Alameda County
Bar Association

Invitation to Comment – Traffic and Criminal Procedure 

Invitation to Comment – Traffic and Criminal Procedure: Ability to pay in traffic and other infraction cases 

The Judicial Council of California invites comments on the following proposal.

The Proposal

This proposal would assist courts in implementing rule 4.335, which provides a procedure for determining an infraction defendant’s ability to pay. Notably, rule 4.335(c) contemplates a written process for adjudicating ability-to-pay requests by requiring the court to accept written requests, unless the court directs a court appearance.

The proposal includes (1) an optional application form, (2) an optional judicial order form, and (3) a corresponding rule. Although some courts have already developed local forms addressing
ability to pay, other courts have not done so. The committees recognize the value of allowing courts that choose to create local forms the flexibility to use them. The committees, however,
also recognize the value of providing greater consistency and access to the courts through an easily accessible statewide form. These concerns are especially relevant here, because court users
often have infraction cases pending in multiple jurisdictions.

Notably, the committees designed the forms using a “plain language” and “user-friendly” format. Simple, easy-to-understand language helps make the forms usable for a wide variety of court
users. User testing of the forms indicated that these modifications to the standard format of Judicial Council forms would make them more understandable to the general public.

The deadline for comment is 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, August 15, 2017.  For more information and to comment, click here