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If an infraction of the VC is a crime then when was my right to a jury trial forfeit? If it's a crime then why no prosecutor?

San Jose, CA |

In View of Code Civ. Proc. § 24, declaring actions to be two kinds, civil and
criminal, and § 22, defining actions, there is no such thing as a “quasi-criminal act.”
Ex Parte Clark, 141 P. 831, 24 C.A. 389

When was my right to have an attorney paid for at public expense forfeit if an infraction is a crime? If the matter is in fact criminal then why doesn't the DA prosecute? The cop surely can't because he/she's the State's witness. The Notice To Appear is presumably the complaint. Where does a police officer get the authority to serve a criminal complaint before it's even filed? And does a police officer get to serve his own process? And seeing as how he's not even the damaged party...

Don't we have a few substantial jurisdictional and procedural problems here?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Your collective responses are not germane to the questions. When you're accused of an alleged infraction of the Vehicle Code, has the officer alleged a crime?

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Attorney answers 2


You don't get a jury trial with an infraction because infractions are punished only by fines. The jury trial comes into play only if your personal liberty is at risk, i.e., if your offense is punished by jail or state prison.


You are not entitled to a jury trial or appointed counsel in an infraction case because it does not carry the possibility of imprisonment. See Penal Code 19.6.

California law provides far more protection than the United States Constitution requires. In Federal courts, you don't get a jury trial or a court-appointed attorney in cases where the maximum punishment is less than six months.