A California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer has the right to cite you whenever you violate an existing traffic regulation. The officer will ask for your license and registration. You may also need to step outside your vehicle and provide your proof of insurance. The officer may give you a CHP ticket for either an infraction or a misdemeanor.
An officer may stop you and charge you with an infraction if you’re driving too fast or running a red light. Traffic infractions are non-criminal offenses and the consequences include paying a fine and signing a ticket or ‘Notice to Appear’ in court. Driving without proof of insurance also falls under infractions. You may also get a ‘fix-it ticket’ if you have faulty or broken equipment in your car.
You’re likely to receive a misdemeanor ticket if you commit violations such as hit and run, driving without a license, or reckless driving. The officer may ask you to sign a Notice to Appear if the charge doesn’t involve alcohol or drugs. Signing the notice doesn’t mean you’re guilty, but you must appear in court on the date shown on your ticket.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) is a serious misdemeanor. If charged with this offense, you may need to pay a fine or spend up to one year in a county jail. Failure to appear in court will result in suspension of license.
What Are Your Options?
You may either pay or fight a ticket. Paying the ticket means you’re guilty and that you accept all its consequences. Other than paying the fine, you’ll have to attend traffic school and get additional points on your driving record. Your insurance company may also increase your premium.
You can always challenge or fight the ticket if you think you’re not guilty. You may need to pay the fine and go to trial. The court will return your money if you’re found not guilty. Mr. Ticket has an experienced lawyer to represent you and fight for your rights.
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