Road rage is described as someone overreacting to a perceived act on the road by another driver and then making an immediate decision to express their anger in a violent or threatening manner.
Most people will start by flipping off the driver while constantly blowing their car horn. Further acts include shouting obscenities out the window, tailgating, hand gestures, threats, and driving in a swerving reckless manner.
In most cases, road rage is an extreme overreaction in effort to intimidate the other driver or to vent frustration. In the most serious cases, some will actually invite the other driver to pull over and fight on the street.
In California, road rage incidents can result in getting charged with a crime and a DMV driver’s license suspension. Not all road rage cases are the same and will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case.
While there is not a specific California “road rage” statute, prosecutors will use related laws to charge someone, such as:
- Penal Code 240 PC – simple assault,
- Penal Code 242 PC – battery,
- Penal Code 422 PC – criminal threats,
- Vehicle Code 23103 VC – reckless driving.
California Vehicle Code 13210 VC allows the DMV to suspend a driver’s license for engaging in road rage behaviors, which is for a period of 6 months for a first offense, and one year for subsequent offenses.
To gain a better understanding, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will closely review the laws below.
Possible Charges in California Road Rage Incidents
Depending on exactly what happened in the road rage incident, there are wide range of options for prosecutors to charge the aggressor with a crime, such as:
- Vehicle Code 23103 VC – reckless driving,
- Vehicle Code 23152 VC – driving under the influence,
- Penal Code 240 PC – simple misdemeanor assault,
- Penal Code 242 PC – battery,
- Penal Code 243(d) – aggravated battery,
- Penal Code 245(a)(1) – assault with a deadly weapon,
- Penal Code 417 PC – brandishing a weapon,
- Penal Code 664/187 – attempted murder,
- Penal Code 187 PC – murder.
What are Prosecutors Doing to People Involved in Road Rage Incidents in the San Fernando Valley, California?
Road rage now, especially as we’re coming out of the pandemic, and more people are on the road, is rampant:
- people are firing weapons;
- they’re crashing into peoples’ cars;
- they’re cutting the person off;
- they’re involved in hit and run accidents.
When you think about what the police and prosecutors and judges doing, I can tell you right now, I’ve handled a lot of these cases recently, and of course, of the course of the last 30 years, they are punishing people very severely.
They will try and put the person in prison. They will try and set up resolutions that cause them to lose their driver’s license.
They’re not messing around with those people who lose their temper on the road and do bad things to other drivers, pedestrians and put peoples’ lives at risk. That’s really what they’re looking at.
Review of the Road Rage Details
So, if you or a loved one is charged with a road rage-related incident, one of the big things you want to look at is:
- what exactly did you do?
- was anybody hurt?
- was there any type of an accident?
If there wasn’t anybody hurt and there was no accident and it was just some sort of a yelling or reckless driving, you’re in a much better position than somebody who, on the other hand, got involved in some sort of a violent confrontation.
Right now there’s a lot of video evidence going around in these road rage cases and the police are arresting people left and right for road rage related incidents in the San Fernando Valley.
Review of Best Strategy to Fight the Case
The first thing you want to do if you or a loved one is charged in one of these incidences in Van Nuys or San Fernando Court or any of the other Valley courts or anywhere in Los Angeles for that matter in the 38 courts.
I’ve been to all of the courts. I know the San Fernando Valley very well because my office in Encino caters to a lot of cases that get charged in Van Nuys and San Fernando.
You’re going to want to sit down with somebody like me and give me your side of the story and let me know what happened in the road rage incident.
Sometimes the police and prosecutors don’t have all of the right, accurate information. Sometimes there’s information out there that can be helpful to you:
- maybe the other driver was doing illegal things;
- maybe the other driver was doing dangerous things, and
- maybe the other driver even caused the accident.
But, a lot of times they don’t know that because sometimes people will become involved in these road rage incidences.
They’ll be an accident for example, and what will end up happening is, the person will leave the scene, the other party will call the police and now they’re the only one left to tell the story and you don’t get to tell your story.
Seeking Best Possible Outcome on Road Rage Case
Police tracked down who you are with your driver’s license. They come, they arrest you or they send you a letter in the mail and now you have to deal with your case.
Well, who else is going to tell your side of the story effectively than your attorney. That’s why it’s so important to meet with me and give me your side of the story.
Let’s talk about what honestly happened so I can figure out what the best course of action is. I’ve been doing this a long time. I know how to deal with these cases, whether it’s a road rage, a hit and run case — it doesn’t really matter.
What matters is that it’s handled the right way, that your story is gotten across and also, that we’ve put together a mitigation package.
If they’ve got evidence that you were actually involved, which they don’t always, but if they do, then we’ve got to put a package together that kind of shows the other side of the story and also shows who you are as a person — your job, your family, your interests, your driving record.
Because a lot of times what they’re going to do in these cases where people are involved in some sort of road rage activity is, they’re going to try to take your driver’s license away and they’ll try to take it away for a long time.
So, it’s crucial that we sit down and we get your story out there and we get a game plan together on exactly how we’re going to handle it:
- whether we’re going to try to fight the case and show you’re not guilty, or
- whether we’re going to try to mitigate the case.
This means to put together a mitigation package, keep you out of jail, keep you out of prison and do everything possible to save your rights, your freedom and your reputation.
Hedding Law Firm is located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County and we offer a free case evaluation.