What Commercial Drivers Licensees (CDL holders) need to know about Bail and Fine amounts in the State of California…by Attorney Felicia Woods-Yates on 03/07/15
What Commercial Driver's Licensees (CDL holders) need to know about Bail and Fine amounts in the State of California…
Let’s take a look at one of the most common citations issued in California to a CDL holder – a violation of California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22406(a), also known as Speeding in a Commercial Vehicle. The Bail amount for this particular violation varies, primarily based upon, the alleged speed of your vehicle at the time you are issued a traffic ticket. If you are cited for traveling 1 – 9 miles per hour over the speed limit of 55 mph, then your “Total Bail” amount will be calculated at $285.00. However, if you are cited for traveling 10 miles per hour or more over the speed limit of 55 mph, then your “Total Bail” amount will leap to a calculated figure of $490.00. In both instances, there are eleven (11) separate fees or assessments that the State of California adds together which makes up the “Total Bail” amount.
Let's look at two more common violations issued to CDL holders in California: CVC Section 21655(b) - Failure to Use Designated Lanes and CVC Section 34501 thru 34506 - Log Book / Safety Regulations. The Bail amount for a violation of CVC Section 21655(b) under the new schedule is $238.00. The Bail amount for a violation of CVC Sections 34501 thru 34506 varies from a low of $197.00, to a high of $695.00.
The "Total Bail" amount is also the amount which the Superior Court will generally include on their Courtesy Notice sent via U.S. mail to a traffic Defendant. By the way…if you do not receive the Courtesy Notice in the mail from the Superior Court, it is NOT a valid legal reason you may use to ignore the appearance date that the citing officer wrote towards the bottom of the traffic citation – when you signed your name on the traffic citation, you made a promise to appear, without admitting guilt, by the date and time indicated on the traffic ticket!
Except as otherwise required by statute, under California Penal Code sections 1203, 1203.1, and 1203(b), a Judge has the discretion to suspend (eliminate or reduce) the minimum sentence, including Fines and Penalties. For traffic cases, Vehicle Code section 42003 permits a Judge or Referee to consider a Defendant’s ability to pay. Also Vehicle Code sections 42003 and 40510.5 permit installment payments of judgments in traffic cases.
One reason it so important for a CDL holder to hire a competent attorney to contest any traffic citation he/she receives, is that simply posting the Bail amount owed to the Court is the same thing as standing in front of the Judge and saying “Guilty as Charged Your Honor.” It also gives a person the best chance to obtain a Dismissal of their charge, or a Reduction in their charge, so Negligent Operator Points are avoided, along with eliminating the negative stigma of having a moving violation on their motor vehicle record.
Since everyone's traffic incident is unique to that individual and the specific circumstances, you should consult with a competent defense attorney to determine your best course of action. Felicia Yates has been practicing law for over 30 years in California and can be reached at (760) 326-5297, and found at Law Offices of Felicia Yates & Associates.