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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    16

    Question Fta for Covid-Closed Court (Failed Tr-125 $315 Civil Assessment) for Fix-It Ticket

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: California

    Hello all, hopefully folks still come here with the whole safe-search errors! This site's been invaluable so I hope it gets sorted out.

    Long story short, I've a 2-plate fix-it ticket that got lost in the COVID shuffle and now there's a $315 Failure to Appear assessment that I can't get rid of, despite a (IMHO well-written) TR-125.

    Summary of the case:
    1. fix-it ticket issued mid January 2020 for 5200(a) -- two license plates
    2. before the due date rolled around, the Walnut Creek court closed due to COVID
    3. mailed in the $25 fee and the signed off citation anyway
    4. checked with the court repeatedly over the subsequent several months and always got the "court is closed" message
    5. heard nothing until September, when a notice was sent saying that I'd FTA'd, a trial in absentia was held, I was found guilty, and I owed them $511
    6. immediately called every day multiple times that week til the call finally went through. clerk said "it was probably lost" and that I should file a TR-125 and/or TR-220 both of which I did
    7. two months later, the court sent a "reply correspondence" saying "The court does not find good cause to vacate the assessment" and that "The court orders you to pay a $25 proof fee" and "The total amount due is $340"
    8. called back today and the clerk said there was no motions calendar, no process, etc, other than to file ANOTHER TR-125.


    My Question:
    Is there some other way to remedy a Failure to Appear civil assessment? It seems odd to have a fine without any sort of hearing option to argue your case. I can file another TR-125 but I can't imagine that'll do anything since they already ruled against it.

    It appears that 1214.1 and the 2020 Rules of Court 4.106 says that "The court must vacate the assessment upon a showing of good cause". Having fulfilled my duties by the due date (mailing in the fee and correction) seems to be good cause to believe that I had no more obligation to the court.

    They've also ignored my TR-220 to have a Trial de Novo even though it was submitted timely as well.

    Since the court doesn't have a motions calendar and the clerk won't schedule anything in front of the commissioner, I'm at a loss of what to do next (other than pay $340 for a fix-it ticket).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    18,340

    Default Re: Fta for Covid-Closed Court (Failed Tr-125 $315 Civil Assessment) for Fix-It Ticke

    What evidence or documentation do you have that you mailed in the fee and correction?

    Was your check cashed?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Fta for Covid-Closed Court (Failed Tr-125 $315 Civil Assessment) for Fix-It Ticke

    none, unfortunately. that's why Id called the court repeatedly to make sure it was processed. the only thing I have is the carbon copy from my checkbook, but they never cashed it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Paso Robles, California
    Posts
    544

    Default Re: Fta for Covid-Closed Court (Failed Tr-125 $315 Civil Assessment) for Fix-It Ticke

    This is interesting. First, what is the Date, Time and Location on the Notice to Appear that you were to appear in court? That's odd that they could hold a trial in absentia when you weren’t even arraigned. The first thing you should do is get a copy of the "Case Summery" from the clerk. They charge for it but its only 50 cents per page and should be no more than 3 pages. The thing you want to look for in this case summary is when and how you were arraigned and notified of the trial date. Then you want to check to see if the courthouse was actually opened on that date. You can also get evidence of payment and a copy of the signed off citation.

    When you get your case summary, post a redacted copy here.
    *****
    I may not always be right, but I am never wrong.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Fta for Covid-Closed Court (Failed Tr-125 $315 Civil Assessment) for Fix-It Ticke

    I no longer have the original citation (notice to appear) but I'm pretty sure the date was well after the court closed. They never sent a courtesy notice so I don't know of an updated due date. They held what they call a Trial by Declaration in Absentia (CVC 40903) which is annoying, albeit legal from what I an tell. The court's several hours away so I probably won't get up there in time to post here, but there was no arraignment, nor did they find the payment or signed off citation.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Paso Robles, California
    Posts
    544

    Default Re: Fta for Covid-Closed Court (Failed Tr-125 $315 Civil Assessment) for Fix-It Ticke

    You don't need to go up there; you can request the "Case Summary" over the phone. Don't worry about the citation, you could probably get a copy from the issuing agency if you want it. The important document is the case summary. CALL THE COURT AND GET A COPY!
    *****
    I may not always be right, but I am never wrong.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Fta for Covid-Closed Court (Failed Tr-125 $315 Civil Assessment) for Fix-It Ticke

    Hi sorry to come in but I have a similar issue that Jim was well informed on, Speedy trails and stay at home orders.
    I hope Jim and others can help, I had a ticket and could not appear due to court closure and I appealed to have the case dismissed however the Judge said I did it wrong. I requested on the grounds of Jims suggestions in the closed thread Court powers ticket validity for summons.
    My question is how do I correctly request a dismissal around this issue.
    Best Regards Dave Hume

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