July 25, 2016
Trial by written Declaration

If you are charged with an infraction violation and you want to dispute your ticket, Vehicle Code section 40902 allows an individual to challenge traffic infraction citations in writing without having to appear in person at court. This procedure is called a trial by written declaration. Trials by written declaration are available in cases involving infraction violations of the Vehicle Code or local ordinances adopted under the Vehicle Code.

If you elect this option, you must submit your request for a trial by written declaration on or before the appearance date shown on your ticket. Your case will be decided without requiring that you appear in court. Instructions (TR-200) for the Trial by Written Declaration outlines how to obtain a trial by written declaration. The Request for Trial by written Declaration (TR-205) form must be used to request a trial by written declaration. You can obtain the trial by written declaration forms on this court website or request them from the Traffic Division in person or by mail at 500 County Center, Redwood City, CA 94063.

All forms must be filled out completely and signed. Pursuant to Vehicle Code section 40902, you are required to deposit the bail amount in order to have a trial by written declaration. Deposit of bail is the choice you make for the convenience of not having to travel and appear in court to resolve your traffic citation. You will be asked to pay the bail amount at the time you SUBMIT your Request for Trial by written Declaration (TR-205). The request for a trial by written declaration, your statement and the amount owed must be submitted to the Traffic Division at 500 County Center, Redwood City, CA 94063.

If you have any witnesses, you may submit their declaration(s) by mail. You may also include a sketch or photograph as an exhibit. The court will request a written declaration from the police officer who issued your ticket. Your statement along with any statement you submit from a witness or any sketch or photograph, and the statement from the police officer will be referred to a judge or commissioner. You will be notified by mail of the judge's or commissioner's decision. If you are found guilty, the court will impose a sentence. The court notice will state the amount of the fine, penalties and fees and will order that it be paid from your bail deposit. If the fine amount you owe is more than the bail you paid, the court will give you a deadline to pay the balance. If the amount you owe is less than the bail you paid, the balance will be refunded by mail to the address listed on the case. This may take 8-12 weeks to process.

If you are found not guilty, your money will be refunded to you by mail. This may take 8-12 weeks to process.

If you are not satisfied with the court's decision, you may ask for a new trial ("trial de novo"). In order to obtain a new trial, you must file the Request for New Trial (Trial de Novo) (form TR-220) within 20 days after the date the court's decision was mailed to you.

© 2016 Superior Court of San Mateo County