Because of all the federal property in Central California, especially the
mammoth Edwards Air Force Base, more and more drivers are getting a federal
speeding ticket. What are some of the differences between a state and
federal traffic ticket?
Federal tickets are printed on hot pink paper, while state court citations
are more of a lime green color. Okay, I may have made this one up. I promise
the rest of the list is legitimate. Trust me, I'm a lawyer.
On a serious note, you can always look at the top of the citation. It will
either say "State of California" or it won't.
In most state jurisdictions, traffic court is in session pretty much every
day. If a court date needs to be moved a day or two because you have a
dental appointment, a big meeting at work, your son's piano recital
or some other similar life event, court staffs are generally accommodating
if you call them well in advance.
Not so in federal court. Federal magistrates may only hear traffic cases
two or three hours a month, and the court staffs are in no mood to extend
a favor to motorists. In fact, the federal courthouse in Bakersfield only
hears traffic on 4 days a year. Because traffic days are only once every
three months, you're expected to show up at the date and time printed
on the citation, and if you don't make it, you could be in big trouble.
Generally, in federal court, an attorney may be able to appear for you
and save you the hassle of going all the way to Bakersfield for a court
This is a big one. In state court, you can normally request traffic school
for a moving violation in a relatively convenient manner and have the
charge dismissed when you complete the class. Not so in many courthouses
federal court. Oftentimes your only option is to pay the fine and take
a point or actually appear in person. It can be very important to have
an experienced attorney at your side, or even handling the case without
you even being there! Give me a call for a free phone consultation on
your options in federal court.