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Benjamin Kohn

Benjamin Kohn

Transactional, ADA, Small Claims, & Traffic/Misdemeanor Defense Attorney
  • Business Law, Consumer Law, Appeals & Appellate ...
  • California, Iowa
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Notice to Prospective Clients: Please don't cold call me without an appointment to inquire about your legal matter. Please first visit my website, and if you're interested in my services as described there for a California or Iowa legal matter, please schedule a prospective client phone consult.

I'm a California and Iowa licensed attorney with a very diverse, yet practical, skill set and range of expertise, which allows me to take a cross-functional and interdisciplinary approach to all services I render. From Data Science, Game Theory, and Statistical Risk Management Guided Decision Sciences, to Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)-enhanced communication and advocacy skills, to a strong comprehension of business, corporate finance, and technology, I possess a broad breadth of skills.

I decided to go to law school upon taking a business law course while studying business as my major in college, and upon graduating from college with my Bachelors in Business Administration in 2015 I attended the University of Iowa College of Law, from which I graduated with my J.D. I provide services remotely in both California and Iowa statewide and post-COVID, will offer in-person services in the Bay Area in California.

I hold additional certifications in data and decision sciences by SJSU, in the "Securities Industry Essentials" by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) by the Association for Integrative Psychology. Please see my LinkedIn and website for more information.

My practice areas include transactional law, corporate entity formation, ADA disability accommodations, civil small claims, and misdemeanor criminal defense practice areas. A particular passion, offered at subsidized fixed fee rates, is assistance in contesting traffic tickets.

Practice Areas
Business Law
Business Contracts, Business Dissolution, Business Finance, Business Formation, Business Litigation, Franchising, Mergers & Acquisitions, Partnership & Shareholder Disputes
Consumer Law
Class Action, Lemon Law
Appeals & Appellate
Civil Appeals, Federal Appeals
Traffic Tickets
Suspended License
Criminal Law
Criminal Appeals, Expungement
Additional Practice Area
  • Disability Accommodations (ADA: Testing Accommodations, Education, Employment)
  • Free Consultation
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Rates, Retainers and Additional Information
    Fixed Fee Packages from $175 and Hourly Services from $90/hour.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
State Bar of California
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Supreme Court of Iowa
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  • English: Spoken, Written
University of Iowa College of Law
J.D. (2018)
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California State University - San Jose State University
B.S. (2015) | Business Admin
California State University - San Jose State University Logo
Professional Associations
State Bar of California
- Current
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Disability Rights Bar Association
- Current
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Consumer Attorneys of California
- Current
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Iowa Office of Professional Regulation
- Current
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Iowa State Bar Association
- Current
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NLP Certified Master Practitioner
Association for Integrative Psychology
Securities Industry Essentials
Decision Sciences
California State University - San Jose State University
Websites & Blogs
Legal Answers
6 Questions Answered
Q. how long after my promise to appear is my tral?
A: Although you have a right to a speedy trial (though even what that's been held to constitute is going to be different due to Covid, as is when a trial can be scheduled), which in ordinary times without a pandemic would require extremely good cause to be longer than a set number of days depending on type of offense, trials are not scheduled for a fixed amount of time from a promise to appear. Even where there's a local norm or practice for the particular county court your case is in, again Covid has disrupted what that would be.
Q. I got a citation in Iowa for not stopping and yielding to the right of way
A: It sounds like you have at least three issues: (1) civil fault for the accident; and (2) the two simple misdemeanor traffic charges for disobeying the stop sign and for failing to yield; and (3) being a victim of domestic abuse.

While I can't provide legal advice based on such an abridged and public description of the facts, and the third issue is completely outside of my areas of practice, here are my thoughts for the first two.

Unfortunately, neither the distressed state of mind nor the discomfort from the lack of AC in the vehicle are relevant to the traffic misdemeanors. However, how you respond to them could have significant consequences. If you're convicted or plead guilty to them, those facts they allege will be deemed admitted and not disputable in court or with insurance on the facts being analyzed for who was civilly at fault for the accident.

Moreover, since the accident was a harm those criminal laws were intended to prevent, a conviction of them constitutes negligence per se; that is the hostile acquaintance who was party to the accident would have at least a comparative negligence defense to any claim you might have against them while only having to prove causation and damages (and not negligence) to establish liability against you.

This is especially important if the accident was not, in fact, your fault. Depending on the nature of your acquaintanceship with this person and what you can evidence of it, and of the threats they made, if that and forensic reconstruction of the collision by experts were to establish that they likely intentionally hit you or at least chose not to avert a collision, fault for the accident could be very much worth contesting. Even with the negligence per se, such a fact could prevent them from establishing legal causation for your liability to them, and establish their liability to you instead.

Now, you shouldn't post any more about the facts here or publicly, but I wouldn't know you to be guilty of the traffic charges from what you've admitted. Depending on the location and trajectory of the right of way car, that your brakes squeaked and didn't react in comfortable time isn't by itself the violation if you would have been able to stop by the line had the other car not hit you. Such a thing is at least a consideration if you believe they had motive to hit you intentionally and it might not have required you to reach the path of oncoming traffic.
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Q. If I was never physicality issued or notified of a traffic citation, can I be held liable for failure to pay or appear?
A: If he was never notified of the charges against him, never signed a promise to appear, etc., then this is clearly a violation of his rights under constitutional due process. Additionally, Iowa R. Crim. P. 2.55 requires that the defendant be served with a complaint that identifies the county, applicable court, known parties, a concise statement of the act or acts constituting the offense, including the time and place of its commission as near may be, and identifying by number the provision of law alleged to be violated.

Ordinarily, as a condition of not being arrested and brought before the Magistrate to be ordered to appear for release from custody (almost never happens for ordinary traffic charges), the officer has the defendant sign a promise to appear, which is not an admission of guilt, but a contract to enter a plea (paying is guilty plea) with the Court by a certain date, secured by an "unsecured" appearance bond that can be forfeited (reduced to judgment by the Court) if there is a failure to do so, which can result in a default judgment of conviction and sentence if there is not a timely response to the complaint in Court. This would be forwarded to the Iowa DOT, and if his driver's license is not Iowa, for most states the Iowa DOT would forward the conviction to the licensing state's counterpart to be added to his driving record there and treated as if the equivalent offense (if there is one) had been committed in the licensing state for purposes of civil/administrative license sanctions. If his driving record and the rules of that state were such that the acquisition of a conviction would violate probation, it triggered that process.

It sounds as though, if your son is correct, a complaint was filed, falsely certified to have been served upon him, and then due to lack of response the Court entered a default. Lack of or improper service of the complaint, especially for a criminal charge, is definitely a strong basis for a motion to set aside the conviction and default judgment. Unless the State responds and shows persuasive evidence that he did in fact get notice/service, the Court will almost certainly grant the motion. Once they do, he'd have to go through the hassle of getting the Clerk of Court to understand what happened (this is very unusual and they can be passive about actively monitoring the correct protocols on traffic cases at times) and that the effect of the Order setting aside means it's now their job to manually send a correction to the Iowa DOT rescinding the conviction. You'll probably need to be a squeaky wheel until they do so. Once they do, the Iowa DOT is *supposed* to forward that notice to the home state, but I've seen them and home states fail to match the rescindment notice with the conviction notice and this creates an inaccurate driving record. He'll have to monitor his driving record until this is fixed, and actively communicate with both the Iowa DOT and the equivalent in the licensing state to ensure this actually gets fixed.

There may be serious consequences from the conviction if it triggered a probation violation, the case on that itself will have deadlines for him to get a hearing to contest the grounds for revoking probation, and he needs to stay on top of this in parallel to ensure that tribunal also becomes aware this was a default conviction due to lack of notice/service that he's seeking to resolve in Iowa Court.

He should also be aware that so long as there is a conviction of a traffic offense pertaining to this accident, the facts that constitute the elements of the offense convicted will be deemed indisputably true as a matter of law and will not be able to be relitigated for defending any civil personal injury case. Further, if violation of a criminal statute proscribing conduct to protect against this type of harm caused the accident, that's deemed negligence per se as a matter of law. He now has serious implications for his civil liability at stake.
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Contact & Map
Kohn Law Office of California
1913 Fordham Way
Mountain View, CA 94040
Kohn Law Office of Iowa, PLLC
315 E 5th Street
STE 202
Waterloo, IA 50703
Telephone: (319) 343-6841