Traffic Program -- Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I go if I have questions about a traffic citation?
You must contact the court specified on the Notice to Appear citation or the law enforcement agency specified on the Notice to Correct Violation form to obtain information about your ticket, including information relating to fines and bail. Please refer to the warnings and follow the instructions provided on your ticket. Direct your inquiries to the specific court indicated on the front of your ticket. You can obtain contact information for your local court through the Find My Court page.

Where do I go if I have questions about traffic school?
Check with your local court. You can obtain contact information for your local court through the Find My Court page.

What do I do if I receive a Notice to Appear "fix-it" ticket? How do I show proof of correction?
When a violation is eligible for correction, the "yes" box is checked in the "Correctable Violation (Veh. Code, § 40610)" portion of your Notice to Appear. Upon correction of the violation, have a law enforcement officer or an authorized inspection/installation station agent sign the reverse of your ticket in the "Certificate of Correction" section. Registration and driver's license violations may also be corrected at an office of the California Department of Motor Vehicles by any clerk or deputy of a court. The violation will be dismissed by the court after proof of correction and a payment of transaction fee are presented to the court by mail or in person by the appearance date.

How do I elect a Trial by Written Declaration?
If you are charged with a traffic infraction violation and you wish to dispute your ticket, you may do so by requesting a trial by written declaration. In order to do this, send a certified or registered letter postmarked not later than five days prior to the appearance date, or come to the court on or before the appearance date to request a trial by written declaration. You will be given forms allowing you to write a statement and to submit other evidence without appearing in court. You must submit the bail amount. An officer will also submit a statement and the judicial officer will consider the evidence and decide the case.

What happens if I am issued a traffic citation and I do not appear?
By signing the traffic citation you have given your promise that you will appear. However, most tickets can be taken care of without appearing in court merely by paying the bail amount due on or before your court appearance date. By paying the bail amount without appearing in court, you will be convicted of the violation and the violation will appear on your record at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A point may be charged to your DMV record and your insurance may be adversely affected.

If you fail to pay the bail or appear in court, you may be charged with a failure to appear. You may be arrested and punished by 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine regardless of the disposition of the original charge (Veh. Code, § 40508). In addition, any person who fails to appear as provided may be deemed to have elected a trial by written declaration (in absentia) pursuant to Vehicle Code section 40903(a) upon any alleged infraction, as charged by the arresting/citing officer. Your driver's license may be withheld, suspended, or revoked. In some courts, you may be charged an amount in addition to the bail amount and the case may be turned over to a collection agency (Pen. Code, § 1214.1).

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