Cases Involving Driving and Vehicular Laws
Traffic cases involve violations of the California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) code. There are three general types of violations:
These are not reported to the court. Your ticket contains payment info.
Traffic Infractions & Misdemeanors
Most of these cases are handled by the Traffic Division.
These cases are heard at the Main Courthouse in Madera.
Below, find information on the following topics:
- Traffic School
- Traffic Court Trials
More information about traffic violations can be found in the traffic section of the California Courts Self-Help website.
You may attend traffic school on this case if the following apply:
- If the offense did not occur within 18 months of a pervious violation for which you have attended traffic school.
- If the traffic violation does not carry more than one point under VC 12810 or one and one-half point under VC 12810.5(b)(2).
- Is not related to alcohol or drug use or possession.
- Is not a violation of VC 22406.5 (tank vehicles).
- You have a valid driver’s license.
If you meet the above guidelines for traffic school, you may send one check for the total bail amount plus $74.00 traffic violator school fee. (Pursuant to 42007(a) VC). The traffic school you attend is a private company and will also charge a tuition fee. If you fail or choose not to attend traffic school by the completion date, all fees and bail will be forfeited, your case closed and reported to DMV as a conviction. If you wish to attend traffic school but are unable to pay the full Amount Due (excluding the $74 non-refundable administrative fee) due to financial hardship, you must schedule an appearance in court for arraignment to ask the court to consider your ability to pay. If you would like to pay the full amount; however, are unable to do so all at one time, you may request a payment plan from the Traffic Clerk.
Traffic schools report traffic school completion certificates to the court electronically. Traffic school must be completed and the certificate of completion received 90 days from the post mark on your request to attend traffic school in order for the citation to be dismissed.
Traffic School fees are non-refundable.
NOTICE: If you are eligible for traffic school and decide not to attend traffic school, your automobile insurance may be adversely affected.
IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO RETURN YOUR CERTIFICATE TO THE COURT ON OR BEFORE YOUR DUE DATE.
This Court will accept online certificates from the courses approved and monitored by the California Traffic Safety Institute. When calling for information, be sure to have your case number, court name, and due date available. You can check to see if the Court has received your Traffic School Completion Certificate.
On-line programs are offered to the defendants as an option to traffic school. Please be advised that the home study programs require identity verification in order to complete the course. These programs are not regulated by the Department of Motor Vehicles and/or the Court. The Court recognizes these programs for use but assumes no liability for the schools' actions.
For Traffic Infractions, there are two types of trials available:
- Court Trial: A hearing in person held before a Judicial Officer. Both you and the officer who issued the citation must appear in court. The officer will state why a citation was issued. You will be able to speak on your own behalf or have witnesses testify regarding what happened. A Judge or Commissioner will make a determination on whether or not a crime was committed.
- Trial by Declaration: Allows you to contest the citation in writing instead of in person. Both you and the officer who issued the citation must complete forms and file them with the Court before a specified date. A Judge or Commissioner will review the documents filed and make a determination on whether or not a crime was committed and will issue a written ruling.
To ask for a court trial:
- Court trials may be requested in person or by mail. You will need to plead "not guilty" and the clerk will set your matter for a court trial.
- You can hire a lawyer to represent you or you may represent yourself. The Court will not hire an attorney to represent you in an infraction case.
If you require the assistance of an Interpreter, notify the Traffic Division at least one week before your hearing.
The fees and fines imposed in these divisions are according to statute.
For more information, view the The Judicial Council's Uniform Bail and Penalty Schedule. Please note, legislatively mandated penalties and assessments are calculated on top of the base bail listed on the bail schedule resulting in an increased fine. Additionally, Judicial Officers are afforded judicial discretion and may lower or increase the fines based on the circumstances in each individual case.