Court Dismisses Traffic Violations to Allow Man to Prioritize Mental Health and Addiction Recovery

By Taylor Smith

WOODLAND, CA – Charged with driving without a license, insurance, and registration, all non-felonies, a man explained to Yolo County Superior Court Commissioner Catherine Hohenwarter he is residing in a rehabilitation program for mental illness and drug addiction.

Commissioner Hohenwarter recognized his commitment to improving his well-being and dismissed his case—much to the apparent surprise of the accused.

The man showed up to Yolo County Superior Court for his arraignment Friday morning to represent himself—with no attorney present. He directly spoke to Commissioner Hohenwarter to plead no contest for his traffic violation charges.

The accused began by telling the commissioner, “I have insurance, I’ve always had [insurance], I just didn’t have proof on hand [at the time of the citation].”

As for his license and registration issues, he informed Commissioner Hohenwarter that he has been in a rehabilitation center since February of this year, thus he has not been able to get his license reinstated and does not have access to his car.

He explained that the program at Newbridge in Berkeley is geared toward mental illness and drug addiction, adding he had been struggling with both before he started the treatment.

Then, he detailed the strict rules that he is under, noting, “It’s really hard to get things done because we are not allowed to, like, [use] laptops and phones, it’s kind of like scheduled and usually it’s in the evening when everything is closed, so I have only been able to communicate with family.”

He continued by explaining that his treatment will be extended until May 24, when he will then be transferred to a sober living program.

The man said that in the sober living program, “you have your sponsors, and you go to meetings, and things like that, they help you get a job so you can get reacclimated back into society,” which would be the next step in his treatment.

He further explained that in this program he would be allowed to go out on his own to work—contrary to the confinement of his current treatment—but would still be supervised and have to report back by 10 p.m. every night. He informed the commissioner he expects to be a part of this program after May 24.

Seemingly content with the man’s statement, Hohenwarter gave her final statement without hesitation.

“I would prefer you just continue the work, the great work, that you are doing and focus on your health. I am going to go ahead and dismiss this case in the interest of justice so you don’t have to worry about this case. Just take care of yourself, continue to do well,” she concluded.

Seemingly a bit shocked, the man profusely thanked the commissioner and assured her that he would continue his work and take care of himself.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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