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Newly Proposed CA Law Could Increase Penalties for Texting While Driving

In a classic case of “legislative creep,” the California legislature is about to make cell telephone and texting violations result in a point on your driver’s license.  Back in 2005-2006, when California’s “hands-free” law was enacted, the politicians sold it to the public by saying to the effect of, “Well it is not a point violation, so it is like a parking ticket. Just pay the fine and it is finished.”

Fast forward through 12 years of insurance industry lobbying and here comes California Assembly Bill 47 (AB 47).

This newly proposed state law could have a much bigger impact on offenders, affecting someone’s driving record for quite a few years. And the auto insurance industry could not be happier.

The Impact of Assembly Bill 47

The proposed law, Assembly Bill 47, which is sponsored by Rep. Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay), would place a point to a violator’s driving record for texting while driving. Current driving offenses that carry the same penalty include running a red light or a stop sign, causing an accident, and speeding. Points generally stay on an individual’s driving record for a period of three years.

Points can also have a large impact on an individual’s car insurance premium. Though it depends on a case-by-case basis, insurance companies tend to view tickets as an indication that you are a riskier driver. In populous areas of California, you will pay up to $600 more per vehicle per year for every two points and you will pay $300 more per vehicle per year for every point on your driving record. This could end up being quite costly in the long-run.

The proposed harsher penalty is already garnering support from individuals in law enforcement, who believe that the current laws in place have not served to deter the general population from continuing to engage in risky behavior.  Of course, the California legislature specifically exempted California peace officers from the cell/texting laws.

According to the NHTSA, sending or reading a text takes an individual’s eyes off of the road for five seconds. If a car is going at a speed of 55mph, this equates to driving the entire length of a football field without looking. The latest California state transportation data shows that in 2013 alone, more than 422,000 citations were issued to motorists for texting while driving.

If the law successfully passes, it will take effect beginning in 2021.

Cheap Traffic Attorneys Can Help

If you or a loved one has received a ticket for a driving offense, including texting while driving, it can majorly impact your life for a long period of time. In fact, if you receive four points within a rolling 12-month period, you will receive an automatic six-month license suspension. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced traffic ticket attorney who understands all about police and traffic court operations.

As a former police officer, Mr. Pearson may save you time and money by contesting a traffic ticket in order to avoid increased points or insurance premiums. Lowering a ticket violation when permitted by jurisdiction can make a big difference. To learn more about traffic violations and to schedule a consultation, visit us online or call us at 310-945-5655 today!

What Can I Expect When I Get a Traffic Ticket?

You see the dreaded flashing lights behind you and your heart sinks into your stomach. You’ve just been pulled over for a traffic violation and now you have a traffic ticket. While it may feel like your day has officially been ruined, there are ways that you can deal with the process as quickly and painfully as possible. You may even be able to keep points off of your license.

Getting Pulled Over

When you get pulled over in California for speeding or another traffic violation, you can expect a few things to occur. The officer will first ask for your license, insurance, and registration. You should be sure to always have these three documents with you whenever you drive, as you can also face additional tickets for not having them.

Types of Traffic Tickets

There are two different types of traffic tickets to be aware of when you are pulled over:

  1. Infraction. All basic California traffic violations are considered to be infractions. This includes everything from speeding, to not stopping at a stop sign, to running a red light.
  2. Misdemeanor. If you have committed a more serious driving offense you are likely to receive a misdemeanor. This includes offenses such as DUI, excessive speeding, or driving on a suspended license.

You will sign and date the ticket and receive a copy. You are not admitting to any guilt, just that you agree appear in court on or before the date indicated on the bottom of the ticket. Hold onto it in a safe place because you will need it later on. Your “Notice to Appear” (ticket) will have important information on it such as your court deadline date to appear and citation number.

However, for crimes such as DUI, you could possibly be arrested then and your car may be impounded.

Plea Options

You can submit one of three plea options in response to your ticket: guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Should you plead guilty or no contest, you are then required to send in the required fine and copy of your citation to the court. Once received, the case will be closed and any points as well as your citation will make their way onto your driving record, where they will remain for 3 to 7 years. It is possible to take a traffic school class to hide your ticket from your public record if the Clerk of the Court or Judge has allowed that option.

If you plead not guilty, you must go in front of a judge to plead your case or you must submit a written “trial by declaration” to the court. You may obtain counsel or represent yourself. If you do a “trial by declaration” you must pay your fine up front. When the case is finished, you may receive a reduced fine or refund if the court finds in your favor.

Points

Speeding, running a red light, at-fault accidents, and unsafe lane changes are one point, while reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, hit and run, and DUI are two.

Your license can be suspended or revoked if you accumulate:

  • 4 or more points in 12 months
  • 6 or more points in 24 months
  • 8 or more points in 36 months

Any points can enable your auto insurance premiums to increase.

What Can You Do?

Finding an attorney to help is in your best interest. At Cheap Traffic Attorneys, we understand the impact that even one traffic violation can have on your driving record and work to help secure you the best outcome. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, visit us online or call us at 310-495-5655 today!

What Are the Consequences of Driving with Expired Registration Tabs in California?

Being issued a citation for driving with expired tags (stickers on the rear license plate) is more than just a nuisance if you fail to correct it. This is known as a correctable violation, or a “fix it” ticket, that can be resolved rather easily. If you pay a dismissal fee and show proof of correction, the court will dismiss the charge. If you fail to do so, you can be ticketed again and again, the fines will escalate and your driver’s license will be suspended.  That’s the time to call CheapTrafficAttorneys.com.

Continue reading What Are the Consequences of Driving with Expired Registration Tabs in California?

California Department of Motor Vehicles Announces New Traffic Laws

At cheaptrafficattorneys.com, we are committed to helping our clients fight traffic tickets, avoid or minimize penalties, and reduce points on their driving record. With the new year upon us, it is important to be aware of new traffic laws going into effect as of Jan. 1, 2019.

The California DMV recently issued a memorandum reminding drivers of pending changes to the state’s traffic laws. These include:

  • Temporary License Plates (AB 516) — Authorized dealers of new and used vehicles are required to attach temporary paper license plates on every vehicle sold that does not display previously issued DMV plates. The temporary plates are designed to reduce the number of toll violations and improve road safety.
  • Gender Identity (SB 179) — Applicants for a drivers license or identity card have the option to select their own gender, female, male or non-binary. Those who select “nonbinary” will receive a card with an “X” gender category.
  • Driving Under the Influence/Ignition Interlock Device (SB 1046) — Repeat offenders for driving under the influence or first DUI offenders whose violation results in an injury must  install an ignition interlock device for a period of 12 to 48 months. The requirement applies to DUI violations for alcohol use or combined alcohol and drug use, but does not apply to drug only violations.
  • Smog Check Changes and New Abatement Fees (AB 1274) — The smog check exemption for new vehicles is being raised to eight model years from the current exemption of six model years. During the additional two years of exemption, vehicle owners will pay an annual $25 smog abatement fee, but the current annual $20 fee for the first six years  remains the same.
  • Driving Privileges for Minors (AB 2685) Juvenile courts will no longer be able to suspend, restrict, or delay the issuance of a minor’s driver’s license for one year for habitual truancy or for being a ward of the state. Suspensions or delays reported prior to Jan. 1, 2019  remain in effect, however.
  • Motorized Scooters (AB 2989) — Motorized scooter riders who are 18 or older will no longer be required to use a bicycle helmet. In addition, individuals are prohibted from operating a motorized scooter on a highway with a speed limit greater than 25 miles per hour, unless it is on both a Class IV and Class II bikeway.
  • Unsafe/Unsecured Loads on Vehicles (AB 1925) — The DMV must include at least one question in at least 20 percent of knowledge tests (written exams) about the state’s unsecured load code. In sum, all vehicle loads (e.g.  ladders, buckets and other loose items) must be covered or secured.
  • Passing Waste Service Vehicles (AB 2115) — Drivers approaching a waste collection truck with its amber lights flashing must move into an adjacent lane, if possible, and pass at a safe distance, or slow to a safe and reasonable speed if moving is not possible.

Continue reading California Department of Motor Vehicles Announces New Traffic Laws

When Should You Fight a Traffic Ticket in California?

If you have been issued a traffic ticket, you should consider fighting the ticket, and for good reason. In addition to incurring a fine, you may have points added to your driver’s license and also face the potential of an increase in your car insurance premium. Depending on the violation, your driver’s license may also be suspended, which will make it difficult to get to work, go to school or manage day-to-day activities. With so much at stake, you are well advised to enlist the services of cheaptrafficattorneys.com.

Continue reading When Should You Fight a Traffic Ticket in California?

Contesting a Speeding Ticket

A speeding ticket can put a real crimp in your day. Unfortunately, it can also put a crimp in your wallet. California fines and penalties for speeding tickets are significantly higher than they once were, and you may find yourself facing increased insurance costs, too. Our speeding ticket attorney can contest a speeding ticket and may be able to help you keep the ticket off your driving record and avoid those costs. Continue reading Contesting a Speeding Ticket

What are Failure to Appear Warrants and DMV Holds?

Failure to appear warrants are a type of arrest warrant that is issued for people who fail to appear in court at the appointed time. These warrants are issued by a judge, and they will remain in effect until the person appears in court. As a result of the failure to appear in Court, the Court will notify the DMV to place a hold on your California driver license. Within a short amount of time, the Driver will receive a notice from the DMV that the driver’s license will be suspended as of a certain date. Continue reading What are Failure to Appear Warrants and DMV Holds?

When is an FTA Warrant Issued?

A Failure to Appear, or FTA, warrant may be issued for those who have received traffic tickets or are otherwise required to appear in court but fail to do so. FTA warrants are issued by judges and will remain in effect until the person involved or their attorney appears in court. If you have received an FTA warrant, our traffic ticket lawyer can help. Continue reading When is an FTA Warrant Issued?

Consequences of FTA Warrants

If you have received a traffic ticket, you may have noticed that you have the option to either plead guilty and pay the ticket or appear in court to contest the ticket. The due date or “appear by” date is generally listed directly on the traffic ticket, and you are required to appear or take action on the ticket before that date. If you Fail to Appear or take other action, a FTA warrant may be issued for your arrest. While a FTA warrant can appear frightening or disconcerting at first glance, most of the time, they can be easily resolved with the right representation. Our traffic ticket failure to appear attorney can help. Continue reading Consequences of FTA Warrants

How to Clear an FTA Warrant

According to California law, if you have failed to appear in court when required or failed to comply with a court order, then a failure to appear, or FTA, warrant may be issued for you. FTA warrants can have serious consequences, including arrest. The DMV will soon suspend your driver’s license for most violations. If you have an FTA warrant, our traffic ticket lawyer can help. Continue reading How to Clear an FTA Warrant