As most of you may know, I do a LOT of traffic ticket cases. Many of the traffic tickets that I handle are what we call “traffic tickets gone bad”. These are cases for clients who have multiple tickets, a suspended license, warrants, too many points, or other problems associated with ignoring your tickets or simply getting too many tickets. After handling so many tickets the word has gotten out that I am the guy to talk to when you have a traffic ticket problem. I get calls and emails from lawyers and potential clients everyday with new and bizarre traffic scenarios.
I recently got an email from a potential client about a ticket out of Long Beach Traffic Court. He explained that he recently received his first ticket in about 8 years and he immediately sent the full bail with the extra $64 for traffic school to the Long Beach Courthouse. Shortly after that, he received a letter telling him that he was “not eligible for traffic school”. He sent a letter back to the traffic clerk demanding an explanation and even cited the correct law that under Rule 4.104 he was statutorily eligible for traffic school since this was a one point violation and he had not attended within the last 18 months. He was asking my advice on what to do next.
I wrote back that he should head to the courthouse or have me go for him right away. Although he had done everything correctly, I had no confidence that the clerk’s office would do their part. After all, they had already denied him traffic school without any legal basis and cashed his check, why would they clear up the problem by mail? I warned him about the long line and gave him a few pointers and off he went. The good news is that this is one of those rare traffic court stories with a happy ending. When he went into the clerk’s office they actually had a copy of his letter and they were working on the problem! Turns out that the computer system somehow flagged him as ineligible for traffic school based on his M1 endorsement. For some reason the system classified him as a commercial or Class A driver and Commercial driver’s are not eligible for traffic school.
So while this was a good resolution for this guy and I was happy to hear it, it makes me wonder how many other California Drivers have been cheated out of traffic school eligibility based on this glitch in the computer system. If this guy wouldn’t have done the research, sent a letter, contacted me, and gone in to fight it out, he could have been stuck with a point on his record. So if you have a motorcycle license or an M1 endorsement and you get denied traffic school in California, don’t take no for an answer. If you haven’t been to traffic school in the last 18 months you are eligible and you have the right to go, regardless of what some computer generated form says that you receive in the mail. Go the clerk’s office in person and if that doesn’t work demand to see a judge. If you are too busy or if you have a more complex issue, send me on your behalf