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California Traffic Ticket Law Blog

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.

Top 3 reasons to fight a speeding ticket

Many people believe that once a ticket is issued the best thing to do is pay it. But this is not always true. In fact, it's rarely true. 

There are many reasons why fighting a ticket might be better for you in the long run. Here are the top three. 

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."

5 things you may need to do to get your license back

You cannot drive on a suspended license. Not having a valid driver's license really impacts your life, making it harder to go to work and cutting into your freedom and social activities. If you lose your license, you need to know what steps to take to get it back.

Exactly what you'll need to do depends on the specific reason that you lost the license to begin with. However, here are five common steps to help you understand the likely process:

  1. Wait until the suspension period has ended. Do not drive at all during this time. Getting caught doing so can lead to more charges and increase the length of the suspension.
  2. Pay any fines and the reissue fee. This is mandatory if you want to drive legally again.
  3. If you lost your license due to drunk driving, you may need to complete a DUI treatment program as ordered by the court.
  4. If you had a mental or physical disorder, you may need to get a Driver Medical Evaluation that clears you to drive again.
  5. If you lost your license and got a prison sentence for the incident — multiple drunk driving charges, for example -- then you have to serve that sentence first.

Study: Hit-and-run accidents growing more common

Hit-and-run accidents have always happened, but recent reports indicate that they are quickly growing more common. One study, which looked at accidents involving fatalities, found that they went up by 60 percent in less than a decade. The study looked at the changes in incidents from 2009 to 2016.

Most of the hit-and-runs actually did not involve other cars -- particularly when looking at fatal crashes. About 65 percent of the incidents involved cyclists and pedestrians.

Can you always turn right on red?

As you probably know, it is often legal to turn right on a red light. You simply have to stop like you usually would at the intersection -- at the limit line or the crosswalk -- and then you can turn right when there is a break in traffic. But can you always turn right on red?

You can't. There are some exceptions to this rule.

Can you accelerate before the speed limit sign?

You drive through the same part of town every day. It starts out in a 25-mph zone right near your house, but it changes to a standard 55-mph zone about two miles along in your daily commute. Since you know the area and you know the sign is coming, you usually start accelerating before you actually get to it. This way, you can get up to 55 mph when you reach the sign. Is this legal?

While it is very common, this is technically illegal. Speed limit signs do not mean you should already be going at that speed when you hit the sign. There is no gray area or buffer zone in front of the sign. As long as you have not passed it yet, you are still in the old speed limit zone. It does not change until the exact spot where they put up that sign.

Too many at-fault car accidents may leave you without a license

Perhaps you were driving over the speed limit, lost control of your vehicle and were involved in a car accident. An officer determined your actions caused the majority of the damage, and you were subsequently ticketed. A few months later, you failed to make a complete stop at a stop sign, and you crashed into another vehicle. Again, an officer found your actions at-fault, and you received another ticket.

California driving laws assign serious penalties for those that engage in actions that lead to accidents on the roadway. Though you always try to drive safely and abide by all traffic laws, you have a serious case of bad luck and continue to receive point violations. Unfortunately, if you find yourself accused of multiple at-fault accidents in a 12-month time frame in California, you may lose your license. In any accident involving traffic convictions, you want to hire an experienced ticketing attorney to help you defend yourself against the accumulation of punishments.

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