UNITED STATES—California, like all states, extends driving privileges to its residents after meeting the statutory requirements. A violation of the conditions always results in some form of consequence like earning demerits points on the offender’s license.
But some offenses warrant consequences that are more than earning demerit points, some of which can permanently alter a person’s life. If you are facing serious traffic violation charges in California, this guide highlights some possible consequences that can result from a conviction.
1. You’ll Need SR-22 Insurance to Continue Driving.
If you are convicted of a severe traffic offense in California, such as DUI, excessive speeding, vehicular manslaughter, or hit and run, you will likely lose your driving privileges. Depending on the underlying circumstances, you may be able to regain your privileges after some time.
But regaining your driving privileges will require you to carry SR-22 insurance. This is the insurance coverage you carry after filling an SR-22 form as proof of meeting the California minimum insurance requirement.
However, SR-22 insurance doesn’t come cheap, meaning its high cost can become a real challenge for persons recovering from a conviction. But you don’t have to settle for excessively expensive things; you can leverage resources like CheapInsurance.com to access cheap insurance for SR22 California state requirements.
2. Jail Time
Most serious traffic violations in California fall under reckless driving, a misdemeanor offense. Reckless driving under California Vehicle Code Section 23103 is driving a vehicle in wanton disregard for the rights and safety of other persons on the road.
A conviction for reckless driving can result in jail time that can vary widely based on the underlying offense or prior convictions. For example, causing death due to a DUI-related accident means you could face charges for second-degree murder, which attracts a jail term of up to 25 years upon conviction.
3. Hefty Fines
Depending on the sentencing guidelines for the underlying traffic violation, getting fines alongside or instead of jail time is possible. The fines can differ widely depending on the offense and prior convictions.
Each county has the liberty to create its fine guidelines, so you may need to confirm the applicable fines from your local car accident attorney.
4. A Longstanding Criminal Record
If you get a conviction for any criminal offense in California, it will stay on your record for a long time and affect your life on so many levels. The most significant consequences of having a criminal record are its effect on your employability.
Most employers run a background check on candidates before considering them for employment and will often avoid candidates with a criminal record if they have a choice.
Employers can use a reckless driving criminal record to measure a person’s character even when the job you seek has nothing to do with driving.
Your chances of employment will be even lower if you seek a position that requires being on the road. No company will want to have a reckless driver on their team.
5. It Could Affect Other Types of Insurance
You may be aware that health complications can significantly impact life insurance premiums. But you may not know that moving violations can also affect your life insurance premiums.
Most insurers refer to a person’s motor vehicle report, which they can access from the California DMV to assess their driving habits. The insurer then assigns a risk rating based on the report, which influences the cost of premiums for your life insurance policy.
Mistakes are common to man, but they can be costly. The consequences highlighted in this post are a part of the consequences you could be looking at if convicted of a violation of serious traffic offenses in California.