The best way to avoid expensive traffic tickets in Bakersfield is obey the law, never drive without a valid driver’s license, and drive sober. The next best option is to consult with Bigger & Harman when you are ticketed without a driver’s license or driving with a suspended license.
The BPD says they will have checkpoints from 6:30 pm until 2 am at undisclosed locations around Bakersfield. These checkpoints will likely take place every weekend for the rest of 2022.
Many cities across America have checkpoints to catch those drinking and driving. However, those without a driver’s license and people driving with a suspended license could face a misdemeanor even if they are otherwise driving completely legal.
Driving without a CA Valid Driver’s License Is a Misdemeanor
CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 12500, Persons Required to Be Licensed, Exemptions, and Age Limits and Section 14600 - 14611, Violation of License Provisions, prescribe some of the requirements for CA driver’s license holders.
Although driving without a valid CA driver’s license is a misdemeanor crime, many traffic court judges consider it a wobbler/wobblette.
The Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute (LII) WEX defines a wobbler or woblette:
“Wobblers can be punishable as either a felony or a misdemeanor and has been referred to as an ‘alternative felony/misdemeanor.’ Whether a wobbler should be treated as a felony, or a misdemeanor is up to a trial court's discretion.”
However, the defendant and their attorney could decide to continue with the original charge when in their opinion, the prosecution does not have enough evidence to establish “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Likewise, driving without a valid driver’s license is often considered a woblette. The DA could recommend a reduced charge (although there’s no guarantee) of “no driver’s license in possession,” particularly if the driver gets a driver’s license before the court date. Your best chance is to hire a traffic attorney who knows the traffic code and which documents to submit and what to ask for.
But knowingly driving with a suspended license is a misdemeanor for which you will need a traffic attorney to help keep you out of the county jail for up to six months or probation and/or a base fine of up to $1,000.
If the judge downgrades your driving without a driver’s license ticket to an infraction, the base fine is $20, but with the added surcharges, it will be somewhere between $200 and $300 in Kern County.
Further, if you have not used the Traffic Violator’s School (TVS) within the last 18 months to hold a traffic violation conviction confidential, your attorney could ask the judge for driver’s school so that your auto insurance will not increase.
Attending TVS could save you from an increase of around 31% of the current premium. Since the average Bakersfield driver pays $1,984 annually for full coverage, according to Bankrate, you could save $1,845.12 over the three years the conviction will be kept from public view.
If you just pay the fine, it will cost you about $2,082.12 for the premium increase and fine. Because when the insurance company learns of your conviction at renewal, they will take your 20% “good driver’s discount,” and add around 11% additional risk. You won’t get the discount back for three years.
Additional Information about Driving Without a Driver’s License or Driving with a Suspended License
Consult Bigger & Harman, APC, about a Driving without a Driver’s License or Driving with a Suspended License Charge
Call Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300, or use the handy online contact form to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The Bankrate article, Best cheap car insurance in Bakersfield for 2022.
The Bakersfield.com article, BPD to hold DUI, driver's license checkpoint.