When you receive a ticket for an unsafe lane change in a CMV around Roseville, CA, the first thing you should do is consult a CA traffic attorney.
You might believe since you have been driving so long you don’t need the advice of a traffic attorney. Unfortunately, the opposite is more likely true. Many older drivers have heard all the rumors and stories told by drivers in diners about how they beat a ticket. They might have also heard the wise old trucker’s argument, “Why pay extra to go to court? The judge is just going to take the word of the law enforcement officer (LEO) over yours anyway, so save your money.”
That may have been true in their situation. But the truth is traffic ticket defense attorney spend their time drafting legal documents for clients just as truckers spend their time on the road. They know their stuff a lot better than someone who goes to court once or a twice.
How to Fight an Unsafe Lane Change in a CMV
CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22107, Turning and Stopping and Turning Signals, cautions, “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…” and CVC 22108, with the same title, directs, “Any signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given continuously during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.”
As you can easily see in CVC 22107, there are two elements the state must prove to find you guilty of an unsafe lane change, one is did you change lanes with “reasonable safety,” and the other is did you signal “continuously during the last 100 feet.” If a traffic attorney can raise a reasonable doubt about either, the judge should dismiss the charges.
Likewise, if the attorney doesn’t feel they can raise the level of doubt, they could request a non-moving violation from the judge with only a fine. Depending on the court and the situation, some judges are agreeable to these no-point pleas because they don’t want to get the driver fired, but they must get some money for the county treasury and give some punishment.
Another truth is that there is no hard and fast rule about challenging a ticket. Every situation is different, and until you discuss yours with a knowledgeable and experienced traffic attorney, you won’t know what kind of chance you have of getting a dismissal or reduced, no-point conviction with a fine only.
However, since an unsafe lane change in a CMV is a DOT FMCSA “serious offense,” you cannot just pay the fine. Paying the fine means the DMV will assess 1.5 negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) points and send that on to the FMCSA, who will assess Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) severity points.
There is also the possibility of a civil fine from the FMCSA for you, the trucking firm, or both. However, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder should be most concerned with the Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) record entry that will remain there for three years.
If you get another unsafe lane change in a CMV conviction within three years of the first, you will get a 60-day driver disqualification notice from the FMCSA—a third within the same three years will mean a 120-day driver’s disqualification.
Consult a CA traffic attorney when you have a question about an unsafe lane change in a CMV.
Bigger & Harman Are CA Traffic Attorneys Who Frequently Practice in Placer County Traffic Court
When you get cited on I-80 for an unsafe lane change, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300.
We handle traffic ticket issues for commercial drivers using a flat fee. Regardless of how many traffic court appearances we must make, our fee will never change.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The 2019-2021 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf