When you are issued a traffic ticket with a mandatory court appearance,
it can be a nightmare. Say you live in Sacramento and have a mandatory
appearance in Inyo County at Bishop is a seven-hour drive, or Bakersfield
in Kern County even, is around 4 hours. So, what’s the answer? Take
a day off if you have some vacation time saved up, or call in sick and
hope no one reads about your misdeeds on Facebook.
There is another choice to resolve that out-of-town ticket; hire a local
traffic ticket attorney. If your traffic violation is extreme enough to
warrant a mandatory appearance, you should consult a traffic ticket attorney
before you decide anyway. Too many people are intimidated by hiring a
traffic ticket attorney because of what they perceive to be too high a
price to pay when they can just “mail it in.” With a mandatory
court appearance for an out-of-town ticket, mailing it in is not an option.
Failure to Appear (FTA)
Many people get a ticket for speeding more than 25 mph over the speed limit
and then receive a courtesy notice in the mail that states there is a
mandatory court appearance and traffic school is not available because
you were cited for doing more than 25 mph over the speed limit. What it
doesn’t say is that the judge is authorized to allow a traffic course
that could make your conviction confidential and mask it from your insurance
company. The court clerk is not allowed to authorize traffic school, but
a judge is. So now they have conflicting information and decide to just
pay the fine on that out-of-town ticket and move on.
But, then they get busy and forget all about the court date and when the
judge calls their name in court for that out-of-town ticket, they are
not there, and they did not know they could have hired a lawyer to represent
them in court, get traffic school approved, and/or a reduced charge or
outright dismissal of the charge. Now, they are looking at an additional
charge for FTA and a possible civil penalty of $300 to add to the amount
they already couldn’t afford to pay.
Traffic ticket attorneys are there in traffic court on a near daily basis
when they are not in their office working up dismissal motions. Traffic
law changes quite frequently, particularly in CA the CA Vehicle Code is
going through a lot of changes because the system of fines and penalties
have gotten out of whack and are now more about raising revenue than imposing
realistic fines that punish the offense.
Base Fine Versus the Actual Fine You Will Pay
People are confused and intimidated by traffic law anyway because when
they look online it says the fine for 1-15 mph over the limit carries
a fine “not to exceed $35” but the lawyer said almost $250,
so they think the lawyer was trying to scare them into hiring them and
so they back away. The truth is, both of those figures are correct. The
base fine when enacted by the State Legislature 20 years ago was $35,
it hasn’t changed, but that same legislature has approved since
then, a 20% surcharge on all tickets, a 100% state penalty assessment
that doubles your fine, court operation assessments, a conviction assessment,
a night court assessment (whether you use night court or not), a court
construction penalty of 50%, and others…then they allowed the county
to charge a 70% penalty assessment plus others. So, all these are added
to your base fine of $35, which makes it closer to $250. And, that fine
for 25 mph over the limit? If convicted, that base fine is $100 if you
didn’t exceed 100 mph and the actual amount you will pay is almost
$500. If over 100 mph, you would be looking at a $900 to $2600 fine.
Hire a Local Traffic Ticket Defense Attorney
Without reservation, the first thing you should do before deciding whether
to fight a ticket or not is to consult a traffic ticket attorney. An out-of-town
ticket can be expensive if convicted, with fines and increased insurance
premiums. Adding a couple of days off from work, driving back and forth,
plus spending the night in a hotel can add up quickly. Therefore, you
should avoid the hassles and additional expenses, consult with a local
traffic ticket attorney.
Call Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300 to inquire about the specifics of
your ticket or email:
“Very professional and get the job done. I've gotten into a speed
trap on my way to Big Sur and was due to appear in court 250 miles away
from home or pay the fine and get hit with points. Luckily these guys
were able to argue and get the case dismissed for me, despite very short
notice.” - DMITRIY V., Culver City, USA
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