California’s police don’t joke around when it comes to speeding. If you’re driving above the posted limit in California, you can expect to pay anywhere from $35 to $500. Even more frightening is the fact that egregious or repeated speeding tickets can result in your license being suspended. Fortunately, you have options available to you. Here’s everything you need to know about the speeding laws and how to fight against charges in court.
Understanding California Speeding Laws
Most speeding tickets issued in California fall under the California Vehicle Code 22350. It’s important to understand how this code works, because it could have a meaningful effect on whether or not you’re in danger of having your license suspended. It’s worth noting that this code doesn’t apply to most speeding tickets issued on the highway or freeway system, since these fall under the provisions of the state maximum speed limit laws. The tricky part about tickets issued under VC 22350 is the fact that fines aren’t based exclusively off of the posted speed limit but rather on the determination that the driver was exceeding speeds that are reasonable or pose a danger to persons or property.
The costs for speeding tickets underneath the VC 22350 are as follows (as of writing):
- Unsafe Speed for Prevailing Conditions 1–15 MPH Over Limit: $238.00
- Unsafe Speed for Prevailing Conditions 16–25 MPH Over Limit: $367.00
- Unsafe Speed for Prevailing Conditions 26 or more MPH Over Limit: $490.00
The Risk of Suspension
California uses a point-based system to determine when a driver’s license should be suspended, and violations of VC 22350 will earn you one point. Receiving four points over the course of a year, six points over the course of two years, or eight points over the course of three years will earn you an automatic suspension. If you’re approaching the limit for suspension, it’s especially important to find a resolution that doesn’t require you to plead guilty.
How to Fight Your VC 22350 Ticket
A judge is likely to rule in favor of the officer rather than the accused, but the vagueness of California speeding laws offer you a lot of leeway in how you decide to make your case. When you’ve been issued a speeding ticket, you typically have three options available to you.
- Paying the fine is the most straightforward solution, but it’s a costly choice both immediately and in terms of raised insurance rates.
- Taking a driving school course will still require you to pay the fine, but it also means that the point on your license will be waived. This can be done once every 18 months.
- Fighting the ticket successfully can cost more upfront but allows you to avoid ticket fines and points on your record. A lawyer can assist greatly with this.
Routes For Fighting Your Speeding Ticket
The easiest way to fight a ticket is to determine that the officer couldn’t accurately determine your speed. Speeding tickets in California require the officer to present evidence of an objective speed tracking device like radar or lasers. Without this evidence, any speeding arrest will be deemed a speed trap and thrown out of court.
Since these speeding laws are determined on subjective rather than absolute limits, there are a lot of factors in play. Weather, visibility, and traffic conditions are just a few factors that determine unsafe speeds, but they can also work in your favor. If you can determine that accelerating was a necessity for your own safety, such as in circumstances where you’re forced to pass another car, the case could be overturned. But since the conditions in play here are so complicated, and since judges have so much leeway in how they evaluate a case, a lawyer may be a practical necessity.
The best way to avoid a ticket is to not speed at all, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t options available to you if you’re dealing with a ticket in the here and now. A good attorney can make a world of difference, and the ambiguity in California law gives you a lot more leverage to make a reasonable case.
Contact us today if you need help in fighting a traffic ticket. We have over 25 years of experience fighting traffic tickets and helping people reinstate their license.