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CDL holders may have an option when it comes to dealing with traffic tickets

A few years ago, the California Legislature passed AB 1888. The bill gave commercial drivers who got traffic tickets an alternative to fighting those tickets in court by allowing them to attend traffic school if they got an off-duty citation.

The passage of AB 1888 was significant for many reasons

By successfully attending a traffic school, either online or in person, a driver with an off-duty citation stands a good chance of getting the charges suppressed or even possibly dismissed. In turn, this means that penalties that could be imposed by employers are more limited now than before. Prior to the passage of AB 1888, drivers could face disciplinary probation after getting a ticket. In other instances, such as those employers with a zero tolerance policy, a driver who got a ticket usually meant losing their job.

Now, upon completing traffic school, any points a driver gets for a qualifying violation will be removed from their CDL personal driving record. Violations will still be recorded on their CDL records and the violations are still accessible to insurance companies which means that a driver’s auto insurance rates may go up, but the important element here is that a CDL violator stands a much better chance of keeping their job than ever before.

It’s also important to note that traffic school will not suppress some violations, including:

  • Violations involving the use of drugs or alcohol
  • Excessive speed, defined as a violation of going 15 mph or more over the posted speed limit
  • Reckless driving
  • Tailgating
Your best bet may still be to hire a CDL traffic ticket attorney

Under many circumstances, your best bet will still be to retain an experienced commercial driver’s license (CDL) traffic ticket attorney. In fact, depending on your circumstances, you may not have the option of attending traffic school and will need the best possible representation. As a commercial driver, your livelihood and your financial health depend heavily on your ability to be able to legally and successfully operate a motor vehicle on California roadways. While you may view the costs associated with hiring an attorney to represent you, the best way to think about this situation is how much money it would cost you if you gambled and lost your case and possibly your CDL.

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.

How to lessen the impact of a speeding ticket

In California, when you get a speeding ticket, investing in an experienced speeding ticket attorney can make great sense, since the state has some of the highest penalties in the nation for speeding and other minor traffic violations. Because of automatic surcharges, fines and penalties can easily surpass $1,000 as well as increased insurance costs when the points on your driver’s license are assessed.

Although only a small fraction of tickets is contested nationwide because people think it’s just easier to write a check, pop it in the mail and be done with it, the truth is that sometimes the circumstances can be questioned. There could have been weather or road conditions that impacted how the vehicle had to be driven, or an officer’s subjective observations may not have been accurate, challenging a ticket is the right way to go for many reasons.

Another way to beat the high cost of a speeding ticket

Using an attorney to fight a ticket and keep as much money in your pocket as possible has been about the only recourse for penalty- weary Californians, until now.

Under a proposal by the California legislature, some drivers may be able to pay less for speeding tickets and many other types of traffic tickets by linking the cost of the ticket to their ability to pay. In other words, the lower your income, the less you would be required to pay if you get a traffic ticket.

Analysis shows that the proposal may make economic sense for the state, despite some criticisms of the possible passage of the law.

By making it more affordable for people to pay fines who could not do so otherwise, means that the state can collect more in fines than it would otherwise. In addition, people who wouldn’t normally pay steep fines and who lose their license, as a result, could now pay their fines, keep their licenses and remain productive members of the economy. Specifically, it means that by keeping their licenses, drivers can keep their jobs, allowing the state to collect more income taxes and pay out less in unemployment.

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.

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.

Strategies for fighting a traffic ticket

Like it or not, many of us have been stopped and given a traffic ticket at some point in our driving lives. While it’s not the end of the world, a conviction can cost you hundreds of dollars in fines, and even more in increased insurance premiums.

But rather than just roll over and accept guilt on a ticket, an experienced traffic ticket attorney may be able to help you in instances where you feel your driving actions were justified, and that you’d like your day in court. When that’s the case, here are a few strategies for you and your attorney to consider when facing a judge.

The ticket was a “Mistake of Fact.” – You can use this defense when a driver makes a legitimate misunderstanding about the facts surrounding a violation. For example, if you come to a Stop Sign on a corner, but the sign has been covered or otherwise unable to be seen, and you roll through the intersection you made a mistake of fact through no fault of your own.

Dispute the evidence – Some kinds of tickets are judgment calls on the part of the officer and in those cases, if you present factual-based evidence or witnesses to support your version of the incident, you may be able to beat the ticket.

Argue that your actions were justified or taken to avoid harm. Don’t dispute your guilt, but attempt to justify it instead. For example, if you’re facing a speeding ticket, your attorney may be able to argue you were attempting to get away from a dangerous situation, perhaps from an incident of road rage or from a drunk driver. If you swerved recklessly and were ticketed, you might argue that it was to avoid a pedestrian or from hitting a road hazard that could have led to a serious accident.

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.

More than just a driver may be at fault in a commercial truck accident

When a commercial vehicle of any kind is involved in a traffic accident, a different and more complicated set of circumstances kicks in for anyone who may be a victim.

This is the case whether a commercial trucker is at fault, or a taxi, limo, bus, delivery van or a shuttle is part of the accident.

Although commercial drivers as a whole have been shown less likely to be involved in an accident, when they are, due to the difference in size between a commercial vehicle and an average car, the results are usually more serious and even deadly.

If you’re injured in a truck accident, is it incumbent on you and your attorney to not only show that negligence was involved on the part of the commercial driver but also to determine if that negligence can extend beyond just the driver. Identifying as many defendants as possible is important because it gives you the greatest possibility of recovering damages for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Other defendants may include a driver’s employer, so it’s important for an attorney to establish that an employer exercised some control over the driver, including what kind of driving schedule they kept, what big rig they assigned the driver, their overall maintenance and safety record, and other issues that will help strengthen the case that liability should be shared.

As a plaintiff in a case, it’s best to bring a commercial traffic attorney on board as soon as possible to start the process of preserving evidence, and looking at company maintenance records, safety violations recorded with the state, and so forth. In most cases, defendants will have an experienced commercial vehicle attorney already on board, and it’s just a wise move to level the playing field as soon as possible to give you the best chance at a full financial recovery.

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.

How DUI charges can become felonies

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious crime, no matter what the situation. However, what normally may be a misdemeanor can become a much more serious crime requiring the skills of a DUI criminal defense lawyer when the charge is elevated to a felony.

When this happens, it is usually due to aggravating factors that can include:

An accident resulting in bodily harm. If you get behind the wheel after drinking and you cause an accident resulting in injuries or death to another person, there’s a strong likelihood you will be charged with a felony. Prosecutors must show that the drunk driver is the one who actually caused the bodily harm. If the other driver is the one who is at fault for the accident, then the drunk driving charge will remain a misdemeanor.

You have multiple DUI convictions. In California, DUI offenses are known as “priorable” offenses, meaning that penalties become harsher every time you are convicted on the same charges. As it relates to drunk driving offenses, if you have been convicted three or more times of DUI in the past 10 years, you will probably be charged with a felony if you are arrested again. This also applies to drunk driving offenses that take place out of state, but that would be considered an equivalent crime if committed in California.

Driving under the influence with children in your car. Putting the lives of minors at stake is met with a harsh punishment resulting in felony charges.

Previous felony DUI convictions. If you have any kind of felony DUI conviction, then even if you commit what would normally be considered a misdemeanor DUI, you will be charged with a felony, resulting in heavy fines and penalties.

In all cases, a DUI charge is a serious situation, and it requires an aggressive defense best mounted with the help of an experienced DUI attorney.

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.