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Power To The People

Highway patrolOne San Jose city councilmember is known for thinking outside the box, and his latest action has people in Mono County thinking about who has the authority to issue a traffic ticket, and where they can write them.

In the past, Pierluigi Oliverio has suggested contracting traffic tickets to other agencies and a 15mph speed limit in residential school zones. Recently, he used his credit card to purchase a $225 radar gun, and requested reimbursement from the city. Mr. Oliverio has let local residents borrow the device, to accurately measure the speed of local traffic. The Councilman claims the plan is working, as speeders have slowed down and residents see that the speeds are not as high as residents previously thought.

Since the City Clerk rejected the reimbursement request, Mr. Oliverio must appear before the whole council.

Authority to Issue a Traffic Ticket

Citizens’ arrests are legal in California in some circumstances, but the arrested person typically sues for false imprisonment anyway. And it appears that the good citizens of San Jose were simply monitoring traffic, and not issuing citations.

In a similar vein, the fleeing felons in high-speed movie chases often say “if we can just make it to the state line, the cops can’t do anything.” While specific peace officers do have specific jurisdictions, that maxim is not entirely true.

  • City Police: These officers can issue traffic tickets for infractions committed on public property inside the city limits, and both these things sometimes come into play. Mojave, in particular, is known for its very erratic city boundary, and police can typically not ticket a motorist for running a stop sign in a mall parking lot.
  • County Sherriff: The same basic logic applies, but their jurisdiction extends over the entire county.
  • CHP: As soon as you cross the border, you are fair game for the California Highway Patrol.

These officers can pursue outside their jurisdiction. If you’re speeding on the California side of Interstate 15 and the CHP doesn’t catch up with you until you cross over into Nevada, the officer can still give you a ticket.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive attorneys at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-349-9300 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-349-9755.