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VC 22350 Speeding Over the Maximum Speed Limit (Speeding Ticket): CA Vehicle Code Section VC22350-I Law, Penalties, & Traffic Court Defense Lawyers

Defense of Speeding Tickets & VC 22350 Infractions

Defense against a speeding ticket comes in several varieties depending on the circumstances of the case and the exact speeding ticket for which the driver was cited.

Perhaps the most common speeding ticket is violation of VC 22350 [Speeding – Max Speed Limit], also knowns as “California’s basic speed violation.” This article covers the law, penalties and common defenses related to VC 22350.

Essentially, VC 22350 prohibits drivers from driving faster than the road conditions permit, even if the posted maximum speed limit itself is not violated.

Example: Johnny is driving through dense fog at forty-five miles per hour (45 (MPH) even though visibility at near zero. The posted speed limited on the road where Johnny is driving is sixty-five miles per hour (65 MPH).

Result: Johnny could easily be cited for a violation of VC 22350 because the road conditions of heavy fog make his speed dangerous. This is true even though Johnny has not violated the posted speed limit of 65 MPH.

VC 22350 Law

According to VC 22350, a driver shall not “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 (VC 22350 Abbrev.).

Keep in mind that the posted speed limit does not have to be violated for a driver to be driving faster than the speed that is reasonable and safe for the road conditions.

Dangerous Road Conditions: VC 22350 does not identify all the road conditions that might make driving at certain speeds dangerous, but the court has identified certain situations where greater precaution should be observed by drivers. These dangerous road conditions include:

Heavy traffic

The presence of pedestrians

The presence of animals


Slippery, icy, or wet road

Heavy fog or overcast.

Debris in the roadway

Obstructed view of road

Heavy rain or snow

Driving too slowly

Poor lighting on the road

Example: Preston is late for work, but the traffic is “bumper to bumper.” Preston tailgates and ‘rides’ the bumpers of drivers in front of him as he weaves in and out of heavy traffic while he tries to make up time. Nevertheless, Preston never exceeds the posted speed limit.

Result: Preston may be charged with a violation of vehicle code 22350 for his aggressive and dangerous driving. This is true even though Preston did not cause the dangerous road condition and even though he otherwise did not violate the posted speed limit.

Note: Speeding in a construction zone is also a violation of VC 22350, but the crime is usually charged under VC 22362 as that code section allows for harsher penalties that VC 22350.

VC 22350 Penalties

Before we discuss the defense related to a violation of California’s basic speed law, it’s important to understand the penalties related to VC 22350 to decide whether it is worth defending at all, as opposed to attending traffic school when available.

Infraction: The fine for a violation of VC 22350 (Speeding Ticket) is not more than $500.00 in California, plus possible court costs, court security fees, and other minor assessments. This fee is often reduced by the traffic court judge in exchange for the driver’s guilty plea to the charge.

Traffic School: Traffic school is not really a penalty, but it is listed here because it’s clearly not a defense to VC 22350 either.

Essentially, traffic school allows the driver to attend classes, usually online, and pay a fine and traffic school costs, as opposed to receiving a guilty conviction of the traffic citation and a point on driver’s driving record with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Note: Traffic school is limited to once every eighteen (18) months per point.

Points on DMV Record: A “point” on the driver’s driving record is mark against the driver. The point count for a violation of VC 22350 is one point (1 point). The ‘point’ itself is not a penalty, but there are indirect consequences that come from having a point on the driver’s driving record.

These indirect consequences are insurance rate hikes and possible suspension of the driver’s driving privilege if the point add up over a specified period. In California, a “negligent operator” will have his or her driver’s license suspended if he or she accrues more than four (4) points in twelve (12) months, six (6) point in twenty-four (24) months, or eight (8) points in in thirty-six (36) months.

Habitual Traffic Offender: A “habitual traffic offender” is a misdemeanor crime that is sometimes levied against a driver who has multiple violations of traffic infractions and misdemeanors.

Note: A habitual traffic offender charge is not likely to be charged where the driver’s record is for speeding tickets without accidents, such as violations of VC 22350, but it is a possible charge where there is a combination of multiple traffic infractions and misdemeanors, including VC 22350 infractions. For more information, see Habitual Traffic Offender.

FTA on the Citation: A VC 22350 violation is not itself a serious violation, but a history of traffic infractions can lead to more harsh penalties, especially if the driver fails to appear (FTA) for court on the traffic citation (40505). In fact, a VC 40505 charge for FTA on a VC 22350 citation can lead to a misdemeanor charge and a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.

Commercial Drivers: Commercial drivers, such as “class A” drivers, hazardous waste drivers, and other truck drivers, will suffer harsher indirect consequences for a conviction of any traffic ticket, including massive insurance rate hikes and possible suspension or termination of employment from the driver’s employer, depending on the circumstances.

Also, commercial drivers, especially “long haul” commercial drivers, have a more difficult time attending court because the courthouse might be hundreds of miles from the driver’s home.

Therefore, because of the harsher indirect penalties to commercial truck drivers, and the fact that it is usually more difficult for commercial truck drivers to attend court on a VC 22350 traffic citation, it is highly recommended that commercial truck drivers retain a traffic attorney, or criminal defense attorney, who can attend court on the commercial driver’s behalf.

VC 22350 Defense

Defending a VC 22350 traffic ticket includes a review of the road conditions that existed at the time of the alleged offense. Remember, the VC 22350 violation is not a violation of the posted speed limit, such as it in VC 22352 allegations. Therefore, the driver will usually defend by arguing that the road conditions themselves were not as dangerous as the citing officer alleged.

In other words, the driver may show that his or her speed was not dangerous considering the alleged dangerous road conditions.

Emergency: A driver who receives a citation for VC 22350 may defend against the speeding ticket by showing the traffic court judge that he or she was operating under an emergency, and that the driver’s excess speed was to avoid a greater harm than what would have otherwise been reasonably expected by the driver’s speed.

Example: Mark is driving faster than what is reasonably safe in heavy fog conditions; however, Mark is driving faster than he otherwise should be driving in the heavy fog conditions because he is driving his son to the hospital after his son was shot.

Result: Mark’s unsafe speed in the heavy fog is to avoid a greater harm (the possible death of this son); Therefore, a VC 22350 violation should be dismissed by the traffic court judge.

Unreliable Calculations: Some VC 22350 traffic tickets can be defended by showing that the citing officer’s technical or scientific evidence is unreliable (i.e., defective, or uncalibrated radar and lidar guns, improper use of scientific evidence, etc.). The allegation may also be defended by showing that the citing officer’s vehicle speed is not representative of the driver’s speed.

Example: Officer Dan is racing to catch up to driver Bill because Officer Dan believes that Bill is driving too fast for the current traffic conditions. However, Officer Dan does not measure Bill’s speed, but rather his (Officer Dan’s) speed as he drives faster than Bill to catch up to him.

Result: Officer Dan did not “pace” Bill long enough to establish Bill’s speed and Bill’s speed is within the reasonably safe driving speed under the road conditions, despite what Officer Dan believes.

Remember the VC 22350 charge is not a violation of the posted speed limit, so this defense is less common in VC 22350 charges, but it may still be used where the speed itself is challenged.

Officer Does not Show: It is true that if the testifying officer does not show for trial on the alleged VC 22350 citation, then the judge may dismiss the case; however, most officer’s do show for court, and California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers are required to show for court.

In some situations, the court may delay the trial when the officer has a reasonably good excuse for why he or she cannot attend court on the day set for trial.

Expunge the Ticket: A driver may expunge his or her infraction traffic citation after a year in most situations; however, an expungement of the VC 22350 traffic infraction does not change the point count on the driver's DMV record. Nevertheless, the driver may benefit with an expungement of the traffic citation indirectly (i.e., employment opportunities, clean driving record for non-DMV and insurance purposes, etc.). For more information, see Expungement.

If you are charged with a violation of California’s basic speed law, or VC 22350 (VC22350-I: Speeding – Max Speed Limit), contact our California criminal defense and traffic court lawyers today for a free consultation. Our team of successful and high-experienced lawyers defend all infraction, misdemeanor, and felony criminal charges, including VC 22350.

Our team handles all traffic matters, including infraction, misdemeanors, and felonies, in the cities and court of Redlands, Fontana, Victorville, Riverside, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Fontana, Rialto, Yucaipa, Hesperia, Apple Valley, Eastvale, Banning, & Chino, call today!


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VC 22350 Speeding Ticket in California


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