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How you can contest (plead not guilty) your traffic citation in person or by writing a letter to the court without having to come to court in Mono County

 

  1. “Contesting” your citation means you’re requesting a “trial” to prove to the judge that you are not guilty or explaining to the judge extenuating circumstances that might justify reducing your bail/fines/fees
    1. What kind of trial are you requesting? Depends on what kind of infraction you have on your citation
      1. if your contesting non-vehicle code infractions, you can request only a “court trial”
        1. A “court trial” is where you come to court and present your case personally before a judge and the judge will decide your case.  Under California law, you do not have the right to a jury trial for infractions
      1. if you are contesting a Vehicle Code infraction, you can request a “court trial” or a “trial by written declaration”
        1. A “trial by written declaration” is where you write a letter to the court (your declaration) putting your case in writing instead of presenting it personally; which eliminates the need to personally come to court in Mono County. 
          1. There are important requirements you must meet in order to request a “trial by written declaration” which are explained below.
            1. You cannot request a “trial by written declaration” for a misdemeanor violation.

 

  1. How do you contest an infraction citation and request a trial?
    1. You can request a trial on or before your “date of appearance” written on your citation one of two ways, appear in court to request a trial or mail a request for trial to the court before your court appearance date
      1.  You can appear in court on the “date of appearance” written on your citation and personally request a trial or a trial by written declaration. 
        1. The judge in court will set a date for your trial or the date you must submit the declaration for your trial by written declaration, both may be months in the future but within the time required by law.
        2. The “date of appearance” on your citation is not your trial date, it is actually your “arraignment” date. 
          1. An arraignment in simple terms, is a legal proceeding where the court advises a defendant of the charges against him/her and the defendant is given an opportunity to make a plea.
      1. or you can mail before your appearance date a letter to the court requesting a “trial by written declaration” or you may mail back to the court page 1 of your courtesy “bail notice”.  There are requirements that you must in order to request a Trial by written declaration which are explained below.
    1. What if you failed to appear on your appearance date for an infraction, what can you do to take care of your infraction?  Click here for more information

 

  1. What are the requirements in order to request a “Trial by Written Declaration” instead of personally coming to court to present my case? For further information on “Trial by Written Declaration” click this link to the State of California Judicial Council webpage http://www.courts.ca.gov/8450.htm#tab9275
    1. Your violation must be eligible for a Trial by Written Declaration, only vehicle code infractions are eligible for Trial by Written Declaration
      1. Non-vehicle code infractions and any misdemeanor are not eligible for a Trial by Written Declaration
    1. You must also pay the entire amount of bail/fines/fees owed to the court in order to do a Trial by Written Declaration.  If you win your case or the judge orders a partial reduction of your bail/fines/fees, you will be reimbursed by the court within 60 days of the court’s decision
    1. You must request a “trial by written declaration” before paying or at the time you paid the entire amount of bail/fines/fees owed to the court. 
      1. This request must be in writing either in letter to the court or in an email to the court.  The court will then notify you in writing if your request has been approved or not.
        1. If you request is approved, the court will mail you the necessary forms and give you a due date for the submittal of your declaration. The forms the Court will send you are “Request for Trial by Written Declaration” (Judicial Council Form TR-205) and information contains in “Instructions for Defendants -Trial by Written Declaration” (Judicial Council Form TR-200)
      1. This Request can also be made by submitting the signed  “Request for Trial by Written Declaration” form (Judicial Council Form TR-205) which can be found by clinking this link to the State of California Judicial Council webpage http://www.courts.ca.gov/8450.htm#tab9275
        1. The court recommends you do not complete Section 6 of the form “Declaration of Facts” until you are notified that your request has been approved.  You can type write in Section 6 “To be provided upon approval of request”
          1. The court will then notify you in writing if your request has been approved and then you can submit your “Declaration of Facts”

     

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