Not all traffic violations in Los Angeles are just a simple fine. Some can become criminal offenses, potentially carrying jail time and affecting your career. Others are “just tickets,” but those tickets could carry points that cost you your license. If you need to fight a traffic violation of any kind, do not risk doing it alone. You need a Los Angeles traffic violation lawyer on your side.
At the Simmrin Law Group, we know how to make traffic violations disappear. We have a record of getting violations dropped, negotiating them down to less serious citations, and helping our clients keep their license. We also know how to take on criminal cases and help you potentially avoid jail time or even walk away with no charges. Let us give you a free consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
What kinds of traffic violations can you help with in Los Angeles?
A good traffic lawyer can help you with any kind of ticket or violation. The most common cases we encounter in Los Angeles include:
Hit and Run
This is far from a comprehensive list. Los Angeles’ traffic laws are complicated, with dozens of infractions that a driver can run into even when driving as responsibly as possible. Unfortunately, even small violations can cost points off your license and ultimately cost you your license itself. Many can also become criminal matters.
Which traffic violations count as criminal offenses in Los Angeles?
California essentially has three types of traffic offenses: infractions, misdemeanor crimes and felonies. Each of these types of offenses carries different kinds of penalties and not all are criminal.
Traffic infractions are not criminal offenses. They include most of the ordinary “tickets” such as speeding tickets, parking tickets, etc. They also include some moving violations that are considered potentially dangerous but not serious enough to count as criminal charges. Common examples of infractions include:
Car pool lane violations
Illegal lane change
Not stopping at a stop sign
“Fix it” tickets related to broken lights and other problems with your vehicle
You can fight an infraction in traffic court, and your hearing date is already printed on the notice you were given. Most of the time your entire case can be resolved on the day of your scheduled hearing. However, going to traffic court can involve hours of waiting just to get a few seconds in front of the judge. It can be very hard to win at traffic court if you do not understand the law.
Penalties for infractions always include a fine and often take points of your license. You can end up losing your drivers license simply because of these minor infractions.
Misdemeanor Traffic Violations
Misdemeanors are criminal offenses and typically carry jail time. They may also carry other penalties including large fines, probation, mandatory traffic school and automatic license suspension. Examples of potential misdemeanors include:
Driving on a suspended license
Hit and run
It’s important to know that some of the charges above can be felonies depending on the circumstances.
Misdemeanors cannot be resolved in traffic court. They will involve a criminal court case, which typically includes multiple court dates and a trial by jury if the charge is not resolved beforehand. A traffic lawyer can help you fight your case.
Most job applications and colleges will require you to disclose your criminal history, including any misdemeanors.
Felony Traffic Violations
Felonies are criminal offenses that are punished much more severely than misdemeanors. One of the key differences between a felony and a misdemeanor is that a felony sentence may involve time in state prison, not just the local county jail. Sentences may also be more than a year in length—often 2 years, 3 years or longer—whereas a misdemeanor sentence rarely goes over 1 year. Like misdemeanors, felony convictions can also include a suspended drivers license, large fines and probation, and these penalties tend to be larger, longer or more severe for felonies.
However, the biggest difference is that once you are convicted of a felony you will carry felon status for life. This may prevent you from working many jobs or even getting certain kinds of licenses. It also affects your right to own firearms, among other restrictions.
Felony traffic violations can include:
Hit and run
If you are facing a potential felony, a lawyer may be able to get it reduced to a misdemeanor, help you avoid jail time or even win your case for you. You should never face a felony without legal representation.
How does a traffic violation affect my drivers license?
Some traffic violations include an automatic suspension. For most infractions, however, you will simply have “points” added to your drivers license. Most violations are either one or two points:
1 point: Most infractions like speeding, illegal U-turn, or running a red light
1 point: Causing an accident (accidents do not add any points if they weren’t your fault)
2 points: More serious violations like reckless driving, driving without a license, or excessive speeding
And if you accrue too many points, you will have your license suspended. The limits are:
4 or more points in a single year
6 or more points in 2 years
8 or more points in 3 years
Because of these “per year” limits, points effectively go away over time. However, you can also remove points by taking traffic school in some cases. This can be a crucial strategy to avoid losing your license—your lawyer can recommend whether this will help in your case and help you set it up.
Talk to a Los Angeles Traffic Lawyer for Free
Every year, countless defendants go to traffic court alone, thinking they can negotiate down their infraction—and most don’t realize how hard it is until it’s too late. Don’t let this happen to you. Whether you are trying to keep your license after a ticket, fighting a serious charge that carries jail time, or hoping to avoid going to court at all, let the Simmrin Law Group help you. We offer a FREE consultation to help you get started. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.