January 27, 2021
Request a Trial Without Going to Court

I Already Scheduled a Trial - TRIAL DATE ALREADY SET

INSTRUCTIONS TO DEFENDANT
(Trial by Written Declaration, Vehicle Code §40902)

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. In San Mateo County, the requirement to post bail in advance for Trial by Written Declaration is temporarily waived.

If your trial is more than 30 days away, you can convert your in-person trial to a Trial by Written Declaration online by going to SignNow.

  • Completely fill out the Request for Trial by Written Declaration. You may attach 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. The clerk will cancel the in-person trial you scheduled, and notify the officer to submit a written declaration.
  • If the clerk receives the form less than 30 days from your scheduled trial date, you will not be eligible for trial by written declaration. The in-person trial you scheduled will proceed and the officer will appear. You must appear at your trial or risk being found guilty in your absence and ordered to pay a fine.
  • 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, and requires the posting of bail in advance.
  • 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.

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I Have Not Scheduled Anything - NEW CITATION AND NO TRIAL SET YET

INSTRUCTIONS TO DEFENDANT
(Trial by Written Declaration, Vehicle Code §40902

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. In San Mateo County, the requirement to post bail in advance for Trial by Written Declaration is temporarily waived.

To plead Not Guilty and request a Trial by Written Declaration online, go 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.

If you instead want to plead guilty or no contest, and request a reduced fine, go to Pilot 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, and requires the posting of bail in advance.
  • 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.

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