traffic courtAll traffic ticket related cases in California are handled by the California Superior Court system. California Superior courts are organized by each county. Therefore, all traffic ticket cases in a particular county are filed with the traffic ticket division of the County’s Superior Court. Depending on the size of the county and the volume of court cases, a county may have multiple court locations.

For example, if a speeding ticket is issued in Los Angeles County, the law enforcement agency will file the speeding ticket case with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Traffic Division that is closest to the area where the alleged traffic ticket violation was committed. In the case of Los Angeles County Superior Court, there are 48 branches within the Los Angeles County (For a complete list of Los Angeles County Superior Court addresses click on the highlighted text). If a speeding ticket was issued near Pasadena, then the traffic case will be submitted to the Superior Court of California, Traffic Division of Pasadena Branch. A defendant must contact that particular branch of the Superior Court to address the speeding ticket.

However, not all California Counties are as large as Los Angeles County. Therefore, some counties may only have one or two branches of the Superior Court for the entire county. For a complete list of California Superior Courts and the website links click on the highlighted text.

Before going any further about the traffic court and what happens in traffic court, it is important to clarify the meaning of Appearance Date on the traffic ticket. Appearance Date for a traffic ticket does not actually mean that a defendant in a traffic ticket case must appear in traffic court on the indicated date, unless a defendant is notified that appearance is mandatory. Most traffic ticket infraction cases do not require a mandatory appearance. Mandatory appearances are for more serious violations such as a speeding ticket in excess of 100 mph.

Appearance Date on a traffic ticket is actually a date by which a defendant is to contact the traffic court to address the traffic ticket. The most common actions taken by people when contacting the designated traffic court are as follows:

A – Plead guilty and pay the traffic ticket fine
A defendant may contact the court by phone, letter, on-line website or in person to plead guilty and pay the traffic ticket fine.

B – Plead NOT guilty and take one of the following actions to deal with the traffic ticket:

  •  Request traffic school

A defendant may contact the court by phone, letter, on-line website or in person to request traffic school. If eligible for traffic school, the defendant will have to pay the
traffic ticket fine + the traffic court fees (approx.$50) for attending traffic school.

  • Get an extension of the appearance date as it is shown on the traffic ticket

A defendant may contact the court by phone, letter, on-line website or in person to request an extension of the Appearance Date that the officer indicated on the traffic
ticket at the time the traffic ticket was issued.  In most cases one extension for the traffic ticket appearance date is granted by the traffic court without much questioning.
For example, the Los Angeles County traffic court will grant a 60-day extension in most cases while most other traffic courts in California will grant a 30-day extension.

  • Plead not guilty and request a Trial by Written Declaration

A defendant may contact the court by phone, letter (click here to print a sample letter to the judge requesting Trial by Written Declaration), on-line website or in person to
plead not guilty and request a trial by declaration to deal with the traffic ticket. The traffic court requires that the defendant post the bail prior to the trial by written
. After the bail has been posted for the traffic ticket, the traffic court will provide the defendant with form TR-200 and TR-205 to prepare the response to the
trial by written declaration with a specific due date. (if you have decided to use our service to fight traffic tickets, we will take care of this for you so you do not have to request the trial by written declaration)

  •  Plead not guilty and request an in court trial

A defendant in a traffic ticket case may contact the traffic court by phone, letter, on-line website or in person to plead not guilty and request an in-person court trial. The
traffic court requires that the defendant post the bail for the traffic ticket prior to the court trial. After the bail has been posted, the traffic court will provide the defendant
with the trial date and time for the traffic ticket. The defendant must show up for the trial to present his/her defense to the traffic court judge in order to get the ticket

Should a defendant in a traffic ticket violation case hire a traffic ticket attorney for help?

Please see detailed discussion on hiring a traffic ticket attorney by clicking on the highlighted text.

What happens in traffic court for an in-person Court trial for a traffic ticket?

After a defendant has paid the bail and is given a court date for the traffic ticket trial, the defendant must show up in traffic court on time.

Normally, the first thing that takes place in traffic court is that attendance roll is taken. If the Officer does not show up, most of the time the traffic ticket will be dismissed by the judge. If the judge does not dismiss the traffic ticket and asks the defendant to come back for another date, the defendant should object and indicate the difficulty of taking time out of his/her busy life to show up to traffic court and stress the issue to get the traffic ticket dismissed.

In some of the counties on the day of the trial, the bailiff may ask all the defendants who prefer to do traffic school to go up and request traffic school before the trial proceedings start for the traffic ticket. If given the option and the defendant decides to do traffic school instead of going through with the court trial then he/she may ask for traffic school at this time. However, if the traffic school is not offered before the trial starts and the defendant decides to ask for traffic school, the defendant will have to wait and ask the judge.

If the Officer shows up, before the trial begins the Officer must show the defendant all of the evidence about the traffic ticket that will be used during the trial. The Officer will call the defendant’s name and show the traffic ticket evidence. The defendant should review the documents thoroughly. The defendant also must show the officer any evidence or exhibits that he/she intends to use in the traffic ticket defense.

When trial starts the Officer will testify first. Then the defendant will get a chance to present his/her side of the defense. Then the judge may have questions for the officer or the defendant. It is very important to have a traffic ticket defense prepared that is based on the vehicle code and factual arguments to be successful in traffic court. If the judge dismisses the traffic ticket case then the defendant has won otherwise the traffic ticket  stands. If found guilty, a defendant may request the judge to allow traffic school at this time as well.

If you have decided to fight traffic tickets let our traffic ticket experts prepare your traffic ticket defense.

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