California has many laws related to driving and owning vehicles in the state. You can face an arrest, charge, and conviction of a misdemeanor or felony for many different vehicle offenses. These can range from hit and run to driving on a suspended license, and more. Should you be arrested for any vehicle offense, your first order of business should be to bring in a qualified and trusted criminal defense lawyer to ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you have a legal strategy to give you the best chance of a favorable outcome.
At DCD Law, our attorney has been defending clients in criminal cases for the entirety of his career. Criminal defense is the only work we do or have ever done. That focus has given us enormous experience and understanding of California criminal law and how to defend clients. We highly recommend that you contact us so that you can discuss the specifics of your arrest and charges to learn more about how the law can impact you and how we can help.
Common vehicle offenses in California can include but are not limited to:
How you are charged and the penalties you will face will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case, including whether you have prior convictions.
For example, reckless driving is defined under California Vehicle Code 23103 as driving with “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” This is charged as a misdemeanor carrying penalties of up to 90 days in jail, a minimum fine of $145 up to a maximum of $1,000or by both a fine and jail time. It also adds two points to your driving record.
These penalties increase if your offense caused a minor or serious injury to someone. A serious injury could put you at risk for up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Hit and run is a crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances. Under California law, you are required to stop when involved in an accident. If you flee, it is considered a hit and run. Fleeing the scene after causing property damage is charged as a misdemeanor while fleeing after injuring or killing someone is a felony.
Misdemeanor hit and run carries up to a year in county jail and/or a fine ranging from $1,000 up to $10,000. Felony hit and run carries a state jail sentence of up to four years and/or a fine ranging from $1,000 up to $10,000.
Driving with a suspended or revoked license is also a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If you are found driving with a suspended license while accumulating too many points on your driving record, you may be labeled a habitual traffic offender. For example, if your license was suspended and you then received two speeding tickets in three months, you are now a habitual traffic offender. A first conviction of this kind is punishable by jail time of up to 30 days and a fine of up to $1,000. A second conviction under habitual traffic offender will result in a jail time of up to 180 days and a fine of up to $2,000.
As you can see, certain traffic offenses are serious criminal matters. In these cases, you need the help of a proven criminal defense attorney. At DCD Law, we have handled countless vehicle and traffic crimes for our clients in the past 10 years.