It seems that in every single human endeavor, there is something that we cannot avoid: annoying people. Whether you're waiting in line, enjoying a walk in the public park, or even minding your own business inside a library, there are always people who ruin everyone else's mood. The same can be said in driving. While it can definitely be fun and even relaxing, it often only takes one slight inconvenience for it to turn from a positive to a negative experience.
Unfortunately, some drivers have a very short temper. Perhaps it could be due to an arrogant person cutting them off-road or someone tailgating them for no reason. Nevertheless, if you let your emotions get the best of you while driving, you might get yourself into what is called “road rage”. There are many varying definitions of “road rage” and there is not really an exact meaning. But many have suggested that road rage often manifests through:
- Violent behavior;
- Rude gestures;
- Verbal insults; and
- Physical threats.
With that said, road rage can give rise to a number of serious problems on the roadway. In a worst-case scenario, we may no longer be looking into a simple heated argument between two drivers -- it can end up with someone else's life at risk. Hence why California Vehicle Code VC 13210 has authorized the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to suspend a driver's license for road rage.
There are two ways that the DMV can accomplish this suspension:
- By sending the driver an “Order of Suspension” after evaluating that the individual is not competent enough to drive; or
- By sending the driver an “Order of Suspension” after declaring that individual as a negligent operator.
As mentioned earlier, road rage comes in many forms. Therefore, we have gathered a few examples to showcase typical road rage scenarios:
- An elderly man is casually driving along the highway when a truck suddenly started to tailgate his vehicle. He tried to change lanes to see if he could make the truck stop following him but to no avail. Eventually, the truck pulled up next to the elderly man. The truck driver then exited his vehicle, smashed out the rear window of the elderly man's car, and punched the victim repeatedly.
- It was a long day at work and a 26-year-old man was driving home when a group of teenagers riding a Sedan swerved towards him, missing the headlights of his vehicle by an inch. Frustrated, he decided to pursue the teens, going as fast as 80mph to try and catch up to them. When he finally managed to overtake the teenagers' lane, he slammed the brakes of his car, forcing the teens to stop in the middle of the road to avoid crashing into him.
- You were driving your 8-years-old daughter to school one day when a ten-wheeler-truck behind you abruptly honked in such a loud volume that it made your daughter cry in fear. You were furious, so you pulled up in front of the truck, grabbed your pistol, and approached the driver of the truck. The truck driver refused to apologize so you decided to point your gun at him in anger.
Road rage can get you charged with several different crimes in California, such as:
- Brandishing a weapon;
- Aggressive or reckless driving;
- Assault with a deadly weapon;
- Battery; and
Penalties for Road Rage
Under California Vehicle Code VC 13210, any driver who participates in road rage behavior will face the following consequences:
- For the first offense, a maximum of 6 months driver's license suspension; or
- For the subsequent offenses; a maximum of one year driver's license suspension.
Take note that you may not only be suspended for road rage. For instance, if you have been declared as a negligent operator by the DMV, they have the power to completely revoke your driving privileges.
Are You Facing a Road Rage Charge?
While road rage, in particular, is not a criminal offense, it is still best to consult with a criminal defense lawyer as you could still face a criminal charge depending on the circumstances of your case. Give us a call so we can give you the best legal resources and services available in the industry.
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