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Appearing in Court

How do I set a court date?

If you wish to appear before a judge or court commissioner, you must check in with the clerk in the Traffic Department at the location indicated on your citation, no later than the appearance date stated, to be placed on the court calendar. If you are under 18 years of age, your case is automatically set on calendar. No check-in is required. Your appearance location and time should be noted on the bottom of your citation.

Your appearance date, place, and time are indicated on your copy of the citation, and on your courtesy bail notice. (The officer who issued your citation will not be present.)

If your citation has been filed with the court by the citing agency, you may appear prior to your due date that is noted on the bottom of your citation. Please contact the Traffic Processing Center for verification of valid court appearance dates available.

Traffic Court Locations and Schedules

Grover Beach and San Luis Obispo traffic court is held at the Veteran's Memorial Building in San Luis Obispo and check in begins at 8:30 am and ends promptly at 9:00 am.

Paso Robles traffic court check-in begins at 12:30 pm and ends promptly at 1:00 pm.

Shorts, tank tops, bare feet, and other inappropriate attire are not allowed in the courtroom.

Appearing in Court

When you appear in traffic court, the first appearance is for Arraignment, which is when you enter a plea.

The judge will ask that you step before the bench and confirm your understanding of the charges. If you do not understand, the charges and the potential consequences in the event of conviction will be read to you. Thereafter, you are asked which plea you want to enter.

There are several pleas you can enter; the most common are:

Guilty Plea

If you plead guilty you can give the judge an explanation about what happened.

If the judicial officer reduces your fine, he or she can order it be paid immediately, and, considering your prior convictions and any facts in aggravation, can increase the fine over the bail amount.

No Contest Plea

This is the same as a guilty plea except if you are involved in a civil suit (arising from your actions the citation was issued for) - such as a traffic accident - a no contest plea cannot be used against you in a later civil proceeding.

If the judicial officer reduces your fine, he or she can order it be paid immediately, and, considering your prior convictions and any facts in aggravation, can increase the fine over the bail amount.

Not Guilty Plea

The judge will order your case scheduled for trial to determine your innocence or guilt. You will be notified by mail of your court trial date and time to appear. It is your responsibility to assure that the court does have your correct mailing address and a phone number where you can be contacted.

You may not give an explanation at arraignment since the facts will be covered at your trial.

Appearing in Court on a Failure to Appear

If your case is in a Failure to Appear status, you must post FULL bail plus penalty assessment(s) in order to be placed on calendar. In order to receive a release of your Failure to Appear hold on your driving record after your court appearance, you must pay by cash, credit/debit card or money order. Payment by personal check will delay the release of your Failure to Appear hold.

Conduct During Court Proceedings

During court you are expected to sit quietly and refrain from talking, chewing gum, reading newspapers, or other behavior that would distract the court and others.

Shorts, tank tops, and other inappropriate attire are not permitted and you will not be allowed to appear if so dressed. Hats are not to be worn in the courtroom. No food, drinks, or weapons of any kind are allowed in the courtroom.

Pagers, telephones, and other audible electronic devices are to be turned off or made silent before entering the courtroom.