August 8, 2020
Trial by Written Declaration

If you are charged with an infraction violation and you want to dispute your ticket, you can challenge your citation in writing without having to appear in person at court. This is called a "trial by written declaration." The court will decide your case without you having to go to court.

How Do I Get a Trial by Written Declaration?

To get a trial by written declaration, you must turn in a request on or before the appearance date shown on your ticket.

To request a trial by written declaration:

  • Read the Instructions for the Trial by Written Declaration (TR-200) to find out how to get a trial by written declaration.
  • Turn the following documents in to the Traffic Division at 1050 Mission Road, South San Francisco, CA 94080:
    • Your Request for Trial by Request for Trial by written Declaration (TR-205) (fill out completely and sign)
    • Your statement detailing your version of what happened and your position. You can also turn in a sketch or photo to show what happened.
    • Your bail deposit (the amount you owe). Do not make your bail deposit online. Paying online will cause your case to be closed.

If you have any witnesses, you can turn in their declarations by mail too. The court will also ask the police officer who issued your ticket to write a written declaration.

You can download the form above by clicking on the link. Or you can request it from the Traffic Division (in person or by mail) at 1050 Mission Road, South San Francisco, CA 94080.

In making a decision, the judge or commissioner will consider:

  • your statement,
  • any witness statements,
  • any sketch or photograph, and
  • the statement from the police officer.

What Happens After a Trial by Written Declaration?

The court will notify you by mail of the decision.

  • If you are found guilty, the court will impose a sentence. The decision will state the amount of the fine, penalties, and fees you owe. It will also order that this amount be paid from your bail deposit.
    • If the amount you owe is more than the bail deposit you paid, the court will give you a deadline to pay the rest.
    • If the amount you owe is less than the bail deposit you paid, the court will refund the balance by mail. The court will send the refund to the address listed on the case. This may take 8-12 weeks.
  • If you are found not guilty, the court will refund your bail deposit to you by mail. This may take 8-12 weeks.

If you are not satisfied with the court's decision, you may ask for a new trial (called a "trial de novo"). To get a new trial, you must file a Request for New Trial (Trial de Novo) (form TR-220). You must file this form within 20 days after the court mailed its decision to you.

The court allows trials by written declaration under Vehicle Code section 40902. They are available in cases involving infraction violations of (1) the Vehicle Code, or (2) local ordinances adopted under the Vehicle Code.

© 2020 Superior Court of San Mateo County