When you’re handed a ticket or charged with an infraction, you’re likely to wonder whether it’s even worth fighting the charge. Blowing it off is not possible, paying the ticket hurts but it is not your only option, but since most people don’t realize the consequences of going these routes, you’re better off taking the time to evaluate the possible outcomes.
Far too many people think that California traffic tickets and other moving or speeding violations are not that serious. This is what ends them up in trouble when they plead guilty or simply pay off the ticket. This can lead to long range consequences for your future and it’s well worth at least scheduling a conversation with an experienced traffic ticket attorney first to know whether or not there are things you can do to minimize or eliminate the consequences entirely.
Every traffic ticket or other violation is worth talking to an attorney about no matter how minor you perceive it to be. Even misdemeanor allegations for traffic tickets can have long term consequences. What follows are five of the serious misdemeanor issues that should prompt you to schedule a consultation with an attorney.
Driving Without a Driver’s License
Driving without a driver’s license is categorized under the California vehicle code 12500. This can be a misdemeanor or an infraction. An infraction is less severe and may lead to a fine of $234. This can often be fixed with a minimal fine if you do bring your driver’s license to the court clerk.
Some of the other infractions under this section of the code include endorsement or permanent violations or failing to sign the driver’s license. If it is classified as a misdemeanor offense, you could be responsible for paying up to $1000 in fines, spending a maximum of 6 months in county jail and paying the penalties, fees and surcharges that could bring your total to more than $2000. The costs of going without a license are high if you’re caught, and it’s critical that you hire an attorney who can help you with these allegations from the outset of the case.
Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License
If you are caught driving after your license was suspended by the DMV or the court, a misdemeanor offense may apply. This could lead to up to $300 in fees, surcharges and penalties depending on why your driver’s license was initially suspended. The penalties may be much higher based on the circumstances of your case.
When your license is suspended, you’re taking a risk each time you get inside a car behind the wheel. If you get pulled over and your license was suspended or revoked, the punishments may seem severe. When you have a suspended license, find other transportation. A legal issue like this one might seem cut and dry, but you can still benefit from the services of a lawyer committed to helping you.
Hit and Run
If you hit another vehicle or damage property and then leave the scene of the accident, a hit and run charge may apply. This is a misdemeanor under California vehicle code 20002 to leave the scene without notifying the owner of the damaged property, regardless of how minor it appears to you. Up to six months in jail can apply and up to $1000 in fines or both in addition to any penalties, surcharges and fees. Furthermore, you can expect that your insurance premiums will be increased if convicted. If there are injuries at the scene of the accident, it is a felony to leave. This could lead to a fine of up to $10,000 and at least a year in prison.
You may try to spin out to impress somebody else but California law enforcement officers could see this as violating CVC 23109, also known as speed contest or exhibition of speed. You may be responsible for up to $1000 in fines, up to 90 days in jail and your vehicle will probably be impounded for 30 days as well. It is not worth engaging in this type of situation.
It might seem like a harmless game on the streets, but the laws don’t interpret speed contests that way. Just a few minutes of what seems like fun could cost you.
Misdemeanor charges may apply for reckless driving such as willfully disregarding the safety of other people or property. You could be looking at up to 90 days in jail and fines as high as $1000 in addition to fees, surcharges and penalties. This could bring your total cost to more than $2000 and you will be unable to hide this conviction from your insurance company.
In fact, reckless driving stays on your driving record for up to 10 years and you can expect insurance premiums to spike between 20% and 50%. In some situations, your insurance company may decide to stop covering your policy at all. You need a California traffic ticket attorney to assist you with this situation and provide you further information about what is required.
After reading through how these issues can affect you even as misdemeanors, it’s likely that it’s become clear how the help of the right lawyer can make a big difference in your case. Hiring an attorney to help you with fighting these tickets and legal concerns can decrease the chances of a negative impact on your future and can instead empower you with the right tools to protect yourself now and in the future.
Although felony classifications are much more serious, you still need the help offered by an attorney who knows how the law operates and who will work hard to protect your interests. Since you’re not familiar with the law, the opportunities to make a mistake are presented throughout a case like this and far too many people realize they’ve made a mistake after it’s too late. Trust your misdemeanor traffic ticket issue in California to a lawyer at The Ticket Clinic who knows the landscape and can help you fight these charges. Call 1-800-CITATION for a free consultation.