Most of us have been pulled over for a traffic violation at least once in our lives, and while it can be nerve-wracking and inconvenient, we generally pay the ticket and move on. However, traffic tickets in California are some of the most expensive in the country, and if you’ve had other violations in the recent past, you could run the risk of having your license suspended.

Each year, law enforcement hands out over three million traffic citations in California and many of these tickets are worth fighting. If you’re in the Long Beach, California area, including Cypress Hill or Lakewood, contact me at the McCready Law Group today to talk about your potential options.



Traffic Violations

A traffic violation is the result of a situation in which a driver violates the laws of operating a vehicle on the roads. In California, these are typically categorized into infractions or misdemeanors, with misdemeanors involving more serious violations. A traffic violation can be something as small as a broken taillight or as significant as a DUI.

Moving Violations vs.
Non-Moving Violations

In many instances, charges will be broken into moving and non-moving violations. And, contrary to what the name implies, you can receive a non-moving violation while you are driving. Non-moving violations simply mean that a law was broken but it doesn’t have anything to do with the manner in which the car was operated. Some common examples of non-moving violations are a broken taillight, a missing license plate, having expired tags, or parking in a restricted zone. With a moving violation, the vehicle must indeed be moving. These cover violations like speeding, reckless driving, or running a red light.

Understanding California’s Point System

California employs a point system for driver’s licenses. Under this system, each offense has a set point value assigned to it and when drivers are found guilty of committing these offenses, those points are added to their driving record. For example, making an unsafe lane change or speeding counts as one point, while a DUI or reckless driving offense counts as two points. The more points that are added to your license, the greater the risk of penalties and fines. This can include having your license suspended if you’re considered a “negligent driver,” meaning you've had four or more points in a year, six or more in two years, or eight or more in three years. This is why it’s important to hire an attorney and fight the violation, especially if you know you’ve accumulated several points already.

Traffic Violation Fines & Penalties

If you’re charged with an infraction, your only penalty will be a fine. For a first infraction, you’ll typically be fined $100, but you may also incur additional fees depending on the specific violation. If you’re charged with a misdemeanor, you could receive a traffic violation fine as well as up to 12 months in county jail. Felony charges include a minimum of one year of jail time as well as fines. Additionally, many drivers will see their insurance premiums go up as they accumulate traffic violations.

Fighting a Traffic Violation

Most traffic violations are worth fighting, and while any defense will be tailored to your specific circumstances, there are a few approaches that are commonly used in fighting a traffic violation. You may choose to dispute the charge by questioning the officer’s judgment. For example, if you are cited for making an unsafe lane change, you could argue that, from your perspective, the lane change was safe. You can also dispute the evidence that’s used against you by offering counter evidence such as photos or diagrams of the incident that support your version of events.

In some cases, you may be able to use the “mistake of fact” argument to contest the charge. In these cases, you have to prove you made a reasonable mistake (such as missing a speed limit sign that was covered with a tree branch). Lastly, you may choose not to contest the officer’s statement, and rather justify your actions as necessary. For example, you could claim that you had to speed or make an illegal turn to avoid immediate harm.


If you’re interested in learning more about how to fight your traffic ticket, call me to speak with an experienced attorney who can advise you on your best options. At McCready Law Group, I’ve been proud to serve clients in and around the Long Beach, California area for over 14 years and I am ready to help you as well.

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