Contesting a California fine: what can you do?

Are you trying to contest a fine in California, but you don't know how to do it or does it all seem very complicated? What would you think if we told you that there is an option that gives you all the rights of the law without having to waste time going to court? Wouldn't that be great? Well, we have good news for you. It exists, and it is called "Test by written declaration". In this article we will explain what you need to know about it, including how much do you pay in court to fight a ticket in California.

📰 Contents
  1. What is the written declaration test?
  2. How to request a written declaration test?
    1. Fill out the forms
    2. Attach the payment of the deposit
    3. Make copies of all documents
    4. Send the original of the forms
    5. The officer will provide a written statement
    6. The court will make a decision
  3. How much do you pay in court to fight a fine in California?
  4. Disadvantages of the process by written declaration
  5. How to contest a fine in California: final thoughts

What is the written declaration test?

As we all know, there are many reasons why a ticket may be issued to youlike going through a red light or not having a license in the US, and most likely one of the consequences will be a date in court.

Well, this is where the enormous charm of the figure of the "Proof by declaration" since it gives you ability to challenge a fine in California without going to court. It's almost like winning the lottery (after all, not showing up in court for a ticket can have negative consequences, as you can say whatever you want without fear of being kicked out of court by the judge, because you don't even have to go to court. This is a real process, in writing only instead of in person.

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How to request a written declaration test?

For contesting a fine in California using the figure of the Written Declaration Process, the first thing you need to do is request it.

Because of this, you must use the TR-205 court form. This form is quite simple and you need to fill in some basic information like name, address, ticket number, etc., then send it to the court along with a statement of facts and other documents.

But to make things easier for you, now let's explain the Steps to follow to complete the application process.

Fill out the forms

As we explained, It is necessary to complete the test request by means of a written declaration (TR-205 form). Attach a written statement of what happened and make sure you are as detailed as possible. If you intend to attach any evidence, such as photographs, explain in the statement what evidence you are attaching.

  • For the written declaration you can use a form called Declaration (MC-030 module) and, if you need more space to complete your declaration, use the form called Attached declaration (Module MC-031). And if you decide not to use these modules, nothing happens; but, at the end of the statement, be sure to write the following: "I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that this statement is true and correct.". Finally, write your full name, signature and date. You can also use these forms if you have witnesses who want to testify. And just like you, they have to sign them under penalty of perjury.

Attach the payment of the deposit

To do this, use a check or money order (never in cash) for the amount that appears on the fine.

Make copies of all documents

These copies are for your records. If you prepare your statement without using the forms, be sure to keep at least one copy, and the same for witness statements (if any). Keep these sheets in a safe place.

Send the original of the forms

You must send the original forms to the clerk of the court by the deadline, including the request for trial by written declaration, statements and any documentation.

The officer will provide a written statement

When the clerk receives your request, they will notify the police officer who issued the ticket. So, it will be your turn to submit a return before the deadline.

The court will make a decision

A bailiff will review the documents filed by you and the officer and make a decision on your case. You will receive the court decision by postindicating whether you have been found guilty or innocent.

  • If you are found guiltythe court notice will indicate the amount of the fine, penalties and taxes and will order payment with the check originally sent. If the amount owed is higher, the court will give you a deadline to pay the balance. If the amount due is less, the remaining amount will be returned to you by post.
  • If you are found innocentthe court will refund you the full amount of the bail and the charges will be dropped.

However, If you are not satisfied with the court decision, you can challenge a California fine again by requesting a retrial. (referred to as the "de novo process"). However, you will now need to go to court in person. In this sense, you have 20 days from the court's decision to ask for a retrial, for which you must use the TR-220 module.

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How much do you pay in court to fight a fine in California?

As we have seen, in order to fight a fine using the Trial by Written Declaration figure, you must send a payment for the amount of the fine, which will be processed if you are found guilty. In this sense, the amount of the same will depend entirely on the type and gravity of the infringement. For more information on how much California tickets cost, read our article "California Traffic Ticket Prices". Also, we recommend our article "How to check fines in the United States?"in case you are interested in finding out if you have any fines in your name.

Disadvantages of the process by written declaration

  • The full amount of the deposit must be deposited before the expiry date of the sanction. Therefore, there is no way to choose this option if you want to pay the fine using one of the Court's payment plans or through the civil service.
  • The choice of trial by written declaration waives certain constitutional rights. Like the right to confront and question witnesses. When a trial is conducted by mail, the defendant does not have the opportunity to confront or ask the officer questions that might be beneficial to his case.. Trials by written declaration are read in private by the court and decisions are made by comparing two declarations, so neither party has the opportunity to discuss their case as they would in a normal trial.
  • A guilty verdict at the trial is immediately sent to the DMV and points are added to the driving record. While there is the option of re-testing and changing the result, the process can take months. During this time the court shows the summons as a conviction and the points are reflected on the driving record and / or driving license. which can have consequences such as an increase in auto insurance rates. Also, in the event that the original decision is overturned in a retrial, the process of removing points from the US driver's license can become very complicated.

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How to contest a fine in California: final thoughts

When considering using Trial by Declaration to contest a California fine, for convenience or as a strategy, you should be aware of the possible negative consequences (even temporary ones) on your driver's license and California driving history. If faced with such a situation, the legal process can be extremely complicated and complex. Therefore, it is best to work with a lawyer who specializes in the area of ​​fighting a fine.

If you want to discover other articles similar to Contesting a California fine: what can you do?, you can visit the Last News category.

Nathan Hamilton

Nathan Hamilton

Nathan is a car enthusiast and industry professional with decades of combined experience in the automotive sector. Along with his team of writers and researchers, all passionate about automobiles, he is committed to delivering reliable and relevant content that ranges from detailed insurance guides to maintenance tips and much more.

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