California’s highways and roadways are undergoing repairs and many older roads are under construction. The California State Department of Transportation or CALTRANS is normally authorized to regulate the traffic in and around highway and roadway construction sites. They are authorized by California Vehicle Code (CVC) 21370 to close lanes and reduce the speed limit to as low as 25 mph while there are construction workers present.
CVC 22362 makes it illegal to exceed the newly posted speed limit within 400 yards of the construction site while workers are present. CVC 42010 provides authority for “enhanced” fines, which are doubled in the work zones. However, signs must be posted giving drivers warning and workers must be present. Section C., says “This section applies only when construction or maintenance work is actually being performed by workers, and there are work zone traffic control devices…” Therefore, if workers are not present or there are no warning devices, the speed limit reverts to the “basic speed limit”.
Reckless Driving and Work Zone Speeding
Although you would not normally be charged with reckless driving for exceeding the speed limit even in a construction zone because the fine is already doubled, it depends on how fast you were going and/or your actions, such as tailgating or swerving in and out of lanes.
California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 23103, Reckless Driving is defined as, driving with a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Reckless driving in CA is a misdemeanor, a criminal act punishable by five days up to 90 days of imprisonment, two Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points on your license from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and a fine of $145 up to $1000. These do not include any other tickets you may have received.
Traffic School and Trial by Declaration
Let’s say you get an enhanced speeding ticket for doing 53 mph in a 25-mph construction zone. So, your friend tells you, “Just pay the fine and go to traffic school. That’s what I did.” And, you say, “I heard I can’t go to traffic school because it was in a construction zone.” Your friend says, “Yeah you might be right, call the court clerk.” Since you were stopped out there on 198, you call the County Courthouse at Hanford and the clerk says, “No sir, you were doing more than 25 mph over the speed limit, I can’t let you go to traffic school.” It is true, the court clerk cannot let you go to traffic school when your speed was more than 25 mph over, but the judge can.
Hiring a Professional Traffic Ticket Defender
When you are faced with an enhanced ticket for work zone speeding in Hanford, Kings County or many other SoCal counties, such as San Bernardino, Riverside, or San Luis Obispo (SLO) in California, contact the Bigger & Harman traffic ticket team for advice. Give Mark or Paul a call and explain your situation, 661-349-9300. En español, llame al 661-349-9755