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Loud Muffler? California Does Away with the Automatic Fine

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Those outrageous fines for a loud muffler are gone effective immediately. However, owners of vehicles with a loud muffler or exhaust above the CA limit of 95 decibels (dB) will need to make the necessary corrections within 30 days to avoid the fine. 

The enactment of Senate Bill (SB) 112 and Assembly Bill AB-390 restores the “fix-it” ticket that allows the owner to correct the deficiency to avoid the fine. Typically, a correctable offense, such as a loud muffler, will result in a dismissal upon correction with only a small court fee of around $25.

The reversal to a correctable offense, which was done away with under AB-1824 signed into law by former Governor Jerry Brown, does not change the legal limit of 95dB, which can cause significant hearing damage, nor the need to meet or exceed the state smog laws. 

Correctable or “Fix-It” Tickets

A fix-it ticket carries no Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points. The owner or driver who received the ticket for such things as a loud muffler, no license in possession, or no proof of insurance, can get these tickets dismissed. You must get the law enforcement officer (LEO) to sign-off on the ticket with a receipt of correction or by showing proof of license or insurance, and then paying the court clerk the dismissal fee.

Other Traffic Tickets or Orders of Suspension/Probation

Those drivers who receive a traffic ticket should seek to resolve the ticket as soon as possible but never later than the court date. Many believe it is simpler and less expensive to pay the fine. This is generally not true. In many cases, those who hire an attorney to dispute their traffic ticket get a dismissal or reduced no-point charge. 

When there are no NOTS points, your auto insurance premiums will not be affected. The fine is usually much less expensive than an increased insurance premium that does not go back down while the conviction or paid fine stays on your motor vehicle driving record (MVR). For a minor infraction, that is typically 36 to 39 months, a major infraction such as speeding 100+ mph is seven years, and misdemeanors and felonies like hit and run will remain on your MVR for ten years and on your criminal record for life. 

Since you never know what tomorrow will bring, you should always consult a traffic attorney before you pay the fine. Not all tickets are worth contesting in traffic court, so ask a traffic attorney before you accept traffic school and pay the fine.

Likewise, when you receive an “Order of Suspension/Probation” from the DMV, you have only ten days to request a DMV NOTS Hearing. Although you are not required to have legal representation, it is advisable to have a traffic attorney with you for a NOTS Hearing. A traffic attorney will know which ticket can get removed from your record and which exceptional circumstances to bring to the panel's attention to avoid a six-month suspension and concurrent 12-month probation.   

Attorneys Who Handle Los Angeles County Traffic Tickets 

Call Bigger & Harman’s Bakersfield office when you need to challenge a traffic ticket in Chatsworth, Glendale, Inglewood, West Covina, Van Nuys, or another LA County Traffic Court, (661) 349-9300. 

We can handle your traffic ticket for a low, one-time fee. We never charge by the hour, so you always know how much you will pay to resolve your ticket. We can also represent you at a DMV NOTS Hearing. 

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Send us your questions on email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.  

References:

Thedrive.com articleCalifornia Ends Automatic Fines for Loud Vehicle Exhausts with New Law