Bail Forfeiture (Paying Fines)

Click on a topic to learn about:

  1. How can I pay my fine?
  2. Where do I pay my fine or bail?
  3. Credit/debit card and electronic fund transfer payments
  4. Can I make monthly payments?
  5. Who decides what the fine or bail will be for my case?

    If you are unable to pay the full amount due, you may request the to court consider your ability to pay and reduce the bail or ask the court to consider community service instead of your bail. Click here for the Ability to Pay Application .
  1. How can I pay my fine?

    To pay your fine, your citation must have been processed by the Court. If you don't have a courtesy notice yet, check the Traffic Case Info website  to learn if your case has been processed.

    You may choose from the options described below to pay your fine (also known as forfeiting bail).

    Traffic Payment Options:

    • Clerks Office Public Counter, courthouse drop box, or by mail:
      • Personal Checks
      • Money Orders
      • Cashiers Checks
      • Cash (in person only!)
      • Credit Card (American Express, Discover, MasterCard and VISA) - Public Counter
    • Internet or phone:
      • Electronic Fund Transfers
      • Credit Card (American Express, Master Card or Visa only)
      • Debit Card

    If you wish to pay by credit/debit card or electronic fund transfer, you can do it by phone or the internet. There will be an additional convenience fee charged. See information on this page about credit/debit card or electronic fund transfers.

  2. Where do I pay my fine or bail?

    You can pay in person, by mail, by phone or online.

    To pay in person, go to the Santa Clara Courthouse. It does not matter where your citation was issued. See below for credit/debit card or electronic fund transfer payments in person via dedicated phone lines at the following courthouses:

    Drop boxes are available after hours - see guidelines 

    To pay by mail, send your fine/bail to the courthouse listed on your courtesy notice.

  3. Credit/debit card and electronic fund transfer payments

    You can pay most fines/bails by credit/debit card. There is an extra cost of $6.45 to pay by credit/debit card, or $1.95 for electronic fund transfer, charged by the service used by the Court.

    There are four ways to pay by credit/debit card:

    • Pay online: If eligible, you can pay online at . (If you tried to pay online and saw this message: "This citation is not payable through this system or could not be found," then please see the Can't Pay Online FAQ.)

    • Pay by phone: You can pay by calling toll-free (866) 923-2732 .

    • You can also pay in person at the Palo Alto, South County or Santa Clara Courthouse by using one of their dedicated payment phones during office hours.

    • You can pay in person at the counter at the Santa Clara Courthouse using American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and VISA.
  4. Can I make monthly payments?

    If you choose to forfeit bail (pay your fine), you may be eligible for monthly payments. If eligible, there will be a $35 administrative fee added to the total amount due. Payments must be scheduled in person, and you must pay 10% of the total amount due (including fees) to begin your payment plan.

    A Judicial Officer can also allow monthly payments. In order to make this request, you must schedule a court appearance. (See the page about court dates for more information.)

  5. Who decides what the fine or bail will be for my case?

    The California legislature decides what the minimum and maximum fine will be for every violation of state law. There are also local laws that say what the fines will be for violations of local law. The State and County of Santa Clara add an "assessment" to the established fines. The California Judicial Council publishes a Uniform Bail Schedule that says what the bail will be for all traffic code infractions.

    If you want, you can pay the bail listed on your courtesy notice instead of going to court. (Also, see the Traffic Bail Schedule.)

    If your case is a misdemeanor or felony, the Santa Clara County Superior Court will decide on the bail. The Judicial Council recommends an increase in bail for each prior conviction. There is a maximum amount allowed by law.

    When you go to court, the Commissioner can fine you any amount between the minimum and maximum fines. The Commissioner will decide based on the facts of your case and your driving record.
© 2018 Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara