Fresno Traffic Defense Lawyer
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It is all too easy to not take a traffic violation seriously and either ignore or pay it. However, both options can have dire consequences. It’s always best to call a Fresno traffic lawyer to discuss the best way to handle the situation.
If you have been ticketed or arrested for a traffic violation, the best next step to take is calling an experienced traffic ticket attorney. It is all too easy to not take a traffic violation seriously and either ignore or pay it. However, both of these options lead to problems. Ignoring a ticket can have devastating consequences. The courts will not simply forget about it, and you could end up owing the state hundreds or thousands of dollars. If you pay the ticket, you are essentially pleading guilty. Instead of ignoring or paying your fine, you should call a Fresno traffic lawyer to discuss the best way to handle the situation and mitigate the potential consequences.
California Traffic Laws
As someone with a driver’s license, you are expected to remember and follow certain fundamental traffic laws outlined in California’s Vehicle Code, Division 11: Rules of the Road. Certain rules include complying with all traffic controls, whether they are lights or signs. You must also drive on the right side of a divided road unless you are lawfully passing. At every intersection, you must follow the right-of-way rules. The vehicles that arrive at the intersection before you move first. You also need to drive the posted speed limit. If no speed limit signs are installed, then you must adhere to the speeds outlined by law, such as 25 mph in residential zones or 65 mph on highways.
If you forget one or more of these rules and accidentally violate one of them, you may face a ticket for a traffic offense. Ignorance of the law is not a defense. However, there may still be a way to defend yourself against the charge and avoid fines and other penalties. Contact a Fresno traffic lawyer right away to discuss your options after being ticketed for a traffic violation.
Common Traffic Violations
There is a long list of traffic violations you could get a ticket for in California. From driving 5 mph too fast in a school zone to improper lane usage, you can be pulled over and penalized.
Some of the most common traffic violations in Fresno include:
You can be ticketed for speeding if you drive faster than the posted speed limit, drive faster than the statutory speed limit, or drive faster than what is safe and appropriate for the current conditions. How far above the speed limit you are driving influences the cost of your ticket. You will also face harsher consequences for driving too fast in a work zone.
- Hit and Run
If you are in a car accident, the law requires that you stop at the scene. You must provide assistance when necessary, report the accident, and stay there until the police arrive and can take your statement. If you drive away too soon, even if you initially stopped, you can be ticketed for a hit and run accident. Depending on the severity of the accident, you may face charges for a misdemeanor or a felony. In either case, you need to take the situation seriously and call a Fresno traffic lawyer right away.
- Driving With a Suspended License
If your license was suspended or revoked, whether you agree with the suspension or not, you are prohibited from driving. If an officer pulls you over and finds that your driver’s license has been suspended, then you will be ticketed or possibly arrested.
- Driving Without a License
If you are driving without a license when and are stopped by an officer, you face a ticket for driving without a license. If you simply did not have your license on you at the time, you will still be ticketed. However, you have a strong defense. You should call a California traffic defender from Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer right away to discuss how to get the charge dismissed.
- Driving Without Insurance
California law requires you to maintain a certain amount of auto insurance. This is to ensure you can be financially responsible for any accident you cause. If you are pulled over or in an accident and an officer finds you do not have insurance, you can be ticketed.
- Reckless Driving
If you are driving in such a way that you put other people or property in danger, you can be charged with reckless driving. As a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to months in jail and fined.
Having an experienced attorney counts in the courtroom. Mike McKneely will be with you every step of the way.
California Driver’s License Points
Another penalty associated with many traffic violations is driver’s license points. If you plead or are found guilty of certain traffic offenses, one or two points will be assigned to your driving record. Most points remain on your driver’s license for more than three years. However, points from more serious situations, such as being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), stay on your record for 10 years.
You will be considered a negligent operator and your driver’s license will be suspended for six months if you accumulate:
- Four points within 12 months
- Six points within 24 months
- Eight points within 36 months
However, if you are under the age of 18, you can have your license restricted if you accumulate three points within one year. Your license will also be suspended for a period of time if you gain three points within one year.
The Traffic Court Process
If you get a traffic ticket, don’t pay or ignore it. Instead, call an attorney to guide you through the court process. If you choose to pay a fine for a traffic offense, you are pleading guilty and must accept the penalty you’re given. This is rarely your best option. Instead, a lawyer will discuss your options for fighting the ticket.
Along with the ticket will be a Notice to Appear. This gives you the date and time of your court hearing. Certain violations can be disputed prior to a hearing either through the mail or in person at the clerk’s office. If this is an option for you, your lawyer will explain the process. However, for misdemeanor or felony traffic offenses, you must appear in court to enter your initial plea. Your lawyer may seek to have the charges reduced or dismissed. If the charges move forward, then your attorney will discuss the best defense options with you.
Penalties for Traffic Tickets
If you are ticketed for a traffic offense that is an infraction, then you will not be jailed. Infractions are penalized with fines, fees, and assessments. Just one traffic infraction can cost you hundreds of dollars. If you take into account higher auto insurance costs, one ticket could cost you thousands of dollars over the next few years.
If the traffic violation was a misdemeanor, then you may be sentenced to jail and/or probation. The maximum duration you may be jailed depends on the statute. Some traffic violations can lead to up to 90 days in jail, while others allow for up to 364 days’ incarceration. You may be fined up to $1,000 for most misdemeanors, though this does not take into account other court costs, fees, and assessments.
Certain traffic crimes are felonies, such as a hit and run accident in which someone was injured or killed or evading the police. The penalties for felonies vary greatly depending on the specific violation. You may be sentenced to as little as one year in prison. On the other hand, the violation may allow a court to sentence you to multiple years in prison. You can be fined up to several thousand dollars for a felony conviction.
To avoid the harsh penalties of a California traffic infraction, misdemeanor, or felony, call a Fresno traffic lawyer from Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer for help.
Contact a Fresno Traffic Lawyer for Help
Whenever you are ticketed or charged with a traffic offense, your next step should be to call Mike McKneely of Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer. By hiring an attorney, you gain someone with in-depth knowledge of California’s traffic laws and hands-on experience with local traffic courts. The likelihood of your ticket being dismissed or exonerating yourself at trial increases greatly.
To discuss fighting a traffic violation, call us today to schedule a free case evaluation.