What You Should Do When It Is Your Word Against the Law Enforcement Officer’s (LEO)
When you are issued a stop sign ticket in Kings County, CA, it will be the police officer’s word against yours. The judge will usually side with the LEO even when you have a family member or close friend in the car. It would be best if you turned the tide in your favor or at least level the playing field by hiring a traffic attorney to help.
The judge must consider the facts from every angle, but it might take an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to present your case properly and raise the level of reasonable doubt. Often, when put on the spot or testifying in front of a crowd, the inexperienced layperson will get tongue-tied, forget what they wanted to say, or admit guilt.
You must consult with and hire a traffic ticket attorney familiar with the Hanford Traffic Court, the judge, staff, LEOs, and how the system works.
What the CA Traffic Code Says About Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign
CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 22450, Special Stops Required, cautions drivers:
“The driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the entrance to, or within, an intersection shall stop at a limit line, if marked, otherwise before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. If there is no limit line or crosswalk, the driver shall stop at the entrance to the intersecting roadway.”
Therefore, a driver might stop before the crosswalk and, unable to see the traffic coming from both directions due to trees, parked cars, or other traffic, might then roll forward to get a better view. Then, seeing that it is clear, continue forward, or turn right or left.
Depending on the vantage point of the LEO, they might not see you stop before the crosswalk—only that you rolled forward without coming to a complete stop when you already did following the traffic code.
Likewise, you might not have seen the stop sign at all. It could be obscured from view. It could be a new sign recently erected on your regular route to work or school, and you didn’t see it because you didn’t expect it to be there.
Also, the crosswalk or limit line might have been so faded that you couldn’t see.
Moreover, the ticketing officer might have retired or transferred to another detail and didn’t show up for your traffic court trial. Like the US Constitution, the CA Constitution affords you “the right to face your accuser,” even in traffic court.
Any of these situations might be enough for the traffic court judge to rule in your favor and dismiss the failure to stop ticket if appropriately presented. However, there are no guarantees.
The Real Cost of a Failure to Stop Conviction
You might think, well, the fine is only $238. Why hire an attorney that might cost more than that? The truth is that the fine is typically only about one-fourth of the actual cost.
The average 40-year-old California driver with a clean driving record pays $2,190 annually for their full coverage auto insurance. That figure includes a 20% discount as a “good driver.” Upon renewal, the discount is pulled after a minor infraction, and the implicit risk is added to your premium.
That increase is usually around 30-32% or $657 per year for the 36 to 39 months the conviction or paid fine is on your record until the DMV removes it. Therefore, you could pay as much as $2,209.
For more clarification, read our blog, What Can I Do About This Stop Sign Ticket?
Consult with Bigger & Harman, APC, About Your Stop Sign Ticket in Kings County
Call Bigger & Harman, APC, at (661) 349-9300, use the online contact form, or email to take advantage of our free initial consultation with no obligation about your stop sign ticket in Hanford Traffic Court in Kings County.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The 2021 CA Driver Handbook English y Español.
CVC Section 22450, Special Stops Required.
The Bankrate article, Average cost of car insurance in California for 2022.