If you have been issued a traffic violation in Santa Barbara, it may be in your best interest to fight it in court, whether you disagree with the charge or want it removed from your record. When you pay a traffic ticket, you are pleading guilty to the traffic offense you have been accused of, which usually results in the addition of points to your license.
With the help of a skilled Santa Barbara traffic ticket lawyer, it may be possible to beat your traffic ticket in court and avoid accumulating points on your driving record.
Common Traffic Violations in Santa BarbaraTraffic violations cover a broad scope of offenses. A traffic offense can range from a minor violation—such as speeding within 10 miles of the speed limit—to more serious offenses, such as reckless driving. Some of the most common traffic violations in Santa Barbara include:
- Speed exhibition: This offense occurs when a driver accelerates a motor vehicle to a dangerous rate of speed. This is often done for amusement or to draw attention from bystanders or other drivers on the road.
- Driving without a license: When a driver operates a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license, he is in violation of California law and may face long-term repercussions. There are many reasons a person may not have a valid driver’s license; one of the most common being that a person did not pass the state driver’s exam.
- Reckless driving: A person may face a reckless driving charge if they are caught driving a vehicle upon a road or highway in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other drivers, pedestrians, or property.
- Driving with a suspended license: If a driver knowingly drives a vehicle with a suspended license in California, they may be charged with a misdemeanor. There are many different reasons a license may be suspended but in most cases the license suspension will not be escalated to a revocation unless they are a repeat offender.
Potential Penalties for a Traffic Ticket ConvictionSince traffic violations cover a wide range of offenses, the penalties you might face from a traffic violation vary drastically depending on the kind of violation for which you were cited. Some of the potential penalties from a traffic ticket conviction include:
Speed ExhibitionIf you are charged with speed exhibition in California, you may face serious penalties including:
- 90 days in jail
- Suspension of your license for up to six months
- Impoundment of your car for up to 30 days
- Community service for up to 50 hours
Driving Without a LicenseIf you have been caught driving without a license, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or an infraction. If charged as a misdemeanor, you may face a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. If charged as an infraction, you face a maximum penalty of a $250 court fine.
Reckless DrivingReckless driving is a criminal offense in the state of California. If you are accused of reckless driving, you may be charged with a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Driving With a Suspended LicenseIf you are caught driving with a suspended license, you may be charged with a misdemeanor by the California court of law. The penalties you may face for this charge include:
- Up to six months in jail
- Maximum fine of $1,000
How Can I Challenge a Traffic Violation in Santa Barbara?If you have been accused of a criminal traffic violation such as reckless driving, speed exhibition, driving without a license, or driving with a suspended license, you may be facing severe penalties including jail time and costly fines. While you may feel like the odds are against you, with the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you may be able to challenge a traffic violation and have your penalties reduced or dismissed altogether. You may be able to challenge the following traffic violations:
- Speed Exhibition: You can claim that your actions were not willful at the time that you were speeding, you have a physical or mental condition that led you to speed at an accelerated rate, or that you feared for your safety which is why you were speeding.
- Driving Without a License: You can prove that you did have a valid driver’s license at the time of the offense, postpone the case long enough for you to obtain a valid state driver’s license, if charged with a misdemeanor your attorney may be able to negotiate down to an infraction.
- Reckless Driving: You can claim that you were not the driver at the time of the offense, the driving did not amount to recklessness, you may have been negligent but not reckless, you were driving reckless out of necessity due to an emergency.
- Driving With a Suspended License: You may claim that your license was placed on the suspended license list while still being a valid driver’s license, you did not receive a verbal notice of suspension or a mailed notice of suspension, you were not the driver of the car at the time of the offense.