Not all incidents of an unsafe lane change violation were actually unsafe. In some circumstances, commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, especially truck and bus drivers, have no choice but to swerve or change lanes when another driver cuts them off.
When ticketed for an unsafe lane change, you should consult with a traffic ticket attorney for legal advice. No other type of lawyer will be as effective in providing advice for a ticket as attorneys that only practice traffic law. In most cases, a CDL holder has no choice but to challenge every ticket.
Unsafe Lane Change
CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 21658(a), Driving on Right Side states, “A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from the lane until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.” Often, law enforcement officers (LEO) will issue a ticket citing CVC 22107, Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals. “No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left… and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal…” for an unsafe lane change or vice versa, and might often get confused and use CVC 22348(c), Speed Laws "A vehicle subject to Section 22406 shall be driven in a lane designated…”
Just because the LEO uses the wrong CV code does not mean your ticket will be dismissed; however, it doesn’t mean it won’t either. In most cases, it depends on the judge and the traffic attorney using the right language in asking for a dismissal. Frequently, CDL holders, truck and bus drivers must make a lane change without signaling or letting other drivers know what their intentions are when someone cuts them off or turns in too soon.
Attorneys writing requests for dismissal or reduced charges must understand the sentiment of the judge they are addressing in the request. Knowing local courts, their judges, clerks, and the LEO who sometimes testify can help an attorney compose their request. Having witnessed previous first-hand rulings by the judge you are addressing can make a big difference in how you word it.
Traffic Courts & Traffic Ticket Attorneys
Usually, attorneys that take any case that they get paid for do not do as well in traffic cases. Traffic ticket attorneys have the advantage of sitting in traffic court while waiting to address the court about a client’s case. This means they often hear rulings in similar cases as their clients, which gives them an advantage not only while writing requests, but also when they must appear before the judge if it goes to trial.
Traffic court has its own set of rules and procedures. Unlike a criminal case, where the defendant is afforded a jury trial and a court-appointed attorney, if they cannot afford one, traffic infractions such as an unsafe lane change do not give these privileges. CDL holders, given the nature of their profession and the need to maintain a clean driving record, must challenge every traffic ticket.
CSA & NOTS Points
The Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) Pointsfor an unsafe lane change conviction is five severity points, which will get reported to DataQs for inclusion in the drivers Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP). Additionally, the DMV will assess one Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) point, which will be included in the driver's annual Employer Pull Notice (EPN) program report to their employer.
Whether it is their first conviction or not, many fleet managers, especially at large firms have zero tolerance for moving violations and will terminate their employee upon notification. Plus, CDL holders must notify their employer within thirty days of a conviction. This zero tolerance mentality is part of the reason for the 87 percent turnover rate at large firms. Another is the quest for higher pay; many drivers will accept the lure of a significant bonus to sign with another firm.
Contact a Traffic Lawyer with CDL Knowledge About a Ticket in Riverside
When you get ticketed for an unsafe lane change out there on I-5, 10, or 15 in Riverside County, call Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
CDL holders need a trusted advocate in traffic court cases. Whether we have to go to court or not, you will not have to attend. We will handle all aspects of your ticket for one low price, regardless of the number of court appearances we need to make or motions we need to write.
We are adept at writing requests for dismissal and our knowledge of local traffic court rules and procedures allow us to be one step ahead of other attorneys who practice various forms of law. That’s not meant as a slight toward them; it’s just that focusing on one area of law allows us to strive for a higher standard. Give us a call and let’s discuss your ticket.
Send us an email, email@example.com.
The 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf
The Balance article, A Guide to CSA Point Values and Transportation