California is made for road trips. The state’s stunning landscapes and never-ending coastlines make driving a pleasant experience for many.
However, no matter if you are driving on the state’s famous Highway 1 along the Pacific Coast or trying to get from one part of the country to another during rush hour, it is important that you remember the basic rules of the road.
This notion especially applies when you are driving in suburban cities like West Covina where you may find yourself breaking a law of any kind and end up getting a ticket for it.
The reality is there is more to just paying a traffic fine and continuing about your business on the road. Depending on your circumstances, a ticket can lead to a suspended, or even revoked, driver’s license as well as exhausting court proceedings.
Here is everything you need to know about traffic violations and how you should go about accepting the consequences.
The importance of hiring a traffic ticket lawyer
When making a traffic violation in West Covina, the one question you are probably asking yourself is “Can a West Covina traffic ticket lawyer help you with your ticket?” The simple answer to this question is – yes.
In fact, hiring a traffic lawyer comes with a lot of benefits. Mainly, these lawyers are familiar with the road laws and regulations so they can provide you with legal guidance and ensure your rights in case you need to go to court.
Besides this, with a professional traffic lawyer by your side, you will also be able to save money and time, reduce insurance premiums, negotiate alternative discipline and in some cases even dismiss your traffic ticket.
Distinguishing between minor and major traffic violations
Generally, traffic violations are broken down into two main categories – major and minor violations.
Major violations refer to the serious offenses that carry heavy weight when accounted for on motor vehicle records (MVR). Depending on the severity of the action, these violations can result in both fines and jail time. Some common major violations include operating a vehicle under the influence, driving with a suspended driving or invalid license and fleeing from law enforcement.
Minor violations such as speeding, running a red light or failing to obey traffic devices, are less serious offenses for which drivers usually expect to pay a fine, fight your violation in court or attend traffic school to nullify the violation.
Traffic court vs. criminal court
Being able to distinguish between traffic court and the criminal court is also very important.
Generally, traffic courts are reserved for handling minor violation cases. These courts are less formal and don’t offer the right to a court-appointed attorney. That’s why it is very common to see people representing themselves without a lawyer. The stakes are also much lower as the worst thing you can end up with if you are found guilty is to pay a fine or get your driver’s license suspended or revoked.
On the other hand, major traffic violations typically go to criminal court as people may be faced with both paying a fine and going to jail.
Hidden penalties in traffic tickets
Another thing you should know about traffic tickets is that they may be accompanied by some hidden penalties that both the police and courts are not obligated to tell you about. These include:
- Changes in your insurance rates, depending on how many convictions you have
- Demerit points
- License suspensions, especially for class G1 and class G2 drivers
For example, sometimes the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) often uses the demerit point system to penalize drivers who get a traffic ticket. If the driver accumulates a certain amount of points, the ministry can suspend the license depending upon the class of driver’s license.
No matter if you are driving on a highway or on smaller suburban streets and boulevards in the Golden State, obeying the road laws and regulations is very important. Not only will this save you from receiving a traffic ticket, paying a fine and going to jail, but it can also protect you from getting into a severe car accident.
For more information on this matter, be sure to refer back to our post and learn about the various types of traffic violations, the consequences that come along with them and how to best fight them if you go to court.