Easily Dispute Your Traffic Ticket In California and Win
Every year, about 5 million Californians will receive a traffic ticket. With the average cost per ticket ranging between $600-$700, many residents are left searching for more information about California traffic tickets.
Lucky for you, we decided to write this guide covering the basics of traffic tickets in the Golden State. We'll help you decide if a ticket is worth fighting, if you should hire a lawyer, and all the basics of California traffic tickets.
Types of Traffic Tickets in California
A traffic ticket in California is dependent on your violation. They are classified as non-moving and moving violations.
Non-moving tickets are issued when the vehicle is parked and not in motion. The most common citations for non-moving tickets involve parking violations, fix-it tickets, and expired plate tags.
- In most scenarios, non-moving tickets won't have a major impact on your criminal record, license points, or insurance rates.
- In some scenarios, parking tickets may be issued by non-government employees. They can be issued by property or lot owners for violating their parking rules.
Any ticket that is issued due to a violation that occurred while the vehicle is in motion is called a "Moving Traffic Violation." The top three moving traffic violations are:
Moving Traffic Violation – Infraction
Of all the Moving Traffic Violation classes, "infractions" are the least severe. However, they can still result in points being applied against your license and may require driving classes. Some common traffic infractions include:
- Speeding. This is a common infraction ticket. Note that some cases of speeding can be escalated to higher than infractions. Very high speeds, speeding in a school zone, or speeding in a construction zone can escalate a speeding ticket beyond an infraction. Certain circumstances can cause a greater amount of fine.
- Failure to stop. These infractions can occur at traffic lights or stop signs.
- Texting while driving. This is illegal in California. This law also includes emailing and any other cell phone usage other than voice calls. There are exceptions if the phone was being used with a hands-free device or if the driver was accessing a map application.
Below is a list of fines and points charged against the driver’s license of the violator:
|Violation||Points Against Driver’s License||Fine|
|Failure to Stop||1||Under $500|
|Texting while Driving||0||$167|
Moving Traffic Violation– Misdemeanor
Misdemeanors are more serious than a traffic infraction. Generally, they are issued if the violation resulted in property damage, injury, or the threat of damage or injury.
- Excessive speeding. Tickets are issued when speeding is more dangerous than a speeding infraction ticket. This can be applied in school zones, construction, zones, or when the driver is traveling at a dangerously fast speed.
- DUI. Tickets for Driving Under the Influence are also considered misdemeanor tickets, although in some scenarios they can escalate to felonies. The legal Blood Alcohol Content in California is .08%.
The penalties for traffic misdemeanors in California vary a great deal. At a minimum, drivers can expect to receive one point against their license. As misdemeanors are considered a criminal offense, they can carry harsher penalties. This can include spending a year in jail, significant fines, suspension of driver's license, probation, and up to a year in jail.
Moving Traffic Violation– Felony
Felonies are the most severe traffic violations and often come with jail time exceeding one year.
- DUI. DUI tickets can become a felony if it results in death or injury, if it is your fourth DUI in a ten-year period, or if you have any prior felonies.
- Hit-and-run. Cases of hit-and-run can also be escalated to a felony. This normally happens if there is an injury, death, or serious property damage.
How to Pay a Traffic Ticket in California
Paying a traffic ticket in California will vary greatly based on who issued the ticket. It can be the city police, the county sheriff, the California Highway Patrol, or private property owners.
In most cases, instructions on how to pay a fine will be on the actual physical ticket. Many jurisdictions, including Los Angeles County, allow you to pay your ticket on the California DMV website.
Is It Worth Contesting a Traffic Ticket in California?
If the ticket was issued in error, then it is absolutely worth contesting a traffic ticket.
For traffic tickets that resulted in a felony, professional legal representation should be obtained. If you can not afford a lawyer, The State Bar of California may be able to provide free or low-cost legal assistance.
For misdemeanors and infractions, DoNotPay can help you contest traffic tickets. While we can fight just about any traffic ticket, we have expertise in dealing with parking tickets, speeding tickets, red light tickets, toll booth tickets, and seatbelt tickets.
How to Contest a California Traffic Ticket in Minutes
DoNotPay originated as a way for people to fight unfair parking tickets. To date, we've helped save drivers over $4 million in parking ticket fees, as confirmed by Newsweek. We've expanded our services beyond parking tickets to include just about every kind of traffic ticket that can be issued in California.
We can start fighting your California traffic ticket in just a few minutes. Simply follow these easy steps to get started:
- Log-in to your DoNotPay account and go to the "Ticket Disputes" category. Choose the correct product based on your traffic ticket.
- Upload a photo of the citation.
- Give us some details on why you believe the citation issued is a mistake.
- Choose if you want the letter mailed to the traffic ticket issuer on your behalf!
- Hit submit and that's it! You'll receive an appeal letter that contains state vehicle codes to boost your case.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
Check out these links for more Traffic Ticket Services that DoNotPay offers:
- Fight traffic tickets in New York City
- Dispute Los Angeles traffic ticket
- What happens if you plead not guilty to a traffic ticket?
- How to fight a traffic ticket without a lawyer?
- Appeal Las Vegas traffic ticket
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