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The Pioneer

Alameda County man pleads down four traffic violations in Fremont

Tia L. Wilson and Katelyn Gamble,
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Christopher Brownfield recently appeared before Judge Nikki Clark in the Fremont Hall of Justice for running a stop sign, driving with an expired registration, no proof of insurance and possession of marijuana. He was stopped for running a stop sign on May 11, 2014, with other violations.

“It says here that you will be having an attorney representing you. Is that still the case?” asked traffic court clerk, Kelly Luu, working in the Fremont Hall of Justice before cases were seen. “Um no I’ll just represent myself,” replied Christopher Brownfield.

Stop sign violations are responsible for 70 percent of motor vehicle crashes, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

According to California’s Cannabis legislation in Article 2. 11357, persons, 18 or older, in possession of 28.5 grams, or more than eight grams of concentrated marijuana, will be fined up to $500 and/or could face a maximum of six months imprisoned.

Brownfield plead down his four charges to a $275 fine and a promise to join the Options Recovery Program.

Initially when he appeared before Judge Clark on Monday, Brownfield plead not guilty to the charges of driving without insurance, running a stop sign and the charge of having marijuana in his vehicle.

“What you want to do is plead no contest,” said Clark. “Pleading not guilty would mean you want a court hearing.”

He eventually plead no contest to the marijuana possession charge and the citation for running a stop sign.

This prompting was not unusual in the courtroom. Many defendants were confused by the traffic court system even after watching a video which explained the pleads and their meaning shown. The video was shown before Judge Clark came in.

Brownfield produced proof of insurance from the time and the insurance citation was dropped. By pleading guilty and no contest to the respective charges of expired registration and running a stop sign, the fines on both were lowered to $275.

His no contest plea for the marijuana charge was settled when he agreed to take part in the Options Recovery Program in Oakland, but not before inquiring if “Is it now or never to accept?”

Options is a recovery program that allows those involved with drugs and alcohol a chance to be treated and return back to society reformed via assessment, case management and follow ups after the program has been completed.

Brownfield is was expected to pay his $275 fine and enroll in the Options Recovery Program by yesterday May 29.

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Alameda County man pleads down four traffic violations in Fremont