Thursday, August 21, 2014

Contesting a Citation

General Information

You may appear in court to contest your citation. Your appearance date should be noted at the bottom of your citation. Report to the Carol Miller Justice Center, Room 100 to check in for court. You may check in for court anytime between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (check in closed 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.)

If you appear and plea Not Guilty, your case will be scheduled for a court trial date in the future.

Written Trial by Declaration

Vehicle Code section 40902 - external link allows a defendant to contest citations in writing, without having to make a personal court appearance. This procedure is called "Written Trial by Declaration." Written Trial by Declarations are available in cases involving infraction violations of the Vehicle Code or of local ordinances adopted under the Vehicle Code.

The following must be met in order to qualify for a Written Trial by 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.

Instructions and forms for a Written Trial by Declaration may be obtained by contacting the court through the mail, in person, or by selecting the following link:

Written Trial by Declaration Instructions and Forms.

Submit the Written Trial by Declaration forms along with the full bail and any facts or evidence you wish to have considered. A written statement will be requested from the citing agency. A judicial officer will review your case, and you will be notified by mail of the decision. A Written Trial by Declaration must be submitted to the court no later than the date listed at the bottom of your citation.

Court Trial

The examination of facts and law will be presided 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.

A court trial can be requested at your arraignment or you can request a court trial without appearing for arraignment. The following requirement must be met to qualify for a court trial without appearing for arraignment:

  • Full bail must be paid.
  • Violation(s) must be infractions only.
  • No prior failure to appear on the case.
  • Enter a not guilty plea in writing.

Contesting a Judicial Decision

An appeal can be filed - external link within 30 days only after being found guilty in a court trial. New evidence is not accepted on appeal. The appellate court's decision deals with the evidence offered and decisions made at the time of the trial.