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.