(a) Whenever a person is arrested for any violation of this code not declared to be a felony, or for a violation of an ordinance of a city or county relating to traffic offenses and he or she is not immediately taken before a magistrate, as provided in this chapter, the arresting officer shall prepare in triplicate a written notice to appear in court or before a person authorized to receive a deposit of bail, containing the name and address of the person, the license number of his or her vehicle, if any, the name and address, when available, of the registered owner or lessee of the vehicle, the offense charged and the time and place when and where he or she shall appear. If the arrestee does not have a driver’s license or other satisfactory evidence of identity in his or her possession, the officer may require the arrestee to place a right thumbprint, or a left thumbprint or fingerprint if the person has a missing or disfigured right thumb, on the notice to appear. Except for law enforcement purposes relating to the identity of the arrestee, no person or entity may sell, give away, allow the distribution of, include in a database, or create a database with, this print.
(b) The Judicial Council shall prescribe the form of the notice to appear.
(c) Nothing in this section requires the law enforcement agency or the arresting officer issuing the notice to appear to inform any person arrested pursuant to this section of the amount of bail required to be deposited for the offense charged.
(d) Once the arresting officer has prepared the written notice to appear, and has delivered a copy to the arrested person, the officer shall deliver the remaining original and all copies of the notice to appear as provided by Section 40506.
Any person, including the arresting officer and any member of the officer’s department or agency, or any peace officer, who alters, conceals, modifies, nullifies, or destroys, or causes to be altered, concealed, modified, nullified, or destroyed, the face side of the remaining original or any copy of a citation that was retained by the officer, for any reason, before it is filed with the magistrate or with a person authorized by the magistrate or judge to receive a deposit of bail, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
If, after an arrested person has signed and received a copy of a notice to appear, the arresting officer or other officer of the issuing agency, determines that, in the interest of justice, the citation or notice should be dismissed, the arresting agency may recommend, in writing, to the magistrate or judge that the case be dismissed. The recommendation shall cite the reasons for the recommendation and be filed with the court.
If the magistrate or judge makes a finding that there are grounds for dismissal, the finding shall be entered on the record and the infraction or misdemeanor dismissed.
Under no circumstances shall a personal relationship with any officer, public official, or law enforcement agency be grounds for dismissal.
(e) (1) A person contesting a charge by claiming under penalty of perjury not to be the person issued the notice to appear may choose to submit a right thumbprint, or a left thumbprint if the person has a missing or disfigured right thumb, to the issuing court through his or her local law enforcement agency for comparison with the one placed on the notice to appear. A local law enforcement agency providing this service may charge the requester no more than the actual costs. The issuing court may refer the thumbprint submitted and the notice to appear to the prosecuting attorney for comparison of the thumbprints. When there is no thumbprint or fingerprint on the notice to appear, or when the comparison of thumbprints is inconclusive, the court shall refer the notice to appear or copy thereof back to the issuing agency for further investigation, unless the court determines that referral is not in the interest of justice.
(2) Upon initiation of the investigation or comparison process by referral of the court, the court shall continue the case and the speedy trial period shall be tolled for 45 days.
(3) Upon receipt of the issuing agency’s or prosecuting attorney’s response, the court may make a finding of factual innocence pursuant to Section 530.6 of the Penal Code if the court determines that there is insufficient evidence that the person cited is the person charged and shall immediately notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of its determination. If the Department of Motor Vehicles determines the citation or citations in question formed the basis of a suspension or revocation of the person’s driving privilege, the department shall immediately set aside the action.
(4) If the prosecuting attorney or issuing agency fails to respond to a court referral within 45 days, the court shall make a finding of factual innocence pursuant to Section 530.6 of the Penal Code, unless the court determines that a finding of factual innocence is not in the interest of justice.
(5) The citation or notice to appear may be held by the prosecuting attorney or issuing agency for future adjudication should the arrestee who received the citation or notice to appear be found.
(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 467, Sec. 7. Effective January 1, 2004.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018