When is a speeding ticket a lot more than just a speeding ticket? When
you get one in Death Valley National Park, Sequoia National Park, Edwards
Air Force Base, China Lake Naval Base, or other federal property and fail
to show up. A federal warrant can be put out for your arrest. Even a Hollywood star like
Wesley Snipes can tell you that when they say you "can get up to six months in
jail," they might actually mean it.
Traffic tickets on federal property are processed through the
Central Violations Bureau and are generally infractions, but the consequences in increased insurance
costs and fines can be steep. According to the Central Violations Bureau,
you have to actually show up in court on your traffic date or just pay
your fine and take the points on your license.
Obviously, these are not good options for someone who was on vacation in
Death Valley and lives in San Francisco or has an actual job to keep.
While most of the traffic violations are heard through the Bakersfield
or Fresno federal court houses, the federal courts are very inflexible
on court dates and somewhat harsh on treatment of those who do not show
up or pay in advance.
But there is a third way: Hire an experienced traffic lawyer, one of the
rare traffic lawyers who appears regularly in federal court, and rest
assured that your driving record is in good hands. The federal courts
have different rules than local courts and you need someone who can use
that knowledge to get the best result on your traffic ticket.