When Are Driver’s NOT Eligible for Traffic Violator School (TVS) Programs in California?
A Superior Court judge has the discretion to order attendance at a TVS program as permitted under California Vehicle Code (CVC) sections 41501(a) or 42005, or for any other purpose permitted by law. A traffic defendant who is eligible for TVS will NOT forfeit eligibility by contesting a traffic citation and entering a plea of Not Guilty, or by exercising his or her Constitutional right to a Court Trial.
Generally speaking, you are not eligible to attend a traffic violator school or defensive driving program in California, if any of the following circumstances apply to you...
Commercial Operators (Class A & B license holders):
1. If you receive a traffic citation while operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)
2. If your violation involves a non-moving offense such as Overweight, Overlength, Improper Cell Phone Use, or Non-Emergency Parking (CVC Section 22505(b) or 21461(a))
3. If you receive a citation for a Hazardous Material (Haz Mat) violation
4. If you receive a citation for Littering (CVC Section 23111, 23112(a) or 23112(b)), or for a serious traffic violation, such as a misdemeanor DUI or Reckless Driving
5. Any driver who would ordinarily be eligible for TVS, but who has completed a TVS program for a prior traffic citation issued within 18 months of their current or pending traffic citation
Non-commercial Operators (Class C license holders):
1. Exceeding 100 MPH (CVC Section 22348b);
2. All non-moving violations, such as Improper Cell Phone Use, or Non-Emergency parking (CVC Section 22505(b) or 21461(a));
3. Speeding in a private vehicle at speeds ≥ 26 MPH above the speed limit for the prevailing conditions (CVC Section 22350);
4. Speeding in a private vehicle at speeds ≥ 26 MPH above the posted speed limit of 65 MPH (CVC Section 22349a);
5. Speeding in a private vehicle at speeds ≥ 26 MPH above the posted speed limit of 55 MPH (CVC Section 22349b);
6. Speeding in a private vehicle at speeds ≥ 26 MPH above the posted speed limit of 70 MPH (CVC Section 22356b);
7. Speeding in a private vehicle at speeds ≥ 26 MPH above the posted speed limit for a Bridge, Tube or Tunnel (CVC Section 22405a);
8. If you receive a citation for Littering (CVC Section 23111, 23112(a) or 23112(b)), or for a serious traffic violation, such as a misdemeanor DUI or Reckless Driving;
9. Any driver who would ordinarily be eligible for TVS, but who has completed a TVS program for a prior traffic citation issued within 18 months of their current or pending traffic citation.
Note: As far as TVS ineligibility, Speeding in Excess of 26 MPH or greater above the posted speed limit, is the most common scenario that a non-commercial driver will find themselves in while traveling on the California highway system. The typical bail penalty for speeding ≥ 26 MPH above the speed limit, but not over 100 MPH, is approximately $470.00
Special Note: Under a new California state law that took effect on July 1, 2011, the CA DMV will not allow repeat offenders to attend traffic school - thereby avoiding negligent operator points on the DMV record - for citations that are received within an 18-month period (measured from date of issuance to date of issuance) of a prior citation for which they already attended traffic school. Now, drivers who attend a defensive driving course will have their first conviction masked, or hidden, on their DMV record. However, and this is very important, if they commit another eligible vehicle code violation within an 18-month period, their prior conviction will be unmasked, the negligent operator points will be added back onto their DMV record, and the individual's insurance company will be notified. To add insult to injury, you will not be eligible to attend traffic school for the most recently issued citation - a double whammy if you will!
By the way...once a person has been referred to a TVS program by a Superior Court judge, CVC §42005(e) states that "A person who willfully fails to comply with a court order to attend traffic violator school is guilty of a misdemeanor." (emphasis added) Essentially, you would be considered in contempt of court - a misdemeanor violation - for disobeying or not complying with a formal court order.
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