How do I contest my citation?
To contest your citation, you must appear for arraignment or schedule a future court trial date. Bail must be posted to schedule a future court trial date.
At the arraignment, if you plead "Not Guilty," your case will be continued or scheduled for a court trial date.
If your violation is an Infraction, you may also contest a citation without appearing in court simply by requesting a trial by written declaration on or before the due date on your courtesy notice. Bail must be posted.
Contesting a Citation
Arraignment and Court Trial without Posting Bail
Pursuant to California Rule of Court 4.105 you may request a court trial without the deposit of bail. Two court appearances are required if you wish to contest the violation(s) without posting bail. You must appear first in Walk-in Court for arraignment and enter a plea of Not Guilty on or before the due date on your courtesy notice. A future court date will be scheduled at that time. Information about Walk-in Court schedules and locations can be found below:
Arraignment and Court Trial with Posting Bail
Pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 40519 (a) and (b) you may choose to have your arraignment and court trial in the same hearing by submitting your signed request and posting the total bail amount on or before the due date on your courtesy notice. Bail must be posted in person or by mail in full. The court will mail your scheduled court date to you upon receipt of your request.
The examination of facts and law will be presided over by a judge (or other magistrate such as a commissioner or judge pro tem). The officer(s) will be subpoenaed to present any factual evidence. At this time, you must also be prepared to produce all evidence, documents, or witnesses to support your case. You have the right to bring witnesses or have a lawyer present. The Court will not provide an attorney.
Trial by Written Declaration
Pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 40902 you may request a trial by mail and no court appearance is required. The Trial by Declaration procedure allows you to plead not guilty by submitting your signed request or completed TR-205 forms and the total bail amount to the Court on or before the due date on your courtesy notice. Bail must be posted in person or by mail in full.
This procedure is not available for misdemeanors, accidents, mandatory court appearances, or non-traffic local ordinance violations.
If you choose this option, you will mail to Court a written statement on a Trial by Written Declaration form explaining and outlining the facts and events of the case. You may include any documentary evidence that could help your case. The Court will subpoena a written report from the citing officer. The Commissioner will review all documentation and the ruling will be issued by mail. If you are dissatisfied with the judgment, you may request a new trial if you do so within 20 days of the mailing of the notice of judgment.
The following conditions must be met in order to qualify for a Trial by Written Declaration:
- Full bail must be paid.
- Violation(s) must be vehicle code infractions only.
- No accident involved.
- No failure to appear or failure to pay fine on the case.
- No prior failure to appear on the case.
- Enter a "not guilty" plea in writing.