A California speeding ticket carries one of the highest traffic ticket fine schedules in the nation. It is not unusual for the fine to be over $300.00. California also has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation. Combine these two factors and your California speeding ticket will make quite a dent in your pocketbook.
The following is general information on how to approach your CA traffic court date. It really all comes down to economics. How much is the fine, what effect will it have on my driver's license and how much will my insurance increase cost me over the next three years? Once you answer these questions you will be in a position to evaluate the various options available to beat your California speeding ticket.
You should receive a courtesy notice from the court about two weeks after the traffic stop. It will give you the cost of the fine, tell you if a court appearance is mandatory and advise if you are eligible for traffic school. If you do not receive the notice check with the clerk of court prior to your court date. Never miss your court date or they will tack on a Failure to Appear fine and suspend your license.
Here is the main link for court information on California Traffic Citations. You can check your particular violation by the statute number on the ticket. California Traffic Court
California Drivers License
If you have a California drivers license and have received a California speeding ticket the option that most people choose is traffic school. That is even more popular since many courts now accept California online traffic school. You can take school once every eighteen months for minor traffic violations and at the judges option for more serious tickets. Normally for the judge to approve for a serious ticket you will need an attorney.
California traffic school will keep the ticket off your record, avoid a trip to court and there will be no increase in your California car insurance rates. Be sure to get approval from the court prior to taking the school since not all counties accept California online traffic school.
Here is a link for more information.
If you have the time it may pay you to show up on your court date. If the officer does not show then you can make a motion for dismissal. In most California traffic courts this is automatic but some judges will give the officer a continuance. If he does show you can then opt for traffic school and keep your California speeding ticket off your record.
California Traffic Attorney Referrals
Los Angeles Traffic Attorney
Mark Gallagher has extensive experience representing clients who have been charged with California reckless driving, DWI-DUI drunk driving, drug possession, and all other misdemeanors and felonies. He represents local clients and out-of-state drivers who may have gotten California speeding or reckless driving tickets in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino or
If you are a truck driver with a California speeding ticket you need to know that the laws have changed. Effective September 20, 2005 truckers will no longer be able to mask a traffic ticket by taking traffic school. Some courts may already be enforcing this directive from the Federal government.
There are also numerous violations that fall into what is called the serious category. Included is speeding over 15mph, following too close and improper lane change. If you receive two serious violations within three years your CDL license will be suspended.
If you hold a California CDL license a violation received in a commercial vehicle carries one and one-half
times the point count normally assessed.
In addition many equipment violations carry points so you need to be careful, especially about pleading down about out of state tickets. Refer to the California Point System below. Also California is not a member of the Nonresident Violators Compact. This means you should consider carrying a bail bond card since other states may make you pay the ticket on the spot.
In general you should contest all traffic tickets since your company may have special requirements about the number of tickets on your MVR. Most trucking companies will not hire you if you have more than one serious or two minor California speeding tickets on Your DAC Report.
California Ticket - Out of State Drivers License
California reports traffic violations to all fifty states and Canada. The California speeding ticket violation will be posted to your record and treated just as if you received the ticket in your home state.
A few states will not enter minor out of state traffic tickets. The only way to be certain how the California violation will be treated is to contact the DMV in your state.
Beat California Speeding Ticket
If you decide to contest your California speeding ticket contact the clerk of court for the procedures for pleading not guilty. Normally a new court date will be set and the court will require that you post bail in the amount of the fine. If you do not have the money then you can file a request to be released on your own recognizance. Be sure to make copies of everything and send all correspondence by certified mail return receipt.
Change of Venue You have the right to request a change of venue to the county seat if it is closer to where you live or work. Some people claim that this increases the possibility that the officer will not show and your case will be dismissed. I have no evidence that this is correct but use this if it is more convenient for you. You need to request this from the officer at the time of the stop. However the judge may grant a timely filed motion. California Vehicle Code section 40502(b).
Discovery Request You need to properly and timely file a Request for Discovery. There is an ongoing legal battle about discovery for a traffic infraction. Most courts will not respond to the request unless it involves a criminal violation. The request depends on your particular situation and a full discussion is beyond the scope of this article. If you are going this route you can find the forms and other information in Beat CA Speeding Ticket by attorney David Brown.
Trial by Declaration A Trial by Declaration is done entirely by mail. You tell your side and the officer tells his and the judge decides. It is unusual to win at this stage but not impossible. One way a TBD can work to your advantage is to delay the traffic ticket until after you renew your California autto insurance. It may pay you to purchase insurance for a full year while your record is clean. Click on the California auto insurance banner below for the best quotes.
A well written and researched defense may provide the judge with reasonable doubt or the officer may not respond on time. Here are the instructions:
California Trial by Declaration
California Speed Trap Law The California speed trap laws only apply to roads with a speed limit of 55 or under, not 65 mph. interstate highways. In People v. Goulet, 13 Cal. App. 4th Supp. 1, the court noted that speed traps, zones of reduced speed that were not justified, brought disrespect to law enforcement and to the courts. The court found that obvious road features like curves and limited sight distances alone was not enough to justify the speed on the road at 35 mph. The court found the speed limit to be unsupported by the survey and therefore the speed limit could not be enforced by the use of radar. This defense is covered in Chapter 11 of Beat Your Speeding Ticket.
California Speeding Ticket Attorney
The information on this site is not legal advice. Only a licensed attorney can give you legal advice.
In traffic cases where a person is representing themselves the verdict is almost always guilty. A non-lawyer does not know the court procedures or the law. Most citizens rely on a "Please believe me, and not the police officer." This approach does not work very well with most judges.
If you have lost at the Trail by Declaration stage you promptly file the request for a new trial and then decide if it is worth retaining an attorney. Even if you decide to proceed without one you need the ability to discuss your case with an attorney. If your violation has serious consequences it is imperative that you retain an attorney prior to doing anything.
A California traffic ticket results in a mandatory increase in your insurance.
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California Speed Trap Law
California does have a speed trap law. It does not apply where the speed limit is over 55 mph. Where it does apply you can almost be sure that the offcier and the jurisdiction are in compliance. There are many ways to defeat a ticket, especially if you have been charged under Statute 22350, the California basic speed law. While you need to verify compliance, reliance on the speed trap law alone as a defense is problematic.
CALIFORNIA SPEED TRAPS
San Diego's Coronado island is a popular California tourist attraction and home to a Navy SEAL training base and two aircraft carriers. On October 11, Coronado lowered the speed limit to 25 MPH on the roads that lead on and off of the Coronado Bridge. The city cited new Caltrans guidelines that ignore engineering studies suggesting the limit is as much as 10 MPH below the recommended 85th percentile speed. Coronado expects to raise revenue significantly with the change.
According to the National Motorists Association the five most active traps in California are:
1. Placerville:U.S. 50 near El Dorado Road
2. Shingle Springs:Between Eldorado and Shingle Springs Exits
3. Shingle Springs:Meder Road
4. Cameron Park:Bass Lake Rd.
5. Cameron Park:Stop sign at Country Club Dr and Rustic Rd in
California Airplane Speeding Ticket
The California Highway Patrol is currently making extensive use of airplanes to spot speeders, especially near the Nevada border.
Normally the airplane spots a vehicle and then the CHP officer on the ground either paints him with radar or paces the speeder.
This is part of their "show no mercy campaign".
If you receive one of these California speeding tickets be sure to ascertain how your speed was determined. If the officer in the airplane measured your speed this may be in violation of the speed trap law and both officers must appear in court or you can request dismissal.
California Red Light Camera Tickets
Many California cities have decided to raise revenue through the use of red light camera tickets. Many of these installations do not meet the legal requirements and contesting the citation can result in dismissal.
For example we have received reports that the city of Riverside has two intersections that are illegal. However they continue to issue tickets and collect the fines. If you contest one of these tickets it is automatically dismissed.
At least nine other cities are issuing "fake" red light camera tickets requesting that you either admit to being the driver or identify the driver. Check to be sure the ticket is from the court, otherwise it is not legal. You are not required to identify the driver.
In 2014, Redflex Traffic System, which administers the red-light camera ticketing program for the city of San Mateo, issued 4,462 tickets worth $2.4 million, according to TheNewspaper. Sixty-three percent of these tickets went to drivers who made "California stops," also known as "Hollywood stops." $500 fine for red-light 'California stops' excessive?
However, more than sixty California towns have decided cameras were not worth keeping. If your city or county still uses these cameras you can petition to have a referendum to have them banned.
One of the best ways to prevent inadvertent speeding tickets is to purchase a good radar and laser detector. If it saves you from just one ticket it will have paid for itself. Click on the link below for our recommendations on radar detectors and laser detectors and laser jammers.
The California DMV keeps a public record of all your traffic convictions and accidents.
Each occurrence stays on your record for 36 months or longer, depending on the
type of conviction. If you get too many “points,” you will lose your driver license.
You may be considered a negligent operator when your driving record shows any one
of the following “point count” totals regardless of your license class:
4 points in 12 months 6 points in 24 months 8 points in 36 months
If you get too many negligent driver points, DMV will place you on probation for one year
(which includes a six month suspension) or revoke your driving privilege.
Your suspension or revocation order informs you of your right to a hearing. A minor, under 18 years of age, may receive a 30-day restriction for 2 points in 12 months,
or be suspended for 3 points in 12 months
DMV will revoke your license if you are convicted of hit-and-run driving or reckless driving which results in injury.
SUSPENSION BY CALIFORNIA TRAFFIC COURT
A judge may suspend a person’s license if convicted of the following:
Breaking speed laws or reckless driving.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Engaging in lewd conduct and prostitution in a vehicle within 1000 feet of a residence.
Assaulting a driver, passenger, bicyclist, or pedestrian when the offense occurs on a
highway (road rage).
Failure to stop as required at a railway grade crossing.
Felony or misdemeanor offense of recklessly fleeing a law enforcement officer.
Just paying your California speeding ticket fine does not reinstate your license. You must also pay a fee and provide proof of insurance to the California DMV.
California Case Dismissed
The best way to beat a California speeding ticket fine is to go to court and get your traffic ticket case dismissed. If you have decided to proceed without an attorney then this book will provide invaluable information into the workings of traffic court. I give it my "Blue Light Special" seal of approval
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