Five Kinds of Misdemeanor Traffic Tickets in CaliforniaThere are three types of traffic tickets in California: parking, infraction, and misdemeanor. Parking tickets are issued for parking violations. Infraction tickets are issued for violations like running a red light or driving without proof of insurance. Misdemeanor tickets are issued for criminal offenses and come with more serious penalties, including jail time.

Misdemeanor tickets are by far the most serious type of traffic ticket in California. Misdemeanor tickets are criminal charges and are handled in criminal court. You’ll face fines, possible jail time, and a criminal record if convicted.

The Most Common Types of Misdemeanor Traffic Tickets in California

What kind of traffic offenses can result in misdemeanor charges in California? Here are five of the most common types of misdemeanor traffic violations in California:

Driving Without a Valid Driver’s License

Operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s license is prohibited under California Vehicle Code 12500(a). If convicted, you could be facing the following penalties:

  • Fines up to $1,000,
  • Up to six months in county jail, and/or
  • Impoundment of your vehicle for up to 30 days.

Illegal Use of a Handicap Placard

Under California Vehicle Code 4461, it’s a misdemeanor offense to use a disabled license plate or parking placard that is invalid or belongs to another person to park in a space marked as a reserved handicap spot. A guilty verdict could result in:

  • Fines up to $1,000 and/or
  • Up to six months in county jail.

Fleeing From an Officer

As you might guess, it’s against the law to attempt to flee from an officer who is pursuing you in a motor vehicle or bicycle. Under California Vehicle Code 2800.1, it’s a misdemeanor crime to flee from an officer. A conviction could cost you:

  • A sentence of up to 364 days in county jail,
  • A fine of up to $1000,
  • Suspension of your driver’s license for up to 6 months, and/or
  • Impoundment of your vehicle for up to 30 days.

Reckless Driving

If you operate a vehicle on a highway in deliberate or wanton disregard for others’ safety or property you could find yourself being arrested and charged with reckless driving under California Vehicle Code 23103(a). If you’re found guilty, you could be looking at:

  • Fines up to $1,000,
  • Up to 90 days in jail, and/or
  • Suspension of your driver’s license.

The length of suspension will depend on whether this is your first offense or a subsequent conviction. A first offense will get you a 30-day suspension; a second offense will get you a 60-day suspension; subsequent convictions could result in a suspension of up to six months.

Hit and Run Causing Injury or Death

Most people know that it’s against the law to leave the scene of an accident that resulted in injury or death. Under California Vehicle Code 20001–20004 it’s illegal to leave the scene of such an accident without identifying yourself to all the parties affected by the accident. Depending on the circumstances you could be charged with misdemeanor or felony hit and run driving. A conviction on misdemeanor charges could result in the following penalties:

  • Fines up $10,000,
  • Up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • Up to one-year suspension of driver’s license.

The penalties are more severe if you’re convicted of felony hit-and-run causing injury or death:

  • Fines up to $10,000
  • Up to four years in prison
  • Up to one-year suspension of driver’s license

Other Types of Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses in California

Other types of misdemeanor traffic offenses include:

  • DUI – Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Refusing to present a license when requested by an officer.
  • Driving the wrong way on a divided highway.
  • Racing with another vehicle on a public highway.
  • Throwing something at another vehicle or vehicle occupant on a public highway.
  • Driving at speeds of over 100 mph.

Speak to an Orange County, CA Misdemeanor Traffic Ticket Lawyer

You can’t get out of a misdemeanor traffic ticket by going to traffic school or just paying a fine by mail. Misdemeanor traffic tickets are misdemeanor criminal charges and the courts treat them as such. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor traffic offense in Orange County, CA, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your rights.

Jim Tanizaki is a former Orange County DA turned criminal defense lawyer. This unique experience gives Jim an edge other attorneys simply don’t possess. He knows the tactics the state will use to get their conviction and how to craft effective defense strategies against their charges. Jim’s experienced representation often results in reduced or even dismissed charges for his clients.

Contact the law office of Jim Tanizaki through our website or call us at (714) 655-7633 to schedule a free initial consultation with a leading Orange County, CA misdemeanor traffic ticket lawyer.