California Traffic Infraction Laws

Traffic_4 infractions

Many people do not take traffic infractions seriously because they believe infractions do not involve jail time. However, in California, infractions can cost you a lot of money. If you fail to pay the traffic ticket fine, a warrant can be issued for your arrest and can result in serious jail time.

If you are convicted of a traffic offense, the penalty assessments and extra fees can have you paying upwards of $500 for a simple infraction, and can add points to your driving record. Acquiring too many points on your record within a given time can lead to suspension or revocation of your license. In addition, your auto insurance provider may increase your insurance premiums as a result of a point on your driving record.

Types of Traffic Infractions in California

There are several types of traffic infractions that you can be cited for. The following are some of the most commonly cited infractions in California.

The Basic Speed Law (VC 22350)

To be convicted of violating The Basic Speed Law under California Vehicle Code Section 22350, the prosecution will have to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You were driving a vehicle;
  • Upon a highway;
  • And your speed was either greater than is reasonable or prudent or must endanger the safety of persons or property.

Punishment for Violating Speed Laws

In California, the punishment for violating the Basic Speed Law includes 1 point on your driving record and a maximum $480 in fine. Fines may vary within this limit depending on the speed the officer said you were going at the time you were pulled over.

Red Light Ticket (VC 21453)

red light infraction
Red light infraction

To be convicted of the infraction of a Red Light violation under California Vehicle Code Section 21450, the prosecution will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements:

  • You were driving a vehicle;
  • You were facing a red light; and
  • You did not stop at the red light.

However, so long as the front of your vehicle entered the intersection or passed the innermost limit line before the light turned from yellow to red, you have not broken this law.

Common Punishments

The punishment for running a red light includes 1 point on your driving record and a maximum $500 fine.

Stop Sign Ticket (VC 22450)

To be convicted of a Stop Sign violation under California Vehicle Code Section 21453, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements:

  • You drove a vehicle and approached a stop sign;
  • The stop sign was at the entrance of or within an intersection or railroad crossing; and
  • You failed to come to a complete and total stop at:
  • A limit line;
  • A crosswalk; or
  • The entrance to the intersection or railroad crossing (if there is no marked crosswalk or limit line).

In addition, the stop sign must have been clearly visible from the lane in which you were driving. If your view of the stop sign was obstructed for any reason (such as a tree or dense fog), you may have a valid defense.

Common Punishments

Punishment for running a stop sign includes 1 point on your driving record and up to $234 in fines.

Texting and Driving (VC 23123.5)

texting driving infraction
Texting and driving

To be convicted of texting and driving under California Vehicle Code Section 23123(a), the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You were driving a car; and
  • You were using a wireless telephone for the use of text-messaging, emailing or any other feature not related to phone calls (covered under VC 23123);
  • Unless the phone has hands-free capabilities and is being used as such.

However, in a recent case (People v. Spriggs, 2014), the California Court of Appeal ruled that you are legally allowed to use your GPS or map application for directions while driving. Thus, if you were using your GPS while driving, your citation must be dismissed. You will want to have a skilled traffic attorney to provide this defense to the court.

Punishment for Texting and Driving

Punishment for texting and driving includes up to $167 in fines.

Call Wallin & Klarich Today

If you or a loved one is facing a costly infraction violation, it is critical that you speak to an experienced traffic attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 40 years of experience defending persons cited for traffic infractions. Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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