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:
- fix-it ticket issued mid January 2020 for 5200(a) -- two license plates
- before the due date rolled around, the Walnut Creek court closed due to COVID
- mailed in the $25 fee and the signed off citation anyway
- checked with the court repeatedly over the subsequent several months and always got the "court is closed" message
- 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
- 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
- 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"
- called back today and the clerk said there was no motions calendar, no process, etc, other than to file ANOTHER TR-125.
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).