Friday, October 24, 2014

Appearing in Court

Court Appearance Times

You need not appear in court, unless you want to contest the citation or your appearance is required. In order to appear in court, you must report to the Traffic Self-Service Kiosk or to the Room 100 check in windows at the Carol Miller Justice Center, on or before the date listed at the bottom of your citation. Courtroom check in is anytime between the hours of:

  • 8:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

You will need a picture identification and any documents you feel support your case in court.

Your case will be called in the order you were checked in for court. It can take two or more hours to complete the process from checking in to having your case reviewed in court.

Arraignment

An arraignment is an initial appearance in court. At the arraignment, the charges are presented, the opportunity to enter a plea is given and, in certain cases, a determination is made whether the party has or needs an attorney. The bail amount may be set and a future appearance may be scheduled. The citing officer(s) will not be present.

At the arraignment you may enter one of the following pleas:

  • Guilty: You may admit to the violation(s). This will result in a conviction once you enter your plea.
  • Not Guilty: You deny the violation(s) and want to appear with the citing officer present.
  • No Contest: You neither admit nor deny the violation(s). This plea is treated the same as a guilty plea.

Mandatory Appearances

You may have been cited for a violation which requires you to appear in court. If proof is also required, you must bring the proof to your scheduled appearance date. Failure to appear may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest and a hold being placed on your driver's license. Mandatory appearance citations cannot be paid without first appearing in court.

Trials

The process for pleading not guilty and setting your case for a trial usually requires two appearances. You may avoid the first appearance on traffic infractions only, by submitting a written not guilty plea along with a request for a court trial. You must send the full bail amount plus any required proof of correction. You will receive written verification of your court trial date. For more information, see Contesting a Citation.

Continuances Out of Court

If your case was continued by a Commissioner or Judge in court, you MUST appear as ordered.

Resetting a Court Date

The law enforcement agency will give you a court date at the time the citation is issued. You must appear on or before the date listed at the bottom of your citation. No continuance of this date will be granted at the public counter or through the mail.

If the judicial officer has given you a continuance, no further continuances will be granted. For more information, see Paying Your Traffic Fine.

WARNING: Failure to pay or appear may result in your bail increased, a Civil Assessment being imposed, a hold being placed on your driver's license, and/or a warrant being issued for your arrest. In addition, the court will deem your failure to appear as an election to proceed with the case by trial by written declaration pursuant to Vehicle Code section 40903.

Fine

You may be ordered to pay a fine. You may be ordered to pay in full or given the option to make monthly payments.

Sheriff's Work Project / Home Detention

You may be sentenced to jail and referred to the Sheriff's Work Project - external link or Home Detention - external link. You must report to 700 North 5th Street no later than 5 Court days after sentencing. You will be interviewed by the Sheriff's Department to determine your eligibility for this program. If you fail to qualify or you are not accepted, you will be ordered to begin serving your sentence as straight time in the county jail or at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center.

If you fail to report for your interview within 5 days or fail to complete the court-ordered sentence, a warrant will be issued for your immediate arrest and you will serve your sentence as straight jail time.

Jail

You may be sentenced to jail for straight time. You must report to the County Jail or to the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center - external link on or before the court-ordered date.

Failure to comply with the court order will result in a warrant issued for your immediate arrest.

Alcohol and Drug Program

You may be ordered to complete the Alcohol and Drug Program if you have been convicted of an alcohol or drug related offense and are between 18 and 21 at the time of your sentence. You can choose one of several programs to attend. You must contact the program within 72 hours of your sentencing date for a registration appointment.

Failure to enroll in the program within 72 hours and/or failure to complete the program may result in a revocation of probation and a warrant issued for your immediate arrest.

Ignition Interlock Device

The installation of an ignition interlock device will be required if you are convicted of driving on a suspended license due to a DUI conviction. You must select an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) program and contact the vendor/installer within 48 hours of your sentencing date for a registration appointment. Installation and program fees will apply and be paid to the program agency. A court ordered IID installation will be reported to the DMV - external link. Both your vehicle registration and driver's record will reflect the installation of an IID.

DMV Release (abstract)

If your license is held or suspended because of a failure to appear, there will be no abstract (release of your license) sent to DMV until a final disposition has been rendered and all applicable court paperwork has been completed.

If your license is held or suspended because of a failure to pay, there will be no abstract (release of your license) sent to DMV until the fine is paid in full.