In the good old days, it was fun to sneak as many people into your car as possible so that you could avoid buying extra tickets at the drive-in. These days, you know better. Driving a vehicle without your passengers properly secured puts your safety and theirs at risk.
Of course, not everyone who looks as though they have unlawful riders is in violation of the law. If you get a ticket for a Vehicle Code 21712 violation, and you believe you’ve been wrongfully charged, you can bring your concerns before a court. Simmrin Law Group’s traffic violation lawyers can help you fight to avoid fines and license points.
Inappropriate Use of a Vehicle’s Riding Space
VC 21712 addresses how California residents are legally permitted to use their bodies when in their own or another person’s car. This ruling is designed to increase driver and passenger safety throughout the state. In general, the code dictates that passengers may not:
- Ride in part of a vehicle that’s not designated for safe travel, including the trunk
- Ride in a vehicle that another car or truck is towing
That said, there are some exceptions to this ruling. California law states that passengers are not legally required to keep all their limbs inside of a moving vehicle. Similarly, anyone riding in the bed of a truck is within their rights to right, even if their legs or feet are not in the vehicle.
Motorcyclists, however, need to be particularly careful when considering VC 21712. Any rider whose passenger joins them on the same seat can be issued a VC 21712 ticket.
Towing and VC 21712
As noted, your passengers may not ride in a vehicle that is actively being towed by another car or truck. Passengers who do endanger themselves, the driver towing their car, and other drivers on the road.
There are additional codes that may compound your VC 21712 charges if you’re accused of riding in a towed vehicle. These codes cover:
- Recklessly driving a towing vehicle
- Failing to signal with a towing vehicle
- Whipping a towed vehicle towards another driver, pedestrian, or party
If you’re accused of engaging in any of these behaviors, the consequences you face can be more severe than they would be in a straightforward VC 21712 case. You can work with an attorney to assess the possible fallout from your case. Then, you can build up your defense and fight to have those charged reduced or dropped.
What to Expect From VC 21712 Charges
If you don’t contest VC 21712 charges, you can face both a fine and points on your license. The fines for a VC 21712 violation vary depending on what your existing driving history looks like.
First-time offenders are fined up to $100. Second-time offenders can face fines of up to $200. Finally, violating VC 21712 three times or more can see you pay fines of $250 for your ticket. The cost of your violation will vary further depending on the circumstances that led to your ticketing.
You can also receive a single point on your license for a VC 21712 violation. Earn too many points, and the state may take away your license. However, California cannot do so without letting you state your case in a hearing. We can stand with you throughout this process and fight for your right to stay on the road.
When to Respond to a VC 21712 Charge
It’s not in your best interest to let a VC 21712 ticket go unattended to. The longer you try to ignore these tickets, the more likely it is that you’ll face additional legal consequences. This is the case regardless of whether or not law enforcement can prove that you engage in unlawful riding in a vehicle.
Ignoring a VC 21712 ticket can see you charged under VC 40508 for failure to appear. Unless you can submit “good reason” as to why you were unable to make a specific court date, you’ll risk taking on misdemeanor charges in addition to your VC 21712 charges.
These consequences can include fines of up to $1,000 and six months in county prison. If you’re looking to avoid these compounded consequences, you can reach out to a traffic violations attorney as soon as you receive your VC 21712 ticket.
How to Respond to a VC 21712 Charge
When you work with an attorney, you can challenge a VC 21712 ticket in court. You can sit down for a consultation long before your first court date. Together we can brainstorm the defenses that can see a judge reduce your consequences or drop your case.
These can include:
Riding in a Non-Moving Vehicle
You cannot be ticketed for improperly riding in a vehicle if that vehicle is not moving. You can, however, be charged for other things—public indecency, for example, or recreational drug use. If you don’t receive a ticket for those behaviors, though, and are only charged with a VC 21712 violation, we can challenge the charge.
It’s important to consider, though, where specifically your vehicle may be considered stationary. A parked car is naturally stationary. A car that’s stopped at a stoplight or stop sign is also stationary, though you may have to provide more evidence to prove as much. When you work with the Simmrin Law Group team, we can gather this evidence on your behalf.
Police officers aren’t infallible. An officer may attempt to give you a ticket if they feel you talked back to them or because they want to teach you a lesson. Neither one of these reasons is good enough to uphold a VC 21712 charge in court.
When we can prove that you received a ticket for reasons not covered by VC 21712, we can see the charges brought against you dropped.
Call on a California Traffic Violation Lawyer Today
Riding in a vehicle without the proper protections or in a vehicle that you’re not supposed to be in puts you and other drivers in danger. The law enforcement representatives who pull drivers with unseated passengers over are trying to protect everyone on the road.
That said, the police can make mistakes. If you believe you’ve been improperly charged with a VC 21712 violation, you can contest your ticket in court. Contact our traffic violation lawyers to schedule your free case evaluation today.