Misdemeanor Violations

Caught Driving On A Suspended License?
You need an experienced traffic ticket lawyer because of the serious consequences, including a jail sentence and fines that can be imposed for this violation If you've been charged with Vehicle Code 14601 in the state of California, a traffic ticket lawyer can help you defend your case. We can present meaningful defenses such as:
The driver (you) were unaware of the license suspension because DMV, the court, or law enforcement failed to notify you pursuant to state law;
The original suspension was invalid;
The driver was a visitor to California who holds a valid license in their state or country;
The driver was legally exempt from having to have a license;
The driver was not driving;
The driver had a driver's license not in their immediate possession; and
The driver had the right to drive under his or her suspended license.

Caught Fleeing or Evading an Officer?
If, while driving a vehicle, you willfully attempt to flee from an officer in pursuit of you in a motor vehicle or bicycle, you can be charged with a misdemeanor crime under California Vehicle Code 2800.1 and you face:
A sentence of up to 364 days in county jail (PC 672);
A fine of up to $1000;
Suspension of your drivers’ license for up to 6 months. (CVC 13201(d)); and/or
Impoundment of your vehicle for up to 30 days (CVC §14602.7(a)).

Caught with Unlawful Use of a Handicap Placard?
Under California Vehicle Code 4461, you can be charged with misdemeanor misuse of a handicap placard under any of the following circumstances:
You loaned a validly issued disability placard to someone who is not authorized to use or own such a placard;
You knowingly allowed another person who is not entitled to use a disability placard to use one;
You used a disability parking placard that was issued to someone else, or one that was cancelled or revoked; or
You drove someone else’s car that has a valid disability placard and then parked in a reserved handicap parking spot.
If convicted of this crime, you face:
A maximum fine of up to $1000; and/or
A sentence of up to 6 months in county jail;
In addition, the court may impose a penalty of $100 imposed under CVC 4461.3, or a fine of up to $1500 for each additional conviction.

Caught Driving Without a Valid Driver’s License?
Under California Vehicle Code 12500(a), you are prohibited from driving in California without a valid driver’s license. In order for it to be valid, your driver’s license must be valid for:
The state in which you live; and
The type of vehicle (car, motorcycle, commercial truck, etc.) that you are driving.
If charged with a misdemeanor crime of driving without a valid drivers’ license, you face:
Up to six months in county jail;
A maximum $1,000 fine; and/or
Impoundment of your car for 30 days.
Under California Vehicle Code 14607.6 and 14607.8, the court must inform you upon a first conviction that your motor vehicle is subject to forfeiture if you drive without a valid driver’s license on a highway in California. This law applies if you are the registered owner of the vehicle and have a prior misdemeanor conviction for a violation of Vehicle Code sections: 12500(a), 14601, 14601.1, 14601.2, 14601.3, 14601.4, or 14601.5.

Caught with Hit and Run Causing Property Damage?
California Vehicle Code section 20002 VC covers misdemeanor hit and run. This section makes it a crime to flee the scene of an accident, without stopping and providing your information, when the accident caused damage to other vehicles or property. Misdemeanor hit and run is punishable by up to 6 months in jail, fines of up to $1000.00, restitution to the victims for any property damage, and 2 points on the person’s California driving record.

The distinction between misdemeanor and felony hit and run turns on whether or not someone was injured. If the accident only causes property damage, then the state can only file misdemeanor charges. If the victim of the hit and run suffers bodily injury or death, then felony hit and run under Vehicle Code 20001 VC may be charged. Please see our page dedicated specifically to this type of crime.

California law requires a driver involved in an accident (that causes property damage or injuries) to stop at the nearest safe location and:
locate the owner(s) of the other vehicle(s)
present one’s drivers license and vehicle registration, if requested
present the current residence address of the driver and the registered owner
if the owner of the other vehicle is not present, leave a note in a conspicuous place with one’s address information and explaining the circumstances of the accident
Examples of hit and run:
Colliding with another vehicle and then driving away
Hitting and damaging a light pole and fleeing the scene
Striking a parked car and not leaving a note for the owner
There are several legal defenses that a person can raise if accused of a crime under Vehicle Code 20002. These include showing that:
There was no property damage,
The defendant did not realize there was a collision, and/or
the defendant was misidentified
A violation of VC 20002 is charged as a misdemeanor in California (as opposed to a felony or an infraction).
The crime is punishable by:
Imprisonment in county jail for up to six months, and/or
a maximum fine of $1,000.
In lieu of jail time, a judge may award a defendant with misdemeanor (or summary probation).

1. You Were Not Driving the Vehicle Involved
Only the driver of a vehicle can be prosecuted for hit and run. If your attorney can establish that someone else was driving the vehicle at the time of the collision, you have a valid hit and run defense.

2. You Did Not Willfully Leave the Scene
You have a valid hit and run defense if you did not willfully leave the scene of the accident. For example, you were knocked unconscious in the course of the accident, and one of your passengers panicked, pushed you out of the driver’s seat, and sped away. Although a hit and run occurred while you had been driving, your failure to stop was not willful.

3. You Did Not Willfully Fail to Provide Required Information
One of your most important responsibilities when you are involved in a traffic collision is to exchange information with the other parties involved. You are required to give your name, address, and the vehicle’s registration number to anyone involved, as well as to law enforcement on the scene. If you were unable to exchange information for reasons beyond your control, you have a valid hit and run defense.

For example, while driving your car, you are injured in a traffic accident and become incapacitated. Your passenger fears for your safety and decides that you need immediate medical attention. He or she drives you away to the hospital before you exchange information with the other parties involved. Therefore, your failure to provide required information was not willful.

4. You Have No Knowledge of Any Damage
The element of “knowing” or “reasonably should have known” the accident caused any damage is open to subjective interpretation. Your TicketWarrior criminal defense attorney may be able to show that you had no knowledge that damage occurred as a result of the accident.

Caught with Reckless Driving?
Under California Vehicle Code 23103, “a person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.”

If you are convicted of this crime, you face:

A sentence of up to 90 days in county jail; and/or
A fine of up to $1,000.
In addition, the court may suspend your driver’s license for up to 30 days upon a first conviction, up to 60 days upon a second conviction, and up to 6 months upon any subsequent conviction. (CVC 13200).
Please see our page dedicated specifically to this type of crime.

Some of the more serious traffic misdemeanors include:

Failure to stop and submit to law enforcement inspection of equipment, an unsafe condition, or other safety violations;
Refusing to present a license when requested by an officer;
Causing bodily injury with a vehicle after a license has been suspended or revoked;
Driving the wrong way on a divided highway (can also be charged as a felony);
Reckless driving leading to bodily injury;
Engaging in a race with another vehicle on a public highway, including racing which leads to bodily injury;
Throwing any substance at another vehicle or vehicle occupant on a public highway;
Possession of alcohol in a vehicle by anyone under 21;
Possession of an open container of alcohol in a vehicle (if third or subsequent violation);
For individuals required to use ignition interlock devices: failure to install such a device within 30 days, or driving a vehicle without the device installed;
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (can also be charged as a felony).
If you are charged with a DUI, please see our pages dedicated specifically to these types of crimes.
Misdemeanor traffic offenses can carry stiff penalties. Some violations can carry fines of up to $10,000 and periods of incarceration anywhere from a few days to a year. The court may also impose other penalties, such as required enrollment in a substance abuse treatment program or other program, victim restitution, license suspension, and probation.

We Can Help You Can Fight a Traffic Misdemeanor Charge
Because a traffic misdemeanor is a crime, it must be taken seriously because it can create a criminal record with both DMV and the California Department of Justice. As such, the accused is entitled many rights under the United States Constitution such as the right to a trial by jury. A TicketWarrior lawyer can take advantage of your rights by forcing the prosecution to prove each and every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt and enforce the presumption that you are innocent until or if proven guilty in a court of law. A skilled traffic lawyer can craft an effective defense based on the individual facts of each case.

We have the experience and skills in court to keep the law on your side. If you are facing a traffic-related misdemeanor, hire a traffic ticket lawyer from TicketWarrior today.
The traffic defense attorneys at TicketWarrior have extensive experience defending people charged with criminal offenses. If you are facing charges for a misdemeanor traffic offense, call us for a free consultation at (661) 322-5833 or use our convenient online consultation request form right here on this website. Don’t make the mistake of fighting a criminal charge without the help of an experienced and capable traffic defense attorney.