Traffic Attorney Torrance and Long Beach
In the state of California, any “moving violation”—a violation of the Vehicle Code committed while actually driving a vehicle (not a parking ticket)—and several other kinds of offenses are categorized as “infractions.” Infractions are not crimes. Infractions are generally viewed as being the lowest of three tiers of possible legal violations: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies.
Driver’s License Privileges and Points on Your License
That being said, traffic violations can be quite expensive to address and can have consequences for the violator’s driver’s license privileges. Especially in Southern California, having a valid driver’s license is often considered essential to basic functions in life. It is extremely difficult to find and maintain employment without the ability to legally drive a vehicle.
Many traffic violations count as a “point” on the driver’s DMV record; accumulate a given number of points (4 points in a 12-month period, 6 points in a 24-month period, or 8 points in a 36-month period), and the DMV can suspend your license as a negligent operator.
There are other types of offenses in California that count as infractions but do not have implications for your driver’s license. They don’t count as “points” on a DMV record, and they will not accumulate so that the DMV suspends your license as a negligent operator. For example, at this point in time, mere possession of less than 28.5 grams of marijuana (but not “hash” or “concentrated cannabis”) is only an infraction in California—not a criminal offense.
Is It “Worth It” to Contest a Traffic Ticket?
People often ask if it is “worth it” to contest a traffic ticket. The answer often depends on your priorities.
Contesting a traffic ticket can be quite difficult, not only because of the legal skill required, but also because it is often incredibly inconvenient. It is not simply a matter of showing up on the date on the ticket and seeing if the officer bothers to come to court. You will not be given a trial on the traffic infraction before you spend at least one (and sometimes two or three) mornings in a traffic court, or waiting in line at a traffic division clerk’s office. It is only then, when a trial date issues, that you can have your day in court. The inconvenience alone often prompts people to give up fighting the ticket.
Having an attorney means not having to go to court at all. Of course, this comes with its own expense. It is essential that you consult with an attorney in order to help decide the question of “is it worth it” for you.
What if the Officer Who Wrote Me the Ticket Doesn’t Show Up? Do I Win?
Generally speaking, yes. It is true that if you have a traffic trial to contest your moving violation and the officer fails to appear that morning, you will “beat the ticket.” However, see above—that does not mean you can simply appear on the date on the ticket and see what happens. The date on your traffic ticket would just be the first of at least two, possibly several mornings in court before a traffic trial date.
Also bear in mind that officers often have multiple tickets set for trial on the same date, depending on the way your jurisdiction handles these issues, so the officer may have an incentive to show up beyond just your ticket.
Traffic Court Lawyer
Our office can help you navigate traffic court in Torrance and in Long Beach. Hire a qualified, aggressive traffic ticket lawyer. For a free consultation, call the Law Office of Andrew Bouvier-Brown today.