Here are all the FAQs you need to know:
Do I need to appear in court?
No, Trial by Written Declaration is a type of trial which does not require an appearance in court. Saves you a ton of time.
What is my citation number?
It can be found on your ticket. It should be in the upper right hand corner and also down the right hand side. For Camera tickets, it may be referred to as "Automated Enforcement Number."
Can I post the bail amount with a credit card?
Most courts will not accept posting bail with a credit card. If you use a credit card, you may be paying your fine and closing your case without realizing it. Make sure you are posting the bail for a trial by written declaration, not paying the fine.
What do I write on my check/money order?
Make the check/money order payable to "Clerk of the Court", unless otherwise instructed by the courthouse. We suggest writing your citation number and "Not Guilty" on your check/money order.
Does the court cash my bail check?
Yes, the courthouse will deposit the funds in their trust account. If your case is dismissed, they will write you a check for the full amount.
I can't find the bail amount, what do I do?
Only the courts know your bail amount. You'll have to contact them by phone, e-mail, or person. You may be able to find it on the court's website.
Do I include the traffic school fee with my bail amount?
No. You only need to pay the traffic school fee if you are found guilty and decide to attend traffic school. You can do this after your receive your verdict.
Should I attach any photos or extra documents to my defense?
This is optional. If you choose to include attachments you will need to indicate the number of attachments on your TR-205 Form page one (mark attachments under #5 "Evidence").
What if I my ticket also includes a correctable violation (Fix-it-Ticket)?
Common fix-it tickets may include:
1. Fix the Issue: No big deal. Just correct the issue first. For example, if you were cited for no proof of insurance, get a copy of your insurance card and take it to the courthouse. If you were cited for illegal window tinting or you had a headlight out, get the issue corrected, and then have the ticket signed off by an officer before you take it to court.
2. Show Proof/Pay Fee: Take your proof of correction to the courthouse and pay the court's fee for correction. Most courthouses will lower your original fine down to a $25 correctable fee when you show proof of correction. If you cannot go to the courthouse, you can mail in your proof of correction with your written defense package, and include a separate check or money order for $25.
Do I include my courtesy notice and/or ticket with my defense?
Unless otherwise noted, you will not need to include these items.
Where do I send the Trial by Written Declaration?
Send all of your documents certified mail to the courthouse mailing address on your ticket, unless otherwise directed by the court.
Why do I need to send all of my documents to the court via Certified Mail?
Just in case the court never receives your documents, you will want to have proof that you sent them before the deadline. Make sure to hold onto your certified receipt.
I forgot to send my documents certified mail, what do I do?
Check in with the courts in about a week to make sure they received your documents. Find out if your check was cashed. If it was, that's a good sign as it usually means the court received the defense package and they're processing your documents.
Can I drop the documents off at the courthouse?
Yes. You can put them in the drop-box (make sure it's time stamped) or hand them to a court clerk.
Can I send my documents via UPS or Fed-Ex?
You can as long as you can retain proof that shows you mailed the documents.
Great question. Here's what:
Once the court receives your documents, notifying the court you have requested to contest your ticket using a Trial by Written Declaration (TBD), the court will notify the officer to submit an explanation of the ticket by a given deadline. If the officer does not reply by this deadline the ticket is generally dismissed. Even if the officer replies by the deadline your case is still considered for a dismissal. The officer's explanation of the ticket (called an officer's declaration) is routed to the judge who will review it along with your written defense. The judge will then make his or her decision as to whether the ticket should be dismissed.
How will I know when the court receives my documents?
TicketBust suggests that you mail your completed documents to the court using Certified Mail or FedEx so that your documents can be tracked and that there is confirmation that the court did in fact receive your documents.
If you chose to have your documents submitted to the court via:
How long until I find out if my ticket was dismissed?
The court will mail you the Notice of Decision within 30-90 days or longer. Sometimes the courts take longer than expected to reach a verdict, depending on how busy they are. If you do not receive this notice within that time frame, please contact your courthouse directly for a status update because only the courts will know the status. Some courts also make case status information available on their website.
What if I set up a court trial for my ticket?
What if my ticket requires a Mandatory Court Appearance?
What is a Trial by Written Declaration (TBD)?
Vehicle Code Section 40902 allows the defendant (you, the cited driver) to contest citations in writing, without having to make a personal appearance in court.
What types of cases (tickets) can a TBD be used to contest?
A Trial by Written Declaration is available in cases involving infractions of the Vehicle Code or of local ordinances of the Vehicle Code. Violations eligible for a Trial by Written Declaration must be infractions only, and the driver must have been at least 18 years old when the ticket was received.
What types of cases (tickets) can a TBD NOT be used to contest?
Misdemeanors (like driving reckless or without a license), and cases involving accidents or driving under the influence are ineligible for a Trial by Written Declaration. Also tickets which are past due, or have a Failure to Appear status are not eligible. US District Court tickets, tickets issued outside the state of California, and parking or administrative tickets, are also ineligible.
What does the court require of me to process a TBD?
You will have to plead not guilty, request the Trial by Written Declaration and pay the bail amount for your citation.
What is the Bail amount?
As required by the court when using a Trial by Written Declaration, you must pay your bail (the fine of your ticket) up-front when processing your paperwork. When you mail your documents include a check payable to Superior Court for your bail amount. If you do not know the bail amount or if you have not received your courtesy notice from the court, call the court to get the bail amount for your citation.
How long does it take to get results from the court?
Not too long. After submitting your completed Trial by Written Declaration to the court, you will be notified by the court at your preferred address within 30-90 days from the date of submitting your documents to the court.
What if my ticket is dismissed?
Then you win. The court will dismiss the violation so the point(s) associated with the violation will not show up on your driving record and the court issues you a full refund of your bail amount within 60 days.
What if I'm found guilty or unsatisfied with the court's decision?
The court will allow you to have a new trial, also known as a Trial De Novo, which is a court trial requiring you to appear in person. As required by the court, you must submit a written request for a new Trial; form TR-220, within 20 calendar days of the court's decision.
If I am found guilty after the TBD, can I still go to traffic school?
You should be able to. Just contact the court to find out if you are eligible to attend traffic school to keep the violation point off your record. Traffic school must be approved by the court, but if you were eligible for traffic school before contesting the ticket, you should still be eligible after.
Ric Romero, consumer specialist for Channel 7 ABC News, features TicketBust.com. Mr. Romero states "TicketBust.com says it's helping California traffic violators beat tickets without them ever having to show up in court." TicketBust fights tickets by helping drivers file what's known as a Trial by Written Declaration, which allows drivers to contest the ticket in writing.