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Frequently Asked Questions
How can I pay my traffic ticket online and view information about my traffic citation?

To pay your traffic ticket online and view information about your traffic citation, please visit the court's online traffic payment system.

How do I find out how much my ticket is?

You can find out the ammount of your traffic fine from the on-line traffic payment system without going through the payment portion.

I just received a traffic citation. What should I do next?

You will be receiving a courtesy notice at the address listed on the citation. Read the Courtesy Notice carefully and follow the instructions. If you have not received a courtesy notice and it has been at least three weeks since your citation was issued, please contact our office for information.

What should I do if my vehicle was towed?

If your vehicle was towed at the request of a Peace Officer, please call the arresting agency or the towing company.

Are Spanish interpreters available at the court?

Yes. Spanish interpreters are available on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30 to 10:30 am.

Can I appear as a walk-in for court?

You may appear as a walk-in on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between 7:30 am and 8:15 am. We do not accept walk-ins on Fridays or after 8:15 am. Please bring your citation, courtesy notice, or any other information you have pertaining to your case.

Please keep in mind that walk-in schedules are subject to change at any time.

Can I attend traffic school?

You may attend traffic school only if:

  • The citation was for a moving violation.
  • You have not taken a traffic school course within the past 18 months.
  • You do not have more than 3 infractions on your driving record.
  • You do not have a misdemeanor on your driving record.
  • You did not exceed the speed limit by more than 25mph.

If you were cited while driving a commercial vehicle or if you are a driver with commercial license, you are not eligible for traffic school effective September 20, 2005.

If you do not attend traffic school, your auto insurance may be adversely affected because the conviction will be reported to the DMV.

To request traffic school by mail:

  • Select option #4 on your courtesy notice or mail a written request to the court.
  • Enclose a check or money order for the full amount of the bail as listed on your Courtesy Notice payable to Merced Superior Court.

Please be certain to write the case and/or citation number on all correspondence and payments.

Once your request has been authorized you will be provided a list of approved traffic schools and a completion due date. You may only attend traffic schools approved by Merced Superior Court.

You may also obtain a list of schools in your area at the CTSI website.

You can contact the traffic school representative directly by dialing:

Merced Traffic Division
Tel: (209) 725-4189

Los Banos Traffic Division
Tel: (209) 725-4212

Visit the Traffic School page for more information.

What should I do if my case has gone to collections or my license has been suspended?

If your case has gone to collections or you have an order of suspension on your driver’s license, you need to speak with a collection service representative.

Revenue and Reimbursement
Tel: (209) 385-7413
Web: http://www.mercedrr.org
Pay by Phone: 1-800-887-7752

G.C. Services
Tel: (English) 1-800-333-8395
Tel: (Spanish) 1-800-616-6007
Pay Online: https://courtpay.gcserv.com

Franchise Tax Board
Tel: (916) 845-4064
Web: http://ftb.ca.gov
Payment Options: http://ftb.ca.gov/online/payment_choices.shtml

What should I do if I received a citation for a correctable violation?

If you were cited for an expired vehicle registration, have a DMV agent or Peace Officer sign your citation to verify the correction was made. You may submit a copy of your proof of registration or the signed citation to the Court with the $25 fee.

If you were cited for driving without proof of insurance, and were insured on the day of the citation, submit a copy of the proof of insurance with the $25 fee.

If proof of correction and the appropriate fees for each correctible violation are postmarked by the due date, then the case will be dismissed.

Please write the citation number and/or case number on your check, money order or cashiers check.

If you did not have current insurance on the vehicle on the date the citation was issued, you will need to speak with a court clerk for additional information or pay the bail (fine) amount due by the due date.

Where and when do I show up?

Where?
You will first need to report to the jury commissioner’s office with your jury summons. It is important to bring your summons and to have your juror badge number available as they will use that number to check you in. There will be a brief orientation prior to assignment to a particular courtroom. Be prepared to wait as it may take some time to determine whether or not you will actually need to serve.

The jury office is located on the second floor of the courthouse. Please visit the Maps & Directions page for more information.

There are no excuses for lack of transportation. Public transportation is available through "THE BUS":

THE BUS
(209) 384-3111 OR 1-800-834-3111

When?
YOUR APPEARANCE IS CONFIRMED OR CANCELLED BY A RECORDED MESSAGE.

You must call (209) 725-4121 or 1-888-486-4398 any time after 5:00 pm the night before you are scheduled to appear (see summons) and every evening until you are excused.

If the line is busy call back again until you get through. It is busiest around 5 pm, if you call after 7 pm you will be likely to get through the first time. When prompted you will need to enter your 9-digit badge number then follow the recorded instructions. The jury system is available from 5 pm to 7 am.

What happens if I fail to appear?

Failure to appear as summoned may result in monetary sanctions from $250 to $1,500, a jail sentence or other legal consequences.

Why have some people never been called for jury service and I've been called more than once?

Juror selection is a random process. As such, there is always the chance that a person may never be called while another may be called several times. It is truly the "luck of the draw". However, if your name appears one way on the voter list and another way on your driver's license, your chances of being called increases. The court is not permitted to make changes to these lists.

If I am taking medication, on disability, or medically or mentally disabled and can’t come in for jury duty what do I do?

You MUST provide our office with a statement signed by a doctor that states your name, date of birth, specific reason(s) you are unable to serve, and how long the condition will exist (the length of the excuse 1 month, 6 months, 1 year or permanently). A medical excuse requires a doctor’s letter be provided for all persons under the age of 70 years. You may have your doctor’s office fax all notes to the jury office at 209-725-4122. See Section 3 box 14.


If I take care of a family member can I get out of jury duty?

If you MUST provide actual and necessary care to a member, Monday through Friday. Please provide written verification from the family member’s physician listing age, relationship, and reason for providing care. See Section 3 box 15.

If I am breast-feeding do I need a doctor’s note?

No, you will need to fill out Section 2 on your jury summons requesting a (1) one time 1 year postponement. (you may request up to one year from your child’s date of birth). If you require additional time please provide a note from your physician. See Section 2 box 2.

How late can I be kept for jury duty?

You can stay no later than 5:00 pm.

If I am related to a peace officer do I still have to report?

Yes, everyone has to serve jury duty unless you are an active peace officer as defined by Penal Code Sections 830.1 or 830.2(a)-(c) or 830.33(a). Correctional officers DO NOT fall under these code sections. See section 1 box 9.

If I am 70 years old or older does that automatically disqualify me from jury duty?

No, only if your 70 years or older with a health problem that no longer permits you to serve. (Once you are 70, you are not required to provide us with a doctor’s excuse but you still have to respond to your jury summons). See section 3 box 1.

If I have a felony on my record does that disqualify me from jury duty?

No, only if you have served State prison time and have NOT had your rights restored. See section 1 box 7 on jury summons.

Does my employer have to pay me for time missed from work due to jury service?

An employer is not required to pay a person during their period of jury service. However, an employer may not discharge or in any way discriminate against an employee for taking the time off to serve as required by law on a jury trial if the employee, prior to taking the time off, gives reasonable notice to the employer that he or she is required to serve.

What not to bring (food, knives, cameras, etc.)

Please visit the Court Security page to see court security policies and items that are not allowed into the courthouses.

How long will I have to serve and how often?

How long?
Prepare to be available on the day printed on summons and through Friday of that week. When reporting, plan to be available for the entire day. Reporting jurors may be selected to serve on a case of any length.

How often?
The average length of a jury trial, if you are selected to serve, is 3 to 5 days and you will have satisfied your obligation for at least a year. Those who report but are excused have also satisfied their obligation for at least a year.

May I request a postponement of my service to a more convient date?

Yes, as long as the request is not made the week of your jury service. The clerk is authorized to grant 1 ninety-day postponement if made in advance. Fill out your requested date on the jury summons response form. If you are breastfeeding, you may have your service postponed for up to a year.

What if my employer will not give me time off?

Notify your employer the day you receive this summons. State law prohibits discrimination or retaliation against an employee for taking time off to serve as a juror. California Labor Code, Section 230(a).

Your employer must let you off to serve as a juror under Labor Code Section 230. Your employer cannot fire you because you are called for jury duty as long as you provide them with reasonable notice. Your employer does not have to pay you for the time you take off to serve.

What about child care?

California law does not allow excuse from jury duty due to lack of child care. You may, however, request one (1) postponement. Fill out the request for postponement section on the reverse side of your summons and mail it immediately.

What if I am going to school?

California law does not allow excuse from jury duty while attending classes. You may, however, request one (1) postponement. Fill out the request for postponement section on the reverse side and mail it immediately.

Will I be protected against discrimination?

Yes. California law reads in part: "No eligible person may be exempt from service as a trial juror by reason of occupation, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, economic status, sexual orientation, or for any other reason."

What type of accomodations are available for persons with disabilities?

Assisted listening device is available for the hearing impaired. Notify the jury staff upon your arrival. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all state and local governmental entities, including the courts, to accommodate the needs of all persons with disabilities. To arrange for your needs, contact the jury office immediately upon receipt of this summons and request form MC-410 per California Rules of Court, Rule 1.100.

For more information, please visit the ADA page.

What if I don't have transportation?

There are no excuses for lack of transportation. Public transportation is available through "THE BUS":

THE BUS
(209) 384-3111 OR 1-800-834-3111

How do I request an excuse from jury duty?

Requests to be excused from jury service must be submitted in writing 5 days prior to the date you are called to serve to be considered, otherwise you are expected to appear on the day you are summoned. No excuses will be granted the day you are to serve except by a Judge.

What happens during the jury selection process?

This process is also called voir dire (French for “to say the truth”). A panel of prospective jurors is randomly selected, sent to a courtroom and given an oath to tell the truth. From that panel a smaller group is randomly called to be seated in the jury box. They are then asked questions by the judge and the attorneys for each side. The judge may excuse some jurors and the attorneys may ask some jurors to be excused for cause. (This means there is a reason for excusing them). Then some jurors may also be excused by the attorneys without giving a reason. This is called a peremptory challenge.

How much does a juror get paid?

Juror pay is $15.00 per day beginning the second day of service. Federal, State, and local government employees are excluded from payment.

How many jurors serve on a jury?

In California, generally 12 jurors are chosen, however there may be fewer than 12 in certain types of cases or if both sides agree. Alternative jurors may also be chosen to replace a juror if the need arises. They are expected to conduct themselves as jurors and listen carefully to all the evidence.

Can I talk to anyone about the case?

No. In fact you can’t even discuss the case with your fellow jurors until the jury deliberations at the end of the trial. The judge will give you instructions you must promise to follow. You are not allowed to do any outside research on your own. You will be asked to keep an open mind and not form any opinion until you have weighed all the evidence in the case.

Beware of jury scams.

A recent method for scammers to obtain personal information to be used in the theft of identity is from a scam being referred to as the “Jury Duty Scam”.

The scammers call the residence or office number of the victim and identify themselves as an officer or employee of the local court or jurisdiction. The scammers notify the victim, that he/she has failed to report for jury duty, and a bench warrant was issued against them for their arrest. The victim’s reaction is one of shock and surprise which places them at an immediate disadvantage, and much more susceptible to the scam.

The scammers reassure the victim of the possibility that it is “just a misunderstanding” or “some sort of clerical error” that can all be straightened up on the phone. All the victim needs to do is “verify” their information with a few simple questions.

The scammers obtains names, social security numbers, dates of birth, and will solicit credit card or bank account numbers claiming these will be used by their credit bureau to “verify” the victim’s identity. Any reluctance on the victim’s part and the scammers will threaten that the failure to provide the information will result in an execution of an arrest warrant.

Legitimate court employees will never call to solicit information, and would send any official notifications by standard mail delivery. Any person’s receiving such calls should record the scammer’s phone number (if possible via Caller ID) and report the contact to law enforcement.

Information provided within the document was obtained from the United States Army with their permission.

Never give any personal information to anyone via telephone unless you know for a fact, they are who they say they are. Report suspicious activity to the Merced County Sheriffs Department, 209-385-7360.

How can I get custody of my child and/or visitation with my child?

This will require a process of filing correct papers with the Family Law Clerks office and serving these papers on the other parent.

There may also be filing fees involved which you may request the court to waive. Waiver of court fees is based on your current financial situation.

You may be required to attend a court date, and in many instances, attend an Orientation class and a scheduled meeting with the Child Custody Recommending Counselor.

Unfortunately, the Family Law Clerks are unable to ‘advise’ you which are the correct papers to file to get custody or visitation orders, but the Courts do offer free legal assistance through the Self Help Center.

You may also want to refer to the websites designed for parties who do not have an attorney to represent them for the answers to this question. Please refer to the Top External Links of the Court website for these websites.

How can I enforce my Child Custody Recommending Counseling Order or other Court Order?

It is important that you always keep a copy of your court order with you for enforcement. A court order is a document that sets forth the order(s) that were made. It is signed by a Judge and is file marked by the courts. It is commonly called the “Findings and Order after Hearing” or may also be called “Child Custody Recommending Counseling Order/Agreement”.

It is recommended that you contact local law enforcement if you are having trouble ‘enforcing’ a court order. The officer that may be assisting you will normally want to see a copy of your court order.

What happens if I am unable to attend my orientation, CCRC, or hearing date?

The Orientation date is set by the court. It is a mandatory class that each party is required to attend, in most circumstances, prior to a scheduled Child Custody Recommending Counseling date. You may ask the courts to ‘waive’ your required attendance at the Orientation class if you qualify under one of the following conditions: you have attended the class within the last 18 months, or you live over 250 miles away from Merced County. You can find this Formal Request for Waiver of Orientation Hearing on the Court website under Local Forms of the Family Law Division. Please note this form must be submitted for approval and filing no later than 4:00 pm two days before the scheduled Orientation.

The Child Custody Recommending Counseling date is set by the court. It is normally court mandated that parents attend Child Custody Recommending Counseling prior to the Judge making orders regarding custody and/or visitation. There will normally be a court date set following the Child Custody Recommending Counseling date. If you missed your Child Custody Recommending Counseling date you will have the opportunity to explain to the Judge at the Further court date, the situation that arose which caused you to ‘miss’ this Child Custody Recommending Counseling date. At this time it would be at the Judge’s discretion to reset the Child Custody Recommending Counseling date. Please be aware that the Judge can order you to pay ‘Child Custody Recommending Counseling Reimbursement fees’ for a missed Child Custody Recommending Counseling date which is normally in the amount of $50.00.

Hearing dates are set by the court. It is not possible to inform you what the Judge will order in the event that you miss a court date. It is recommended that you check your court file as soon as possible after a ‘missed’ court date to find out what happened in your absence. If you are disagreeable with the orders that were made at this hearing date, you may want to use the services of the Self Help Center for further assistance. The Self Help hours and location are located on the Court website.

How can I continue my orientation, Child Custody Recommending Counseling, or hearing Date?

Continuance of these dates will require a stipulation signed by all parties involved which sets forth the date(s) in which the Orientation, Child Custody Recommending Counseling, or Hearing date is currently scheduled for and date(s) the parties agree to continue the matter to. The Stipulation and Order to Continue or Advance a Court date can be found on the Court website under Local Forms.

The Stipulation and Order to Continue or Advance a Court date must be filed prior to the scheduled date(s).

There is no filing fee to file this stipulation.

Is a phone call sufficient notice for an Ex Parte hearing?

It is acceptable to give notice of an ex parte hearing by a phone call. When you give notice to the other party of an ex parte hearing, be sure to let the other party know the date, time and courtroom location of the ex parte hearing. Additionally, please have a copy of the proposed ex parte order to give to the other party ‘prior’ to the matter being called in court.

Please note that you do not want to violate any restraining orders that may be in effect and you may need an uninvolved party to give notice of the hearing to the other party as well as the third party giving a copy of the proposed ex parte order to the other party.

How do I file for divorce?

You may purchase the Divorce packet from the Family Law Clerks’ office which includes all the basic forms needed to file for Divorce including the final Judgment.

You may also complete and download these forms from helpful websites designed for parties who do not have an attorney to represent. Please refer to the Top External Links of the Court website for these websites.

Unfortunately, the Family Law Clerks are unable to ‘advise’ you which are the correct papers to file for divorce, but the court does offer free legal assistance thru the Self-Help Center. Please refer to the Court website for hours and location of these services.

How do I finalize my divorce?

All of the basic forms for finalizing a Divorce are in the Divorce packet which is sold in the Family Law Clerks office.

You may also complete and download these forms from helpful websites designed for parties who do not have an attorney to represent. Please refer to the Top External Links of the Court website for these websites.

Unfortunately, the Family Law Clerks are unable to ‘advise’ you which are the correct papers to file to finalize the divorce, but the court does offer free legal assistance thru the Self-Help Center. Please refer to the Court website for hours and location of these services.

What happens if I am unable to serve the other party?

In most circumstances, it is required that the other party be served with papers that set forth your request for orders from the court. This is a requirement that normally needs to be satisfied before the Judge can grant the orders you are requesting.

There are different methods that can be considered service on the other party other than personally serving the other party. It is recommended that you seek assistance on the requirement(s) for these alternative methods of service through our court’s free legal assistance of the Self Help Center.

My case is confidential. Who can view my file?

The only parties that are able to view the confidential file are the parties named in the action who must provide a picture I.D. or the attorney of record of the parties named in the action.

A party not named in the action may view the file if they can provide a letter signed by one of the parties to the action authorizing that individual to view the file. This individual with written authorization for viewing the file must provide a picture I.D.

Where do I obtain a marriage license? a power of attorney? information about a tax lien?

These matters are handled by the Merced County Clerk-Recorder's Office. They are located at 2222 M St., Main Floor, Merced, CA 95340. They can be reached by telephone at (209) 385-7627.

Where do I pay my property taxes?

Property tax matters are handled at the County Administration Building, located at 2222 M St., Merced, CA 95340. They can be reached by telephone at (209) 385-7631.

Where do I get my business license? Obtain a fictitious business name?

If the business is located within Merced County, you can obtain your business license at the County Administration Building, located at 2222 M St., Merced, CA 95340. You can also visit the City of Merced Website for more information about obtaining a business licence.

© 2014 Superior Court of California, County of Merced