Pleading Not Guilty in Traffic Case

In Kern County, a person who pleads not guilty to an infraction has the right to a trial before a commissioner or traffic referee.  There is no right to a jury trial or to a court-appointed attorney. This authority is set forth in Penal Code §19.6;   Most speeding ticket defendants do not hire attorneys unless there is risk of substantial consequences, say the loss of a license or employment. Although a person charged with an infraction has the right to be  represented by private counsel (see People v Kriss (1979) 96 CA3d 913, 917). Indeed, it is well established that without a showing of special circumstances, it is not necessary for the kern county judge to advise an unrepresented defendant charged with a traffic infraction of his or her right to be represented by privately retained counsel. It is also unnecessary for the judge to obtain a waiver of the right to an attorney before accepting a defendant’s plea of guilty or no contest to the infraction or before trying the defendant without a lawyer if the defendant pleads not guilty.  However there may exist “Special circumstances” that might warrant an advisement and waiver include the possible imposition of multiple maximum penalties or proof of gross physical, linguistic, or mental inability of the defendant to represent himself or herself or to understand the right to employ counsel and the means of employing counsel.  A lawyer can certainly assist those whose license is on the line in a non-DUI infraction matter.

One Response to Pleading Not Guilty in Traffic Case

  1. Zohrab says:

    I, too, am a phoetad and Atheist! getting ready to go to Amsterdam and I may never return, except to pick up my belongings, which are minimal!

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