Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Bakersfield Speeding Ticket Attorney Explains Trials by Written Declaration

In California, as in many states, a defendant may elect to have a trial by written declaration on any Vehicle Code infraction or speeding ticket. If the clerk  receives from the defendant a written request for a trial by written declaration on or before the appearance date indicated on the notice to appear, the clerk must, within 15 calendar days of receiving the request,extend the appearance date 25 calendar days, and must give or mail the defendant notice of the extended due date on a Request for Trial by Written Declaration with a copy of the Instructions to Defendant and any other required forms. The defendant must file the Request for Trial by Written Declaration with the clerk on or before the appearance date indicated on the notice to appear (or any extended appearance date). This form must be filed in addition to the defendant’s written request for a trial by written declaration, unless that request was made on this form. A defendant who makes this election must submit bail in the amount established in the Uniform Traffic Bail and Penalty Schedule under Veh C§40310 at the time of submitting the declaration.  If the defendant is found not guilty or the charges are otherwise dismissed, the amount of the bail mustbe promptly refunded to the defendant.

On receiving the defendant’s Request for Trial by Written Declaration and bail by the due date, the clerk must deliver or mail to the arresting officer’s agency a Notice and Instructions to Arresting Officer and Officer’s Declaration, with a copy of the notice to appear and a specified return date for receiving the officer’s declaration. On receipt of the officer’s declaration or the close of the return date, the clerk must submit the case file to the court for decision with all declarations and other evidence received.  According to one Bakersfield Speeding Ticket Attorney, testimony and other relevant evidence may be introduced in the form of the notice to appear, a business record or receipt, and the sworn declarations of the arresting officer and of the defendant. After the court decides the case and returns the file and decision, the clerk must immediately mail the Decision and Notice of Decision to the defendant and arresting agency. The defendant may request a trial de novo by filing a Request for New Trial Form within 20 calendar days after the date on which the decision was mailed. The Court clerk must set a trial date within 45 calendar days of receipt of the defendant’s request and deliver or mail to the defendant and to the arresting officer’s agency the Order and Notice to the violator.

The case is closed if the defendant fails to make a timely request for a trial de novo. Although the rules state that a new trial must be set within 45 days of the receipt of the request, the remedy for failure to set within 45 days is not automatic dismissal. For example in one case, a trial was set 57 days after receipt of notice. The court may deny a trial by written declaration to a defendant who does not file a Request for Trial by Written Declaration or deposit bail with the clerk within the specified time limits.  The Judge is not limited to imposing a monetary penalty in the amount of the bail the defendant has deposited with the clerk, unless this amount is the maximum and the only lawful penalty. A person who fails to appear as provided by law may be deemed to have elected to have a trial by written declaration on any alleged Vehicle Code infraction. Relevant evidence may be introduced in the form of a notice to appear, a business record or receipt, a sworn declaration of the arresting officer, or a written statement or letter signed by the defendant. 

Bruce Blythe is a Bakersfield Speeding Ticket Lawyer who practices throughout Kern County and beyond for all criminal, DUI and traffic cases.