How to lower a misdemeanor traffic ticket to an infraction?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How to lower a misdemeanor traffic ticket to an infraction?

I received a traffic ticket because I forgot my license expired. The very next

business day I went to the DMV and resolved it. I needed to change my last name and address that was why I didn’t just renew. The reason the cop pulled me over is because I forgot to put my new registration tags on my car. I want this ticket to be lowered to an infraction. How do I do this?

Asked on June 21, 2018 under General Practice, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There is no way to "lower" it without the prosecutor agreeing to reduce the charge or let you plead to a lesser charge: if you commit a given level of offense, you can be prosecuted for it even if you later "fix" the problem (getting the license renewed after the fact does not change that you lacked it at the time). The prosecutor has the discretion, or freedom, to take the circumstances or your actions into account and go for a lesser charge, but is not required to--it is up to the prosecutor's free choice. If they elect to not reduce the charge, you cannot force the legal system to do so.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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