If you are charged with a CRIME or a MANDATORY APPEARANCE VIOLATION (see section above), you MUST COME TO COURT at the time and place indicated on the bottom of your summons (citation) and/or in the Notice of Scheduled Appearance sent by the Court.
If the charge is a VIOLATION that does not require a mandatory court appearance, you must DO ONE (only one) of the following:
OPTION 1 – Enter a plea by phone or in person.
You do not have to wait until the court date. You may come to the court or call during business hours any day on or before your appearance date as long as the court has received the citation.
If you do not contact us by the appearance date at the bottom of your summons (citation), the Court may convict you and impose further penalties, including suspension of your driving privileges.
OPTION 2 – Enter a plea of No Contest in writing.
This means you do not wish to fight the charges. If you do this, you will be convicted of the offense(s). To choose this option, do all of the following (Step 3 is optional) on or before the appearance date indicated on the bottom of your summons (citation).
- Check and initial which plea you want to enter (NO CONTEST) AND sign and date line 1 of Option 2 on your summons.
- Send or take to the court your citation and the full amount of the presumptive fine shown on the summons. Please write the case/citation number on your check or money order.
- If you wish, attach a written statement (letter) explaining what happened when you received the citation and any information you think the court should consider.
IMPORTANT: Choosing Option 2 waives (gives up) your right to trial. The Court may consider your written statement when establishing the amount of the fine. If the Court finds you GUILTY, the Court may keep all or part of the money you pay, but will return any amount left over after taking out the sanction amount.
OPTION 3 – Enter a plea of Not Guilty in Writing.
To choose this option do all of the following on or before the appearance date indicated on the bottom of your summons (citation).
- Sign and date the back of your summons under Option 3; AND
- Send or take to the court the summons by itself or with a written request for trial. You MUST make sure the summons is at the Court on or before the appearance date. A postmark will not be accepted as an appearance date. Make sure the court has your current address so the trial notice can be mailed to you.
IMPORTANT: Option 3 is a written request for a hearing (trial). The Court will mail you notice of the time and place when you MUST appear for trial - be sure your name and address are correct. The Court may convict you and impose further penalties if you do not appear for trial at the time given in the notice.
OPTION 4 – Contact the court to Request Trial by Declaration.
- Contact the Court before the appearance date indicated on the bottom of your summons (citation) to determine if you qualify for a Trial by Declaration (written statement). If so, the trial will be based upon your written statements made under penalty of perjury. Future court appearances may not be necessary.
NOTE: If you do not qualify, you must comply with one of the other options listed above.
- If you qualify, you will be given a date by which your declaration must be received at the Court. File your original, signed declaration explaining the circumstances about the violations with which you were charged. This is your only chance to present your side of the case to the judge. The law enforcement officer who issued the citation will also have the opportunity to file a declaration in support of the charges. The Court will make a decision based upon the written statements.
- Send or take your original, signed declaration to the Court. If you wish, you may also submit the base fine indicated on your citation - please write the case/citation number on your check or money order if you include one.
IMPORTANT: If you submit the base fine with your declaration under Option 4 and you are found NOT GUILTY, the Court will apply the amount to any fines owed to the court in other matters, and then return the remainder of your payment. If you are found GUILTY, the Court will return any amount remaining after taking out the fines and fees ordered by the judge. Please write the case/citation number on your check or money order.
OPTION 5 – Pay your citation on-line.
(Generally available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).
NOTE: Unless your citation involves mandatory appearance charges, this may satisfy your requirement to "appear" for the specific citation number you enter. See the Mandatory Appearance section above. If you have multiple citations, you must "appear" on each one. You cannot "appear" via ePay for criminal charges, but you can pay existing fines and fees.
If you know your citation number, you can use your Visa or Mastercard debit or credit card to pay your fine using our OJD Courts ePay site on or before the appearance date indicated on the bottom of your summons (citation). If there are any letters near your citation number, they may be part of the number (e.g., weigh master citations normally begin with WM followed by the 6-digit number).
Paying on-line means you are entering a NO CONTEST plea and waiving (giving up) your right to a trial. There is a fee of $1.50 per transaction for using this feature.