An Indian tribe in the Mojave Desert claims that a San Bernardino County deputy sheriff illegally issued traffic tickets on tribal lands, but the county claims that the tickets are valid and the revenue they produce belongs to the state.
The Chemehuevi Indian Tribe is particularly upset over a spate of tickets issued in the spring of 2015 by one deputy; court papers claim that Deputy Ronald Sindelar was pulling over tribe members without probable cause, which amounts to racial profiling. However, the county says that Deputy Sindelar issued the tickets on non-tribal land that was designated for schools in 1853. Further complicating matters, Congress gave states the exclusive power to enforce laws in these areas, except for traffic tickets and other “regulatory offenses.” As most of the tickets at issue involve license and registration issues, the county claims that Deputy Sindelar was investigating possible auto theft charges.
The lawsuit demands an injunction and unspecified damages.
Tickets on Federal Property
Under most treaties, American Indian tribes have a great deal of autonomy on tribal lands, and these things are the subject of an entirely different blog. Most California drivers are much more concerned about traffic tickets on federal property, and these citations work in a similar way.
Many drivers are ticketed on some of the sprawling federally-owned lands in Central California, like Death Valley National Park. All these citations go to the federal courthouse in Bakersfield, despite the fact that Ridgecrest and Barstow are a lot closer. This courthouse can be very frustrating to deal with for those who are used to the easy scheduling of many county courts. It’s very important to partner with an attorney that regularly practices in this court, because with all due respect to my colleagues who do not regularly practice federal law, anyone else may be as lost as you would be.
Getting Legal Help
The aggressive lawyers at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-859-1177 or email email@example.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-376-0214.