California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is recommending a major and welcome change to California traffic court: transferring responsibility for the more than 4 million minor traffic violations to civil, not criminal, court.
Drivers snagged on minor violations, ranging from a broken taillight to speeding, would no longer face penalties that can be as serious as a criminal record. In return for the change, the state would have an easier time proving violations. The necessary evidence in civil court is less than what’s required in criminal court.
Drunken driving would not be included for lesser penalties under the proposal, which came from a judicial panel Cantil-Sakauye chairs called the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System.