California traffic misdemeanors have fines that could be up to $2000 and are serious crimes that could even result in actual jail time. Driving under the influence, driving without a license, reckless driving are just some of the California traffic misdemeanors. If you are stopped for a misdemeanor, you must also appear in court for a hearing. Pleading guilty, paying the fine, and go to traffic school to clear your driving record OR you can plead not guilty and fight your ticket in court.
You can pay a fine or be sent to county jail for a year for being convicted of a traffic misdemeanor in California. You won’t be taken into custody when you are pulled over for a misdemeanor, unless it is for a DUI/DWI. Most of the time, you will have to sign the ticket. This does not mean that you are saying that you are guilty, it just means that you promise to appear in court by a certain date and time. One way to avoid going to court is to plead guilty and pay the fine.
Traffic school can be requested to remove the points from your DMV driving record after the conviction. You can also plead not guilty if you believe you have been wrongly accused of the crime that you are being prosecuted for. Hiring an attorney to represent you in court is also your right. You also have the right to present evidence to defend yourself. These could include documents, photographs, and witnesses to prove your defense. However, if you requested a trial date and failed to appear at court, you will be charged with another misdemeanor on top of the one that you have already been charged with. If that happens the court will issue a bench warrant for your failure to appear. If you are pulled over, you will be arrested and your driver’s license could be suspended.
A misdemeanor could be elevated to a felony depending on how severe the violation was, if any injuries occurred, and if a criminal record exists already. If this happens, the fines will be higher and the convicted offender could face jail time in state prison for at least one year.