Civil traffic infraction hearings are heard before a Hearing Officer in the Ninth Circuit. Those who receive a traffic citation have the option within 30 days of paying the traffic fine as written on the citation, electing a driver improvement course, or requesting a hearing to contest the citation.
During the hearing the court will hear testimony from the law enforcement officer who issued the citation, witnesses for the state, the driver and witnesses for the driver. The driver must provide his or her own witnesses and a language interpreter if needed. After hearing all evidence in the case the court will determine whether guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If the matter is not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then the citation will be dismissed. If the matter is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then the court will proceed to sentencing. Drivers may also request a hearing to ask that points resulting from the violation be withheld. In this instance, testimony is not heard. The court will review the driver’s driving record to determine if it is appropriate to withhold points.
By requesting a hearing the driver waives the statutory fine printed on the citation. If found guilty by the court, an appropriate fine will be imposed and court costs will be added. Other penalties such as driving school, community service and license suspension can be required when appropriate.