What You Need to Know
We have heard from several local riders who have had their bike confiscated and fined an undisclosed amount. After looking at the citations, hours of research and consultation with other professionals, this is what you need to know:
- You must wait to retrieve your bike until after the citation has been cleared and completed. It seems that the Marines took the bikes based on an “evidentiary hold” where evidence of/concerning a crime can be held until the claim is resolved, just in case it is needed for a possible trial.
- Hearing dates are TBD. Because there was no date on the citation, you should expect a hearing date mailed to you within 45 days of the citation. Should you not receive a hearing date during that period, immediately contact the 800 number on the citation.
- The hearing will be held at the downtown United States District Court, and the initial hearing will not entertain factual arguments. However, the case has the possibility of settling at that time.
- The charge could be made as a misdemeanor, but is negotiable depending on a plea at the time of the initial hearing or thereafter.
- Hearings of this nature are heard once a month on a Wednesday. Our “educated guess” would be that the hearing associated with January’s citations would be in March.
- Keep any photos, video or Strava tracking from the day you were cited.
What Can Be Done?
You have the choice of handing the situation yourself, or contacting a local attorney. While the amount of cited riders continues to grow (reports of more riders ticketed near East Elliot arose within the last 24-hours), the need for a unified voice continues to also grow. It is essential that this is handled both effectively and quietly, as not to disturb the other great efforts by SDMBA and other groups attempting to gain access to and create new legal trails.
At this time, local lawyer and mountain biker with SoCal Bike Advocates and Bonnici Law Group, Joshua Bonnici, is inviting affected riders to reach out regarding free information and possible free-of-charge representation regarding the citations. Joshua can be contacted here, or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for the hearing notice in the mail. As to riding affected/enforced areas in or around the Miramar base, SDMBA has released the following statement and map:
“Until this this is resolved, SDMBA strongly recommends all riders avoid all trails north of 52, south of Goodan Ranch and always remain West of the 805 if riding near the central canyons.”
Thanks for reading, and hopefully see you on the trails soon!
** This post is aimed at providing helpful information for people ticketed in the Sycamore Canyon area. None of it is meant to be legal advise, or create an attorney/client relationship. Thanks!