Criminal defense

I printed my name on a notice to appear. Cop wanted what was on my license. Did he delay the stop?

I printed my name on the notice to appear. The cop demanded I sign like it is on my license. I asked where in the code it states my signature must match my license and he couldn't answer. A backup officer said she knew the answer but also could not answer. I was ultimately charged with delaying an officer (PC § 148(a)). Did I really delay the officer? Couldn't the officer, not finding my signature satisfactory, simply had me place my right or left thumb print on the Notice to Appear and release me. That is an option for him via VC § 40504(a). Aren't they considered expert witnesses in traffic enforcement? By demanding my signature match my license didn't he illegally extend the traffic stop in violation of Rodriguez v United States 575 U.S. ___ (2015) (No. 13-9972)?

Nathan’s Answer

This case is interesting because had you refused to sign outright, the outcome could have been very different, but you did identify yourself for the notice to appear. A notice to appear is an interesting creature, in that it is not a verified complaint (even if it alleges it is one by the judicial council (separation of powers?)), yet you are still asked to plead guilty or not guilty to it at a later arraignment, even though it's just a notice to appear, not a notice to plead. It was not prepared by a prosecutor's office, and most judges in traffic court, since they are commissioners only, and not elected or appointed by the people or the executive branch, cannot under the government code, sua sponte verify a complaint by transmuting the notice to appear before their court. So given all the holes in a notice to appear to begin with, I'm not sure you being asked to sign it in a specific manner by an officer may have been at all appropriate since officers certainly aren't in the business of perfecting the verifying of complaints. Their job is to ask you to sign and if you do great, and if you don't, well then they have other enforcement mechanisms. But again, perfecting of the signature? I don't think so.

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