Traffic Citations are not Criminal, says California Courts.
Date: Tue, Dec 25, 2012
Subject: Californian proves cops can’t write you a traffic ticket
This is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. As someone
who has been studying the vehicle code and it’s legislative history
on and off for the past 12 years, I just can’t help but smile when
someone proves in open court that the vehicle enforcement apparatus
is nothing more than a massive racketeering operation. OK, maybe
he didn’t prove that, but Dan Giguere of Los Angeles did prove that
the police can’t write a ticket for an infraction.
Dan received a traffic citation a little over a year ago for unsafe
speed in violation of California Vehicle Code section 22350. Dan
went to court and made a special appearance to obtain information as
to who the plaintiff in the case was so that he can file a motion
and properly serve the opposing party. Since the citation doesn’t
indicate who that party is, it was fair to ask the court. Instead
of answering Dan’s question the judge entered a plea of not guilty
with Dan’s objection. Dan was able to quote a California court case
known as People v. Sava which ruled “The limitation of an accused
right to a jury trial has withstood constitutional attack upon the
rationale that the legislature had never intended infractions to
be criminal. The Judge agreed and admitted that the case is not
criminal, which is correct. The judge set the case for trial and
ignored the obvious implications of such a fact.
Dan consulted the Vehicle code and the powers of arrest by a peace
officer and it turns out that peace officers only have the authority
to make an arrest without a warrant if they have probable cause to
believe a public offense has been committed in their presence. A
public offense according to 683 of the Penal code is a type of
offense that warrants a criminal prosecution. But since infractions
are not crimes, then it can’t be a public offense. Some of you may
think “wait a minute, I’m not arrested when I’m given a ticket.” Oh
yes you are. According to 40500 of the Vehicle code a traffic stop
and issuance of a notice to appear constitutes an arrest, besides
what happens if you refuse to sign the ticket? They will threaten to take you
off to jail, and sometimes will.
Dan filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
and a motion to suppress the notice to appear arguing that the
officer lacked any probable cause to believe a crime has been
committed in his presence and therefore no crime has been alleged. He
filed with the court just a few days before his trial. The judge
agreed with the motion and suppressed the citation and dismissed
The significance of this is huge because what you have are peace
officers (city employees) conducting traffic arrests for non-criminal activity,
triggering debt collection actions on behalf of non-complaining
parties by way of a voidable notice to appear.
The next time I get pulled over for an infraction I’m simply going
to ask the officer “What is your probable cause to believe a crime
has been committed?” If he starts to name anything other than an
actual crime than I’m going to tell the officer that infractions are
not crimes according the California Supreme court and that I don’t
consent to the stop”. Once I say I don’t consent and the officer
doesn’t release me, they can be charged for “False Arrest” and that is a crime.
Remember if it is a law principal in the “state” of California it s a law principal in all jurisdiction in which a US court operates.
Good job Dan.
I wander if one can go back on old charges and do the same, probable cause is jurisdiction in the first instance, so the arraignment would be a nullity and all after also.
[11:38:09 AM] WTP, williamfrancis1: See if there is a statute of limitations on barratry.
[11:39:45 AM] pauljjhansen.com: I am quite sure there is no statute of limitation on subject matter jurisdiction in the first instance, no jurisdiction in the first instance means to time starts ticking that is associated with a statute of limitations.
I personally believe a non-statutory territorial jurisdiction challenge by “Plea In Abatement” should always be your first challenge. Paul John Hansn
P.S. I used one in Nebraska with no registration, suspended license, no liability coverage, and one failure to appear, and the court has now, for 60 days, sat on an “under advisement” statues, so it is obvious the court is in a quandary of what to do. Paul John Hansen 12-29-2012
Original intent of the Legislature is a powerful defense.
Click HERE to view the list of foundational information created by Lawyer Paul John Hansen to aid in independence from the US System.