Judge Interjects Warning to Accused Speaking without Attorney during Arraignment  

By Michael Apfel & Cynthia Hoang-Duong

WOODLAND, CA – Judge Daniel M. Wolk interrupted an accused during a Monday morning arraignment hearing in Yolo County Superior Court Dept. 1 to remind the man charged with two traffic violations he was testifying on the record and his statements could be used as evidence against him.

The accused attended his arraignment hearing without legal counsel and was accused of two traffic violations: driving on the wrong side of the road, and driving without a license.

He had previously been heard and advised of his rights in a preceding trial. The proceeding began with Judge Wolk asking the Deputy District Attorney Ashley Harvey about some basic facts of the case and if there was a potential offer from the prosecution.

Harvey asked the accused if he had his driver’s license at the time, but he said he lost his wallet and did not have his license on him during the traffic stop. Harvey stated she wanted more information about the case before a potential resolution could be made.

“What I would want, Your Honor, is more information regarding the incident,” Harvey said. “I only have the citation. With proof of the driver’s license, I would dismiss the unlicensed charge, Count 2, but I would like more information about Count 1, driving on the wrong side of the roadway.”

Speaking directly to the accused, Harvey added, “If it’s possible, find your wallet, bring in or get a new license for proof, and I’ll get information for Count 1. We can have a better offer at the next court date.”

The accused explained he lost his wallet in Sacramento, and he was having difficulty getting a new license. At this point, Judge Wolk intervened and reminded the accused he was speaking on the record.

“I’m just going to remind you that you were advised that you have a right to remain silent, so everything you’re saying is on the record and can be used against you. Just be cognizant of that as you have this discussion with the DA, but thank you for sharing that,” the judge said.

The proceeding halted, and the judge waited for the accused to receive counsel before a resolution could be found.

About The Author

Michael Apfel is a second year at USC majoring in Legal Studies and minoring in Sports Media Industries. He plans on law school after his undergraduate studies looking to work in social justice.

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