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To Plead Not Guilty

  • If you wish to plead not guilty you must either schedule a court trial or request a trial by declaration. You will be required to post bail in either situation, unless you personally appear in court to make the request.
  • You may schedule a court trial in one of three ways:
    • You may request a court trial date at the Clerk's Office on or before the due date written on the citation. Bail must be posted.
    • You may request a court trial date by mail. The letter should include the statement that you intend to plead not guilty and would like a court trial date. Please list any dates on which you will NOT be available. After the request is received, your scheduled court trial date will be mailed to you. Bail must be posted when you make this request by mail.
    • You may request a court trial date by appearing before the Judge or Commissioner. Report to the Clerk's Office on any day before the due date on your citation and make a court date to appear. At the scheduled court appearance you may request a court trial without the necessity of posting bail.
  • If you live outside of San Joaquin County, you may request a trial by declaration. A trial by declaration is exactly the same as a court trial except all parties submit their statements in writing. The declaration should include the testimony you would give if you actually appeared for a court trial. The statement should be signed and dated by you and include your citation number. The Judge or Commissioner will review your written statement and the officer's written statement and will make a decision based on those materials only. You will be notified of the decision by mail within six weeks. You must post bail at the time of your request for a trial by declaration.
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