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California Self Help Articles > How to Get an Extension for a Traffic Court or Criminal Case.
How to Get an Extension for a Traffic Court or Criminal Case.
Summary: extension, court, traffic, ticket, attorney, defendant, clerk, fine, trial, court date


A defendant may want more time to pay a traffic fine, or may need more time to hire an attorney before entering a plea in a misdemeanor case.  But I often observe that peole fail to ask fro one in time and end up with a worse problem.

Getting a continuance to pay a fine or for other reasons is generally very easy in most cases. 

Most judges will grant a reasonable request to schedule a new court date to return for a case.  This is true of traffic ticket cases and criminal cases such as DUIs.

For traffic tickets, most court clerks will grant a continuance via phone or in person routinely upon request before the date listed on bottom of a citation.

The request can also be made in court and is generally granted.  Be clear on what you are asking for. If you ask the judge for more time to pay a fine, be ready to tell the court how you can pay.  If you need more time to prepare for a trial, tell the court why you need more time.

For more serious criminal cases, a request for a continuance has to be made in open court.  But judges often continue arraignments and pre trial dates for many reasons, including needing a private attorney, maybe a pysch evaluation, maybe in custody in a different county.

Penal Code section 1050 gives the court the power to continue any court date on a showing of good cause.

Getting a continuance on most cases is simple.  It only becomes difficult if there has been a failure to appear or if a trial is scheduled to take place at a certain time and there is short notice.