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Election-Related Emergencies:

The court and clerk’s office are open on Election Day during normal court hours between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM.

Persons seeking urgent after-hours election-related court relief should telephone the Orange County Registrar of Voters Hotline at (714) 567-5197.

The Registrar of Voters, Bob Page, can advise the public if a solution is available without court intervention or provide information about how to request after-hours court relief.

The Voter Bill of Rights is available on the Secretary of State’s webpage at https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voter-bill-rights/.

General voter information can be found on the website of the Orange County Registrar of Voters, Bob Page, at https://www.ocvote.com/vc/web/voting

Appearances in Court -Traffic & Minor Offenses

Appearances in Court

Traffic and Minor Offenses generally don't require a court appearance, unless ordered by the court or your attorney.

Click here to access the Traffic Remote Hearings Instructions and/or the Traffic Video Appearance links.

If you are under the age of 18, you must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. If you have failed to appear or your case is in warrant status, please see 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.

To conduct court business via online services, which includes requesting an extension, establishing a payment plan or making a payment, submitting electronic correspondence, reserving a court date, or setting up automatic reminders for your case(s), access My Court Portal as a guest user or create an account.

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

Appearances 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.

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:

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.

Conducting court business via online services:

To conduct court business via online services, which includes requesting an extension, establishing a payment plan or making a payment, submitting electronic correspondence, submitting proof of correction online, reserving a court date, or setting up automatic reminders for your case(s), access My Court Portal as a guest user or create an account.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

To appear in front of a judicial officer for a traffic citation at any Orange County Court, you must reserve a date.

To conduct court business via online services, which includes requesting an extension, establishing a payment plan or making a payment, submitting electronic correspondence, submitting proof of correction online, reserving a court date, or setting up automatic reminders for your case(s), access My Court Portal as a guest user or create an account.

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

Failure to Appear - Warrant Information

If you fail to appear as indicated on your citation or ordered by the court, a warrant may be issued for your arrest in addition to other penalties. Please see below for further information.

WARNING: Until an appearance is made in court or bail is posted, your warrant or Department of Motor Vehicles hold will remain active and you are subject to arrest by any law enforcement agency.

If you fail to appear you may be subject to:
  • the ordering and issuance of a warrant for your arrest or the holding of the warrant until a future hearing date.
  • an additional failure to appear charge, which may add an additional fine/fee or sentence in addition to the originating charge(s).
  • if applicable, the forfeiture of any posted bail or bond.
  • if applicable to the charge, a hold may be placed on your driver’s license by the Department of Motor Vehicles resulting in the inability to renew your license or registration and/or a suspension or revocation of your licensing privileges.
  • a civil penalty of up to $300.00 pursuant to California Penal Code 1214.1 for failure to appear. Each additional failure to appear can result in additional $300.00 penalties for each non-appearance.
  • a $15.00 automated warrant fee pursuant to California Vehicle Code 40508.5.
  • referral to a collection agency including wage garnishments and levies.
  • ordinarily, driver’s license holds are issued on juveniles for Vehicle Code violations; however, if the juvenile has reached the age of 18, the case may be processed for a warrant.

To appear on a traffic warrant, you must report to the Traffic Department by 8:00 a.m. at the Justice Center which ordered the warrant. Defendants appearing after 8:00 a.m. will be required to return the next business day unless the court otherwise allows. To post bail, contact the Justice Center which ordered the warrant. Click here for locations.

If your driver’s license or registration has been placed on hold by the court with the Department of Motor Vehicles, you may be able to pay the full bail amount to clear or release the hold. The court will customarily notify the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of your compliance to release the hold. You can also contact the court through the Automated Information and Payment Center, to review your case and initiate a hold release if applicable.

The Department of Motor Vehicles may be able to accept payment for traffic tickets in collection or in warrant status and release your hold. To contact the Department of Motor Vehicles regarding the status of your driver’s license, Click here for the DMV website.

To verify the status of your case, you may access the court’s online case or calendar information.

Hearing Types

Traffic citations are customarily those involving violations of the California Vehicle Code, and Minor Offenses may be of a non-vehicle related offense including city municipal codes. A minor offense can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or an infraction, depending on the type of offense.

Infractions are not punishable by imprisonment. A person charged with an infraction is not entitled to a jury trial, but a court trial by a judicial officer upon pleading not guilty nor entitled to court appointed counsel, unless charged with a misdemeanor.

Arraignment:

The defendant is brought before the court to plead to the charges in the complaint.

Motions:

An oral or written request made by a party to the court for a ruling or order directing some act or action to be performed.

Court Trial:

There is no jury and a judicial officer hears both the defendant and the issuing officer’s testimony and any evidence presented to the court in determining both the issues of law and the facts of a case. The judicial officer will determine guilt or innocence and impose sentence.

Trial by Written Declaration:

A trial by written declaration is a procedure where, instead of appearing in court for a trial on your citation, you mail or bring in a written statement on a trial by written declaration by explaining the facts of your case and why the court should rule in your favor.

Sentencing: Terminal Disposition:

Judgment of the court.

Terminal disposition:

A sentence which can include fine, fees, community service, specific programs suited for the offense and/or various other court orders.

Arraignment:

The defendant is brought before the court to plead to the charges in the complaint.

Pre-Trial:

A conference of both the prosecuting attorney and defense to discuss the possibility of disposing of a case prior to a trial.

Motions:

An oral or written request made by a party to the court for a ruling or order directing some act or action to be performed.

Court Trial:

There is no jury and a judicial officer hears both the defendant and the issuing officer’s testimony and any evidence presented to the court in determining both the issues of law and the facts of a case. The judicial officer will determine guilt or innocence and impose sentence.

Jury Trial:

The case is presented to a jury with factual questions and a final judgment is determined by a jury.

Sentencing:

(Terminal Disposition), (Formal/Informal Probation): Judgment of the court.

Terminal disposition:

A sentence doesn’t include probation and will close once the terms of the sentence are satisfied.

Formal/Informal Probation:

Supervised by Probation Dept/Non Supervised by Probation. Conditional sentence in lieu of imposing the maximum penalty and subject to conditions imposed by the court.

Sentencing:

(Terminal Disposition), (Formal/Informal Probation): Judgment of the court.

Probation Violation Arraignment/Hearing:

Supervised by Probation Dept/Non Supervised by Probation. Conditional sentence in lieu of imposing the maximum penalty and subject to conditions imposed by the court.

Probation Violation Arraignment/Hearing:

Failure to comply with a term or condition of probation.

Probation Modification:

Request to modify a term or condition of probation.

Other Court Appearance Related Information

Court employees are prohibited from providing any legal advice. There are lawyer referral services and other organizations as listed below that may provide assistance to you.

Most matters processed by the Traffic Division are infractions and not eligible for court appointed counsel. However, if you are in custody or being charged with a misdemeanor, you may be eligible. At the arraignment, if you want to be represented by an attorney, but cannot afford one, a request may be made to the court for court appointed counsel, which is usually a public defender.

You may be asked to complete a financial declaration which is reviewed by the judicial officer. If the court determines that you meet the qualifications, an attorney will be appointed.

If you qualify for a court appointed counsel, the court will also make a determination at the conclusion of the case of your ability to pay all or part of the cost of the attorney. If the court determines that you are at that time able to pay, the court will order you to pay all or part of the cost. This order has the same force and effect as a civil judgment. This means if you do not pay the amount ordered, the court may garnish (seize) your bank account or wages, place a lien on your home, and take other action.

Click on the link below for the Offices of the Orange County Public Defender.

Offices of the Orange County Public Defender

Click the link below to learn more .

My Court Portal-Traffic and Criminal

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