A rush-hour fender-bender recently mushroomed into a federal case.
One of the drivers involved was an FBI agent. The agent was on the clock
at the time, and the U.S. attorney filed a
notice of removal to move the matter from municipal court to federal court. The filing stated
that the government did not want to subject its officials to any legal
authority other than a federal judge. The FBI further stated that its
own "internal investigation" ran contrary to the officer's report.
A court date has not yet been scheduled.
While a collision with a federal official is a distinct possibility in
Central California, a ticket on federal property is even more likely.
The U.S. Government owns close to
30 percent of the country's land area. Any traffic violation on federal property
can be charged as a federal offense. Large federal lands in and around
Fresno and Bakersfield include:
In addition to these large bases and parks, there are smaller bits of federal
property in almost all medium- and large-sized cities in the High Desert area.
The U.S. courthouse in Bakersfield handles most of the area's federal
traffic tickets. This court is very inflexible about court dates for those
defendants trying to avoid a point on their record. Defending a case before
a federal judge is nothing like appearing before a local magistrate. It's
important to partner with an attorney experienced in these matters, to
avoid big fines and a major headache.