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  1. #1
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    Aug 2013
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    Default Statute of Limitations on Accident Citataion and Cout Date

    My question involves traffic court in the State of: CA
    My son was involved in a car accident and about 3 weeks later, he received a citation in the mail. The citation had a county court location where it said to appear on or before a certain date and time. I called the court and asked if we are to show up on the date and time listed. They looked up the citation both by the citation number and my son's drivers license number and could not find anything. They said that the ticket was not yet in the system and thus not yet processed. They said it takes some time for the ticket to be processed by the issuing city and sent to them and then processed by them. They mentioned that once a court date was set for him, they would send another notice. Although I had updated our address with the DMV, a week later we moved (just a mile away) and I told the gal on the phone and she said that they could not take new address over the phone and in order for me to check on his court date, that I need to look online to check on his ticket regularly, as the new information would be sent to the old address and would not forward.....this was 7 months ago. I go on the court website daily and pretend to want to pay the citation. I enter the citation number and the city that issued the ticket and it keeps telling me citation not found, check later! The other teenager that was in this accident has not received anything either in the mail after that initial letter and citation.....

    Does this ever just get lost and fall through the cracks and if it does, how long before my son is no longer liable and the statute runs out? If ever???


    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations on Accident Citataion and Cout Date

    Quote Quoting eastbay
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    Does this ever just get lost and fall through the cracks and if it does, how long before my son is no longer liable and the statute runs out? If ever???
    I have never heard of one getting lost or falling through the cracks. They always seem to pop up when least expected.

    The statute of limitations for a traffic violation is 1 year from the date of the commission of the offense. (Penal Code section 802(a))

    Quote Quoting eastbay
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    The other teenager that was in this accident has not received anything either in the mail after that initial letter and citation.....
    What initial letter is that? There is only 1 letter/courtesy notice but it is not an obligation of the court to send one. It is simply a courtesy reminder of the appearance date and it also outlines the options that the defendant may choose to proceed with. The reason they say "the court is not obligated to send one" is simply to avoid having someone in your situation from using that notice (and the likelihood that you will not receive one because you moved) as an excuse to not appear.

    That aside, what city did the accident occur in and which court (county/city) was the case supposed to have been filed in?

    Also, what was he cited for? What code section?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    8

    Default Re: Statute of Limitations on Accident Citataion and Cout Date

    Thank you so much for the assistance.

    The letter was a courtesy notice from the city of San Ramon (Contra Costa County). I was following the directions and was planning to go to court on the date that the citation lists. I called the court (Walnut Creek) in advance of the date to simply get some information. They are the ones that said that his ticket was not yet in the system and thus not yet processed and sent to them from San Ramon. She said that once they (Walnut Creek Court), receive it, they send out the actual time and date of the court appearance. The citation does not list any costs associated with it either...the actual violations are:

    VC 21752- Driving on left in intersection (infraction)
    VC-22350- Unsafe speed

    (the writing is faint so my numbers might be off)

    The is an astricks after the violations stating the "must bring parent"

    When I told the lady on the phone at the court that we had moved and may I give her our new address, she said that they can only send the notice to the address on file and cannot take my new address. She did say that I can go on the Walnut Creek court webpage and keep checking on the ticket- by clicking pay for my citation online. When I do this and put in the citation number and the city of the violation, it always tells me citation not found. I did submit a change of address for all of us through the DMV, so I know that the DMV at least has our new address.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    116

    Default Re: Statute of Limitations on Accident Citataion and Cout Date

    Quote Quoting eastbay
    View Post
    My question involves traffic court in the State of: CA
    My son was involved in a car accident and about 3 weeks later, he received a citation in the mail. The citation had a county court location where it said to appear on or before a certain date and time. I called the court and asked if we are to show up on the date and time listed. They looked up the citation both by the citation number and my son's drivers license number and could not find anything. They said that the ticket was not yet in the system and thus not yet processed. They said it takes some time for the ticket to be processed by the issuing city and sent to them and then processed by them. They mentioned that once a court date was set for him, they would send another notice. Although I had updated our address with the DMV, a week later we moved (just a mile away) and I told the gal on the phone and she said that they could not take new address over the phone and in order for me to check on his court date, that I need to look online to check on his ticket regularly, as the new information would be sent to the old address and would not forward.....this was 7 months ago. I go on the court website daily and pretend to want to pay the citation. I enter the citation number and the city that issued the ticket and it keeps telling me citation not found, check later! The other teenager that was in this accident has not received anything either in the mail after that initial letter and citation.....

    Does this ever just get lost and fall through the cracks and if it does, how long before my son is no longer liable and the statute runs out? If ever???


    Thank you in advance.
    The only ticket my wife ever received was never filed. This happened before we met but the way she tells me the story..... like you, she checked with the courthouse on a regular basis - but nothing was ever filed. The clerk told her that the officer has up to one year to file the ticket. I guess he never did. This was six years ago. Good luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    LA LA Land
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    Default Re: Statute of Limitations on Accident Citataion and Cout Date

    Quote Quoting eastbay
    View Post
    Thank you so much for the assistance.

    The letter was a courtesy notice from the city of San Ramon (Contra Costa County). I was following the directions and was planning to go to court on the date that the citation lists. I called the court (Walnut Creek) in advance of the date to simply get some information. They are the ones that said that his ticket was not yet in the system and thus not yet processed and sent to them from San Ramon. She said that once they (Walnut Creek Court), receive it, they send out the actual time and date of the court appearance. The citation does not list any costs associated with it either...the actual violations are:

    VC 21752- Driving on left in intersection (infraction)
    VC-22350- Unsafe speed

    (the writing is faint so my numbers might be off)

    The is an astricks after the violations stating the "must bring parent"

    When I told the lady on the phone at the court that we had moved and may I give her our new address, she said that they can only send the notice to the address on file and cannot take my new address. She did say that I can go on the Walnut Creek court webpage and keep checking on the ticket- by clicking pay for my citation online. When I do this and put in the citation number and the city of the violation, it always tells me citation not found. I did submit a change of address for all of us through the DMV, so I know that the DMV at least has our new address.
    There are 2 versions of citation books, some are issued in triplicates, others are issued in quadruplicates and chances are, even if the copy that is sent to the court ends up getting lost, then there is a carbonless copy somewhere else that can be duplicated for use in filing with the court. This is only one of many reasons why it is virtually impossible for one to fall through or get lost. Furthermore, an officer cannot change his mind on a citation. If one is written, it must be filed in court and then it can be corrected, amended or a motion to dismiss must be made by the officer or his superior if it is to be disposed of for some reason. So whenever an officer is handed a new citation book, he must account for each and every citation in that book; this is only but one duty that a custodian of records at the police agency is responsible for.

    If both of these citations were issued back to back (and the assumption is that an officer who investigated a traffic accident and made some conclusions on a police report all of which resulted in the issuing of one or more citation, would have issued these citations one after the other), and since citations are numbered consecutively, all citations in each book will have to get accounted for. This is unless one citation happened to be the last one in that book of citations, after which he would have to account for all citations in that book only that he issued the next one from a new book and it happened to get misplaced somehow.. So if one of two (possibly) consecutively marked citations got filed, there is no logical reason why the other should be delayed except for the possibility that it was rejected by the court for one reason or another.

    Typically, this may be because the clerk could not read it, but only if the hand writing is really bad -although the court gets the TOP (clearest) copy-; or because of some discrepancy with regards to the code sections cited on the ticket. Although I don't know what speed was cited, the only possible reason I can see from the code sections you revealed here is that the alleged speed may have been lower than the posted limit and although it is legally possible to get cited for a speed that is unsafe even if that speed is lower than the posted limit, this often does confuse the entry clerk (and maybe even rejected by the filing system) since speeding fines are based upon a positive number higher than zero.

    If a citation is rejected then it goes back to the citing officer, he corrects it or clarifies an unclear item and sends it back. This might take a couple, maybe a few weeks at most. If anything material or something that requires disclosure to the defendant was changed by the officer, then he must use form TR-100 to notify the defendant of such a change. This notice is obviously mailed to the defendants address which was on the citation but in this case, that address is no longer correct and no one receives the notice.

    I think it would be safe to assume that if you were mailed a courtesy notice, that it was not received nor will it ever be received. The alternative then is to do what you have been doing -i.e. checking online and/or with the clerk-. In thinking about that process, the one common denominator between both a license number search and a citation number search is that the system requires entry of the defendant’s D.O.B. in both search types.... So regardless of whether you do either, if the D.O.B. on the citation is incorrect (say it was written as ab/cd/efgh, and that entry was used to file it in court under an incorrect D.O.B. then all of your searches (and since you might copy the citation number from the copy of the citation, whereas you might enter the DOB from memory) and unless you are typing in the same incorrect D.O.B., then entering his actual DOB (which may be st/uv/wxyz) will result in the citation not coming up. If the DOB is completely illegible from the copy of the citation, then check the police report if any and that should contain the same information.

    In all honesty, I am not certain of what other methods the court can search through their records, obviously, a name search would reveal anything related. But I couldn't tell you if the court system allows for such a simple method.

    I know you've stated that the writing is faint on the citation, but check to see if the DOB is readable and if so, make sure it is the correct DOB. The court usually gets the top (clearest copy), the officer keeps cop #2 (and #4 if it is a quad-form) and the defendant gets copy #3. So it is likely that the court's copy is the clearest/most readable.

    It goes without saying but you always have the option of contacting the law enforcement agency where the citing officer works to check with him as to the status of one of two citations which (more likely than not) were issued on a particular date. This would be the easy answer and might resolve matters with a single phone call; although most people would not want to do this for the obvious reason of not prompting the officer that something is amiss. I just don't believe that something like this could just... -POOF-... disappear, just like that.

    Your question about costs... Unlike other states, these are not disclosed on the citation. Instead, the defendant is notified of the total fine amount for all offenses charged on one citation by way of the courtesy notice. Since you have not received one, you should expect that a guilty/no contest verdict/plea for both offense may result is fines in the following amounts:

    21752 --> $238
    22350 Depends on how many miles over the limit:
    1 - 15 mph over --> $238
    16 - 25 over --> $360
    26 mph or over --> $490

    This is obviously a juvenile court matter, and judges are granted some wide latitude with regards to penalties. This could work both ways though. It could result in a sizable reduction in the fine amounts. But it could also mean the full fine(s) plus some sort of license suspension. You might as well consider the possibility of traffic school and as is always the case, traffic school would be part of a court order. (In adult matters, and while it is typically initiated by the defendant making a request to attend traffic school, failing to complete the program can be charged as a misdemeanor). In juvenile matters, there need not be a request by the defendant or his/her parent/guardian. The court can make such an order at its discretion.

    I am not sure if I’ve answered all questions if not, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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