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Is Road Rage A Criminal Offense In California? The Complete Guide

Posted by Mark A. Velez | Oct 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

Is Road Rage A Criminal Offense In California? The Complete Guide

Is road rage a criminal offense in California? Road rage is a common occurrence in the modern world. The driving behavior of the driver is deeply affected by his or her mood. If the driver finds himself to be in anguish, it can turn into rage-filled driving. But is it a criminal offense to drive with road rage? It is undoubtedly discouraged across the US and is considered a criminal behavior.

But the punishment for the crime varies from state to state and is hard to outline for the readers. Here is a complete guide on how road rage cases are treated in various states and how you can best protect yourself from this common offense.


The misconception is your jail time, if you do not dispel them promptly. You will see a lot of misconceptions about the road rage-related laws and jurisdictions. These are not intentional. The fact is that rules and legislations about road rage vary significantly across state lines.

That is why TV shows, news clips, and documentaries that talk about road rage have a hard time presenting a specific state's laws and legislation. Here we discuss the legal factors that contribute to the road rage cases in with reference to the California State Law.

Reckless Driving

California Vehicle Code 23103 VC is at the core of rage road cases. The law states that it is a crime to drive a vehicle on a highway in a manner that disregards the safety requirements of surrounding peoples and property.

According to swerving, tailgating, speeding, and other significant terminologies, the court will determine the reckless driving. If any of these terms quickly defined the accused's driving pattern, then the driving will be erratic to the court.

The statute of reckless driving in Los Angeles entails a thousand dollar fine and around three months in county jail. If the driver was also responsible for human and animal injuries due to reckless driving, the penalty could be much larger.

Assault Charges

A road rage case can turn into an assault charge under the Penal Code 240 PC. If the driver gets into an argument or disagreement with the pedestrian and passerby in times of road rage, they are open to assault charges.

Is road rage a criminal offense in these circumstances? If the accuser states that they felt threatened by the accused's behavior and have ample proof to elaborate and justify their claim, the road rage driver can bear the assault charges. In these cases, the charges are usually a misdemeanor, leading to six months in jail and a thousand dollar penalty.

Assault with a Deadly Weapon

According to the Penal Code 245 of California State Law, a car or any other vehicle will count as a weapon if it causes bodily harm to a person. A typical example is when there is documented evidence of the driver intentionally speeding into an individual.

These cases become far more viable and credible if they have already registered a credible threat or a restraining order against the accused individual.

Assault with a deadly weapon charge can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the case's intensity. If the assaulted individual were seriously affected in a life-long manner, they would be charged for brandishing a Weapon under Penal Code Section 417.

Battery Charges:

Is road rage a criminal offense if battery charges are on the table? Under the Penal Code 242 PC, the rage road driving can also turn into battery charges. That occurs if a person can prove that the accused hit the person or was using force. Batter conviction is the most severe possible on the list.

A battery conviction will get you a fine up to $2000, and you can also get six months of jail time. That is the least amount of sentence you will get in the battery charges. If the person is severely injured, the accused can get prosecuted under the Penal Code 243 (d). This is a third-degree charge and will call for severe penalties, fines, and jail time.

Driver License Suspension:

The California DMV law has the CVC clause 13210 that allows the California DMV to rescind and suspend driving. It is a common practice by DMV to stop the licenses to ensure that they are covered in responsibility.


Rage driving is a shared conviction in the civil courts of California. Many individuals are accused of rage driving because they were driving fast in residential areas. An excellent way to get out of these accusations is to prove that you were going somewhere important.

It does not absolve you of the charges, but if you can prove that you were not in a rage, then the course of the prosecution will change. You would move towards misdemeanor even if there were bodily harm to report.

About the Author

Mark A. Velez

Mark A. Velez My name is Mark Velez and thank you for visiting my site. I would like to take a moment to tell you about who I am and why I opened my own law practice. I was born and raised in Southern California. After completing high school, I applied at the Palos Verdes Estates Police Departme...


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