Traffic offenses to be civil in California?

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Arthur Rubin
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Traffic offenses to be civil in California?

Postby Arthur Rubin » Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:34 am

A number of real lawyers, including the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, are proposing that "minor" traffic offenses be made civil rather than criminal.

An example given by the proponents, is that if the offender doesn't appear for his/her trial, rather having to issue a bench warrant, the trial can proceed in the absence of the offender. Potential disadvantages include that the offender could not be jailed (no matter how hard he tries), no "points" could be added to the offender's record, and the car could not be seized.

I predict more sovereign attempts in California if this passes, although fewer in jail.
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noblepa
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Re: Traffic offenses to be civil in California?

Postby noblepa » Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:49 pm

I lived in San Diego for almost five years back in the seventies. I never received a traffic ticket during that time, but my wife did. It was her first and only speeding ticket. It was something like 40 in a 35 zone. She was very upset about it.

As far as I recall, she did not have to go to court. We just mailed in a check and that was the end of it.

Here in Ohio, I have received a couple of speeding tickets (nothing serious, and not in the last 30 years). Each time, I believe it even said on the back of the ticket that I could send in "bail" of a certain amount. If I did not show for the court date, it would be treated as a nolo contendre plea and I would be found guilty. The fine for the offense, coincidentally, was the exact amount of the "bail".

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Quartermass
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Re: Traffic offenses to be civil in California?

Postby Quartermass » Thu Jun 08, 2017 10:45 pm

That's how speeding and other ticket violations are handled in most states. They tend to be traffic/misdemeanor offences. I suspect the 'minor' violations they are talking about that are currently criminal include things like driving without a license, without insurance, while unregistered and the like.

Arthur Rubin
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Re: Traffic offenses to be civil in California?

Postby Arthur Rubin » Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:54 am

The LA Times reports that all traffic "infractions" would become civil; misdemeanors and felonies would remain criminal. That article also reported the standard would become "more likely than not", which seems different than the usual civil standard "preponderance of the evidence". It's still more favorable to the offender than the apparent legal standard for parking tickets -- you pay the fine and file an appeal with the city. Six months, after they lose the appeal paperwork, you may sue the city in small claims court.

But I only intended to discuss the effect on sovereigns.
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Dr. Caligari
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Re: Traffic offenses to be civil in California?

Postby Dr. Caligari » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:23 pm

Arthur Rubin wrote: That article also reported the standard would become "more likely than not", which seems different than the usual civil standard "preponderance of the evidence".


I think they're identical.
Dr. Caligari
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