October 28, 2020
How to Take Care of Your Traffic Citation/Ticket

WAIT to take care of your traffic citation until you receive a Notice of Bail (Courtesy Notice) from the Court.

If you do not receive your notice a week before your appear by date (written on the bottom of your citation):

  • call the Traffic Division at (650) 363-4300, and
  • ask them to check in the system to see if the court has received your citation/ticket.

Options for Taking Care of YOur Traffic Citation

When you receive your Notice of Bail, it will say the amount you must pay for your citation/ticket. The following options may apply:

  1. If the Notice of Bail says that your appearance in court is mandatory, you must reserve a court date.

  2. If your court appearance is not mandatory AND you agree you are guilty and want to pay your citation, you have 4 options for paying:
    • Online
    • By mail - send your payment to the Traffic Clerk's Office at 1050 Mission Road, South San Francisco, CA 94080
    • In person at the Traffic Clerk's Office in South San Francisco
    • In person at the Criminal Clerk's Office on the 4th Floor, 400 County Center, Hall of Justice in Redwood City.
    • No other services for traffic cases are available at the Redwood City location.
    • If paying by check, make check payable to "Superior Court." Write your court case number on your check.

  3. You may appear in court to plead guilty with or without an explanation. If you plan to appear in court to request a reduction of your fine, it is the court's decision whether to grant or deny your request. The court will decide based on your driving record and the nature of the offense. Also, some fines are mandatory, and the judicial officer may not be able to lower the amount.

  4. You may appear in court, plead not guilty, and request a court trial with the officer who gave you the citation present. This choice means the court will subpoena the officer (order the officer to attend court) and you will have to return another day for the trial.

  5. You may plead not guilty and request a court trial date without having to appear in person in court. You can do this by:
    • turning in your request,
    • depositing the full bail amount, AND
    • waiving your right to the time limits for trial set by law.
    You can do this in person or by mail. Please do not deposit the bail amount online. Making a payment online will cause you to forfeit (lose) the bail amount and will close the case.

  6. If your citation was for an infraction violation, you may request a Trial by Written Declaration. You must send your request along with the bail amount shown on your Notice of Bail. The court must receive your request by the due date. The Traffic Clerk's Office will mail you the forms you need to complete.

Traffic School

  • You may request and attend traffic school if you qualify. To attend traffic school, you must pay:
    • the total bail amount due on your citation/ticket, PLUS
    • a non-refundable $60.00 administrative fee.
    The traffic school will charge you a separate registration fee when you enroll.
    You can request traffic school:
    • by mail,
    • online through the Traffic Portal, or
    • at the Traffic Clerk's Office.
    • The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will keep one violation confidential in any 18-month period if you complete a traffic school program. This means insurance companies will not see it and a point will not be added to your driving record.
    • If you qualify for traffic school but decide NOT to go, this may have a negative effect on your insurance.

Proof of Correction Violations ("Fix It Tickets")

You can see specific instructions for correctable violations on the back of your citation. Correct the violation and have a police officer sign off on the citation. The DMV may also sign off on vehicle registration and driver license violations. You must present proof of correction to the Traffic Clerk's Office.

To have VC 16028 (insurance) violations dismissed, you must provide proof to the Traffic Clerk's Office that you had insurance coverage on the date you received the citation. Your proof must show:

  • the driver's name,
  • vehicle information, and
  • the insurance effective and expiration dates.
If you had valid insurance on the date of the citation, the court will dismiss the insurance violation and charge you a $25.00 fee (for each correctable violation). If you got insurance after the date of the violation, the court may charge you a reduced bail amount.

Photo Red Light Camera Violations

If you are thinking about appearing in court to contest a photo red light camera violation, we strongly recommend that you first watch the video of the violation. You can watch the video:

  • by making an appointment with the specific police department, OR
  • through the vendor's website listed on your citation (not the court's website).

Financial Hardship and Your Ability to Pay Your Traffic Citation

  • If you have a financial and can show that you are unable to pay the full amount of your traffic citation, you may ask the court to consider your ability to pay. But you must appear before the court to ask for a reduction.

    Also, if the court orders you to pay a fine, you may:
    • ask the court for a payment plan, or
    • ask the court to approve community service.

© 2020 Superior Court of San Mateo County