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undefinedExcessive lane changes without signaling or checking first to see if it is safe could be considered reckless driving, a misdemeanor, by law enforcement officers (LEO). However, when you make a lane change without signaling, you could be guilty of an unsafe lane change, an infraction.

Unsafe Lane Change or Reckless Driving 

CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 23103Driving Offenses, states, “A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.”

That statement would appear to be “cut and dried,” right? Well, not necessarily. The State is charged with the burden of proof. Therefore, the arresting officer must show “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the driver’s actions were a “willful or wanton disregard” of safety. 

Excessive lane changes, particularly while speeding and not signaling, might be reckless driving, but only a judge or “jury of your peers” can determine your guilt. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor, and if found guilty, you could be sentenced to “not less than five days nor more than 90 days” in county jail. Plus, a fine of between $145 and $1,000 or both. Plus, two negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points.

An unsafe lane change, on the other hand, is defined by 22107Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals, “No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.”

A violation of this statute is an infraction punishable by a fine and negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points. If convicted, the fine is approximately $238, and the DMV assesses one NOTS point. However, once your auto insurance provider learns of your conviction, typically at renewal, they will raise your premium, and you will forfeit your “good driver’s discount.”

Guilt for an infraction will be determined by a bail forfeiture, a fine payment, or a traffic court judge. Whether you are charged with reckless driving or an unsafe lane change, you should use your “right to remain silent,” and consult with an attorney.  

Traffic Attorneys Who Handle Infractions or Misdemeanors  

When you are charged with a traffic violation, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We are Bakersfield Traffic Attorneys who have criminal and traffic court experience. We practice traffic law using a flat fee, so there are no surprise fees. We also handle DMV NOTS hearings for CA drivers. Give us a call.



The 2020 CA Driver Handbook.pdf

CVC 22107Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals & 23103Driving Offenses 
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