.

It's a highly stressful situation with a lot on the line. Here are a few tips that can help you deal with the police and get through the stop.

Remember, checkpoints look for more than drunk driving

Police can use DUI checkpoints in California, and they do it in an effort to catch drunk drivers. The checkpoints are effective because they essentially force all drivers to stop, rather than making police officers look for signs of impairment before conducting a traffic stop. Any drivers who are then notably intoxicated at the checkpoint can be arrested, while other drivers are free to go.

However, it is important to remember that the police really look for more than just drunk drivers. They look for any type of impairment, and the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) specifically wants to get the point across that "DUI Doesn't Just Mean Booze."

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