TRAFFIC CITATION & COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION (CDL) DEFENSE SUMMARY
You should challenge every traffic citation you are issued, whether it is a speeding ticket, or one of the many other types of moving or non-moving violations that make up California's Vehicle Code.
The ultimate results of each traffic matter (Infraction or Misdemeanor) are dependent upon a driver's motor vehicle record (i.e. history of "points"), the specific type of offense(s) for which you are being charged, the location of the alleged violation itself, the experience level of the citing officer(s), the court location you are assigned, the judicial officer overseeing your case (i.e. some judges are more open to allowing plea bargaining), the evidence and testimony presented at the court trial, the types of cross examination questions posed, any witness statements submitted, including but not limited to, the relationship you had with the citing officer(s) out on the highway.
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 (3) to five (5) year period;
• 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;
• Adverse impacts on your employment status or employment opportunities.
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, please go to the link 100 MPH + Speeding Violations ***
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. If you decide to contest your traffic citation, there are a host of issues that may crop up during the Court Trial which would prevent the law enforcement agency from proving their case against you - everything from a defective or improperly used radar gun or lidar device, an officer's inability to recall what specifically happened out on the highway, to an error in the police officer’s visual perspective before and during the traffic stop. We post many of our Winning Traffic Cases we've achieved over the years, right here on our website for your review.
The following are basic things that every California traffic ticket will contain, regardless of what law enforcement agency 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 or observed 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).
Some traffic infraction violations are considered "correctable" and many others are considered "non-correctable." A thorough discussion can be found at the Judicial Branch of California's web page titled Correctable Violations ("Fix-It" Tickets). California Vehicle Code section 40610 - also known as "Notice to Correct Violations" - provides technical explanations of what is considered a dismissible violation. You should note that unlike correctable equipment, license or registration violations, a correctable violation for lack of evidence of financial responsibility or no proof of auto insurance (CVC 16028a), may only be cleared through the office of the superior court itself.
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 justification or "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 at or near 55 mph, when in fact you were actually traveling at or near 75 mph. Should you decide to retain our services, we will help you explore all the various types of defenses that may be available to you.
For an in-depth look at what steps are involved once you are issued a traffic ticket - and what actually takes place inside the court of law whenever an infraction citation is fully contested, click the link Defending A Traffic Citation.
If you have already received a fee quote, and are ready to move forward with our services, please contact our office at (760) 326-LAWS (5297).
We accept all major debit or credit cards (American Express, Discover, MasterCard & Visa), and can process your payment via telephone, or through a secure online payment link sent directly to your personal e-mail account.
Otherwise, you may submit your new case information directly to our office for a Free Consultation, and we will contact you within 24 hours!
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 - 1975: Ventura County Public Defender’s Department, Ventura, CA
Deputy Public Defender, Senior Trial Deputy, handling numerous Criminal Court and Jury Trials.
1975 - 1976: Parrish & Celeste, Principal in a Professional Legal Corporation, Ventura, CA
Trial Attorney, Civil and Criminal cases.
1976 - 1999: Felicia 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 - Present: Law Offices of Felicia Yates & Associates,
Commercial Transportation and Traffic Defense; DUI / BUI; General Criminal Defense; 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.