Are Self-Driving Car Violations Punishable in Court?
There is no question that technology is lunging forward, and self-driving cars, which were once material in a Sunday cartoon, these cars are very real and on the road. So, how is California handling self-driving car violations?
Recently, a man was arrested for sitting in the back seat of his self-driving car and smiling at passersby. The autopilot cars, the most well-known are Tesla, are designed with checks in place so that the driver must be at the wheel and be able to intervene at any point. However, this driver was blatantly ignoring that and overrode those safety measures. Does this count as reckless driving? After multiple 911 calls, the driver was pulled over and charged with reckless driving. As the courts and attorneys navigate the outcome of this case, here is what one needs to know about reckless driving in California.
If you have been arrested while driving a car in autopilot mode or any vehicle, only a criminal defense attorney will fight the charges against you. Due to the newness of cases involving self-driving incidents, anyone facing charges related to reckless driving needs to find a local and reputable lawyer as soon as possible. Most professional law firms offer a free consultation, and the sooner, the better.
If you get pulled over, provide the police with your driver’s license and insurance. Beyond that, you are protected under the United States Constitution not to say anything else. The police may inquire about details, such as if you know how fast you were going, but until you have an attorney, you do not need to answer these types of questions.
Reckless Driving in California
It is scary to have police lights and sirens in your rearview mirror when pulled over and arrested for reckless driving. If you acted in a manner that led to an arrest for dangerous, reckless, or negligent driving, seeking legal representation with experience defending clients facing these and related charges comes with significant benefits. One benefit is that charges may be reduced or dropped when following guidance from a lawyer. Knowledge of the court system and judge’s decision history in related cases gives insight into the best arguments against the prosecution. Criminal traffic offenses happen regularly, especially in San Diego. Additionally, if injuries occur, as a result, getting a defense attorney is even more essential due to the complexity of the charges.
Possible Reckless Driving Defenses
Anyone facing reckless driving charges should know that the prosecution must show that you were operating the vehicle with disregard for the safety of other people pr property. Because the law states the disregard must be "willful or wanton," it leaves room for an experienced criminal defense attorney to counter these charges. The prosecution must show that the driver was aware of the danger and ignored the risk. Both must be proven for the charges to stick. A professional and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can show that you were unaware the driving presented risk to others or that you did not ignore it once it was known. In each situation, charges may be reduced or even dropped. Each reckless driving case is unique, and that is why having a free consultation allows someone experienced in the legal system to hear the details and offer the following steps to help.
Penalties for Reckless Driving Convictions
If the judge finds California Penal Code 23103 has been violated, and there is a conviction, it equals jail time and fines that can disrupt many areas of life. Spending time in jail, even one night, can be disruptive and scary. Longer sentences mean missing work, family responsibilities, and other obligations. When alcohol or drugs are involved, and the charges include driving under the influence, they build upon one another, and jail sentences and fines increase exponentially. If the reckless driving is "dry," the charges are much easier for your lawyer to negotiate. An experienced reckless driving attorney can help fight these charges and avoid conviction.
The police will not always take drivers to the station after being pulled over, but you may spend up to three months in jail when you show up to court. Reckless driving charges in combination with alternative sentencing in cases will carry severe penalties. It is essential to retain a lawyer with experience fighting these cases with a successful outcome. Previous offenses will increase and potentially add points to your record. A conviction means high insurance rates for years to come, and multiple points result in losing your driver's license. As one can imagine, getting to work, school, and running basic errands are incredibly challenging without the transportation you have become accustomed to.
If you are in San Diego County, Joni Eisenstein has more than 29 years of helping clients fight reckless driving and related charges and getting incredible results. It is better not to leave it to chance and find the best representation possible. Call for a free consultation and see how your charges may be reduced or dropped and how to get the most ideal outcome for your case.
If you are on the fence about hiring a defense attorney, stop thinking about it, and do it now
Hiring a criminal defense attorney like Joni Eisenstein can help you go from a place of uncertainty to freedom.