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Trial by Written Declaration
What is a Trial by Written Declaration?

You can request a trial by written declaration if you are unable to appear in court. You will write a statement explaining:
  • The facts of the case[G]
  • Why the court should rule in your favor
The enforcement officer who wrote your ticket[G] will also write a statement giving his version of the facts of the case.
A trial by written declaration allows you to contest your ticket without coming to court.
How do you qualify for a Trial by Written Declaration?

You can have a Trial by Written Declaration only if the following is true:
  • Your ticket is not delinquent
  • The alleged violations[G] are violations of the California Vehicle Code (CVC) or are violations of local ordinances[G] that have been adopted pursuant to the CVC
  • No misdemeanor[G] violations are alleged on the ticket
  • Full bail[G] is collected on all non-correctable violations
  • Proof of correction and the administrative fee have been provided for all correctable violations on the ticket
Your may request a Trial by Written Declaration by mail or in person at the court house location on your ticket.
What is the Trial by Written Declaration process?

You must pay the full bail amount given on your courtesy notice[G] or listed on the website. You will have 30 days from the date your payment is processed to complete and submit your Request for Trial by Written Declaration (TR-205). You should read and follow the Instructions to Defendant (Trial by Written Declaration) (TR-200).
The officer who wrote your ticket will also be notified and receive instructions to complete his statement.
For the forms listed above and a complete list of Judicial Council Traffic forms, go to the California Courts website.
What should you include with your written statement?

You should explain what you believe happened during the incident that caused the ticket to be written. You can include any evidence[G] that supports your statement including:
  • Photographs
  • Medical records
  • Registration documents
  • Inspection certificate
  • Diagrams
  • Car repair receipt
  • Insurance documents
How is the decision made?

Your case is not heard in open court. The statements and any evidence that is submitted are reviewed by a judicial officer[G].
What happens if you do not submit your statement?

If you do not return the completed declaration[G] within the time given, you will have a bail forfeiture[G] and the case is closed. A conviction may be placed on your driving record.
What happens if you are found not guilty?

Your bail deposit will be returned to you by mail within six to eight weeks if the judge finds you not guilty. Contact the court at the address listed on your Trial by Written Declaration paperwork.
What happens if you are found guilty?

Your sentence will usually be a fine[G] not exceeding the amount of bail you have deposited and a conviction is placed on your driving record if the judge finds you guilty. In some cases, the judge will find a defendant[G] guilty but suspend the fine. This means that your bail money will be returned, but your driving record will still show a conviction.
What can you do if you are not happy with the decision?

You may request a new trial or Trial de Novo[G] if you want to contest decision. You must complete a Request for new Trial (Trial de Novo) (TR-220) and submit it to the court within 20 days of the date on the decision and Notice of Declaration (Trial by Written Declaration) Clerk’s Certificate of Mailing (TR-215).
For the form listed above and a complete list of Judicial Council Traffic forms, go to the California Courts website.
You will have to appear in a courtroom before a judge to present your case. You may have witnesses[G] and present your evidence. The ticketing officer will also appear before the judge.
 
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