Many drivers ask, "Should I challenge a failure to yield the right-of-way, or pay the fine, and go to traffic violator’s school (TVS)." The answer always depends on your specific situation. Always consult a traffic attorney before you make a decision that could cost you more than $2,000.
The Myth About Using TVS to “Forgive” a Failure to Yield Conviction
Many California “defensive driving” courses sell themselves as a way to get your minor traffic infraction forgiven. That’s not how it works. The first few things you must do to attend TVS and keep your traffic ticket conviction confidential from your insurance company is to plead guilty or no contest, pay the county for the privilege of attending, pay the full amount of the fine, and the tuition.
You’ll probably never hear a traffic school or TVS say you have to plead guilty or not contest (paying the fine has the same effect). They also probably won’t tell you that you must complete the course before the court-ordered completion date or forfeit all that you paid.
Similarly, suppose the DMV doesn’t receive the completion certificate before the completion date (make sure you keep a copy for your files). In that case, your insurance company will learn of your conviction, most often at renewal, and delete your 20% “good driver’s discount” and add the risk associated with your infraction.
Those actions by your auto insurance provider will cost you between $392 and $600 per year, depending on your driving status. Insurance companies can use a dozen or more “qualifiers” to come up with the price of your premium. They consider everything from your zip code to your age, marital status, and more. However, your driving record carries the most weight. In CA, they cannot use your credit score as part of the equation.
What’s more, regardless of how minor your infraction was, your lower insurance premium and the good driver’s discount will not come back for three years. So, that minor infraction could cost nearly $2,000 more in insurance premiums.
What the California Traffic Code Says about Failure to Yield the Right-of-Way
CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Sections 21800 through 21809, Right-of-Way, includes various scenarios that could lead to a law enforcement officer (LEO) citing you for a failure to yield the right-of-way.
You could be cited for failing to move over when an emergency vehicle comes up behind you with the lights flashing and siren blasting. Another instance is when you creep over the pedestrian crosswalk while there are people in it, looking to see if you can make a right-turn-on-red. Also, when you are in the left lane to make a U-turn, but you don’t wait for a vehicle that is less than 200 feet from you to pass.
You should always hire a traffic attorney to present your case to the judge. Many technicalities could warrant a dismissal or reduced no-point charge that would mean a possible savings of that $2,000 raised premium and negate a fine.
How Much Is a Failure to Yield the Right-of-Way Ticket?
If you pay the fine without challenging it in traffic court, the penalty will be around $237 in Tulare County, CA. However, the fine is only the beginning of how much it will cost over the three years after your conviction if you are not eligible for and complete TVS, which will add another $85 or $100 for the county administrative fee and tuition.
That’s correct; a paid traffic ticket is a conviction of a traffic law infraction that will affect your motor vehicle driving record (MVR). Always consult an attorney before you pay the fine because it also means losing your good driver’s discount and increased risk that could raise your premium.
Consult with a Traffic Attorney Regarding Your “Failure to Yield”
When you get a ticket for failure to yield the right-of-way on 56, 99, or 198 in Visalia or Porterville in Tulare County, CA, call Bigger & Harman, APC, (661) 349-9300.
We are traffic defense attorneys who regularly resolve traffic tickets in Tulare County and across Central Valley. We use a flat fee that doesn’t change despite the number of times we must appear in court to resolve your traffic ticket. Give us a call; let’s talk about your situation.
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CVC Sections 21800 through 21809, Right-of-Way