Missing a court appearance could result in inconvenient penalties in California. If you had a court notice and missed the court date the court could issue a failure to appear (FTA) notice. With an FTA, the DMV could suspend your license until you get the court appearance cleared up. Starting on January 1, 2023, there will be a number of new laws going into effect, including reform of the license suspension law.
New Laws for California Drivers in 2023
Every year, dozens of new laws that were signed go into effect on the first day of the new year. This year is no different and there will be several new laws that impact drivers in Oakland and the East Bay. Some of the new traffic and vehicle laws include:
- Reform of License Suspension
- Ban on Sideshows at Parking Facilities
- Enhanced Safeguards for Bicycle Riders
Reform of License Suspension Law
What happens when you fail to appear in court? If you don't show up on the court date at the right courthouse and on time for a traffic ticket, the judge can issue a failure to appear (FTA). Failure to appear in court for a traffic violation can be considered a misdemeanor offense under California Vehicle Code 40508. The court could also issue a bench warrant for your arrest, and assess a civil fine of up to $300.
The court can notify the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) after an FTA and the DMV can suspend your driver's license. However, starting January 1, 2023, that will change. The law requires the DMV to stop suspending licenses for failing to appear starting on January 1, 2027, but courts will stop sending the DMV notices for license suspensions starting on January 1, 2023. This 4-year separation is "to allow time to make computer programming changes."
According to the text of State Assembly Bill 2746, starting January 1, 2027, failure to appear would be downgraded to an infraction for a first offense or a 2nd offense. Failure to appear for a 3rd or subsequent violation would be a misdemeanor, which could still lead to a suspended license.
Street Racing Bans Extended to Parking Lots
Street racing, exhibitions of speed, and "sideshows" are already prohibited on public roads in California. Assembly Bill 2000 will extend the ban on sideshows to off-street parking facilities. Under California Vehicle Code 23109, the penalties for unlawful exhibitions of speed can result in jail time, fines of up to $1,000, and a suspended license for 90 days to 6 months.
Enhanced Safeguards for Bicycle Riders
Cyclists on California roads are supposed to be given 3 feet of space when passing. A new law, AB 1909, is requiring drivers to change into another lane before passing, when possible. Drivers should be aware of this new law because any traffic violation can give the police reason to make a traffic stop.
Even if the driver is not over the legal limit, a traffic stop for not changing lanes when passing a cyclist could lead to further investigation by the police. The police officer may ask questions about drinking or even smell alcohol on the driver's breath. This may be enough to make the officer arrest the driver on suspicion of driving under the influence.
East Bay DUI Defense
If you end up under arrest for drunk driving in Oakland or the East Bay, call an experienced DUI defense attorney for legal help. East Bay attorney Lynn Gorelick has more than 39 years of DUI defense experience and understands the consequences of a criminal record. Contact East Bay criminal defense lawyer Lynn Gorelick today.