What Is a Trial by Declaration?
A Trial by Declaration ("trial by written declaration" is the legal term) is a method of fighting a traffic ticket that will not require you to appear in court but gives you an opportunity to present evidence and legal arguments to the court.
You can request a trial by declaration if you were issued a citation for a traffic violation, unless drugs or alcohol were involved, the offense requires a compulsory appearance in court or you missed your court date.
You can request a “Trial by Written Declaration” either in-person at the court clerk’s office or by mail, including the Form TR205, available in .pdf. Along with the request, you should include your check or money order for the bail amount, a statement of facts, any physical information or items you believe support your case and you can provide the court, such as:
· Medical records
· Vehicle inspection certificates
· Repair receipts
· Insurance documents
Only include scanned copies of the documents and be sure to link each document in your statement of facts with an explanation of why you believe that supports your claim.
You will have to waive a court trial, give evidence in person, or subpoena witnesses on your behalf, though the police officer will likely be asked by the court for a statement.
Although it is not required, you should get a traffic ticket lawyer to give you a written legal explanation of the circumstances of the ticket. Judges want to hear your side of the event; however, they want a legal basis to find you not guilty.
After you have mailed all this to the court, they will respond within 60-90 days with their decision.
Trial de Novo or New Trial
The beauty of the trial by declaration option is that no matter what happens or how the court rules, you can always ask for a new trial. Trial de Novo is only available to people that used the trial by declaration initially to clear their traffic ticket.
If the court rules in your favor and finds you not guilty, they will return your bail and it is over. However, if you disagree with any portion of the court ruling, you can get a new trial as if nothing happened. In fact, that is akin to a two-headed coin, in that if you liked any portion of the court’s ruling you cannot keep it for the new trial.
Say the judge said you were guilty but with circumstances beyond your control and authorized traffic school and a reduced fine. You must weigh those benefits against a new trial. Some people get too wrapped up in “I didn’t do it.” To realize when they are well off and should just leave it alone.
Bakersfield Courthouse, Kern County
Bakersfield is a traffic court in Kern County, CA that is known for being a speed trap in the desert. Though Bakersfield is not the only court that allows trial by declaration, all California courts do, we mention this because it is an excellent option in some cases here in Bakersfield.
The Bigger & Harman Traffic Ticket Defense Team
If you were ticketed with a California Vehicle Code (CVC) violation and traffic school has been denied or is not an option, the next thing to do is contact Bigger & Harman. In Kern County, as well as LA, Riverside, SLO and other California counties, count on sound legal advice from the defense team that only has one “area of expertise” traffic tickets.
We do not do divorces, family court, or personal injuries, we help our clients in traffic court.
Contact us today for a legal consultation surrounding the circumstances of your traffic ticket. When you would like legal advice about a Trial by Declaration, simply send us an email including a scanned copy of the citation and an explanation of exactly what happened, firstname.lastname@example.org. We will set up an appointment, email you the details, or call you. Or, you can call us during business hours, 661-349-9300.
En español, llame al 661-349-9755.