Appearances in Court

Traffic citations generally don't require a court appearance, unless ordered by the court or your attorney. If you've failed to appear or your case is in warrant status, please see the Failure to Appear section.

If you are in need of a language interpreter, please make a request either with the clerk’s office or courtroom upon your arrival.

WARNING: Failure to appear may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.

How and when do I appear in court?

If you are unsure as to your appearance date or the status of your citation, you may access the court’s online case or calendar information. Click here for Court Locations. Prescheduled appearances may already be on the calendar. On your court date, check the posted calendars for your name and courtroom department number. If your name is on calendar, go directly to the courtroom. If your name is not on the calendar, check in with the clerk’s office for further instructions.

How do I attend a Night Court session?

Court is offered on the first and third Tuesday of each month at specific locations as follows:

1st Tuesday – North and Harbor-Newport Beach Justice Centers
3rd Tuesday – Central and West Justice Centers

To appear at night court, you must reserve a court date.

2019 Night Court Schedule Traffic Cases – 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month

NJC/HJC 1st Tuesday CJC/WJC 3rd Tuesday
January 8, 2019 January 22, 2019
February 5, 2019 February 19, 2019
March 5, 2019 March 19, 2019
April 2, 2019 April 16, 2019
May 7, 2019 May 21, 2019
June 4, 2019 June 18, 2019
July 2, 2019 July 16, 2019
August 6, 2019 August 20, 2019
September 3, 2019 September 17, 2019
October 1, 2019 October 15, 2019
November 5, 2019 November 19, 2019
December 3, 2019 December 17, 2019
How do I find out any special rules for appearing in a courtroom?
  • If you are under the age of 18, you must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
  • Shirt and shoes are required in the courtroom.
  • Food, drinks, and gum chewing are NOT allowed.
  • Weapons are NOT allowed in the courthouse. We are a fully secured facility and all visitors are subject to weapons screening upon entering the facility.
  • All pagers, cell phones and lap top computers must be turned off in the courtroom.
  • The well (between counsel table and the judge’s bench) is a restricted area. Counsel and other parties must request permission to enter the well.
  • Counsel table; Plaintiff/People are always assigned closest to the jury box. Defense is farthest from the jury box.
  • Any additional instructions or directions as indicated in the courtroom or by the courtroom deputy.
How do I know when to appear or what my options are?

Ultimately, it is your responsibility to contact the court on or before the appearance date which appears on your citation, however, you may receive a “violation information notice” from the court with options for handling your specific charges. If your appearance is mandatory, you must appear. A violation information notice is usually mailed to you at the address listed on the citation within 21 days of the date the citation was issued. The notice contains general information and requirements and options available for resolving the citation, which may include:

  • Amount of bail, based on the violations and your prior driving history
  • Proof of correction requirements for mechanical violations, registration, license and insurance violations
  • Mandatory court appearance requirements
  • Traffic school eligibility requirements

A return envelope for mailing your payment is provided with the violation information notice. If you do not receive a violation information notice, contact the court as failure to receive a violation information notice is not a legal excuse for failing to take care of the citation. It is your responsibility to take action on the citation on or before the due date listed on your citation. When submitting payments and/or documents by mail, allow 10 days for delivery and processing.

If you have a financial hardship and can show that you are unable to pay the full amount for the offenses on your traffic ticket, you may request the court to consider your ability to pay. However, you must appear before the court to do so. When you appear in court and plead “guilty” at arraignment, you may request that the court consider your ability to pay in reducing the fine to be paid. If you plead “not guilty,” after a trial and conviction, you may request that the court consider your ability to pay in deciding the fine ordered for the offenses. (Veh. Code, § 42003(c).) Additionally, regardless of your plea, if you are ordered to pay a fine you may ask the court for an installment payment plan that is based on your ability to pay or ask the court to approve community service due to financial hardship.

How do I Reserve a Court Date?

"Reserve a Court date"


Beginning June 14, 2010

To appear in front of a judicial officer, you must reserve a date.

How do I reserve a court date?

  • 24 hours/day, 7 days/week at this link
  • in person, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm Monday - Friday

You must have the following information:

  • Citation number or OC Pay number listed on your courtesy notice AND one of the following
  • Driver's License Number OR Vehicle License OR Date of Birth