TRAFFIC TICKET DEFENSE SUMMARY
You should challenge every traffic infraction ticket, whether it is a speeding ticket, or one of the many other types of moving violations or non-moving violations that make up California's Vehicle Code. If you don’t contest the traffic ticket, you may face any number of negative consequences, including:
• Paying a fine and/or penalty amount you can barely afford;
• Suffering an insurance premium increase for the next three to five years;
• Contributing Negligent Operator Points to your DMV record which can remain for up to seven (7) years;
• Possible driver's license suspension depending upon the nature of the underlying charge;
• Ineligibility for Traffic Violator School.
In addition to the above, for commercial drivers (CDL holders), your CSA 2010 score may suffer as well.
***For a special discussion on speeding violations which involve being cited for traveling in excess of 100 MPH, go to the link "100 MPH + Traffic Violations" on the right side of this homepage***
You might not be guilty of a particular speeding violation, for example, even if you have been issued a speeding ticket that says so and you think you are guilty. When you actually read the California Vehicle Code (CVC) section you were ticketed under, you will find that the violation you are accused of committing is much more complex than you think. The prosecution - the citing police officer - always has the Burden of Proof. It may be that you didn’t do all the things that the prosecution must prove in order to convict you.
There are many situations in which an individual was obeying the law, and the police officers simply made a mistake when they issued the traffic ticket. This can be due to everything from a defective or improperly used radar gun, to an error in the police officer’s visual perspective.
The following are basic things that every California traffic ticket will contain, regardless of what law enforcement is involved:
1. Near the middle of the ticket, usually under the heading “Violation(s)” or “Code and Section—Description,” the officer will have written a very short description of the law he/she says you violated. You will almost always be cited for a Vehicle Code violation.
2. On a speeding ticket, you’ll also find the “approximate speed” at which the officer clocked your vehicle, the "maximum speed" or prima facie speed limit allowed on that highway, and the vehicle limit (maximum allowed speed for your particular vehicle).
The statute that is cited on your traffic ticket should be read very carefully. The citing officer will have to prove each element (fact that must be proven in order to find a person guilty) “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
A judge is required under the Constitution and Bill of Rights to follow technical readings of the law. Courts must interpret traffic laws very technically - the government must be able to state specifically what you actually did before you can be found guilty. Many violations (including traffic tickets) must also show that you intended to commit the particular speeding or moving violation, or you exercised carelessness on the roadway. For example, California Penal Code section 20 says, “In every crime or public offense [including infractions] there must exist a union, or joint operation of act and intent, or criminal negligence.”
Lastly, if you actually did commit the traffic offense, you may still be able to put forth a "legal excuse" as to why it was committed. For example, you may have relied upon a faulty speedometer or instrument panel that indicated you were driving 55 mph, when in fact you were actually traveling 75 mph.
PROFESSIONAL LICENSES & ADMISSIONS
Admitted to practice law in June 1971 in the following courts: Supreme Court of the State of California and lower courts, and the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In 1976, Admitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and The Supreme Court of the United States of America in 1977. Currently licensed by the State Bar of California, California Department of Real Estate (Broker), and Nevada Division of Real Estate (Broker).
•Southwestern University, Los Angeles, CA.
September 1962 through February 1964.
•San Fernando Valley College of Law, Encino, CA.
February 1964 through June 1965.
•Van Norman University, Los Angeles, CA.
Graduated June 1967, Juris Doctor Degree.
1971 - 1975Ventura County Public Defender’s Department, Ventura, CA
Deputy Public Defender, Trial Deputy, handling numerous Criminal Court and Jury Trials.
1975 - 1976Parrish & Celeste, Principal in a Professional Legal Corporation, Ventura, CA
Trial Attorney, Civil and Criminal cases.
1976 - 1999Felicia K. Woods, Attorney at Law, Ventura, CA
Opened the first Legal Clinic in Ventura County. Handled numerous misdemeanor and felony Court and Jury trials and related pre-trial matters. Expertise in both civil and criminal law areas; emphasis on Criminal Law, Traffic Law, Family Law, Real Estate, Consumer Protection, Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, and Personal Injury.
2005 - PresentLaw Offices of Felicia Yates & Associates,
Traffic and Transportation Defense; DUI/BUI; Personal Injury
(Past and Present)
•Ventura County Trial Lawyers Association •California Women’s Lawyers-Legislative Committee •Judge Pro Tem, Mentally Ill Calendar •Ventura County Mental Health Advisory Board Member •National Association of Defense Lawyers in
•Los Angeles Realty Board Member
• Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors
• Department of Real Estate CA / NV
•California Lutheran College;
Administration of Justice instructor
•Ventura County Bar Association;
Co-chairwoman of Pro Bono Committee
(to provide free legal services to the community)
• San Bernardino County Bar Association
•American Bar Association •California Bar Association
AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.