ADA
Court Dates

This page tells you about:  

  1. How do I request a court date?
  2. How should I dress when I go to court?
  3. Why does my ticket require a mandatory appearance?
  4. Can I go to any court?
  5. What if I don’t speak English well?
  6. What if I need to postpone my court date? (a continuance)
  7. What if I miss my court date?  
  1. How do I request a court date?

    There are two ways to ask for a court date — in person or by mail. You cannot ask by phone.

    In person: On or before your due date, go to the Santa Clara Courthouse, and sign a Promise to Appear. The Clerk will tell you when to come back for arraignment.

    By mail: You can ask for a court date by sending a letter to Santa Clara Courthouse. Your letter must say if you are asking for arraignment or trial. You must also pay the full bail amount. Look at your courtesy notice to know how much your bail is. The Court will hold your money in trust to make sure you come to court.
     
  2. How should I dress when I go to court?

    You must wear a shirt and shoes. The Court does not recommend wearing tank tops or shorts. There are other courtroom rules, too:

    • No food, drink, or gum
    • No weapons
    • Turn off pagers and cell phones
  3. Why does my ticket require a mandatory appearance?

    If your ticket requires a mandatory appearance, you must go to court to set the court date. You must come to court if:

    • the validation criteria requires it
    • the Court orders it
    • you have four or more prior traffic convictions
    • you were cited for speeding at a dangerous speed
  4. Can I go to any court?

    You must go to the Santa Clara Courthouse to process tickets for traffic and minor offenses.

  5. What if I don’t speak English well?

    The Court has interpreters. When you ask for a court date, tell the clerk what language you speak. Sometimes the court has special dates and times (calendars) for Spanish or Vietnamese speakers. If you ask for a court date by mail, tell the Court in your letter that you need an interpreter. (Also see the Interpreter page in the General Information section of this website.)

  6. What if I need to postpone my court date? (a continuance)

    Ask for a continuance. You can do this in person, by phone or in writing. The Court will allow one continuance for arraignments or trials if the parties have waived their right to trial within time periods set by law.

    If your court date is for arraignment, you must ask for your continuance at least ten court days before that date.

    If your court date is for court trial, you must ask for your continuance at least ten court days before that date. If the Commissioner set your court date, the clerk CANNOT postpone your case. You must write a letter to the Court to ask for a continuance.

  7. What if I miss my court date?

    Failure to appear for a court date may result in your bail being increased, a $300 Civil Assessment being imposed, a hold/suspension being placed on your driver’s license, and/or a warrant being issued for your arrest. When the Court is holding bail money in trust, the money can be forfeited, and additional fees may be added for your failure to appear in court.

    Please contact the Court right away for any options that may be available.
© 2014 Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara