New Driving Penalties to Look Out for in California

August 31, 2018

The new traffic laws of 2018 went into effect January 1st. Regardless if you were aware or not, violations can still lead to a citation. As a responsible driver, you need to know all about these new rules and penalties.

The Most Important Changes

Most preexisting California traffic law remain unaltered with a few minor adjustments to adapt to changes in technology, societal preferences, and other updated state laws.

The new DUI law California uses to curb intoxicated driving clearly defines rules for marijuana use and includes provisions for rideshare operators.

  • You may not smoke marijuana while driving or allow passengers to smoke marijuana
  • You may not be under the influence of marijuana while operating a motor vehicle
  • Rideshare drivers (Uber, Lyft, etc.) may not have a blood alcohol content higher than .04%

The law also requires passengers in buses equipped with seat belts to strap in while underway. Police may cite those caught riding without wearing the provided restrains. The DMV also clarified identification requirements for handicap placard applicants and imposed new fees on vehicle registrations to fund road improvements throughout the state.

2020 Updates To California’s Driving Laws

The law has continued to change and adapt to driver behavior and new information about how that behavior impacts public safety. This year, the new CA driving lawupdates include an expansion of the penalties under the California cell phone law, as well as a few other tweaks and changes. The broad strokes to most of the changes are simple, and most importantly, the majority of the changes are designed to decrease extra red tape for drivers, even if there are a few increased penalties in the mix.

The change most likely to catch the attention of the driving public is the increase in penalties for cell phone use while driving. California’s existing cell phone law requires drivers to abstain from use that requires them to handle the phone while the car is being operated, and it has a modest penalty when compared to many other traffic offenses. How much is a cell phone ticket in California?If it’s a first offense, the ticket itself is only $20. Additional penalty assessments can add between $60 and $150, depending on circumstances, but the first offense does not carry any points.

For subsequent offenses, the fine goes up to $50, and there is still a penalty assessment. The change to the law for 2020 is simple. In addition to the increased cost, subsequent offenses now add a point to the driver’s record each time they receive a texting ticket. As in previous years, this assumes the ticketed behavior is for simple cell phone use. If the driver’s behavior is erratic enough to lead to a reckless driving charge, the penalties for that offense may also apply. It depends on the degree of distracted driving and the documented behavior of the vehicle prior to the traffic stop.

The California Points System

Police officers may exercise some discretion when issuing citations, but California recognizes that some violations are more severe than others. The law assigns a point value to offenses.

If you collect too many points in a certain amount of time, the DMV automatically suspend your driving privileges:

  • Accumulate four points inside of twelve months
  • Collect six points within 24 months
  • Work your way up to eight points over 36 months

Losing your license makes it harder to work, travel, and manage your daily life.

Fight Your Ticket

Are you holding on to a freshly written citation? A professional traffic lawyer can help. You may be wondering, “Who is the best traffic ticket lawyer near me?”

Call The Ticket Clinic. As licensed attorneys, they appear for you in court and negotiate on your behalf to reduce your fine and charges. They even help you manage serious criminal charges. If you’ve been pulled over this year and need the best DUI lawyer California has to offer, contact The Ticket Clinic for a consultation.