Protect Your Driving Privileges Fight Your Ticket With Bigger & Harman Today

undefinedGetting a traffic ticket for following too closely in California can be a nightmare for commercial drivers.

In CA, it involves a fine and negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) but also has more severe consequences at the DOT FMCSA level that can affect the driver's livelihood. Understanding how to contest such charges and why you may need professional legal assistance is crucial.

3 Practical Defenses for Following Too Closely

Several strategies can be used to contest a ticket for following too closely, but these are the three most common.

  1. The Distance Was "Reasonable and Prudent"—In this defense, you or an attorney can argue that the gap between your vehicle and the one in front was reasonable given the driving conditions at the time. 
  2. The Officer Was Mistaken or Was Not in a Good Position to See Both Vehicles—Law enforcement officers (LEO) can make errors or have an obstructed view. If you can provide evidence to show that the officer was not in a position to assess the situation accurately, it could help your case.
  3. The Vehicle in Front Cut Back in Too Soon After Overtaking—If a vehicle overtakes and then cuts back in front of you too soon, it can create an illusion of tailgating. 

Evidence such as dashcam footage can be invaluable in showing that you maintained a safe following distance.

What Are the Penalties in CA & at the DOT FMCSA If Convicted?

The fine for following too closely in California is $238, and the DMV will assess 1.5 Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) points. There is no possibility of attending Traffic Violator’s School (TVS) for violations in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) to keep your conviction confidential. This information is then reported to the Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (DOT FMCSA).

The FMCSA then assesses Compliance, Safety, & Accountability (CSA) severity points and files the record in the driver's Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) record as a "serious offense." If it is the second conviction within three years, the FMCSA will notify California about a 60-day driver disqualification.

You Need a CA Traffic Attorney Who Will Raise the Level of Reasonable Doubt

  1. The Traffic Court Judge Will Sometimes Offer a Better Deal to a Driver with an Attorney—It's a well-known fact that defendants with legal representation often fare better in court. Judges are more likely to offer plea bargains or reduced charges if you have a competent attorney by your side. Although it may not seem fair, they speak the same language, know what to ask for, and are more likely to have a case dismissed because of their knowledge and experience. 
  2. Traffic Attorneys Do This Routinely—Traffic attorneys have experience and knowledge of the nuances of traffic law and traffic court procedures, which can be leveraged to your advantage. They know what it takes to get a reduced no-point conviction or a dismissal. 
  3. Commercial Drivers with an Attorney Can Continue to Drive and Need Not Appear in Court—With a lawyer handling your case, you can continue with your job, ensuring minimal disruption to your livelihood.

In conclusion, following too closely tickets are a serious matter for commercial drivers in Victorville, California. However, with practical defenses and the right legal assistance, it's possible to contest these charges effectively and protect your driving record and career. 

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Consult with Bigger & Harman About Your Following Too Closely Charge

While Barstow Traffic Court is closed, many of the commercial vehicle speeding tickets on I-15 will be resolved in Victorville Traffic Court in San Bernardino County, CA.  

Call us at (661) 349-9300. Likewise, you can use the convenient contact form or email them. 

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook.

The FMCSA CFR 49 Part 383.51Driver Disqualifications.

The article, Fleet Stories to Brighten Your Day: June 2023.
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