Request A Trial Without Going To Court
Used ONLY for filing formal Trial by Written Declaration. Do NOT use this form/process to write a letter to the court
Instructions to Defendant (Trial by Written Declaration, Vehicle Code §40902) PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE SECTION BEFORE PROCEEDING
Vehicle Code section 40902 allows a defendant to contest a citation in writing, without having to make a personal court appearance. The procedure is called a "Trial by Written Declaration." Trials by written declaration are available in cases involving infraction violations of the Vehicle Code or of local ordinances adopted under the Vehicle Code. The following instructions tell you how to obtain a trial by written declaration online. You must send the amount due (“post bail”) to the court in advance to be eligible for a trial by written declaration.
To plead Not Guilty and request a Trial by Written Declaration online, please click on the button below to SignNow:
- Before the due date on your citation, completely fill out the Request for Trial by Written Declaration. You may include evidence such as photographs and diagrams as long as they are less than 9.5mb in size. Only PDFs accepted. Any other file type will be rejected and not considered. If they are larger, you may mail them to the court with your citation number and name clearly marked and indicate "For Trial by Written Declaration". You should also fill out the declaration page describing what happened. In your statement, you must describe all the items of evidence (if any) that you are including with your request. If the clerk receives the form after the due date, you will not be eligible for trial by written declaration.
- When the court receives this form before the due date, the clerk will contact you with instructions on how to send the amount due (“post bail”) to the court via check or money order made out to “San Mateo Superior Court”. Failure to post bail in advance as instructed will disqualify your request for trial by written declaration.
Alternative: to plead guilty or no contest, and request a reduced fine, go to Program for Reduced Fines on Non-Adjudicated Citations.
- If you are dissatisfied with the court's decision in a Trial by Written Declaration, you may ask for a new trial ("trial de novo"). In order to obtain a new trial, you must file the Request for New Trial (Trial de Novo) (form TR-220) within 20 days after the date the court's decision was mailed to you. Trial de Novo is in-person.
- IMPORTANT: You have the right to an in-person trial before a judge (rather than a trial by written declaration). You also have a right to a new trial if you are dissatisfied with the court's decision in your trial by written declaration. At a court trial you have the following rights:
- To be represented by an attorney employed by you;
- To have a speedy and public trial;
- To testify, to present evidence, and to use court orders without cost to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence on your behalf;
- To have the witnesses against you testify under oath in court, and to question such witnesses;
- To remain silent and not testify and not incriminate yourself.
- By filing a declaration in a trial by written declaration, you are waiving and giving up the rights to remain silent and not to incriminate yourself.
- You may also use paper forms to request a Trial by Written Declaration, but they must be received by the court by the same due dates as above. You must also post bail in advance as above.