Community Legal Information Clinic

Misdemeanors, Tickets and Traffic

In the Misdemeanors, Tickets, & Traffic Department (MTT), we assist members of the community by providing legal information about a variety of misdemeanors, infractions, and expungements. Many of the types of information we disseminate are about either alcohol-related offenses, expungements of criminal records, traffic violations, parking tickets, marijuana offenses, Fish & Game violations, or failure to appear violations.
Disclaimer
The Community Legal Information Clinic (CLIC) is an undergraduate law clinic comprised of paralegal interns only.  WE ARE NOT ATTTORNEYS AND CANNOT PROVIDE YOU LEGAL ADVICE NOR LEGAL REPRESENTATION.  We are paralegal interns and provide legal information only. 

A Few Initial Definitions Will Assist You With The FAQ’s:

Infractions: Pursuant to California Penal Code §17(opens in new window), §19.6(opens in new window), §19.7(opens in new window), and §19.8(opens in new window), an infraction is a violation that is not punishable by imprisonment and not punishable by more than a $250 fine.
Misdemeanors: Pursuant to California Penal Code §17(opens in new window), a misdemeanor is a crime that, under the discretion of the court, is punishable by up to 12 months in a state prison or county jail.
Felonies: Pursuant to California Penal Code §17(opens in new window), a felony is a crime that is punishable with death or imprisonment in either state prison or in county jail.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will my license get suspended if I get charged with a DUI?
Pursuant to California Vehicle Code §13350(b)(opens in new window), immediately following the conviction of a violation of California Vehicle Code §23152(opens in new window), commonly referred to as a DUI, the Department of Motor Vehicles will revoke the privilege to drive by suspending the license.

2. What happens if I get a DUI while I am underage?
Pursuant to California Vehicle Code §23140(opens in new window), the conviction of a DUI under the age of 21 carries a mandatory one-year license suspension and the possibility of fines, DUI school, and probation.

3. Does my license have to been suspended if I get charged with Minor in Possession?
Pursuant to California Business and Professions Code §25662(opens in new window), a conviction for Minor in Possession results in a fine, community service, and a mandatory 1-year license suspension. Note that pursuant to California Vehicle Code §13202.5(opens in new window), the license suspension is mandatory regardless of whether vehicles were involved in the charge or not.

4. Is there any way that I can drive if my license gets suspended?
Pursuant to California Vehicle Code §16072(opens in new window), §16073(opens in new window), and §16077(opens in new window), a non-commercial restricted license can be granted to anyone with a suspended license who can prove that driving is necessary for their vocation or education.

5. What are the steps to get my criminal record expunged?
Pursuant to California Penal Code §1203(opens in new window), you can attempt to get a conviction expunged from your criminal record. The first place to start is by filing a CR-180 form titled Petition for Dismissal with the court. The filing of this form starts the process for possibly getting the court to remove the conviction from your criminal record.

6. How do I fight my speeding ticket?
According to the book, Fight your Ticket and Win by David Brown, the first step in fighting your speeding ticket is to look on your ticket for your notice to appear. In most counties in California, on your signed ticket, you will have a time in which you have agreed to appear in court or alternatively pay the fine. In order to fight your ticket, you must appear in your appointed time and plead not guilty.

7. What is a “fix-it-ticket”?
Pursuant to California Vehicle Code §40610(opens in new window), a correctable violation, otherwise known as a “fix-it-ticket”, is a violation commonly used for equipment violations in cars. Once you can demonstrate to have fixed the cited violation, you have the opportunity to pay a dismissal fee to have the charge dismissed.

8. What happens if I don’t pay a speeding ticket?
Pursuant to California Vehicle Code §40508(opens in new window), after ignoring a traffic violation, the fine amount will increase over time and a civil assessment of $300 can be added to the fine. Also pursuant to California Vehicle Code §40508(opens in new window), penalties such as license suspension and the inability to register your car are also possible.

9. What happens if I miss my court appearance?
Pursuant to California Penal Code §1320(opens in new window), after missing a court appearance without cause, you can be charged with Failure to Appear, and a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest. Additional criminal charges can be filed and you can be found guilty in absentia, meaning the court can rule on your case without you being personally present.

10. How do I get a felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor?
Pursuant to California Penal Code §17(opens in new window), If the crime is considered a “wobbler,” meaning it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, you can file a plea or request to the judge to have it reduced. You can do this during your preliminary hearing, at sentencing, and even after you finish probation. Also, after your charge has been reduced, you may be able to file a Petition for Dismissal pursuant to California Penal Code §1203(opens in new window) and potentially get the charge expunged as well.

                 MTT hours in office

                    Monday    11-3
                    Thursday  12-4

Director of MTT