10 Common Mistakes You Can Make If You’re Jaywalking in California

10 Common Mistakes You Can Make If You’re Jaywalking in California

Soon, Jaywalking Will No Longer Be a Crime in California

California is one of the most progressive states in America, but it does have a law against walking while being the pedestrian. If you’re under the age of 16, you can be convicted of a felony punishable by fines and/or prison time, but it is treated as a traffic offense.

If you are 16 or older, however, you may be subject to fines and/or jail for jaywalking. It’s a big problem across California—according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”), there are 3,200 pedestrian offenses (offenses with a pedestrian component) per year statewide—and one-third of those cases involve a jaywalking charge. That’s a lot of drivers who could be fined a few bucks and/or put behind bars.

Jaywalking is considered a serious offense by the DMV, and a particularly serious one. It is punishable by a $60 fine for the first offense, plus jail time of up to 30 days—a pretty steep price to pay if you are 18 or older and caught. So I was surprised to learn that jaywalking, at least in California, does not technically make you a criminal.

But what’s wrong with jaywalking? It’s not that it’s inherently bad, but it is a dangerous practice. In 2013, the California Office of Traffic Safety concluded that about 90 percent of pedestrian fatalities are caused by the driver, and about 60 percent are caused by the pedestrian. That’s why jaywalking is a great way for drivers to get busted. The penalties for jaywalking are similar to speeding violations, which can cost drivers fines of $250 to $750 for the first offense, plus up to four points on their license. In contrast, the DMV says that jaywalking carries a fine of $30 to $60 for the first offense, plus a license suspension for three to six months. And a fifth offense carries a potential point penalty of up to two points on the driver’s license.

If you’re caught jaywalking in California, try to avoid these 10 common mistakes:

1. Walking on sidewalks or shared pedestrian paths

If you’re jaywalking down the sidewalk of a busy street (or

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