An overview of moving violation traffic tickets in California.
There are many types of traffic tickets in California ranging from local ordinance citations or municipal code violations to misdemeanor citations for DUI and driving on a suspended license. The most common type of citation that most drivers ever receive in California are moving violations for things like speeding, illegal lane change and running a red light or stop sign. Moving violations are violations for which the DMV assesses points on a persons driving record. If a driver gets to many points in a certain period of time the DMV may suspend or restrict their driving privileged.
Negligent Operator Points
Class C, non commercial drivers, in California are allowed no more than 3 points on their driving record in a 12 month period. If a driver receives 4 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months or 8 points in 36 months the DMV will initiate a suspension action against the driver's license privilege for being a negligent operator. The driver has a right to a timely requested hearing to contest the negligent operator suspension. At the hearing the DMV will consider all evidence surrounding the issuance of the point violations, the driver's necessity to continue driving, amount of mileage driven, and any prior record for negligent operation. In the end, the DMV may set aside the suspension, place the driver on probation, or impose the suspension as noticed.
Non-commercial drivers in California are allowed to attend traffic violator school once every eighteen months from the date of violation to the date of violation. Completion of traffic school results in a moving violation being masked from the DMV's negligent operator point count and blocks the violation from the driver's insurance company. If a driver attends traffic school and then accrues any additional convictions for moving violations in the 18 months following traffic school, the convictions will appear on the driving record and the insurance company will be notified. Commercial drivers are currently ineligible to attend traffic school in California.
Fight your ticket
Unless a driver is eligible for traffic violator school, and if even if they are, it is almost always worth it to fight a traffic moving violation in California. California law treats traffic infractions are criminal offenses and affords defendants most of the same rights they would have if charged with a misdemeanor. A driver has a right to a court, not a jury, trial and a right to an attorney but not a court appointed lawyer. To fight a ticket a California driver can opt to file a trial by written declaration (TBD) or to go directly to court and demand a court trial. Filing a TBD requires that the driver post her bail amount and submit a written declaration on a court form to the court prior to the due date given by the court. The officer then must respond and the court weighs the evidence presented by both sides and renders a decision, guilty or not guilty. If the officer fails to respond the driver will be found not guilty.