August 30, 2015
Trial by written Declaration

If you are charged with an infraction violation and you want to dispute your ticket, you may request a trial by written declaration. Most tickets are written for infraction violations. If your ticket is not for an infraction and you are not eligible for a trial by written declaration, the court will notify you of this when a request for a trial by written declaration is received. This informal method of trial can benefit persons who have difficulty taking time off from work or for persons who have transportation problems or live a long distance away.

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 trail 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 also get the forms from the traffic department at the court either by writing and requesting the form or by coming down to the court.

All forms must be filled out completely and signed. You must send in the full amount owed on your ticket with the request for trial by written declaration. The request for a trial by written declaration, your statement and the amount owed must be sent to the branch of the court that is written on your ticket.

If you have any witnesses, you may mail in 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 not guilty, your money will be refunded to you by mail. If you are found guilty, the court will impose a sentence. If the sentence is for a fine, the fine amount will be taken from the money you paid. If the fine is less than the amount of money you paid, the balance will be refunded to you. If the fine is more than the amount you paid, you will be notified of the additional amount of money you must pay the date by which you must pay.

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.

© 2015 Superior Court of San Mateo County