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Traffic FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

On your "Notice to Appear" (your ticket or citation) you will find the following:

  1. The name and address of the court that will decide your case
  2. The deadline to pay the ticket or to appear in Court to take action on your case
  3. What you must do to respond to the ticket

You will receive a Traffic Court Reminder Notice from the Court that will give you information on your options, and where you can find out more about your options to address your case.  Your Reminder Notice will provide you with your fine amount, and it will list if your case is eligible for Traffic School, and whether or not your case is a “mandatory appearance” required case. 

Unless your case requires a mandatory appearance, you can go online, look up your case by the citation number, case number or your name, and pay your ticket without going to court, if that's how you decide to proceed.  Our Court's website contains information on your options, and what you can do in order to pay, your payment options, traffic school eligibility, deadlines, options for extensions, and options for contesting the citation. 

If you are a minor (you were under 18 years of age at the time you received your citation), one of your parents or your legal guardian must appear in person with you. 

You may look up your case number, your fine amount, and pay your fine online here:

Look up your case

If you received a ticket for an infraction (like running a stop sign), you may be able to resolve your case without appearing in Court for a hearing.  If you are planning on paying your fine, it can be done online, by mail or by drop box at our Court’s location at 2260 Floyd Avenue, Modesto, CA 95355.

There are some violations that will require a "mandatory appearance" in Court.  Your Traffic Court Reminder Notice will specify if your appearance in Court is mandatory, as it will show "mandatory appearance" on the notice.  If your Reminder Notice indicates "mandatory appearance", you must appear before the Court in person, however, you can contact the Clerk’s Office to see if the mandatory appearance can be waived, depending on your violation, and how you intend to proceed. 

You may be able to resolve your case without appearing in Court.  You can:

  1. Pay a Fine in full
    Once the Court has received your citation from the officer, you can pay the fine online. You may also request Traffic school, as long as the violation qualifies, and you are eligible. The Traffic Court Reminder Notice is sent out on each citation. It lists your bail (fine) amount and the appearance date. You may also mail in payments or drop payments in the drop box located at the Traffic Court at 2260 Floyd Avenue, Modesto, CA 95355.
  2. Request a Trial by Written Declaration – (No Appearance is required) In this type of trial, a decision is made by the Judicial Officer after reviewing written documents filed by you and those filed by the officer. Bail is required to be posted in advance, when your paperwork is filed and your hearing is scheduled. If you win your case, the fine will be returned to you.
    • Download and complete your forms as soon as possible.  The form can be accessed using this link:
    • Submit your completed forms for filing to the Traffic Clerk’s office at 2260 Floyd Avenue, Modesto, CA 95355, either by mail or drop box.
    • Remember to send a check or money order for the full bail amount that is due

If you are a minor (you were under 18 years of age at the time you received your citation), one of your parents (or legal guardian) must appear in person with you.  If you appear without a parent or a legal guardian (with guardianship papers) you will not be able to go to Court.  A parent or legal guardian must accompany a minor.  

If you are not able to make your Court appearance, it is very important that you contact the Traffic Division Clerk’s Office prior to your court “Appear By” date or appearance date that was listed on either your ticket that was given to you, or that was listed on the Traffic Court Reminder notice the Court sent to you. 

You may be eligible for a 30-day extension, as long as it is prior to your “Appear By” date on your citation or your Reminder Notice.  To receive your extension, or if you are not sure of your status, you can contact the Court Clerk’s office by email at, or by phone at (209) 530-3100, option 1, or in person at the Traffic Court Clerk’s Office located at 2260 Floyd Avenue, Modesto, CA 95355. 

The ticket (citation) the officer wrote and the Traffic Court Reminder Notice that is sent by the Court are two different documents.  While the officer gave you a ticket, the Court will send you a Reminder Notice at the address you gave the officer when the ticket was issued.  If you moved after you received the ticket, you must still make sure you contact the Court by your “Appear By” date listed on your citation to take action. 

Your “Appear By”date is the date for you appear at the Court to take action, as written on your ticket.  You must make an appointment to appear in Court, or pay the bail, or take alternative action with the Court prior to your Court “Appear By” date An appointment must be scheduled if you wish to appear in the Courtroom for an Arraignment hearing. 

If you do not appear in Court or schedule an appointment for an Arraignment hearing pay or take other actions to resolve your case prior to the “appear by” date, your case will go into Failure To Appear status.  

If you wish to go to Court, you must schedule an appointment for your Arraignment hearing at least three (3) court days prior to the hearing. Appointments can be scheduled online in advance so that when you do arrive at Traffic Court, you will be able to attend your hearing.

If you appear in person without scheduling an appointment, you will not be able to go into a hearing.The Clerk’s Office can help you schedule a hearing for at least 3 days in the future, or take your payments, give you options you can use to resolve your case without appearing in Court, or provide you with paperwork to request a fine reduction, or to request other orders, or to start a payment plan. The Clerk can also provide you with paperwork if you wish to contest your case via Court Trial or Trial by Written Declaration.

If you decide to go to Court, you must view the traffic arraignment video so that you will hear information regarding your rights.

If you decide to go to Court, sessions are currently available on the following days/times each week:

  1. Adult Traffic Court(non-FTA) appointments are available:

Monday and Tuesday at 8:15, 9:15, 10:30, and 11:15 a.m.; 1:30, and 2:15 p.m.

2.Adult FTA Court (Failure to Appear)appointments are available:

Wednesday at 8:15, 9:15, 10:30, and 11:15 a.m.; 1:30 p.m.

3.Juvenile Traffic Court appointments are available:

Wednesday at 2:15 p.m.

Please note - Juveniles must appear with a Parent or Legal Guardian. If the juvenile has turned 18 since their violation date and wants to continue as a juvenile case, they must have a parent/guardian with them. Otherwise, they can appear at the adult timeframe on their own and proceed as an adult case. 

Pursuant to California Rule of Court 4.105(b), you have the option to appear in court for arraignment and trial without posting bail. Under rule of Court 4.105(c), bail is required to be deposited if you elect to proceed with trial by written declaration without appearing in court (VC 40902) and/or written not guilty plea (VC40519(a-b)), or elect to pay bail and not contest the citation or appear in court (VC 40510 and 40521).

Options for payment are listed below.  Please use options 1 through 3, if possible, to help us with meeting social distancing guidelines. 

  1. Online by Visa, MasterCard, ATM or electronic check, 24 hours per day the online payment link is on our Court’s website at:
  2. By mail, with payment sent to 2260 Floyd Avenue, Modesto, CA 95355. Checks should be made payable to Superior Court. 

  3. By Drop Box at 2260 Floyd Avenue, Modesto, CA 95355. Payment can be dropped 24 hours per day.  Do not place cash in the Drop Box. Payments dropped off after 4:00 p.m. will be credited the next business day.

  4. In person at 2260 Floyd Avenue, Modesto, CA 95355 Monday through Friday.

Please submit your payments at least two business days prior to your Court date or due date, if possible to assist us with timely financial updates to your case.  Please note the following guidelines for payments:

  1. Please do not send cash through the mail or leave it in the Drop Box. 
  2. Juveniles must include a parent or legal guardian's signed permission to pay and a copy of the parent/legal guardian driver's license.  The form is located on the court's website.
  3. Please write your citation number or case number on the left-hand corner of your check so your payment can be applied to your case properly (this number will be located on the upper right-hand corner of your ticket).  If you do not know your case number, list your name, and driver’s license number. 
  4. If you are paying for multiple cases on payment plans with the same check or money order, be sure include a note to specify how much you would like to have applied to each case.  This will ensure payments are applied in the proper amounts by the corresponding due dates. 
  5. If you wish to attend traffic school you must either sign up online, or contact the Traffic Court Clerk's Office, either in person or by mail/drop box.  After the Clerk's Office refers you to Traffic School, you must register directly with a Traffic School provider. Traffic School provider links and other required information, such as due dates, are listed under the Traffic School section of this website. To determine if you are eligible for traffic school you can read the Traffic School section of this website, and if you have any additional questions, you can also contact the Court's Traffic Division Clerk's office for assistance
  6. If you send payment for Traffic School by Mail, or by the Court's Drop Box, please be sure to include a written request for Traffic School, and include the appropriate payment amount - your bail and an additional $52.00 for the mandatory Traffic School fee.

Yes, if you have posted bail prior to a Trial By Written Declaration or Court Trial and you are found not guilty, the Court will return the bail to the person/party that paid the bail.  Please note that it may take up to six to eight weeks after the hearing for the refund to be processed.

You can go to Traffic Court without a lawyer, if you choose to do so. If you want a lawyer for a traffic infraction (like speeding or running a red light), you can hire one. The Court will not provide you with one and the Court cannot advise you either way as to what you should or should not do.  The Court can only provide you with your options available to you.  You can find additional information to help you with your decision(s) on the Traffic Self Help link to the California Judicial Council's website:

When you pay your citation without attending traffic school, it is counted as a conviction which may result in points being applied to your DMV record, depending on the violation you were cited for. Traffic Violator School is not an option if you were not charged with a moving violation such as speeding, which can result in a “point” on your driving license if you are convicted. Other violations may have more than a one “point” count, which may not be eligible.

Attending traffic school will keep the point off your record if you are eligible for traffic school. Juveniles requesting traffic school must appear in Court with a parent/legal guardian to make their request.

You may be eligible to enroll if you have not attended in the past 18 months, and the 18 month period is calculated from violation date to violation date. Please read your Traffic Court Reminder Notice to see if you are eligible. If you are eligible and wish to attend traffic school, there is a $52.00non-refundableTraffic Violator School fee required to be paid to the Court, as well as your bail/fine amount when you request traffic school.

Please note: You may pay your fineand sign up for Traffic Violator School either on-line, in person, or by mail. If you send payment for Traffic School by Mail, or by the Court's Drop Box, please be sure to include a written request for Traffic School, and include the appropriate payment amount with your request.

IMPORTANT:Only case numbers beginning with the letters "TR-" are eligible to sign up for Traffic School online.If your case doesn't begin with a "TR", you must sign-up either by mail, in person, or by drop box request with payment included.

If you choose to attend Traffic Violator School, you will be given 90 days to sign up for class with a Traffic Violator School provider,and to also complete your class. You will not receive additional notice from the Court once you elect to attend Traffic Violator School, as long as you complete your class and complete your payment to the Court. Be sure to give the Traffic School your case number or citation number (including any letters with the numbers) so your completion can be reported properly.

You will be responsible for signing up for the class directly with one of the provider schools listed on the Department of Motor Vehicles List of Traffic School Providers at you locate a traffic school provider, you will need to pay a fee to the school for providing the course and reporting the completion to DMV.

The school will send an electronic notice of your class completion to DMV. Please be aware that it takes anywhere from 5–7 days for the Court to receive your Traffic School completion certification, due to the way it is reported directly to DMV. It is your responsibility to have the course completed early enough for the Court to receive the certificate by the due date, approximately 7 calendar days prior to your due date is sufficient. If you have not completed it, it is important that you contact the court before your due date, as you might be eligible for a one-time extension.

For more information on signing up for traffic school, please see the "Sign Up For Traffic School" page. You can also email the traffic school Court Clerk directly for more information at

Your bail must be paid in order to be allowed to take traffic school, however, a request for a fine reduction may be available to help you reduce the fine amount. The form may allow a reduction as well as Traffic School approval. You must still pay the $52 non-refundable traffic school state fee required for administration of the traffic school completion. The request for reduction can be accessed using this link: .

Unless you receive a reduction, your full bail must be paid in addition to a $52.00 non-refundable fee for traffic school administration. You will also be required to pay the school directly for their course.

The benefit of traffic school attendance is that the point will not add to your DMV record, as long as you are eligible to attend traffic school. DMV will consider it as a "confidential" conviction and the conviction will not count against you as a point on your record, as long as DMV has deemed you eligible and received certification of your completed Traffic School course. DMV calculates this information to access negligent driver information.

If you were to receive a point on your driving record, you may also see an increase in your insurance rates. If you get points on your record, your insurance company may ask you to pay more for insurance because of this. They may also cancel your policy, so the option for traffic school may be of great value to you.

Successful completion of traffic school by the due date prevents this information from being viewed by insurance companies, as long as you are eligible for traffic school, and complete Traffic School timely within your 90-day period.

None of the $52.00 fee goes directly to the schools. It supports the process that allows you to attend traffic school. The $52.00 fee is a State fee required when requesting traffic school that covers the administration of the traffic school program. The fee goes toward monitoring the curriculum, developing school lists, and maintaining the DMV traffic school database.

The schools you have to choose from are independent privately owned companies that have been certified by the State for you to attend. You must pay them directly for the services they provide to you.

Each defendant has a right to act on his/her own behalf. However, if they wish someone else to represent them, they must hire an attorney who is licensed to practice law. No one other than a license attorney may represent a party in an arraignment.

For juvenile matters, a parent or legal guardian must accompany the minor.  If the juvenile has turned 18 since their violation date and wants to continue as a juvenile case, they must have a parent/guardian with them. Otherwise, they can appear at the adult timeframe on their own and proceed as an adult case. 

We cannot speak for the Judicial Officer/Court Commissioner, or predetermine the outcome of a hearing. You will hear information at the arraignment that will enable you to decide if you want to enter a plea or request a court trial or trial by declaration. In addition, you can watch the arraignment video on our Court's website that will give you additional information on your options that are available to you, including options for payment plans.  There are other options available to help you reduce your fine. 

Make sure you include any documentation of Proof of Correction. Proof usually is submitted by sending a copy of the citation with the officer’s sign-off on the back, or a copy of a registration, etc. Documents must be included for the Court to reduce your violation to $25.00.

If you do not go to Court or pay your fine, the judge can also charge you with a failure to appear. If that happens, the Court can add an additional fee (called a civil assessment) of up to $100.00, and an additional fee of $10.00 for a total of $110 that will be due in addition to your original bail amount.

If you have already appeared in Court and have been ordered to pay a fine and fail to pay it, an additional $100.00 civil assessment can be added. For more information, you can check for an Ability to Pay form to ask the Court consider your financial situation. Please see the link below for more information.

If you cannot pay your ticket at this time, you still have the option to go to Court on or before your hearing date, as you do not have to post bail to appear in Court. There may be other options available to you, as long as you contact the Court on or before your hearing date. If you wish to contest your ticket, you must appear timely (on or before your hearing date) to request a trial, without cost to you. There is no fee to request a trial.

If you are unable to pay your bail, there is an Ability to Pay form on the Traffic forms page to ask the court to consider your ability to pay. The form can be submitted to the Court to request reductions based on your specific situation. You will be asked to provide documentation of your financial situation. For more information, you can read about it in the forms packet. 

If you need more time before your hearing, you can receive a one-time 30-day extension if you haven't already received one, as long as it is requested on or before your Court date.

There are many ways you can handle this type of ticket.

One way is to go to the local DMV office. Ask a clerk at the DMV to help. After you correct the problem by renewing your license, or renewing your car’s registration, the DMV will sign the "Certificate of Correction" part of your ticket. You must take or mail in the signed-off ticket or proof of correction to the Court, and include your proof of correction fee/admin fee(s) and provide it to the Court prior to your hearing date. Contact the Court if you are unsure of your fee(s). You can do this in person, by phone or by email at

Reminder: You must do this BEFORE the DUE DATE or “Appear by” of your ticket (date to appear). You may also show the Court your registration or driver's license and pay the dismissal fee. The Court will then dismiss your case and it will not go on your record.

Judicial Council form CR-141 has instructions on how to appeal infractions and form CR-142 and CR-143 are used to file a Notice of Appeal. **There is a new Proof of Service form APP-109 that must be filed at the time of filing your appeal**. Appeals must be filed no later than 30 days after the date of trial. 

If you were found guilty after a trial by written declaration you can file a request for a new trial. To do so you must use a Request for New Trial (Trial de Novo) form TR-220. Your Request for New Trial or Trial de Novo is required to be filed no later than 20 days from the mailing date located on the "Decision on Trial by Declaration". 
You may obtain the above forms at the Traffic Clerk's Office. These forms are filed at the Traffic Clerk's Office where the decision on your case was made.

You may not pay your bail online, as it will register it as a bail forfeiture, which closes your case and may show up on your driving record. To prevent that, you must pay with a check or a money order directly to the Court by mail or pay in person.  You are not required to pay bail prior to a Court Trial, but if you are requesting a Trial By Written Declaration you must post your bail and file your documents before your scheduled date.  Your bail will be deposited into a Trust account pending the outcome of the decision of the Court.  Once decided, if you win your case, your bail will be refunded to you within 6–8 weeks after the decision.

You may request a Trial by Written Declaration using one of two options. Please note exclusion: If the citation was from an accident or a camera citation, you will not be provided with the option to request a trial by written declaration.  You will need to request a Court Trial and have to appear in that instance. 

Trial by Written Declarations forms are available in the Traffic Division Clerks' Office upon request. You may also download and print out the "Trial By Written Declaration Packet".

You will be given three forms:

  1. Instructions To Defendant form TR-200
  2. Request for Trial by Written Declaration form TR-205
  3. Written Plea of Not Guilty form

Read the instructions form (TR-200) and fill out the request (TR-205).

At the time of filing form TR-205 you also MUST SIGN a "Written Plea of Not Guilty" form and you MUST PAY YOUR BAIL IN FULL. Your request will not be accepted without full payment of bail.

2) You may also appear in Court at the Traffic Division Clerk's Office, enter a "not guilty" plea and request a Trial by Written Declaration. After going to Court you need to take a copy of your minute order to the counter in the Clerk's Office where you will be given the instruction form TR-200 and form TR-205 "Request for Trial by Written Declaration".  (If requested without going before the judicial officer (in Court), you must follow the instructions under section #1 listed above.)

The minute order, will be the record of the hearing that you get in Court.  It will have the date that your declaration will be considered by the Court. You MUST FILE your declaration TR-205 and YOU MUST PAY THE TOTAL BAIL as shown AT LEAST five (5) days PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED DATE.

Please include all information on form TR-205 that you feel will help the Judicial Officer to make his/her decision on your case. You can include attachments, photos or any other documentation that will help you to tell your side of the situation. The Court will notify the citing officer that he/she will need to provide a written declaration for the Court to consider.

Once a decision has been determined, you will receive a Notice of Decision on your trial by written declaration. If you have posted bail and the decision is in your favor, bail will be refunded to you according to the Court's order.

Your bail will be placed into Trust pending the decision of the Court. You will be notified by mail once the Court has rendered their decision.  If you win your case, your bail will be refunded to you within 6–8 weeks after the decision

Where is my Reminder Notice from the Court?

When you receive a traffic citation, the officer will write your date to appear in Court underneath your signature on the citation. This is the "Court date", "appearance date" or "due date". This is the last date your citation must be resolved by, unless you contact the Court to request an additional 30 days on or before your Court date or to have an appointment scheduled, if you need one. You must appear or take action by that date, regardless of whether you receive a reminder notice from the Court.

Do not ignore your citation. When you receive the ticket (citation) from the law enforcement officer, you signed your name and you are making a legal and binding "promise to appear". If you fail to appear as directed, additional penalties will be imposed for your failure to appear. Failure to resolve your citation on or before the date listed at the bottom of your citation may result in additional penalties which by law could include a $100.00 civil assessment, a warrant issued for your arrest, a suspension of your driver's license and additional monetary assessments.

If your citation involves a "mandatory appearance" you must appear in Court. If you do not have a mandatory appearance or you do not want to appear, you may pay the bail amount to the Court by the Court date or due date, and do nothing further. The bail will then be accepted as a guilty plea and the case will be closed.

If you have a violation for which proof of correction can be shown, the fine may be reduced if proof of correction is provided to the Court. In addition, there is a $25.00 proof of correction fee that must be included for each violation that requires proof of correction.

If your citation was issued within the past 60 days, you may also check for specific citation or case information on-line, including bail amounts, case numbers and how to pay in full. You may also email the Traffic Division Clerk’s Office at for additional information. Please note that the law enforcement agency has up to one year to file the citation with the Court.

If you do not see your case online, or the Clerk does not have a case on file yet, it is up to you to continue to check on your case to see if it has been filed, and/or if you have a Court date pending. Law enforcement is required to notify you if your Court date has been amended or changed to a new date, so it is a good idea to keep an eye on your incoming mail. If your address changes, the agency, and the Court will send your notices to the last address on file at the time you received your citation. If the citation is filed with the Court, please keep the Court informed of address changes so you receive important mail involving your case.

Our Court website contains easy to follow information on how to sign up for traffic school, either in person or by mail, and we offer on-line sign-up options. IMPORTANT: Only case numbers beginning with the letters "TR-" are eligible to sign up for Traffic School online. If your case doesn't begin with a "TR", you must sign-up either by mail, in person, or by drop box request with payment included. We also have an email address you can use if you have specific questions regarding signing up for traffic school: See our Court's Overview of Traffic Services page for links.

Why are the fines so high?

Traffic fines are mandated by the State of California, according to the particular violation for which you have been charged. Fines consist of an initial bail amount, along with additional mandatory state fees, to result in a total bail amount due. These fines are set in accordance with the Uniform Bail and Penalty Schedule, pursuant to the California Rule of Court 4.102. For more information on the Uniform Bail and Penalty Schedule, see the California Courts website link at

Why is it higher than what the judge said in Court?

When you attend your hearing and the Judicial Officer imposes a fine, they typically quote only the bail amount, absent State mandated fees that are required for each conviction in addition to the bail ordered. The Uniform Bail and Penalty Schedule includes information on these mandated fees that are required to be paid in addition to the ordered bail amount. They are included in your minute order and will be reflected in the total bail due section.

You may request that the Court consider your ability to pay to determine if you can complete a Community Service Program in lieu of paying your fine. 

If your case is not in failure to appear or failure to pay status, you may request a redcution via the new Request for Reduction of Fine and Order form.

For more information and instructions regarding the options listed above, please vist the Traffic Court Forms page.  

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