Archive for the ‘Courtesy Notice’ Tag

What is a “Citation?”   Leave a comment

In California, a traffic case gets started when a traffic ticket (a citation1) is delivered to the court by a law enforcement agency, such as a local police department or the California Highway Patrol.


When the court receives the original citation, it opens a file for the case and generates and mails a courtesy notice to the person who was cited2. This courtesy notice will usually give information about:


  • The amount of money due to the court for this ticket (called the “bail”);
  • The deadline to respond to the court without additional penalties;
  • Notice that the individual must appear in court in person (“Mandatory Appearance”), or that the citation can be resolved without ever appearing in court;
  • Information regarding traffic violator school eligibility;
  • Information regarding the requirements for clearing a correctible citation (sometimes called a “fix it” ticket).


NOTE: If you got a traffic ticket, it is your responsibility to get this information about deadlines or amounts due — whether or not you receive a courtesy notice in the mail.  If you do not receive a courtesy notice, contact the court by the “promise to appear” date on your citation, and ask a clerk to let you know what you need to do.


1Citation: A court order or summons that tells a defendant what the charges are. Also tells the defendant to go to court and/or post bail.


2Cited: When a defendant is not in custody but has signed a ticket promising to go to court on a certain day; can be used for any infraction, city or county ordinance, or misdemeanor.