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Some Key Differences Between A Federal And State Traffic Ticket

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 appearance.

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.