Tuesday, June 06, 2017

California judges want to decriminalize traffic tickets, reducing fines and license suspensions

California’s Chief Justice and her fellow judicial leaders would like lawmakers to decriminalize infractions such as failing to stop at a red light or not using your turn indicator when changing lanes and, instead, handle them in civil court.

Reason this might turn out to be a problem:
http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2017/06/heres-new-attack-on-red-light-cameras.html   it changes the amount of evidence needed for a conviction (guilty immediately, try and prove you are innocent) and puts the money making back in red light cameras. The police and DA won't have to prove you're guilty, they can assume it from the photo. See that link a couple lines up? Click on it.

For California motorists that would mean less time spent waiting in cold courtrooms for your case to be called and your verdict to be handed down.

Members of the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System say cash-strapped courts have tried to bolster their coffers by tacking on surcharges to traffic tickets — as high as $490 for a simple $100 fine for an elementary violation, like a busted headlight. Failure to pay those amped-up fines, which are huge challenges for the poor and working class, then triggers additional penalties and suspended driver’s licenses.

The traffic ticket proposal released this week would also require approval by the Legislature and the governor. It would apply to traffic violations that are classified as infractions, punishable only by fines and not by jail time — speeding, running a red light or a stop sign, changing lanes without signaling, parking illegally in a handicapped zone and similar offenses.

in 2014-15, the more than four million traffic-related infractions cited made up 75 percent of the total criminal charges filed in California that year


Just 3 months ago there was a tremendous push to get some of the money from those unpaid tickets  http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2017/03/2-hundred-thousand-californians-couldnt.html by handing out amnesty in return for a fraction of the fines getting paid

I haven't read anything that shows a clear benefit to the people getting tickets. What do they get from having a ticket be dealt with in a civil court vs criminal court?

Surely the criminal courts are not wasting much time with tickets. DUI and any car collsions that result in hospital treatment, accidental death or extreme property damage I can understand... but does a real judge actually deal with regular traffic tickets? Why would they?

Cop writes tickets, person who got a ticket either sends in the money or blows off the whole situation right? If the cop has to arrest the person, then it's of course going to be a day in front of a judge for whatever the cause was.

Hell, I haven't had a ticket for anything in over a dozen years, I simply can't recall anything other than paying a speeding ticket when I was in my early 20s


  1. Bad juju for the citizens, but what else is new in the PRK. In criminal court, "reasonable doubt" is the test. In civil, it is a "preponderance of evidence". The evidence used will be the citation and that written citation carries more weight than your word. Then the fun comes and CA starts digging into your bank accounts...kangaroo courts.

    Bad BS like this is why we're outta here next summer.

    1. PRK? Peoples Republic of Kalifornia? Well, it's worse than just being one state that is getting way too pushy towards it's citizens, the whole country is that way. Cali is sure as hell more expensive, and more harsh on the smog laws... but, what does your intended destination state or city have that has made it the one of hundreds of thousands of towns, and one of 50 states, that you selected to go and live and or work in?
      If it's not a secret, share that info... a lot of people would like to be blessed with the results of your research, and when it comes time for them to move away from the costs of living in California, they'd like to have a good idea of the place that has lured you away from what must have been a good place to live, and a profitable place to work.
      What kept you here in California for the time you were here (I'm not sure who I'm talking to or how long you've been here in California) or were you born, raised, and always lived here?
      Are you and your family moving? Or you and your company? How much of an improvement will your new city be for your needs as a resident, or as a business man?
      If I seem to be way too nosy, pardon the curiosity. You are certainly clear that you know stuff of great benefit, and I'd like to learn too! Learning things that can be helpful is a big thing with me, it's self education from something or someone that has the info!

  2. Fair question.

    Both my wife and I are native CA; me 3rd generation, she 5th (although her mom and grandparents did spend some time at a Wyoming internment (concentration) camp during WW2 courtesy of FDR; CA took their farm for unpaid taxes in their forced absence).

    My wife is a pre-K teacher and I have a software company I started 15 years ago after 20 years in Silicon Valley tech. Our son is a Marine (career path, OCS pipeline), currently bouncing mostly between Miramar and Pensacola. Daughter is going into her senior year in high school and will occupy a college dorm afterwards; she's why we're waiting to eject.

    All our family are local, so leaving isn't an easy decision.

    We work hard, took huge risks, sacrificed mightily and lived off credit cards as I was building the company, but now our combined family income puts us well in top 5% nationwide: it sure doesn't feel like it. Cost of living, taxes and the rest or the nickel-and-dime fees that get piled on kill us. I drive a 20-year-old SUV for a reason (my wife's 05 Accord is the "new" car). Housing is insane; nobody but a stock-option millionaire can afford to buy. Seriously, look at what $300K, $500K and $1M buys in San Jose, Cupertino or Sunnyvale.

    Being in tech with customers worldwide, I can work anywhere. Ditto for the three remaining CA employees (all the others telecommute from other states or EU).

    Hiring people in CA is a nightmare. Rules, regulations, taxes, fees, etc. Way too many hope to work at Google or Facebook or Apple and see my company as a temporary, inconvenient stopping off point. Work ethic? Where's the free lunch, valet, soy latte, massage and volleyball court, and, don't forget they need to roll in at 11AM to miss traffic. So, despite having three superstars on the CA payroll, I quit hiring local. This is all why so many companies are leaving the state and why CA is screwed.

    And these aren't just No.CA problems; they're manifest in one way or the other everywhere. Drought? Not if we quit dumping half of all water into the (manmade and artificial) Delta. Infrastructure crumbling? Well, let's build a bullet train to Bakersfield, that'll fix it. Hospitals closing emergency rooms because too many use them as primary care (knowing they'll get it for free too)? No problem, let's pass a $400B/yr single-payer healthcare plan (current state budget is $200B) and worry about funding it later.

    So we decided to sell our home and move. Two of the three employees are now a couple and will be moving to Austin, TX (Zillowing for a place to go check out, will move once they find the right place), the third will continue to telecommute from his apartment while he decides what to do (probably somewhere with great snowboarding and reliable broadband).

    Climate is probably a key factor for us. She doesn't like heat, so no to the TX hills, Moab, etc.

    My wife likes Bend, OR because a bunch of her friends from the kids' schools have moved there. Too many Californians mucking things up for my taste: fees for everything (you gotta pay to park in a rest area, really!!??); pretty soon OR will be CA-north.

    We're currently leaning towards Boise ID. Similar climate to here, snow is on the ground for only 4-6 weeks, less than a foot of it, and it's not stupid-blowing-freezing-cold then. Housing, compared to what I'm used to, is dirt cheap. State taxes are very low. Political climate matches our thinking. We'll probably rent a place there for a year to see if we like it, and if so, lay down new roots by buying a place (with room for a proper garage so I can get back into building cars).

    A bit longer and windier than planned, hope it answers your question.

    1. it's a well said response! Thanks!
      Yup, climate like what we've gotten used to is going to decide the next place a lot of Californians move to. I grew up in Michigan, on the shores of Lake Superior, and nothing keeps the cold from whipping across the great lake and freezing you all winter long, and nothing can keep the damn bugs from biting all summer long. Wonderful people, and great place to retire to as the costs of everything is so damn low... but the climate is plus or minus 60 degrees from zero, losing 10 degrees a month from August to January, then gaining 10 a month until August again.
      I think it's easy to see that the past 20 years has seen a lot of rich people move to the Northwest to escape the rotten weather the rest of the country has.... and why live anywhere you have to deal with racist rednecks, gators, hurricanes, and humidity?
      Now that pot is legal in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, I expect a lot of people will move there, and raise pot for profit. If Kentucky and tennessee ever legalize it, or the feds ever relent on the status, the market will drop out and it's going to get dirt cheap, as the reality is that it grows everywhere and anyone can grow it. It's a cash crop until then though.
      Well good for you to have created and succeeded in your own business!
      I'm shocked that you're driving such old cars instead of inexpensive new stuff. But then, you've got to be paying or saving for your kids university I bet. And compliments on a son in the officer ranks in the Marine corps! I was Navy enlisted in subs... because no way did I want the damn exercise the Marines seem to thrive on. I saw Heartbreak Ridge! I'm not the 20 mile run type of guy!
      From what I've heard, if you live high elevation anywhere, the temps really drop to a nice 60 degrees in the summer. Seems to me, a nice Airstream and small car would be just right for me. But disconnecting from the net would be a damn issue. Well, electricity is the real problem perhaps, as I can run all the internet I need from my cell phone. The rest of living like a camper is nothing new.
      Why the hell does anyone mention a bullet train to Bakersfield? No one wants to travel there! Seattle to San Diego, to Vegas then St Louis, then Washington DC, NEw York, Boston and Orlando. Maybe hit Dallas or Austin on the southern run, a stop in Phoenix, then Vegas and San Diego again. I'm pretty sure that a stop in San Diego is a must so that anyone from the border crossing with TiJuana will be able to help pay for the system.

  3. Something is very wrong with this article. Many decades ago, California moved 99% of all Vehicle Code violations to infractions because it was predicted that, if they didn't, 75% of California's population would have a criminal record. So all this has already been done. The real problem is that there is no EVIDENCE that the Vehicle Code applies to anyone.

    1. Since I wrote the article, or paraphrased it with editting so it's faster to get to the point... I agree. Something is wrong. I didn't read the article you wrote first to get your knowledge of the topic, and the stats, links, and relevant info that when added to what I did post here, would help readers like you get all the info that pertains, and informs readers of the truth to the matter when correlated with experienced perception.

      Any time you can drop a note with all that, and the links to exactly what resources you've used in your research, I'm going to add and edit all the info into a new version of this post. As for evidence that it applies... I think a moments look into any traffic court will show that it does. They are slammed with ticket bearing people not happy to take the day off work to handle the issue with a court.