Ignorance of the law blah blah blah
February 6, 2012 4:42 PM   Subscribe

Living in California six weeks, received a citation for driving without a California driver's license. The citation duly arrived in the mail and I paid the ticket. Now I have a misdemeanor on my record permanently, because I paid the ticket instead of contesting it. What is the effect of this and is there anything I can to to change it?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (6 answers total)
Unless your career is based on driving for a living (and even then I don't know that it would), a misdemeanor traffic citation shouldn't really have any effect. Employers don't ask about misdemeanors, they ask about felonies.

I know a few people who have had this very thing happen to them, and I've only heard them grumbling about paying the ticket, nothing more long-term than that.

I know it may feel like a Big Deal to you. Stop for a moment and consider how many people there are in California who have a misdemeanor traffic citation on their records. Millions of other people, probably.

Would it help to re-frame it in your mind as a penalty for an administrative oversight, rather than a traffic citation? It's a completely different animal than a moving violation.
posted by ambrosia at 5:05 PM on February 6, 2012

I thought you had a year to get a California license?
posted by joshu at 5:07 PM on February 6, 2012

Perhaps you can get your record expunged after a year of "good behavior":

In the case that you were convicted of a misdemeanor and were not given probation, the court will dismiss your conviction if: (1) A year has passed since your conviction; (2) you fully complied with your sentence; (3) you are not on probation for a different offense; and (4) you have not broken the law since your conviction.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:07 PM on February 6, 2012

Joshu - You have 10 days, which is shockingly ridiculous, as well as almost universally ignored.
posted by crabintheocean at 5:12 PM on February 6, 2012

It used to be against the law to ask about misdemeanors, except for law enforcement positions. Not sure if that's still the case.
posted by cnc at 5:20 PM on February 6, 2012

Having filled out more than my share of online job applications in the past months, I can tell you the questions ask about felonies and misdemeanors.
posted by middleport at 10:29 PM on February 6, 2012

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