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

undefinedUnderstanding the difference between simple infractions and misdemeanor traffic tickets is crucial in reacting to California traffic violations. 

You should never argue with a law enforcement officer (LEO) on the side of the road, but making any statement to them if charged with a misdemeanor could hamstring your defense.   

Many myths surround these severe violations that could leave a driver with a criminal record — we're here to debunk those myths and provide more clarity.

Debunking Common Myths Surrounding Misdemeanor Traffic Tickets

First, it's essential to grasp that not all traffic violations are mere infractions requiring only a fine. Some actions on the road can lead to misdemeanor traffic tickets, which carry heftier consequences.

Second, explaining your actions to a law enforcement officer (LEO) on the side of the road could be the biggest mistake of your life. Most CA LEOs wear body cameras to record incidents. As the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute (LII) WEX definition states:

“Prior to any questioning, the person must be warned that he has a right to remain silent, that any statement he does make may be used as evidence against him, and that he has a right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed. — Cornell Law School.

Finally, traffic infractions do not afford a driver to a trial by jury or a court-appointed attorney at no cost, but all these rights are offered to drivers with misdemeanor traffic tickets. 

If the LEO doesn’t tell you specifically, which most will, you can tell it is a misdemeanor if the “M” is circled on your ticket. 

Avoiding Misdemeanor Traffic Tickets: Best Practices

Did you know all of the following are misdemeanor driving offenses:

  • Reckless driving.
  • Speed contests. 
  • Exhibitions of speed.
  • Hit-and-run accidents with property damage. 
  • Driving on a suspended license. 
  • Driving without a license.
  • Failure to appear or pay (FTA/FTP).

This is not a complete list, but these are the most frequently cited misdemeanor offenses that we defend. 

Avoiding the pitfalls of more severe violations is the best course of action:

  • Stay Informed: Understand the laws and rules of the road.
  • Avoid Speed Contests: Racing might seem thrilling but can result in severe consequences. Merely “squawking your tires” on the road surface can lead to an exhibition of speed misdemeanor traffic ticket. Don’t do it.
  • Steer Clear of Reckless Driving: Always prioritize safety over speed.
  • Handle Accidents Responsibly: If involved in an accident, especially one causing property damage or injuries, always stop, render aid, and trade driver information, license, registration, and proof of insurance, as a minimum. If no one’s around, leave a note with that information and report it to the local police department immediately.
  • Keep Licensing Current: Ensure you're always driving with a valid license; if it's suspended, don’t drive. In CA, you have ten days to get a valid driver’s license upon moving here.

By adhering to these practices, drivers can reduce their risk of landing a damaging ticket and a possible criminal record.

Navigating the Legal System with a Bakersfield Traffic Attorney

The moment you're stopped for a misdemeanor traffic offense, exercising your “right to remain silent” is crucial.

Making a statement without legal representation could inadvertently complicate your situation. If you incriminate yourself while making a statement to law enforcement, you could hamper your ability to get a fair trial and your attorney’s ability to defend you. 

The language of the law can be intricate, but we are here to make it simple. We understand the subtle nuances and can, in many cases, work with the judge or prosecutor to reduce the charges from a misdemeanor to a lesser infraction, especially when the offense is a "wobbler" — something that could be charged as either a misdemeanor or an infraction.

In conclusion, while misdemeanor traffic tickets might seem overwhelming, with the right legal representation, they don't have to be. 

Trust us to guide you through every step, translating the legal jargon into clear, comprehensible terms. Of course, our primary goal is to get a dismissal, but there are no guarantees. Together, we'll aim for the best possible outcome for your situation.

When Facing a Misdemeanor Traffic Ticket in Bakersfield, CA, Exercise Your “Right to Remain Silent” & Call Bigger & Harman Immediately

When facing a misdemeanor traffic ticket, exercising your “right to remain silent” is crucial, and call Bigger & Harman at 349-9300 immediately. 

If you are released upon a promise to appear in court, use our handy contact form or email us a copy of the ticket to Please provide a summary of the misdemeanor traffic ticket.

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.


The CA Driver Handbook English y Español.

The Cornell Law School LII WEX definition: Miranda Warning

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