My question involves traffic court in the State of: Orange County, CA

So I was on the freeway earlier today around 12:30 when there was not much traffic I was going about 70MPH. I was in the fast lane next to the carpool lane and my exit was coming up so I merged over to the left 2 lanes, since its a one of the lanes is closed for construction, and got off the freeway. When I was stopped at the light waiting to make a left I see the CHP 2 cars behind peaking over. I thought it was kind off odd but did not think much. I turn left and then pulls me over. I stopped and he comes over and said all the usual stuff but he did not ask why I thought i was being stopped he simply said "I am stopping you for driving solo in the carpool lane and exiting over a double yellow" all I said was "I was never in the carpool lane". He wrote the ticket and that was it. I did not say this but all I was thinking was the flow of traffic was ok it wasn't stopped for me to have to get in the lane to get somewhere. He did explain if I contest it we would be before a judge and he would have to decide.

so I'm reading the back of the ticket and it says if I contest it I am required to pay the bail amount. Does this mean if I loose they would keep my money or could I still go to traffic school? any idea of what the fine would be? I know I'm looking at over $500 if just pay it.
What would be the reality of me getting it waived or dismissed? What is the best way to go about doing this?
Is there anyway to look up the officers first name or any other info on the office? I have the last name and his No.

This is the first ticket I get ever.

Any advice would be appreciated.