If you have received a citation for a traffic or other infraction matter, you should receive a courtesy notice in the mail within three weeks from the date of your citation. Please be sure to read carefully both sides of your courtesy notice and citation.
The courtesy notice will be mailed to the address shown on the citation.
This notice will contain your case/docket number, the bail amount, information regarding traffic school eligibility and any proof of correction requirements needed to clear the citation.
If you do not receive a notice prior to your appearance date, it is your responsibility to contact the court shown on your citation.
If you fail to respond by the date shown on the bottom of your citation, a warrant may be issued for your arrest or a hold may be placed against your driver's license.
Juvenile Traffic (and other infraction) matters are handled by the Juvenile Division. Click here for more information.
For additional Traffic Self-Help information click here.
An Arraignment is your first court appearance. At arraignment, you are advised of the charges pending against you and the potential penalties for those charges. You will be asked to enter a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty, or No Contest, and your case will proceed to sentencing (in the case of a Guilty or No Contest plea) or will be set for Trial (in the case of a Not Guilty plea).
Most Traffic and other Infraction cases do not require a court appearance. For these cases, you should receive a Courtesy Notice prior to the date you were cited to appear. Your Courtesy Notice will provide you with options for resolving the matter depending on the charges. If you do not receive a Courtesy Notice prior to your cited appearance date, contact the Court at (530) 532-7005. You do not need to wait for your cited appearance date to contact the Court; the Court typically receives citations within a week of issuance, and they can be taken care of any time thereafter, as long as it's on or before the cited appearance date.
Some Traffic and other Infraction cases, however, do require a Court appearance based on the charges. If you receive a Courtesy Notice that indicates "Mandatory Appearance", your citation cannot be resolved without a Court appearance, and your Court date cannot be rescheduled by Court staff. If time allows, you may be able to appear on a date before your cited date, but your date cannot be postponed. If you wish to appear prior to your cited date, contact the Court at (530) 532-7005 for further information.
If you have been cited for a mechanical, registration or other "fix-it" violation and the officer has checked the "correctable" box on the citation, you may have the matter corrected and then have any police officer, California Highway Patrol Officer, Sheriff, or other law enforcement officer regularly engaged in enforcement of the California Vehicle Code sign off on the back of your citation or courtesy notice (VC40616(c)). Brake, lamp, smog device, or muffler violations may be certified as corrected by any station licensed to inspect and correct the violation (VC40616(a)). You must then submit to the Court the signed-off citation or courtesy notice with the required fees indicated on your courtesy notice for the violation to be dismissed.
If you no longer own the vehicle, it is still your responsibility to clear the citation by either paying the bail amount or appearing in Court. If you have junked the vehicle, a receipt from the wrecking yard may be acceptable to clear this citation.
The Department of Motor Vehicles may certify any license and vehicle registration violations as corrected, or you may show the valid license / registration to the clerk at the Court.
Proof of Insurance
If you received a citation for an insurance violation and either had insurance at the time of the violation or you purchased insurance after you were cited, you may be eligible for a reduction in bail. In order to receive a reduction in your bail when you have been cited for an insurance violation, you must present verification of insurance coverage to the Court. If you had valid insurance on the date the citation was issued, but did not have proof to show the officer, you may provide proof of insurance to the Court by mail or in person. Upon payment of the required fee, the charge will be dismissed.
Your bail will be reduced if you show proof of insurance that was purchased after the citation date. However, the charge will not be dismissed.
The Court will accept as proof of insurance a copy of the policy or a copy of an identification card issued by the insurance company (either hardcopy or electronic) with the following vehicle information:
- Insurance policy number
- Name of the insurance company
- Name of policy holder
- Effective date of the coverage
- Expiration date of the coverage
- Vehicle Identification (year, make, model, license or VIN number)
A statutory fee of $25.00 per violation (with insurance valid on the date the citation was issued) or a reduced bail amount (with insurance purchased after the date the citation was issued) will be required when presenting proof of insurance. Checks or money orders should be made payable to Butte County Superior Court.
Animal Control Violations
Citations issued for unlicensed or unvaccinated animals may be dismissed after presenting to the Court a photocopy of the license and/or inoculation certificate or by showing the payment receipt for current license or inoculation.
If you intend to plead not guilty on a citation and wish to avoid multiple court appearances, you may request a court trial through the mail or in person. Staff at the counter may be able to set a trial date without a court appearance at any time during normal business hours. Your request must be received prior to the appearance date indicated on the citation.
All witnesses and documentation to support your case must be available on the day of trial. The officer who cited you will be notified by the Court to be present on the trial date.
Trial by Declaration
You may request a trial by written declaration. This option applies ONLY to vehicle code violations and is not offered in cases with a mandatory court appearance. Your request for a Trial by Declaration must be received prior to the appearance date indicated on the citation. The declaration forms and instructions will be mailed to you. Trial by Written Declaration forms can also be found on the California State Judicial Council website .
You will be required to post the full bail amount along with your Declaration pursuant to Section 40902 of the California Vehicle Code. In the event you are found not guilty, the bail amount will be returned to you.
If you received a notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles indicating a failure to appear hold has been placed on your driver's license, you may clear it by posting and forfeiting the entire bail amount OR by appearing in court. Check with the Court for appearance days and times. If you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest, a court appearance is required. Once you pay or appear in court, the warrant will be recalled and/or the release of the hold will be forwarded to the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you have been arrested on an outstanding warrant and posted bail or were released on your own recognizance by an arresting agency, you must appear on the specified court date. Failure to appear may result in the issuance of a new warrant for your arrest and forfeiture of bail, if posted.
- One 60-day extension may be obtained by mail, phone, or in person. Payment of a fee may be required depending on the specifics of the citation.
- Extensions are not allowed on citations that require a court appearance.
- Extensions may only be requested prior to the appearance date.