Traffic Ticket Arraignment in California

A traffic ticket arraignment is your first appearance after you have been cited by a police officer for a traffic violation. It is your first opportunity to appear in front of a Judge, hear the charges against you and enter a plea of “Guilty” or “Not Guilty”.

Entering a plea of “Not Guilty” requires the prosecution to prove the all of the elements of the offense you are cited for.

What Preparation is Needed for My Traffic Ticket Arraignment?

court house
Your Wallin & Klarich attorney will appear at your traffic ticket arraignment on your behalf.

Your arraignment is your first date to appear in court and set the case for a traffic trial. At the arraignment, your attorney enters a plea of “Guilty” or “Not Guilty” on your behalf, and sets your case for a traffic trial.

It is important to make sure you understand the terms specified on your ticket. It will give you important information that you should discuss with your attorney about your case. The citation will include:

  1. The charges you are cited for (these will be handwritten with the letters VC or Vehicle Code);
  2. What date and time you must appear in court for your traffic arraignment; and
  3. What courthouse you must appear at (there will be a name and an address listed on your ticket).

What Will the Judge Say in Court?

On the date of your case, you will appear before a judge in a designated courtroom. One of the most important aspects of the arraignment is for the judge to inform you of your basic legal rights. These rights include the right to have a trial within 45 days, the right to an attorney, the right to cross-examine the citing officer, among other legal rights. Usually this will be read to the entire group of defendants present.

What Are the Next Steps After the Traffic Ticket Arraignment?

After your attorney has entered a plea of “Not Guilty”, they will then set the case for a traffic trial. The trial date will be set within 45 calendar days of your arraignment unless your lawyer believes it is in your best interest to set the trial date on a later date. During this time period your attorney will:

  • Begin researching the law and relevant cases pertaining to the charges against you,
  • Prepare legal defenses,
  • Challenge the validity of the officer’s testimony, and
  • Make an informal discovery request to receive all necessary documents to assist in preparation of your traffic trial.

What is the Benefit of Hiring an Attorney for your Traffic Ticket Arraignment?

Attending a traffic ticket arraignment means appearing in court with many other defendants. The judge takes the bench and will continue to call the names of those accused for several hours.

Having a lawyer appear for you means you do not have to miss time from work or your other obligations. It also means your lawyer will make the correct choice when it comes to selecting the options given to you by the court.

In some cases, your lawyer can resolve your case in one hearing. This happens in cases where you were cited for an “equipment violation” or not having your license or registration with you at the time you were cited. In other cases, your lawyer may arrange for you to be allowed to attend traffic school. This can avoid you having a point on your DMV record as well as no increase in your car insurance premiums.

Call Wallin & Klarich Today

At Wallin & Klarich, we have been handling traffic arraignments for over 40 years. Our experienced team of attorneys can help you with your traffic ticket arraignment so that you can avoid going to court and avoid points on your DMV record so you will not risk losing your license.

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina, and Victorville, we can help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at 877-466-5245. We will be there when you call.


1. [Brown, D., (2013) Fight Your Ticket & Win in California (15th Edition). Published by NOLO: Berkley, CA.]

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