Basic Rule Speeding Tickets Are Beatable
California Vehicle Code 22350 is heavily based on discretion and, as a result, can cause extensive frustration for the individual who is cited. This is especially true if you’re driving along at, or below, the posted speed limit and the officer cites you for driving too fast. You might ask yourself how that can even happen, but it can and does happen all the time.
The “how” is due to California Vehicle Code 22350 which is referred to as the “Basic Speed Law”.
CVC 22350 states, “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”
On the surface, that seems to be pretty reasonable – don’t drive too fast for the conditions. But who determines what that actually means? A poor driver might need to drop down to 25 mph under conditions that a good driver could easily handle at 35 or 40 mph. Even in California, there are areas which see a good bit of snow in the winter.
So if you are heading to a ski resort, driving your 4-wheel drive vehicle through two feet of snow, and you are quite adept at doing so, you’re going to be able to drive at a faster speed in those conditions than someone who has never driven in the snow and is behind the wheel of a Mini Cooper.
The Officer has an Extremely High Burden of Proof
So it’s the police officer who decides whether or not you are obeying or violating CVC 22350 when you are seen driving through the white fluffy stuff at 45 mph. That makes this particular code quite subjective and not applicable in the same way to every driver.
This discretionary approach does not only apply to snow, but to any other type of weather or traffic condition on the roadway. The reasons laws of this nature exist is to remind individuals to be conscious of their surrounding in relation to their speed. School zones and construction zones will often have designated signs to remind drivers to slow down, but drivers have the obligation under this law to be just as prudent when signage is not there to dictate a change in behavior.
If you received a citation of this nature, our team is here to assist. Reach out to us for a free ticket review to better understand your options.