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California Traffic Ticket Law Blog

How to fight a traffic ticket in California

Getting pulled over in California is never a pleasant experience. You will most likely drive away from the traffic stop with some sort of ticket. It might not be what you were initially pulled over for, but it's still a ticket. Traffic tickets in California can be expensive. They can also put points on your driving record depending on the violation. Here's how to fight a traffic ticket in Encino.

The first thing you need to do when contesting a traffic ticket is appear in the county court where the ticket was issued. This is important. Do not go to the county court where you reside unless this is the county where the ticket was issued. This appearance is known as the preliminary hearing. During the hearing, you will enter a plea.

Are ticket quotas real or just an urban myth?

One of the oldest urban myths involves whether police work harder at or near the end of the month to issue traffic tickets so that they may meet monthly quotas. Part of the reason why the “myth” remains in force is because there are rarely verifiable actions to support the truth behind law enforcement.

But ever so often, there are stories about officers forced into complying with ticket quotas. For instance, a LAPD officer was awarded $1 million in 2016 after he was dismissed from the force for reportedly refusing to take part in a quota scheme. Also, a 2017 study on traffic tickets in New York City suggested that quotas were being enforced.

Possible defenses to distracted driving charges

Distracted driving is without a doubt very dangerous. Many drivers have trouble staying focused when behind the wheel. Other drivers don't have any trouble focusing on the road in front of them. If you are facing distracted driving charges in Encino, California, then you should look at the various possible defenses.

One of the most common defenses, which is quite easy to prove, is that you used a mobile phone while driving due to an emergency. Obviously, a call placed to 911 for fire department services or for the police could very well get you out of a distracted driving charge.

The accused in a DUI case has options -- and hope

There are many myths about criminal law and, specifically, DUI law. But one of the greatest myths ever told about drunk driving charges is that the accused person has no chance at beating the charges, or that the charges will stick with them forever. That is completely untrue. There are many successful defense tactics that can be utilized to help the accused, or there could be unique circumstances in their case that are ripe for questioning and further investigation.

To begin, consider the actions of the police officer involved in your DUI and the actions of investigators after the fact. Did the officer read you your rights? Did he or she uphold your rights during the stop? Was the stop legal in the first place? Were any sobriety tests used? Was the instrument used for any breath, blood, or urine tests properly calibrated? What about the chain of custody for the evidence after it was collected? Was it followed to the letter of the law?

Autopilot is not to blame if you have had one too many drinks

Drunk driving a self-driving car sounds like an oxymoron. Last month in two separate incidents in California both drivers blamed their vehicle for the crashes. In both cases the drivers told authorities they were not driving, the cars were. It can feel like a leap of faith to take your feet off the pedals and let the car continue moving on its own. Although self-driving vehicles are supposed to


Studies vary on Uber's success against drunk driving

California drivers have been sharing the roads with Uber and Lyft drivers for more than five years, and while the companies claim to be a scourge to drunk driving, some scientists are not convinced. Researchers have had varied results when studying the effects of ride-sharing services have had on the rates of drunk driving in an area.

According to Fortune, a 2015 study conducted by Uber and Mothers Against Drunk Driving found that California counties that were serviced by Uber had 60 fewer car crashes each month by drivers under the age of 30 since July 2012. However, independent studies have not always agreed with these findings. A study published in July 2016 found that after comparing traffic data from before and after Uber and its competitors arrived in over 100 major metro areas across the U.S., there was no discernible difference in alcohol-related accidents or accident rates taken as a whole. This study provides a sharp contrast to the claims Uber has made on its contributions to the safety of the communities it services. 

Alcohol tests and drivers' rights

In today's politically heated society, controversy over rights on roadways has become an increasingly relevant topic. Injustice and the tension between drivers and police officers takes most of the spotlight, but other issues involving drivers' rights are a major topic of debate, as well. In California, few drivers know the details of their rights on the road. Even though legal details can become complex, state laws protect drivers from unneccessary searches and other unlawful procedures. 

ABC 10 News discusses the recent controversy surrounding a Utah nurse who refused to draw the blood of an unconcious patient, which ultimately brought to attention the disagreement over drivers' rights in the country. The patient of the nurse had been in a car accident that left another driver dead, but the nurse claimed that, under hospital policy, she was not allowed to take the blood of patients who had been in accidents. To the nation's shock, the nurse was arrested; debate on the rights of patients and the extent of police intervention has thus taken the media by storm in recent weeks. But what, ABC asks, are drivers' actual rights when it comes to testing for blood alcohol concentration? The report offers the following points:

  • The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unlawful searches -- warrants may only take place upon probable cause
  • Any person with a driver's license must consent in writing to submit a chemical, blood, breath or urine test, but only if under lawful arrest for driving while under the influence (this law is also known as California's 'implied consent' law)
  • A driver does have a choice between a blood and breath test, and police are required to notify the driver of this choice        

Drive hands-free or pay the fee

As most drivers know, texting while driving is against the law in California. Yet the laws go further than texting, and it is worth making sure drivers in the Golden State understand exactly what is--and is not--allowed when they get behind the wheel.

As the Sacremento Bee reports, 2017 marked the beginning of a new state law that bans holding a cell phone while driving for any reason. Not only is texting while driving outlawed, this means it is unlawful to use any apps for music or social media with the device in hand while on the road, and taking photos or video is also outlawed. Phones are able to be used while driving in hands-free mode only, but they must be in a holster mounting on the driver's console, dashboard or on the windshield, so drivers who may need GPS to get where they are going are not totally at a loss. Lawmakers hope that this will make it easier for law enforcement officers to pull over drivers who are breaking the law.

Driving primer: Speed limits in California

Drivers around the world, whether in California or on the Autobahn, have to follow the laws and rules of the road. These laws and rules are in place to keep people as safe as possible. When you don't follow them, you can receive a ticket (or worse, of course, when accidents occur). This means that you will have to come out of pocket to pay a fine. You might have to appear in court. If you get enough tickets, it can impact your ability to legally drive.

One common traffic violation that people face in California is speeding. The speed limits on the roads here are set according to the maximum speed that people can drive without it becoming overly dangerous.

Understanding types of traffic tickets

Whether you have a driver's license from California or another state, if you drive in the state of California, it is important for you to understand some of the basic traffic laws. That also means you should understand the different types of citations that you may receive and what to expect with each. 

As explained by the California Courts, parking tickets are not actually handled through any court system but just directly through the municipality or other entity that issues the tickets. When it comes to other things like speeding or driving on a suspended license, however, this is where a court may get involved. Some tickets that you might receive could be deemed misdemeanors but others could be deemed infractions. Misdemeanors are more serious than infractions.

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