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California Law question. Acceptable answer will cite statute

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California Law question. Acceptable answer will cite statute and/or case law if existing. I was pulled over and issued two seperate citations in one transaction. One was a fix it ticket. One was a speeding violation. Both are infractions. Two different citations, citation numbers, and case numbers. If I plead out guilty on the fix it ticket, will that get me off on the speeding ticket on the theory of Double jepordy?

Hello and thanks so much for choosing this forum to pose your important legal question. I will do my best to give you some honest and accurate guidance as I answer your question.


  1. I am a licensed attorney, and I will be glad to try and answer your question seeing another legal expert has chosen to opt out. I hope that the following information will be helpful to you, but please just write back if you have any follow-up questions or need clarification on anything after reviewing the following information. I hope that everything gets resolved appropriately for you in this situation,
  2. While I can certainly see the logic to your argument, unfortunately the answer to your question is "No". Here is why. Double jeopardy is both a procedural defense and a constitutional right that forbids a defendant from being tried twice for the same crime on the same set of facts. At common law a defendant would plead autrefois acquit or autrefois convict (a peremptory plea), meaning the defendant had been acquitted or convicted of the same offense.
  3. If this issue is raised, evidence will be placed before the Court, which will normally rule as a preliminary matter whether the plea is substantiated, and if it so finds, the projected trial will be prevented from proceeding. The double jeopardy rule arises from the Bill of Rights provisions of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the relevant clause of which reads in pertinent part: "...nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb..." Likewise, we see this protection echoed in the Declaration of Rights provisions of California Constitution Article 1, § 15, which provides in pertinent part: "Persons may not twice be put in jeopardy for the same offense..."
  4. At first blush, all of this seems to afford relief in circumstances such as yours. However, here is the rub. The prohibitions against double jeopardy are intended to limit abuse by the government in repeated prosecution for the same offense as a means of harassment or oppression. It is also in harmony with the common law concept of res judicata, which prevents Courts from relitigating issues which have already been the subject of a final judgment. Res judicata is a term of general application. Underneath that conceptual umbrella is the concept of collateral estoppel. As applied to double jeopardy, the Court will use collateral estoppel as its basis for forming an opinion. There are three essential protections included in the double jeopardy principle, which are:
    • being retried for the same crime after an acquittal
    • retrial after a conviction
    • being punished multiple times for the same offense
  5. From a procedural standpoint, jeopardy attaches in a jury trial once the jury and alternates are impaneled and sworn in. In a non-jury trial jeopardy attaches once the first evidence is put on which occurs when the first witness is sworn. As double jeopardy applies only to charges that were the subject of an earlier final judgment, there are a surprising number of situations in which it does not apply. Unfortunately, one of these is yours. The United States Supreme Court held in the case of in United States v. Felix, 503 U.S. 378 (1992), that double jeopardy is not implicated for separate offenses arising from the same act. Thus, I regret to say that the botXXXXX XXXXXne is this argument will fail.


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The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice. By using this forum, you acknowledge that no attorney-client relationship has been created between you and Benjamin M. Burt, Jr., Esq. You should always consult with a lawyer in your state.

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