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    How Can Road Rage Lead to Criminal Charges in California?

    Posted on: May 8th, 2024 by Dod Law

    Road RageCalifornia police officers can accuse anyone engaging in road rage of criminal misconduct on the state’s highways. Criminal misconduct charges can see you face fines, jail time, and a license suspension or revocation

    Dod Law’s criminal defense attorneys can help you understand how the state interpreted your alleged recklessness or violent behavior. You can count on us to keep our fight for your freedom transparent as we challenge the criminal road rage charges brought against you.

    Aggressive Driving Charges and Road Rage

    California defines “aggressive driving” as willfully endangering the people on the road around you. The behavior that constitutes aggressive driving can include the following:

    • Speeding
    • Swerving
    • Failure to use a turn signal
    • Tailgating
    • Displays of aggression

    Officers can accuse you of engaging in aggressive driving if they want to make you face legal consequences for road rage. If you don’t challenge these charges, you may find yourself facing charges of up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail. These consequences grow more severe if your alleged road rage and aggressive driving lead to an accident that injures or kills someone.

    In other words, officers cannot charge you with a crime for getting angry behind the wheel of a car. If officers suspect that you translate that anger into dangerous misconduct, an aggressive driving charge can allow them to challenge your right to remain on the road.

    The Difference Between Assault and Road Rage

    Assault describes behavior that threatens someone with bodily harm or sees someone endure bodily harm. Anyone who feels threatened on the road can accuse someone else of assault, even if the accusee never laid hands on their alleged victim. 

    What does this mean in road rage scenarios? It means that if another party suspects that you attempted to endanger them in a fit of fury, they can accuse you of roadway misconduct. Assault charges constitute misdemeanors even before officers consider the impact of using a vehicle in tandem with an implied or acted-upon threat. These charges can see you spend up to six months in jail with accompanying fines of $1,000.

    Assault With a Deadly Weapon and Road Rage

    Cars can constitute deadly weapons in the eyes of California law enforcement. If someone else accuses you of vehicular assault, you may face criminal consequences for your alleged behavior. Vehicular assault can describe behaviors like:

    • Accelerating toward someone on the side of the road
    • Accelerating toward another car in a threatening manner
    • Aggressive tailgating

    Someone may also accuse you of pulling a weapon on them while behind the wheel of a car, like a gun. Even if you have a concealed carry license, pulling a gun on someone from the comfort of your car can see you face felony charges.

    However, it’s easy for someone to misinterpret your behavior behind the wheel. Someone who thinks they see a gun may only see you reaching for something in your glove box. You have the right to challenge accusations of assault with a deadly weapon, particularly if you feel someone misinterpreted your behavior on the road as road rage.

    Don’t Let Charges Keep You Off the Road

    California’s laws allow the state to suspend your license based on instances of road rage. A first-time road rage offense can see you lose your license for up to six months, while subsequent offenses can see your license revoked for up to a year. The DMV may claim that instances of road rage prove that you’re a negligent driver or that you lack the skills you need to operate a motor vehicle.

    You can connect with Attorney Dod and Dod Law to request an administrative hearing to challenge a road rage-based suspension. Our team can also step in if we need to defend you against charges issued by a criminal judge. Contact us at our San Diego office (619) 814-5110 | Orange County office 949-681-7020  | Vista office 760-814-6025 | or schedule an appointment by filling out our online contact form to book a free defense evaluation today.

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