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Appealing an Infraction -

       An infraction is a matter that can be punished by a fine, traffic school or some form of community service but jail and prison are not options for the court. See Penal Code §§17, 19.6 and 19.8. The most common type of infractions would be traffic tickets or violations of some city or county ordinance.

The Commissioner

       With an infraction, you do not get a jury trial. Often, the matter will be heard by a Commissioner. If you disagree with the findings of the Commissioner, you must file an appeal. For infractions, the court that will hear your appeal is the Appellate Division of the Superior Court. The reason for this is that the Traffic Court is a part of the Superior Court.

Traffic Court

       The appeal is not a new trial, so the reviewing court will generally not consider new evidence nor will they consider witnesses that were not presented at the initial trial. The initial trial court, the Traffic Court, is the place to bring all your witnesses and all your evidence.

Online Self-help Center

       You do not have the right to a court-appointed attorney for your appeal of an infraction. You can have a lawyer represent you or you can choose to represent yourself. However, the appeal is a complicated process. The California Courts offer an Online Self-help Center that can help you find a lawyer.

Notice of Appeal Deadline

       The notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days after the trial court makes it judgment or order. The deadline cannot be extended so it is important to consult with an attorney right away.


       The form for a Notice of Appeal (Form CR-142) can be obtained at any courthouse or county law library or online at The Judicial Council and the Administrative Office of the Courts. Also, it is important to know that the filing of a Notice of Appeal does not postpone the deadline for the payment of any fine or completing any part of the sentence imposed.

What is a Stay?

      In order to postpone the deadline it is important to ask the trial court for a "stay" of the proceedings. A "stay" means a postponement or delay while the matter is reviewed on appeal. If you don't get a stay from the trial court, you have the right to ask the Appellate Division to issue a stay. Please note: There is no filing fee for a criminal appeal but there could be fees for the reporter's transcripts.

      A fairly detailed explanation of the procedures for the appeal on an infraction can be found at the California Court web site: Information on Appeal Procedures for Infractions.

- Written by , Attorney at Law





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