Will the Suspension of My Out of State License be Lifted If I Pay Off My California Failure to Appear Ticket Fines and Fees?

  • As a California lawyer, I cannot answer exactly whether or not the [State DMV of another state] will lift the hold if a suspension in California is not cleared but the hold causing the suspension in California is cleared (see explanation below). You would have to ask an attorney well-versed in [that State’s] DMV procedures. I can tell you that California does not un-suspend a driving privilege for someone driving in California until a re-issue fee is paid, separate from any court fines and fees paid to clear the hold that caused the suspension.
  • This answer will first make the assumption that a ticket was issued to a person, whether correctly or not, with that persons identifying information, that did not have a California Drivers License, and that the ticket was not resolved timely, for what ever reason.
  • Someone driving in California may not have a California Drivers License but does have a privilege to drive. If that person is ticketed for a traffic violation, but does not go to court, or take other appropriate action, by the date on the bottom of the ticket, then, eventually, that driving privilege could be suspended. The suspension will not be lifted until the court reports to the DMV that the hold should be cleared. Then, once it is shown that the hold is cleared, either the person needs to have Cal. DMV re-issue the driving privilege by paying a $55 re-issue fee, or what ever course of action the DMV in that person’s State requires to have the suspension cleared. It does not matter that the person never had nor never will have a California Drivers License.
  • Fortunately, in California courts, an attorney can represent a defendant without the defendant present. Thus, an out-of-state defendant never has to come to California personally, so long as an attorney goes to court for him/her
David Milton Dastrup
David Dastrup, Speeding Ticket / Traffic Ticket Lawyer – Torrance, CA

Traffic Ticket Due Date to Appear in Court

The traffic ticket due date to appear in court is a point of frustration for defendants and manipulation by the court. Here, we will address what happens when someone actually goes to court on the due date.

The bottom of a traffic ticket in Los Angeles County, whether issued by Torrance Police or California Highway Patrol, should have a due date or a date to appear in court. This date is right under the signature area–the space where the officer told you to sign your name. This signature is a promise to appear. (In lieu of being arrested, the police are releasing you on your promise to appear.)

The confusing part is that when people go to the Torrance Courthouse, or Compton Courthouse or Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse, known as “Long Beach Court,” on this due date, the court tells them that they cannot go to court. They must set a future date to appear before the traffic ticket court judge. So now, a person took time off from work to make the due date but is told to come back another day. This seems like a punishment, to force someone to take time off work just to be told to come back another day. The court knows in advance that they are going to do this to people.

The Los Angeles Superior Court could easily avoid this problem if the due date stated: Go online to lacourt.org and set a date to appear in court or take other action as indicated online, no later than this due date. However, they probably do not do this because once someone comes to see a court clerk (missing work, standing in a long line) they will probably just pay off their ticket to avoid these types of fiascos on another court date. It is essentially a built-in manipulator to collect money. They drag someone through the process so the person will not want to come back, leading to just paying the money money. Smart, yes, but not friendly to the public. Everyone gets a traffic ticket at some time, but it should not give the Superior Court of California the right to make the process so confusing.

Thus, when people ask me why they should hire an attorney on a speeding ticket, red light ticket, stop sign, etc., maybe the best answer should be to avoid being manipulated by the system and saving yourself hours of standing in line and returning to court multiple times.

If you have a due date in Torrance, or Long Beach, hire an attorney with excellent reviews and traffic court experience to do the leg work and make good things happen for you.

Trial for Carpool Lane Solo or Crossing Yellow Lines Into Carpool

Carpool lane tickets are extremely common and people always ask about fighting the charges. You can fight any ticket by entering a not guilty plea and setting your case for trial. You will have your chance to present the facts and argue your case. Chances are that if you do not retain an attorney, the court will tell you to post bail, which could be a significant amount, possibly around $980 for carpool lane violations, depending on what the officer cited you for. If you fight your case, and set it for trial, there are many issues to consider, like constitutional issues such as speedy trial rights. Regardless, the court will give you a future date to appear for trial. You will have to come back to court on the trial date.

There are two common carpool violations that you might see on your ticket. It could be for being solo in the carpool lane and it could also be for crossing double yellow lines out of carpool lane. It is common for officers to cite people for both, or one or the other. Both charges are $100 base fines, plus penalty assessments, totaling about $490 each. However, only crossing the double yellows is subject to one negligent operator point, i.e., a DMV point.

There are several potential issues most clients have, some in their favor and some not. The court cannot consider whether you intended to violate the law, only whether a violation occurred. Nevertheless, the court may dismiss a case if the signage and markings were confusing or unclear to the reasonable person in the general situation. There are other ways the case could get dismissed, such as if the prosecution does not establish all of the parts of the law that need to be presented.

At trial, the police officer will testify first. His perspective of what happened, will be different than yours. Then, you can question him. Then, you can testify or not as to what happened. Finally, you can argue your case.

With an attorney, you will better know what issues to focus on, what to argue, and how to prepare you case. For example, in the past when I have won carpool trials, one way was to have video of the carpool lane where the alleged violation occurred. This showed the court that the lane was not properly marked—case dismissed. (Obvious Disclaimer: You should not drive and video, it is dangerous. Maybe drive the route while a passenger is videoing the route.)

Statute of Limitations on Criminal Charges

Often, I get asked by friends or family about why I do criminal defense. Answering the question of, “Why do we have a statute of limitations on criminal charges against someone who did a crime?” will partially answer why criminal defense is needed. The following is how I would answer this question if you asked it.

(Definition: A statute of limitations is a law that states that a case must be brought within a certain amount of time or it is too late. For example, consider a criminal misdemeanor case. Someone is caught shoplifting. The police do not file a report until six months later. Then, the prosecutor does not file a case with the court until eight months later. Now, it has been fourteen months since the alleged crime. Assume there is a law, a statute of limitations, that states that misdemeanors must be charged within a year of the time of the crime or they are barred by the statute of limitations. In this example, the case would have to be dismissed because the time the charges were brought exceeded the statute of limitations by two months.)

A statute of limitations for crimes goes to the root of why the United States of America was founded. Kings of the past were in ultimate control of law, and thus, were not subject to limits. In contrast, a statute of “limit”ation on charging a crime against a person is a law that keep government in check, to make sure the kingly ways of the past stay dead. Remember, our government is for the People, not the other way around. Kings had reputations for behaving like their subjects were there for the king, not the king being there to serve the people. As to crimes, a king could just hold someone indefinitely for an alleged crime or bring any claim against someone any time. There has to be limits on government action. Being charged with a crime is a government action.

The next thing you may think is, “But, we shouldn’t let people get away with crimes.” In response, remember, lest we forget, that we are all innocent until proven guilty, even someone you believe committed a crime. If not this way, then would we all be guilty until proven innocent? Put yourself in the shoes of an accused. Would you want the government to be able to indefinitely treat you like a criminal without ever being charged formally with a crime? Or, if you had evidence proving your innocence, wouldn’t you want the government to prosecute you right away so that you could show the world you were innocent. Imagine if they did not prosecute for years, and in the meantime, the newspapers in your community continued to write articles about the horrible crime assuming it was you as the “suspected” perpetrator. (As if the media using the word “suspected” ever stopped anyone from thinking they were guilty. Shame on us for ignoring our Constitution.)

Here is another example. What if someone accused you of a crime that you did not commit but you had a witness that would surely secure your innocence? However, after time passed, the person that you would have called to testify to support your alibi had since died. Now that your witness died, the prosecutor (the government) decides it is a good time to bring charges against you since they can win their case easier. Now that time has passed, you do not have much of a defense without your witness present to testify in your favor. If there was a limit on when the prosecutor could bring charges, this situation could not happen. Thus, that is why we have statutes of limitations on criminal charges.

Speeding Over 100 MPH

If you were charged with 22348(b), Speeding Over 100 MPH, the fine is $200 plus penalty assessments, so could be up to $900.

However, a more significant concern are the negligent operator points–2 points–that would be added to your DMV record. This can really do damage to your insurance, not just because of the points but also because of the way you got the points, if convicted of 22348b.

The potentially most significant issue is that your driver’s license will almost certainly be suspended for 30 days. If you continue to drive despite having a suspended license, and are pulled over for any valid reasons by police, they will cite you for driving on a suspended license, California Vehicle Code section 14601.1(a). Driving on a suspended license is most often issued as a misdemeanor, a criminal charge.

Note that driving on a suspended license, if convicted, is subject to a maximum of 6 months in jail, about $4000 in fines and fees. There is no minimum jail for a first offense, but there is a minimum of about $1300 in fines and fees. It is also priorable, meaning if you have had a similar charge before then you will might be subject to a minimum of 5 days in jail and about $2000 in fines and fees. In addition, 14601.1 is subject to 2 DMV points. If you are convicted of both 22348(b) and 14601.1(a), then your license would be suspended for an entire year. This would be due to having 4 DMV points within 12 months. This is a hypothetical but very possible situation, a domino effect of driving on a 30 days suspension.

On the other hand, it is possible, but unlikely, that an officer might cite someone for a lesser charge even if they caught someone going over 100 miles per hour. However, if they are going to do this, they usually write the ticket for 100 or 99 or 95 and cite it as 22349, exceeding 65 mph. CVC 22349 is only subject to one point and half the fine. Your license could still be suspended but a judge might suspend it shorter, like 10 or 15 days, if at all.

(If you hire an attorney, there are different ways they can protect your rights and driving privilege. I have had great success with these types of cases, from dismissals at arraignment, dismissals at the trial hearing, and reductions for lesser consequences. Although having watched plenty of pro pers–defendant representing self–fight this charge, I have never seen them achieve these better results.)

Why Should I Hire an Attorney for a Traffic Ticket

Why should I hire an attorney for a traffic ticket is a question I often get. Here is the answer to that and other frequently asked questions. (To explain the rhetoric of the following responses, this post is primarily from my law office website.)

What can an attorney do?

Only an attorney that has experience with traffic tickets has the knowledge at his fingertips on how to get a case dismissed at the first hearing, or how to negotiate for a non-point resolution, or how the court responds to different issues or evidence, or what to expect from different courts and law enforcement agencies on the day of trial, etc.

A wise man once told me that I could fix my broken dishwasher myself but it might take me a week to do it, and, then, it still may not be done right. Same with the practice of law. You could go to the local library to read case law, but after a few years of study, you’ll probably just wish you hired an attorney.
Why not just take traffic school myself?

You could and if that is what you want to do, then do it. However, if it was my case, knowing what I know now, I would always seek ways to have my case dismissed. It is my constitutional right to be heard on the matter; to leave the burden on the prosecution, and to present my case. Moreover, going to traffic school right out of the gate is like not finishing the race. You could win the race but you never know until you try.

Second, having your case dismissed entirely means no fines and no traffic school. Having your case reduced to a non-point charge means no traffic school, no traffic school court costs, no traffic school attendance costs, and possibly a reduced fine, as well. All three scenarios avoid a point on your drivers license.
Some cases or defendants are not eligible for traffic school for various reasons. The more common reasons for ineligibility are: took traffic school within 18 months, speed too high, and commercial driver.
How is it that chances of winning are about 80-90%?

I have handled so many cases that I could not count them all. Historically, I have gotten great results. The results are public record, and you could look them up. I could give you thousands of case numbers to look up, if you have the time, that show dismissals and reductions.

Your case is unique but probably extremely similar to prior cases that I have handled. It is extremely rare to have an absolutely unique case. Speeding tickets, red light tickets, for example, are not rare. However, your needs are important, and your case is important, and I will treat each case uniquely, as you deserve.

Two examples of unique cases: Client was only cited for not wearing his contact lenses–raised a few issues, but I fought it on Constitutional rights and the judge complimented me, being impressed with the motion I filed and the way I handled the case. Another unique case had two very rare commercial driver misdemeanor charges that even the prosecutor had never heard of, but after several pretrial conferences, I eventually got that reduced to a non-criminal case entirely with super low court costs.

Understand that the good results I get on your case are based on my skills from handling similar types of cases. Those similar cases, when added up, produce statistics that show great results. That means that you can rest-assured that I practice law in a manner that gets great results for cases like yours.

For example: If I had 100 traffic trial hearings last month, and 44 were dismissed entirely, 43 were reduced to a non-DMV point, and 2 not guilty, then my success rate was 89%. This month, your case will be in the mix, with a very high probability of success.

 

Is there any guarantee that my case will be dismissed?

Note that while history tends to repeat itself, there is no guarantee that history will repeat itself. In life, we all use historical data to achieve success. This is why I tell people my past results—so that they can try for the best on their case with confidence because they know of my high success rates.
What will my attorney actually do for me and my case?

I will review your case multiple times for multiple purposes. It involves hearing from you about what you are concerned with, what happened, and what you ultimately want. I look at the charging document, consider the allegations, compare it to the law and your facts, consider the prosecution involved, etc.
I will conduct legal research and prepare for issues on your case. Sometimes documents/motions are filed. Often, oral motions are made with the court. Negotiations occur.

I will appear in court on your case multiple times at different hearings. Generally, on traffic tickets, the first hearing is called the arraignment and the last hearing is the trial. However, sometimes there are clerk window appearances, motion appearances, post-trial hearings, etc. All of these are included in my flat rate–whatever your case takes. Each appearance could take all day or a matter of minutes. This is unpredictable. However, in most cases, it is faster for the attorney to appear then for a defendant to appear “pro per” because the court considers an attorney an officer of the court, giving priority to attorneys. (This makes sense for several reasons. Consider if an attorney had to sit in court waiting around for 4 hours for the case to be called, then it might cost the client $1400 for that hearing alone, with an hourly rate of $350.

I will fix any errors that the court makes that harm you. Consider that if you went back to court alone and said, for example, that the court accidentally did not dismiss your case, as actually occurred at trial, then the court might say to you, “Well, the notes in my file say you were found guilty” and you would be stuck. But when I go back to court to fix those clerical errors, they trust me and make the appropriate corrections.

 

Do you think my case will be dismissed?

This is a very specific question that can be answered with probably because of [this issue] or [that issue] or because [this occurs] or [that occurs]. Those [blanks] need to be filled in with specifics before a specific answer can occur. An attorney needs to assess those legal issues. That what I do. That is why you want to hire an attorney. It is like asking a medical doctor for antibiotics when the doctor has not yet assessed your symptoms. Like a medical doctor that practices medicine, I am literally a Juris Doctor that practices law.

 

What are the issues on my case?

I would be happy to asses the issues. If you want me to tell you right way, I can based on the information you give me. Note that more information is needed for a complete assessment, such as a copy of the ticket in my hand, or issues that show themselves after negotiations with the prosecution, etc.

 

How much does it cost — what is a flat fee?

A flat fee is the total amount for the whole case. It is common when the amount of time and resources and work involved on a case is not exactly known but fairly predictable. The work on many similar cases works to predict a reasonable fee. If I were to charge an hourly fee, it would be much more expensive because I charge $350 per hour. Consider all of the time that I talk to a client about their case, prep a case, go to court multiple times, and prepare documents. Each case would easily be more than my flat fees.

 

Why hire the Law Office of David Dastrup?

I understand what it is like to be a consumer. My goal is two fold, for your case to be dismissed and for you to be a satisfied consumer. I will explain the law to you all day, if that is what you need. I will personally return your calls or give you status updates via text. I am employed by you, not the other way around. Thus, I serve you and your interests.

I have extensive experience with traffic tickets–lots of success. I even had another attorney tell me that it was because of what I had done that made it possible to get good deals on cases where those deals rarely occurred before I practiced in that courthouse.

On another occasion, an attorney sitting next to me was sweating and shaking. I asked him about the case he was appearing on. He said, “I have been my client’s attorney for almost 20 years. So when he got a traffic ticket, he asked me do it. I know business law, been doing it almost 40 years. However, I do not know [anything about these tickets].” So I quickly helped that attorney work out a deal on his case. He was happy and stopped sweating. I was also happy to know that I helped an attorney help his client.

Traffic Tickets are what I do best. I also have experience with criminal cases, including DUI’s, prostitution, petty theft, marijuana, probation violations, suspended license charges, and more. However, traffic tickets are my forte.

Petty Theft and the Infamous Civil Claim Letter

A standard question by a defendant arrested for petty theft, shoplifting, in California is what to do about the letter from a civil attorney representing the store or alleged victim demanding money be paid.

It is standard to get this type of letter in a shoplifting scenario. Generally, from a pure criminal defense perspective, you could ignore the letter and it probably will not affect a criminal case. On the other hand, the criminal case may have restitution issues (“restoring” to the alleged victim what was taken). The prosecution is only concerned with any restitution issues as far as paying monies to a victim. If the letter addresses monies that, if paid by you, work towards a “civil compromise” or at least resolving some amount of restitution, then that could help in negotiating for a more favorable resolution to your case.

But if not, then the letter remains a civil, non-criminal, matter for small claims court. The store, if a large chain, is not going to go to small claims court. It is just not worth their time, and they cannot send an attorney to do the work in small claims court. Thus, the attorney that wrote you the letter is not going to ever appear in small claims court.

Keep in mind the bigger issue here. A conviction of petty theft is a crime of moral turpitude, meaning it is bad in itself, and looks bad on your record, especially if convicted.

Fortunately, the possibilities in resolving such a case has many variables, including whether or not you have a prior criminal record, the facts of the case, who’s prosecuting the case, the judge at the hearing, and other items.

Ultimately, it is the criminal charge you face that matters more than the civil letter.

Should Defendant Negotiate with Prosecutor In Advance

A misdemeanor/criminal defendant often asks, “Can I talk to the prosecutor before my court date to try to work out a deal, like a lower fine or dismissal?”

Should a defendant negotiate with a prosecutor or not?

The anxiety of having a pending criminal case often leads to this type of brainstorming. It is good to think this way. And, it is good to also be patient and wait to see what is offered by the prosecution at the first hearing. The deal may be better than you think, or it could be worse. Either way, speeding things up is not going to help. Chances are that a prosecutor has not even looked at the case until shortly before the day of the first hearing.

Better yet, talk to a local attorney who knows the court, the prosecutor, and how these types of cases usually resolve. Previous case results do not determine how your case will resolve, but they make for a pretty good measuring stick.

Certain variables are good predictors of possible resolutions. For example, it is not uncommon for first time offenders to get some kind of deal that does not include jail. Sometimes if you comply with certain terms the case could be dismissed, like a deferred entry of judgment program, known as a “DEJ.” Having a dismissal is probably more important than a reduction in fine because then you do not get a criminal conviction on your record.

You really cannot talk to the prosecutor about your case in advance. They are very busy and they do not represent your interests. They will have your file in court on the day of the first hearing. They will probably have decided in advance what plea-bargain they are going to offer you. In addition, you may get a court offer that is entirely different. However, sometimes an attorney can get a better deal than a pro per (person representing themselves) because they get to negotiate with the prosecution or talk to the judge in chambers. A pro per is not going to get a chance to negotiate with a prosecutor or a judge, its usually just take the offer or leave it.

You should protect your rights and fight your case unless you get a resolution that you find agreeable. An attorney knows what those rights are and how to protect them. Probably best not to talk to a prosecutor. Do not incriminate yourself. Let an attorney advise you and do the talking for you. Be patient. That is the safest bet.

22450 California Roll – Not the Sushi

Who hasn’t rolled through a stop sign on a beach city’s street. Hermosa Beach is riddled with stop signs, for example, in the picture above from 6th Street. Other than driving on Pacific Coast Highway, you will hit a stop sign almost every block.

California Vehicle Code section 22450 is for failing to stop at a stop sign. Stop means a full, complete stop, not a relative decrease in acceleration that makes you physically feel like you stopped. The tires need to stop moving.

More info forthcoming

Carpool HOV Lane Tickets

Solo in the carpool lane vs. cross double yellows into carpool lane

Both tickets are $100 fines plus penalty assessments, equalling about $490 in Orange and Los Angeles County.

Only crossing the double yellows into the carpool lane is a DMV negligent operator point. This is California Vehicle Code section 21655.8(a). This means that traffic school would benefit a driver facing an alleged violation of this carpool lane section. (That adds another $54 in Orange County, plus paying the traffic school company.)

Driving solo in the carpool (HOV) lane, California Vehicle Code section 21655.5(b), is not a DMV point.

Note that driving solo in the carpool lane requires signs AND markings. This usually becomes an issue in construction zones where the signs are taken down off of the center divider during construction. Regulatory signs are black writing on white background. If you want to fight this in court, be sure to make a video of the area to show the judge. (Have someone else drive the route the same day, or as soon thereafter as possible, while you hold your iPhone, etc., to video the route.) Arguably, this applies to 21655.8(a), as well, because the actual section (see below) states a carpool lane is established pursuant to 21655.5.

Be aware that the excuse of “I went into the carpool lane to avoid a collision” usually does not work since the judge will interpret that as “you were going to fast for the conditions to be able to stop in time.”

Here are the actual code sections:

21655.5(b) The Department of Transportation and local authorities, with respect to highways under their respective jurisdictions, shall place and maintain, or cause to be placed and maintained, signs and other official traffic control devices to designate the exclusive or preferential lanes, to advise motorists of the applicable vehicle occupancy levels, and, except where ramp metering and bypass lanes are regulated with the activation of traffic signals, to advise motorists of the hours of high-occupancy vehicle usage. No person shall drive a vehicle upon those lanes except in conformity with the instructions imparted by the official traffic control devices. A motorcycle, a mass transit vehicle, or a paratransit vehicle that is clearly and identifiably marked on all sides of the vehicle with the name of the paratransit provider may be operated upon those exclusive or preferential use lanes unless specifically prohibited by a
traffic control device.

21655.8(a) Except as required under subdivision (b), when exclusive or preferential use lanes for high-occupancy vehicles are established pursuant to Section 21655.5 and double parallel solid lines are in place to the right thereof, no person driving a vehicle may cross over these double lines to enter into or exit from the exclusive or preferential use lanes, and entrance or exit may be made only in areas designated for these purposes or where a single broken line is in place to the right of the exclusive or preferential use lanes.