To fully appreciate what California lawmakers and judges consider as an unsafe lane change, you must become familiar with CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 22107, Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals.
This traffic code warns drivers not to make abrupt turns left or right from their “direct course” on the highway until they can turn safely and only after notifying other drivers of their intended action with “an appropriate signal.” CVC 22108, Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals, provides that the safe and proper signal is “continuously during the last 100 feet” before the turn.
Consequences of an Unsafe Lane Change Conviction
First, do not be fooled into thinking that if you pay the fine without challenging your alleged unsafe lane change, you were not convicted. When you pay the fine, you are pleading guilty and the paid fine is the same as a conviction.
However, if you have not used the Traffic Violators School option to mask your conviction from your employer, school records, and most importantly, your auto insurance provider during the previous 18 months from violation date to violation date, you can use it now. However, you must discuss the ticket and the possibility of attending TVS with a traffic attorney to ensure it is the right choice.
Just because you are eligible to attend, does not mean that is the right course of action. When you have two back-to-back tickets or at-fault accidents, attending TVS will not hide both tickets.
The Attorney’s Fee Versus the Fine & Increased Auto Insurance
Although the fine for a conviction of an unsafe lane change is small compared to many CA traffic fines, $238 can be a lot of money for many. Plus, if you and an attorney decide it is best to attend TVS, you will need to pay an additional fee, approximately $65 to Tulare County for administrative expenses related to attendance, and the tuition fee. There is also a $3.00 fee for the DMV to file your completion certificate. Therefore, you could pay around $300. You must notify the court clerk of your intention to attend, plead guilty, pay the fine and fees, and finish the school ahead of the court-ordered date.
However, if you are not eligible for TVS, the DMV will assess a Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) point. When you accumulate four NOTS points in one year, six within two, or eight within three years, your driver’s license could get suspended along with a 12-month probation. Plus, when your auto insurance provider discovers the conviction, typically at renewal, they will take away your “good driver’s discount” and put you in an increased risk bracket.
This loss of discount coupled with the higher risk usually means a $500 per year increase in premiums, and the increased premiums will remain for a minimum of three years. Therefore, where you thought you would save money by not hiring an attorney, it will cost you $1,800 or more. How much do you think an attorney would cost? Chances are it would be around one-third of that.
Additionally, many traffic attorneys provide a free initial consultation. At that consultation, they will advise you of the chances of successfully defending your ticket, and how much they will charge to resolve your ticket.
Tulare County Traffic Attorneys
Call Bigger & Harman, APC, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
We are traffic attorneys who have defended thousands of drivers in Central Valley Traffic Courts. Porterville and Visalia are only two of the traffic courts where we have handled and resolved traffic tickets. In most cases, our clients were very pleased with their outcome.
Although we cannot claim to get a dismissal or reduced no-point charge every time, we do have a very high success rate. We believe that is due to our concentration in the traffic law area.
Email: email@example.com, and we will reply as soon as we return to the office. Most weekdays we are in traffic court.
References:CVC 22107 & 22108, Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals