New commercial driver laws take effect

In accordance with federal law, effective on May 10, 2017, a new law went into effect where the California Department of Motor Vehicles requires all new and existing commercial driver license applicants to provide the DMV with proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent U.S. residency and proof of residency in California.

This comes on the heels of the state legislature requiring all first-time driver license or identification card applicants to present proof of California residence in addition to meeting all other license and identification card requirements.

Acceptable U.S. resident documents

Applicants will need to provide one of the following original documents:

  • Valid/unexpired U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card
  • Certified copy of a U.S. Birth Certificate issued by a city, county or another statistical office, or:
  • Certified copy of a Birth Certificate issued from the U.S. Territories of American Samoa, District of Columbia, Swain’s Island, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, or the Northern Mariana Islands
  • S. Certificate of Birth Abroad or Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen
  • Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
  • Valid/unexpired Permanent Resident Card
  • Valid/unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  • Valid/unexpired foreign passport with an approved Record of Arrival/Departure
Acceptable California “proof of residency” documents

Applicants must also submit a rental or lease agreement, mortgage bill, utility bills, tax return or other identifying documents.

Keeping your commercial driver’s license

It’s one thing to get your commercial driver’s license and drive for a living, but it can be a challenge to keep it if you incur traffic violations. For example, speeding in excess of 15 mph over the posted limit is considered a criminal misdemeanor and could result in a 90-day suspension of your license, effectively putting you out of business for that time. If you get a ticket like this or any other commercial ticket, it’s imperative that you consult a commercial driver traffic attorney as soon as possible. You’ve worked hard to get your license, going through extra requirements as noted above, and with your livelihood on the line, you can’t afford to take any chances. A commercial ticket attorney who knows the system will help you fight any traffic violations to get them dismissed and the points associated with the ticket reduced or removed.

The Law Office of David Leicht serves the California communities of Barstow, Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia, Adelanto, Baker, Needles, Lucerne Valley, Big Bear, San Bernardino, Mojave, Phelan, and Wrightwood. For a free consultation, call (760) 256-3104.

Tips for finding the best criminal defense lawyer to represent you

If you’re in trouble with the law, the last thing you want to do is make matters worse for yourself by hiring inferior legal representation. Getting the best possible lawyer to represent you is a high stakes decision that could impact your pocketbook and your freedom.

There are many talented criminal defense lawyers, which is a good thing, but it also serves to create a challenge if you’ve never had to make use of their services before. Here are some things to consider as you start your search and begin to narrow it to the most qualified candidates to represent you.

Experience means everything

Lots of attorneys have years of experience in criminal defense cases, but that alone is not a standard for you to consider. You need to have an attorney who has years of the right experience as well. That means, if you are facing assault charges, find an attorney who has dealt with lots of assault cases. If you’re facing burglary charges, look for a great burglary defense attorney. Most attorneys will specialize in the types of cases they work on to some degree or another. Find that attorney to give yourself the best chance to make use of their specific expertise.

Familiarity counts

An experienced attorney can give you an added advantage if they have tried cases in the court system where your case will be heard. Knowing how judges and prosecutors operate and what their tendencies are is critical to all phases of your defense. That familiarity can help negotiate a better plea bargain for you, as well as helping you understand what is likely to happen in the court if you end up going to trial, based on previous experiences.

Pay attention to communication skills, reputation and references

You are forming a partnership with an attorney, and just like any job interview, you want to make sure their communication skills, reputation and references are in line with your expectations. The better the relationship is with your attorney, the better they can help you win your case and keep your freedom.

The Law Office of David Leicht serves the California communities of Barstow, Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia, Adelanto, Baker, Needles, Lucerne Valley, Big Bear, San Bernardino, Mojave, Phelan, and Wrightwood. For a free consultation, call (760) 256-3104.

Passage of SB 1046 expands DUI Ignition Interlock Device pilot program

In September 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1046 which expanded a pilot program affecting DUI offenders statewide. The pilot program extended the use Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Alameda and Tulare counties for DUI offenders in order to get a restricted driver’s license or to reinstate their license. The law also removes the required suspension time before a person can get a restricted license if the offender installs an IID on their vehicle.

Driving Under the Influence IID Pilot program to expand statewide in 2019

According to recent statistics, more than 1,000 people die and more than 20,000 people are injured every year in California because of drunk drivers. With the passage of the law, the pilot program will run until January 1, 2019, when it will be expanded statewide.

This may have implications for how DUI lawyers work with courts. Attempts to strike a deal and accept a plea bargain could be influenced by the knowledge that convicted DUI offenders who choose to install an IID soon after their arrest may be allowed full driving privileges if they install and use an IID. In addition, their full IID time requirement will be reduced based on their early installation of the device before they are convicted. In other words, DUI offenders may get time off for good behavior even before they are convicted under the new law.

Under the new law, a first time DUI offense with no injuries could choose to install and use an IID for six months with full driving privileges or a one-year restricted license that would allow only driving to and from work if the offender participates in a treatment program.

Offender costs could be based on income

Offenders would be required to pay for installation of the devices, which costs about $3 a day for monitoring and calibration. The new law also would make allowances for low-income offenders who would pay on a sliding scale percentage of the cost of installation and monitoring based on their income.

The Law Office of David Leicht serves the California communities of Barstow, Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia, Adelanto, Baker, Needles, Lucerne Valley, Big Bear, San Bernardino, Mojave, Phelan, and Wrightwood. For a free consultation, call (760) 256-3104.

Traffic tickets in California could be decriminalized

Traffic ticket attorneys are closely monitoring proposed legislation being drafted by the California legislature that would make traffic violations civil offenses. Under the new legislation, drivers would be protected from arrests and fines for not showing up on the court appearance date when they are issued a ticket. Tickets that are currently considered criminal offenses would be considered infractions under the new law.

More than 4 million tickets are issued in California each year

If it passes, this change could produce some seismic changes in the California court system because more than 70% of the state’s criminal cases currently involve traffic citations.

The new law would apply only to tickets that are considered infractions. These are traffic violations that are considered minor in nature, such as making an unsafe lane change, running a stop sign or speeding up to 15 miles per hour over the posted limit.

Tickets that are considered misdemeanors would still be handled as criminal offenses. This would include violations such as driving under the influence, among others.

Good news and bad news if you get a traffic ticket

While the change will be seen as resoundingly good news by California drivers because penalties, consequences and emotions will not be as high, there is an offset to this proposed change. Currently, when a person appears in court to fight a ticket, rules dictate that evidence must be produced to show guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Under the new system, the burden of proof would be reduced so that evidence only needs to show that the person “more likely than not” committed the traffic violation.

If a driver does not appear on their scheduled court date, the judge can decide the matter without them by issuing a default judgment. However, instead of appearing in front of a judge, a driver could contest a ticket in writing. If they lose the judgment, they would still have the right to appeal as is the case in civil matters.

The Law Office of David Leicht serves the California communities of Barstow, Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia, Adelanto, Baker, Needles, Lucerne Valley, Big Bear, San Bernardino, Mojave, Phelan, and Wrightwood. For a free consultation, call (760) 256-3104.