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California Seeks to Decriminalize Traffic Tickets, Reducing Fines and License Suspensions

Any California driver who has ever received even so much as a speeding ticket knows that the cost of a single traffic ticket can add up fast. For some people, the addition of surcharges can make paying a fine all but impossible and then a downward spiral can begin that may even lead to a driver’s license being suspended.

State lawmakers are actually trying to look at options that may reduce the number of people who have their licenses suspended for some select infractions. Certain traffic tickets might be handled in civil court while others are handled as criminal offenses. Of those, some involve the payment of fines while others may tack on jail sentences as part of the penalties. It is that former group of criminal infractions that do not involve jail time that lawmakers want to move to civil court.

Examples of these include parking in a handicapped spot illegally, changing lanes without a turn signal or failing to stop at a red light. Other offenses like driving under the influence would remain as criminal offenses. The effort is part of an attempt to correct what some assert is an unfair assessment of surcharges or fines by courts. It may also ease the burden on some courts as well as drivers.

California residents who have been cited for a traffic infraction might want to talk to a lawyer to discuss their options for fair treatment.

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