New Rules in Solano County for Driver’s License Suspension
I’m Ed Smith, a Vacaville truck accident lawyer. An agreement was reached on August 8 that settled a lawsuit filed in 2016 citing a California practice of suspending a person’s driver’s license if they were unable to pay traffic fines.
The lawsuit was originally filed in the Solano Superior Court by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of several groups who said the practice unjustly made it difficult for poor people to pay high California fines. The lawsuit stated that it also was in violation of due process and the vehicle code.
The lawsuit echoes the feelings of many lawmakers who believe that not only do the high fines make it difficult for the poor to pay, often driving them into debt, but removes their right to drive when their driving privileges are taken. One consequence is that being unable to drive impacts their ability to work since many jobs require that the person have an active driver’s license.
The agreement will provide offenders a hearing to determine if violators can pay their fines. In the event they cannot, the fine may be lowered or a payment agreement established. In the event that neither modality is feasible, community service may be ordered.
California Traffic Violations
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, traffic violations are assigned negligent operator points (NOPS) ranging from zero to three points. The points are added to an operator’s driving record after notice of conviction or if the individual pleaded not guilty to a traffic violation.
California Vehicle Code 12810 mandates that one point be added for each traffic violation conviction. There are two types of convictions: major and responsible. Fines and other penalties depend on the type of offense, its severity, the age of the driver and his or her driving record. The fine is accompanied by additional surcharges and fees that vary according to the county where a violation took place.
The Point System
Penalties are uniform from one county to another and include points and possible revocation or suspension of a person’s driver’s license. Points are assigned in the following way:
- 1 Point: This is assigned for infractions such as speeding, being at-fault in a traffic accident or changing lanes in an unsafe manner.
- 2 Points: These are assigned for driving with a revoked or suspended license, reckless driving, DUI or a conviction for a hit-and-run.
If a driver receives 4 or more points in a 12-month time frame, the DMV will invoke a license suspension. In addition, a court may suspend the driver’s license for the following reasons:
- Driving drunk
- Driving impaired by drugs
- Not stopping at a railroad crossing
- Road rage
- Driving recklessly
- Running from the police
- Conviction for a misdemeanor or felony
If you are a commercial driver such as a truck driver, some of the penalties may be more serious. In addition, if a commercial driver is convicted of a traffic violation, the driver has 30 days to tell his or her employer. This is the same whether the driver is driving their car or the commercial motor vehicle. When a conviction occurs outside of California, the driver should use an out-of-state-accident form to report it.
Amount of Time a Commercial Driver Retains a Violation
A commercial driver also retains a violation on their driving record for:
- 55 years: Hit-and-run or DUI
- 15 years: Out-of-state violations
- 10 years: Accident
- 4 years: Not stopping at a railroad crossing
- 3 years: Other less serious convictions
Driving without attention to the rules of the road and injuring another driver or other occupants of a motor vehicle or pedestrians can make a driver liable for the financial loss associated with an accident. This loss includes the cost of medical care and treatment, lost wages and pain and suffering a victim may suffer. Hiring a personal injury attorney can help a plaintiff receive the compensation he or she deserves.
Vacaville Truck Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Vacaville truck accident lawyer. Working with clients as an attorney since 1978 has given me the opportunity to help them through difficult times, representing them in claims ranging from traumatic injuries to wrongful death. If you have been hurt due to a negligent driver, call me at (707) 564-1900 locally or use my toll-free number (800) 404-5400 if you are outside of the area. I will provide you with friendly and free advice.
I belong to the Million Dollar Advocates. This is a group of trial lawyers across the country who have won million-dollar settlements or verdicts for their clients.
You can browse my website www.autoaccident.com to find pertinent, up-to-date information about a variety of legal issues.
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