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Law Office of Paul Tyler
Criminal Defense

Handling cases in Ventura County, and portions of Santa Barbara and Los Angeles Counties

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What are the New Traffic Laws for 2020?

policy update, traffic sign

California legislators are constantly working to improve traffic safety in light of the continued rise in the number of traffic fatalities each year.  To that end, a number of new traffic laws go into effect this year.  It is important to be aware of these new laws to avoid triggering any civil or criminal penalties.  Read on to learn about California’s new 2020 traffic laws, and contact a knowledgeable Ventura criminal defense attorney for help with a criminal matter in Southern California. 

Passenger Cannabis Use

California recently legalized the recreational usage of marijuana for adults. However, drivers are not permitted to smoke or otherwise consume marijuana products before driving or while behind the wheel.  Until this year, there was an exemption that allowed passengers to consume marijuana while in a bus, limousine, taxi, pedicab, housecar or camper.  Assembly Bill 1820 ends the exemption and prohibits passengers in those vehicles from smoking marijuana.  Such passengers will still be allowed to consume alcohol in those vehicles.

Prohibition on Selling DMV Appointments

We all hate DMV wait times, whether it is the hours-long wait once you arrive or the weeks-long wait just to get an appointment.  Some savvy individuals had started making DMV appointments and selling them to desperate or impatient drivers.  A new California law makes it illegal to sell, offer for sale, or otherwise try to sell an appointment with the DMV.

Courts Can No Longer Suspend Licenses for Certain Non-Driving Offenses

A new law taking effect eliminates the authority of California courts to suspend, revoke, restrict, or order the DMV to delay driving privileges for someone convicted of certain non-driving offenses such as prostitution, vandalism, use of a gun, or drug and alcohol offenses.  Previously, the law permitted courts to restrict driving privileges following such convictions. 

HOV Lanes

As of 2017, California allows low and zero-emissions vehicles to use the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) or diamond lanes, regardless of how many people are in the vehicle.  In 2020, the DMV will be issuing orange decals that grant such vehicles the right to use the HOV lanes until 2024.  Previous red and purpose decals will expire in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Bicycles at Turn Lanes

AB 1266 now permits bicyclists to travel straight through turn lanes, whether right or left, at intersections, as long as the traffic light indicates that that movement is allowed.  If you are pulled over for going straight through a turn lane on a bicycle, you can now escape prosecution.

2021 Distracted Driving Law

California also passed AB 47, which enhances the penalties for distracted drivers.  The law provides that a driver caught using a handheld device behind the wheel will now have a point added to their license for the subsequent 36 months.  Although the bill was already passed and signed into law, the law does not go into effect until 2021.

Defend Against a Criminal Charge in Oxnard and Ventura County

If you are subjected to a traffic offense or serious criminal charges in southern California, get dedicated, seasoned, and compassionate legal help by contacting the Ventura offices of Paul Tyler for a free consultation at 805-889-9000.

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