Traffic

The traffic division handles infraction matters for adult and juvenile traffic violations, and some local and city and county ordinances. Most cases handled in the traffic division do not require a court appearance and can be handled by paying a fine (or bail).

The court will mail a courtesy notice to the address listed on your citation.  If this is incorrect, or your mailing address has changed, please contact the court at (209) 533-5671, and request to give an updated address. The courtesy notice will contain information for taking care of your citation and your due date.

Note: Driving under the influence (DUI) violations are handled through the criminal division.

PAYMENTS TRAFFIC SCHOOL
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Appearing in Court

Arraignment

The traffic division handles infraction matters for adult and juvenile traffic violations, and some local and city and county ordinances.  Most cases handled in the traffic division do not require a court appearance and can be handled by paying a fine (or bail).

The court will mail a courtesy notice to the address listed on your citation. If this is incorrect or your mailing address has changed please contact the court at (209) 533-5671 and request to give an updated address. The courtesy notice will contain information for taking care of your citation and your due date.

Note: Driving under the influence (DUI) violations are handled through the criminal division.

Court Trial

A court trial is a trial where you appear in person to testify about the facts in the case.  The officer who issued the citation will also be required to appear.  You have the right to subpoena witnesses and to have a lawyer present, if you retain one.  You will be asked to deposit the bail amount due at the time of your request for a trial pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 40519.

California Vehicle Code Section 40519 states in part that the deposit of bail "shall be used for the purpose of guaranteeing the appearance of the defendant at the time and place scheduled by the clerk for arraignment and for trial and to apply toward the payment of any fine or assessment prescribed by the court in the event of a conviction".

If you have evidence or witnesses that are necessary to your defense, you should have them available on the date set for your court trial.

If you are found not guilty, your bail deposit will be returned to the depositor by mail within six to eight weeks.

If you are found guilty, the sentence imposed will be a fine not exceeding the amount of bail deposited.

If you do not appear for your court trial, the judicial officer may find you guilty in absentia and your bail will be forfeited.

Click here for information on trial by declaration.  A trial by declaration allows a defendant to contest a citation in writing without having to make a personal court appearance.

Contesting a Judicial Decision

An appeal can be filed within 30 days only after being found guilty in a court trial.  New evidence is not accepted on an appeal. The appellate court’s decision deals with the evidence offered and decisions made at the time of trial.

For more information visit the Appeals page.

Courtesy Notices

A courtesy notice is sent by the court to the address listed on the citation and contains the following information:

  • Court case number

  • The bail amount for the citation

  • The due date when payment must be made

  • Information on clearing a "fix-it" violation with proof of correction

  • Eligibility criteria for Traffic School

If your address on the citation is incomplete or incorrect, contact the court in person or by phone at (209) 533-5671 to give a change of address. If the courtesy notice has already been processed and mailed to an incorrect address, we are unable to mail out a second courtesy notice.

You must take action on the citation on or before the due date listed on your courtesy notice.  Not receiving your courtesy notice is not a legal excuse for failing to take care of the citation by its due date.  When submitting a payment and/or documents by mail, allow 10 days for delivery and processing.

IF YOU SIGNED THE CITATION, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR TAKING CARE OF THE CITATION.  If you have questions regarding your citation that are not answered here, please feel free to contact the traffic division at (209) 533-5671 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., excluding weekends and holidays.

Extensions

You are entitled to one 30 day extension from the due date listed on your courtesy notice. You may request a 30 day extension by phone at (209) 533-5671, or in person at the Superior Court, 60 North Washington Street, Sonora, CA 95370.  For extensions beyond 30 days, you must appear in court and speak with the judicial officer.

Clerical staff may not grant extensions on due dates of court ordered fines.  You must arrange an appearance date with a clerk and speak with the judicial officer.

Contact the clerk’s office in person or by phone at (209) 533-5671 for an appearance date.  We do not have walk-in-court.

Failure to Appear or Pay

If you fail to appear or resolve your citation on or before the due date, or any date to which your matter may have been continued by the clerk at your request, the court will proceed pursuant to Section 40903 of the California Vehicle Code.  This may result in your conviction of the violations and the fine imposed.  Failure to pay the fine will result in the imposition of an additional $300.00 civil penalty and the matter being referred to the Office of Revenue Recovery (revenuerecovery@tuolumnecounty.ca.gov) for collection.

Also, failure to pay the fine will result in a hold being placed on your driver’s license with the Department of Motor Vehicles. This hold will not be removed until the fine and fees are paid in full.

Fees

Copies

.50 cents per page

Certified Copies

$25.00 per document

Proof of correction fee

$25.00 per count

Court Security fee

$40.00 per convicted violation

Infraction Conviction Assessment

$35.00 per convicted violation

Traffic School Administrative Fee

$64.00nt

Forms

TR-200: Instructions for Defendant - Trial by Written Declaration

TR-205: Request for Trial by Written Declaration

TR-220: Request for New Trial (Trial de Novo)

For traffic forms click here. Choose "Traffic Infractions" from the drop down menu.

Juvenile Traffic Citations

The traffic division processes juvenile cases involving infractions and some misdemeanor violations of law.

A mandatory appearance is required for juveniles, and they must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

"Fix-it-tickets" are the exception to a mandatory appearance.  If the juvenile received a citation for a mechanical, registration, or insurance violation, and the "correctable" box is marked on the citation, an appearance is not mandatory. Proof of correction must be obtained and provided to the court along with the applicable fees prior to the assigned appearance date.

A notice of hearing will be mailed to the address written on the citation.  If the address is incomplete or incorrect, contact the court immediately at (209) 533-5671 to put in a change of address.

Parking Citations

Parking citations are not handled by the Superior Court.  The City of Sonora and other law enforcement agencies process their own parking citations.  For further information contact the agency designated on your parking citation.

The Superior Court conducts hearings on appeal if you contest an administrative decision of the parking agency.

If you wish to contest a decision made by the parking agency, you may file an appeal with the court. The following criteria must be met before submitting an appeal on a parking citation:

  • An administrative review was conducted by the parking agency.

  • A decision by the administrative review was completed.

  • The appeal is submitted within 30 days of the administrative decision.

You must submit the following information to the court in order to file an appeal:

  • Notice of Appeal – Parking Violation (parking appeal form).

  • Your copy of the original Notice of Parking Violation.

  • A $25.00 filing fee, [pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 40230(b)], made payable to the Tuolumne County Superior Court.

Upon filing the notice of appeal, the matter will be set for trial de novo. The date, day, and time of the trial will be inserted on the notice of appeal. The contestant must serve the issuing agency with the notice of appeal (Vehicle Code Section 40230(a), and proof of service must be filed by the contestant with the court at least 10 days before the trial date.

Upon receiving the notice of appeal, the agency will forward to the court its entire file, including the final decision of the examiner, and the manner and the date of service of that decision.  The agency file should be received by the court at least 10 days before trial.

After the trial de novo, the court will notify the contestant and the agency of its decision. If the agency prevails, the parking penalty will then be retained by the agency, or if not previously collected by the agency, will be collected by the agency (Vehicle Code Section 40220).  If the contestant prevails, the agency shall promptly refund to the contestant the $25.00 fee for filing the notice of appeal, together with any parking penalty previously deposited (Vehicle Code Section 40230(b)).

Paying the Fine

The bail on a citation is the amount of money required to guarantee your appearance in court.  If you choose to pay the bail on the citation without going to court, it is called a bail forfeiture. The citation is deemed paid and the resulting conviction will be reported on your driving record.  When you elect to forfeit bail, you are waiving your right to a trial, entering a plea of guilty to the charges, and paying the fine without appearance in court. If you elect to proceed by this option, you may sign the options/remittance portion of your courtesy notice and provide to the court the total bail amount indicated on the courtesy notice, along with any proof of correction that is required prior to the due date. If no proof of correction is required on any violation, you may also pay on-line or by telephone.

If there are any mechanical, registration, or insurance violations included in the citation, proof of correction will be required before you can pay the amount due, with the completed proof of correction found on your courtesy notice.  Proof of correction must be submitted by mail or in person.  For additional information regarding proof of correction, please refer to the section entitled "Proof of Correction".

There are four alternatives for paying a citation:

  • On the Internet.

  • By phone at (209) 533-5671.

  • In person at: Superior Court, 60 North Washington Street, Sonora, CA, 95370.

  • By mail: Superior Court, 60 North Washington Street, Sonora, CA, 95370. (If you pay by mail and need a receipt, enclose a self addressed and stamped envelope with your payment.)

NOTE: If paying by check or money order, please make payable to "Tuolumne County Superior Court" and write your case number in the memo section.

If you are unable to pay the entire fine prior to the due date, you may request to pay in monthly installments. There is an administrative fee added to the total bail amount indicated on your courtesy notice for this payment plan. If you elect to pay your fine in monthly installments, you must contact the court clerk. The clerk will mail you an Agreement to Pay. You must return the signed agreement prior to your due date on your courtesy notice. Payments are made to the Office of Revenue Recovery.

Some violations require a mandatory court appearance and cannot simply be paid. If you were cited for a violation that requires a mandatory appearance, a notice of hearing with a court date and time will be mailed to the address listed on the citation.

If you fail to appear or resolve your citation on or before the due date, or any date to which your matter may have been continued by the clerk at your request, the court will proceed pursuant to Section 40903 of the California Vehicle Code. This may result in your conviction of the violation(s) and the fine imposed.  Failure to pay the fine will result in the imposition of an additional $300.00 civil penalty, and the matter being referred to the Office of Revenue Recovery.

Failure to receive a courtesy notice is not an excuse for failing to appear or resolve your citation.

Proof of Correction

Correctable violations will be dismissed when proof of correction and payment in the amount shown are presented to the court by the due date shown on your courtesy notice.  Correction consists of an authorized agency signing off your correctable violation(s) by using the space provided on the back of your citation.

NOTE: Proof correctable violations cannot be paid over the phone or online, as it is necessary for the court staff to be provided the signed off citation.

Mechanical, equipment, driver’s license and registration violations can be signed off by any uniformed peace officer. The California Highway Patrol, local sheriff's office’ and local police department all provide this service.

Driver’s license and registration violations can also be signed off by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or by a clerk of the Superior Court.

VC16028(a) – Insurance Violations

Proof of insurance cannot be signed off by a law enforcement officer.

If you were cited for failure to provide proof of insurance or financial responsibility pursuant to Section 16028(a) of the Vehicle Code, and you did not have insurance on the date of the violation, you will be required to pay the full bail amount.

If you had proof of insurance at the time the citation was issued, but were unable to provide it to the officer when cited, the violation is dismissible with proof of insurance and a $25.00 correction fee.

You must submit a copy of your insurance policy with the payment to the court in person or by mail.  Proof of insurance must include all of the following information:

  • Name of insurance carrier.

  • Policy Number

  • Name of person who received the citation and/or the vehicle listed on the citation.

  • Effective dates of coverage showing insurance coverage on the date you were cited.

Traffic FAQ's

  • Is the date on the ticket a court date?

    The appearance date written by the officer on your ticket is not a court date.  It is simply a date for you to contact the court by.  We make every effort to mail a courtesy notice to you prior to the date written on the bottom of the ticket by the officer, the courtesy notice will have your DUE DATE on it.

  • Why is there a $25 fee for each correctable violation when the officer said there would be no fee?

    The $25 fee for each correctable violation is statutory pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 40611.

  • Am I responsible for an equipment violation on a car I am driving that is not mine?

    Yes, unless the ticket is issued in the name of the registered owner of the vehicle you are driving.

  • What if I have sold the car that was cited for an equipment violation or it is inoperable?

    If you have sold the car or it has become inoperable, you must set a court date to appear and provide proof of sale or inoperability to clear the ticket.  You should bring to court any relevant paperwork that will support your case.

  • Why do I have to pay the $64 fee here, and a fee to the traffic school too?

    The $64 fee is a state fee required when requesting traffic school. The schools are privately owned companies that have been approved for your attendance.  None of the $64 fee goes to the schools.  The $64 fee does go towards monitoring the curriculum, developing school lists, and staffing for the TVS clerk position. It supports the process that allows you to attend Traffic School.

  • Why do I have to pay the bail amount if I am going to attend Traffic School?

    It is required pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 42007.  The benefit of traffic school attendance is that the conviction will be suppressed on your DMV record, and will not count as a point on your driving history.

  • This is not my ticket, what do I do?

    You must request a court date to explain it to a judicial officer.

  • What happens if I miss my due date?

    Missing your due date could result in a failure to appear charge being added to the ticket, larger fine amounts due, and a negative impact on your driving record.

  • What if I live out of state or out of the country?

    Drivers must handle tickets even if they do not live in the State of California.  Citations may be paid online with a credit card.  If you live out of the country and choose to pay by check or money order, it must be paid in U.S. dollars.

  • Can I get insurance if I don't own a car?

    You are eligible for insurance if you are a licensed driver.  Contact an insurance agent to determine what type of insurance coverage is available.

  • What if I disagree with the citation the officer wrote?  What can I do?

    You have two options available to you.  If the citation is an infraction that does not require a mandatory appearance, you can:

  • 1. Post the bail amount and request a trial declaration; or

    2. Post the bail amount, plead not guilty and request a court trial.

    California Vehicle Code Section 40519 states in part that the deposit of bail "shall be used for the purpose of guaranteeing the appearance of the defendant at the time and place scheduled by the clerk for arraignment and for trial, and to apply toward the payment of any fine or assessment prescribed by the court in the event of a conviction."

Traffic School

The courtesy notice sent by the court will indicate your initial eligibility to attend traffic school.

WARNING: If you are not eligible to attend, but do so anyway, the conviction will be reported on your driving record and there will be no refund of any fees paid.

You may pay and request traffic school by:

  • Returning the options/remittance portion of your courtesy notice with your signature and the amount due for traffic school on or before the date due.  Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you want the court to return printed traffic school listings to you.

  • By telephone at (209) 533-5671.

  • Online by clicking here.

  • In person at Superior Court, 60 North Washington Street, Sonora, CA 95370.

You will have 60 days to complete traffic school from the date the court processes your request. If you submit proof of completion within 60 days, the citation will be dismissed by the court and reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles as a Traffic School Dismissal.

You are responsible for contacting and attending the traffic school of your choice.  You will be required to pay a separate fee to the traffic school you choose.  You may obtain a list of court approved traffic schools for use in Tuolumne County.  See links set forth below.

CTSI

If you fail to attend or to provide the court with the required Certificate of Completion form within 60 days, the Traffic School Administration fee paid to the court pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 42007 will be converted to bail and declared forfeited per Vehicle Code Section 40512.6.  The violation will be reported to the DMV as a conviction.

Only persons meeting the following criteria established by the Judicial Council of the State of California, and contained in the California Rules of Court Section 4.104, are permitted to attend traffic school:

Eligibility:

  • You must currently possess a valid California driver's license.

  • You may not have attended traffic school in the last 18-month period.

Ineligible:

A court clerk is not authorized to grant a request to attend traffic violator school for a misdemeanor or any of the following infractions:

  • A violation that carries a negligent operator point count of more than one point under Vehicle Code Section 12810, or one and one-half points or more under Vehicle Code Section 12810.5(b)(2);

  • A violation that occurs within 18 months after the date of a previous violation, and the defendant either attended or elected to attend a traffic violator school for the previous violation.

  • A violation of Vehicle Code Section 22406.

  • A violation related to alcohol use or possession, or drug use or possession.

  • A violation on which the defendant failed to appear under Vehicle Code Section 40508(a), unless the failure-to-appear charge has been adjudicated and any fine imposed has been paid.

  • A violation on which the defendant has failed to appear under Penal Code Section 1214.1, unless the civil monetary assessment has been paid.

  • A speeding violation in which the speed alleged is more than 25 miles over a speed limit.

  • A violation that occurs in a commercial vehicle.

  • A violation by a defendant having a class A, class B, or commercial class C driver’s license.

You are responsible for the delivery of your Certificate of Completion form by the due date. If you have mailed your certificate, you should confirm with the court that it was received.

Trial By Declaration

California Vehicle Code Section 40902 allows a defendant to contest Vehicle Code infraction citations in writing, without having to make a personal court appearance. Trials by written declaration are available in cases involving infraction violations of the Vehicle Code or local ordinances adopted under the Vehicle Code. Trial by declaration is not available for citations issued for offenses committed outside the presence of the citing officer (for example: a citation issued as the result of a traffic accident or citizen complaint).

If you wish to proceed with a trial by declaration and you are making your payment by mail, please mark the appropriate boxes on the options/remittance portion of your courtesy notice and return it to the court on or before your due date. You may also select this option if you wish to use our automated phone system at (209) 533-6971, or click here to pay on line.

You must deposit the bail amount due at the time of your request for a trial by declaration pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 40519.

California Vehicle Code Section 40519 states in part that the deposit of bail "shall be used for the purpose of guaranteeing the appearance of the defendant at the time and place scheduled by the clerk for arraignment and for trial, and to apply toward the payment of any fine or assessment prescribed by the court in the event of a conviction."

Once your payment is received, the court will mail you and the officer the declaration forms to complete.  These must be filled out completely and returned to the court by the due date listed on the form.  The court will decide the case based upon the documents and declaration in the file, and you will receive notice of the court’s decision by mail.

If you are found not guilty, your bail deposit will be returned to the depositor by mail within six to eight weeks.

If you are found guilty, the sentence imposed will be a fine not exceeding the amount of bail deposited.

Failure to return your declaration timely may result in a finding of guilty and forfeiture of the bail deposited. No monthly payment options are available for trial by declaration cases.

Why Is My Bail So Much?

Fine, Assessments, Penalty Assessments and Fees; 

What is a Penalty Assessment?

The amount added to the base bail and base fines on infraction, misdemeanor, and felony offenses.  The current penalty assessment (effective June 10, 2010), is $26 for each $10, or portion of $10 of fine or bail, as set by the California State Legislature.  The $26 Penalty Assessment is charged pursuant to Penal Code Section 1464 and Government Code Sections 76000, 70372, 76104.6, 76104.7 and 76000.5.

In addition to the penalty assessments:

- Effective July 28, 2009, a $20 court security fee will be added for each infraction, misdemeanor, or felony violation resulting in a conviction pursuant to Penal Code Section 1465.8.

- Effective January 1, 2009, an assessment in the amount of $30 for each misdemeanor or felony, and $35 for each infraction, will be added for each conviction pursuant to Government Code 70373.

- Effective September 20, 2002 there is a 20% State Surcharge imposed on the base bail or base fine amount.  This 20% may not be used to calculate the Penalty Assessment per each $10 of fine.

These penalties are also included in the calculation for traffic school.

Example fine amount for vehicle code: Where the money goes:

Base fine amount

$20

Court automation, court fund, city fund

Penalty Assessment

$20

State penalty fund (PC1464)

$14

County penalty fund (76000)

$10

State court facilities construction fund (GC70372)

$8

DNA Identification fund (GC76104.6 & 76104.7)

$4

County emergency medical services (GC76000.5)

State Surcharge 20%

$4

State general fund (PC1465.7)

Court Security Fee

$40

To fund security in the trial courts (PC1465.8)

Conviction Assessment Fee

$35

To fund building/maintaining trial courts (GC70373(a)(1))

Total Fine:

$155

Traffic School

The traffic school calculation is based on the Base Fine + Penalty Assessment + State Surcharge + Conviction Assessment + Administrative Fee.  The current Administrative Fee is $64. Theses fines, fees, and assessments do not include the fee charged by the traffic school.

Proof of Correction

Effective January 1, 2009, when submitting proof of correction on a “fix-it” ticket, the fee assessed will be $25 for each correctable violation.

Revenue Recovery

The purpose of Revenue Recovery is to assist people who cannot pay their entire fine at the time of the hearing. The Office of Revenue Recovery (ORR) is separate from the Superior Court of California, County of Tuolumne, but is contracted as the Collection Officer on behalf of the court.  ORR will interview the person and arrange an installment payment plan for the majority of traffic and misdemeanor cases, as well as for payment of court-appointed attorney fees to satisfy the order of the court.  You must appear in court before a payment plan can be arranged. >>More

LOCATION:

60 N. Washington Street              Sonora, CA 95370

Phone:  (209) 533-5671

© 2009 Superior Court of California, County of Tuolumne