Free Information on Writ Proceedings in Misdemeanor, Infraction, and Limited Civil Cases - California


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APP-150-INFO

Information on Writ Proceedings in Misdemeanor, Infraction, and Limited Civil Cases
For information about appeal procedures, see:


GENERAL INFORMATION
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What does this information sheet cover?

Information on Appeal Procedures for Misdemeanors (form CR-131-INFO) Information on Appeal Procedures for Infractions (form CR-141-INFO) Information on Appeal Procedures for Limited Civil Cases (form APP-101-INFO)

This information sheet tells you about writ proceedings--proceedings in which a person is asking for a writ of mandate, prohibition, or review--in misdemeanor, infraction, and limited civil cases. Please read this information sheet before you fill out Petition for Writ (Misdemeanor, Infraction, or Limited Civil Case) (form APP-151). This information sheet does not cover everything you may need to know about writ proceedings. It is only meant to give you a general idea of the writ process. To learn more, you should read rules 8.9308.936 of the California Rules of Court, which set out the procedures for writ proceedings in the appellate division. You can get these rules at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov /rules. This information sheet does NOT provide information about appeals or proceedings for writs of supersedeas or habeas corpus.






You can get these forms at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms.

In this information sheet, we call the lower court the "trial court."
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Are there different kinds of writs?

Yes. There are three main kinds of writs:


For information about appeals, please see the box on the top of this page. For information about writs of habeas corpus, please see rules 4.5504.552 of the California Rules of Court and Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (form MC-275). For information about writs of supersedeas, please see rule 8.824 of the California Rules of Court.

Writs of mandate (sometimes called "mandamus"), which are orders telling the trial court to do something. Writs of prohibition, which are orders telling the trial court not to do something. Writs of review (sometimes called "certiorari"), which are orders telling the trial court that the appellate division will review certain kinds of actions already taken by the trial court.









You can get these rules and forms at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov /rules for the rules or www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms for the forms.
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What is a writ?

There are laws (statutes) that you should read concerning each type of writ: see California Code of Civil Procedure sections 10841097 about writs of mandate, sections 11021105 about writs of prohibition, and sections 10671077 about writs of review. You can get copies of these statutes at any county law library or online at www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html.
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A writ is an order from a higher court telling a lower court to do something the law says the lower court must do or not to do something the law says the lower court does not have the power to do. In writ proceedings in the appellate division, the lower court is the superior court that took the action or issued the order being challenged.

Is a writ proceeding the same as an appeal?

No. In an appeal, the appellate division must consider the parties' arguments and decide whether the trial court made the legal error claimed by the appealing party and whether the trial court's decision should be overturned

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Judicial Council of California, www.courtinfo.ca.gov New January 1, 2009, Optional Form California Rules of Court, rules 8.9308.936

Information on Writ Proceedings in Misdemeanor, Infraction, and Limited Civil Cases

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Information on Writ Proceedings in Misdemeanor, Infraction, and Limited Civil Cases
o o o

based on that error (this is called a "decision on the merits"). In a writ proceeding, the appellate division is not required to make a decision on the merits; even if the trial court made a legal error, the appellate division can decide not to consider that error now, but to wait and consider the error as part of any appeal from the final judgment. Most requests for writs are denied without a decision on the merits (this is called a "summary denial"). Because of this, appeals are the ordinary way that decisions made by a trial court are reviewed and writ proceedings are often called proceedings for "extraordinary" relief. Appeals and writ proceedings are also used to review different kinds of decisions by the trial court. Appeals can be used only to review a trial court's final judgment and a few kinds of orders. Most rulings made by a trial court before it issues its final judgment cannot be appealed right away; they can only be appealed after the trial court case is over, as part of an appeal of the final judgment. Unlike appeals, writ proceedings can be used to ask for review of certain kinds of important rulings made by a trial court before it issues its final judgment.
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Refuses to act Has not done what the law says it must do Has acted in a way the law says it does not have the power to act



The trial court has performed or says it is going to perform a judicial function (like deciding a person's rights under law in a particular case) in a way that the court does not have the legal power to do.

Is a writ proceeding a new trial?

There must be no other adequate remedy: The trial court's error must also be something that can be fixed only with a writ. The person asking for the writ must show the appellate division that there is no adequate way to address the trial court's error other than with the writ (this is called having "no adequate remedy at law"). As mentioned above, appeals are the ordinary way that trial court decisions are reviewed. If the trial court's ruling can be appealed, the appellate division will generally consider an appeal to be good enough (an "adequate remedy") unless the person asking for the writ can show the appellate division that he or she will be harmed in a way that cannot be fixed by the appeal if the appellate division does not issue the writ (this is called "irreparable" injury or harm). Statutory writs: There are laws (statutes) that provide that certain kinds of rulings can or must be challenged using a writ proceeding. These are called "statutory writs." Here is a list of some of the most common rulings that a statute says can or must be challenged using a writ:


No. A writ proceeding is NOT a new trial. The appellate division will not consider new evidence, such as the testimony of new witnesses. Instead, if it does not summarily deny the request for a writ, the appellate division reviews a record of what happened in the trial court and the trial court's ruling to see if the trial court made the legal error claimed by the person asking for the writ. When it conducts its review, the appellate division presumes that the trial court's ruling is correct; the person who requests the writ must show the appellate division that the trial court made the legal error the person is claiming.
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A ruling on a motion to disqualify a judge (see California Code of Civil Procedure section 170.3(d)) Denial of a motion for summary judgment (see California Code of Civil Procedure section 437c(m)(l)) A ruling on a motion for summary adjudication of issues (see California Code of Civil Procedure section 437c(m)(l)) Denial of a stay in an unlawful detainer matter (see California Code of Civil Procedure section 1176) An order disqualifying the prosecuting attorney (see California Penal Code section 1424)
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Can a writ be used to address any errors made by a trial court?



No. Writs can only address certain legal errors: Writs can only address the following types of legal errors made by a trial court:




The trial court has a legal duty to act but:

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Information on Writ Proceedings in Misdemeanor, Infraction, and Limited Civil Cases
The appellate division does NOT have jurisdiction to consider requests for writs in either unlimited civil cases (civil cases in which the amount claimed is more than $25,000) or felony cases (cases in which a person has been charged with or convicted of a crime for which the punishment can include time in state prison). Requests for writs in these cases can be made in the Court of Appeal. The appellate division also does NOT have the jurisdiction to consider requests for writs of habeas corpus; requests for these writs can be made in the superior court.
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You can get copies of these statutes at any county law library or online at www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html. You will need to check whether there is a statute providing that the specific ruling you want to challenge can or must be reviewed using a writ proceeding. (Note that just because there is a statute requiring or allowing you to ask for a writ to challenge a ruling does not mean that the court must grant your request; the appellate division can still deny a request for a statutory writ.) Common law writs: Even if there is not a statute specifically providing for a writ proceeding to challenge a particular ruling, most trial court rulings other than the final judgment can potentially be challenged using a writ proceeding if the trial court made the type of legal error described above and the petitioner has no other adequate remedy at law. These writs are called "common law" writs.
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Who are the parties in a writ proceeding?

If you are asking for the writ, you are called the PETITIONER. You should read "Information for the Petitioner," beginning on page 4. The court the petitioner is asking to be ordered to do or not to do something is called the RESPONDENT. In appellate division writ proceedings, the trial court is the respondent. Any other party in the trial court case who would be affected by a ruling regarding the request for a writ is a REAL PARTY IN INTEREST. If you are a real party in interest, you should read "Information for a Real Party in Interest," beginning on page 9.
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Can the appellate division consider a request for a writ in any case?

No. Different courts have the power (called "jurisdiction") to consider requests for writs in different types of cases. The appellate division can only consider requests for writs in limited civil, misdemeanor, and infraction cases. A limited civil case is a civil case in which the amount claimed is $25,000 or less (see California Code of Civil Procedure sections 85 and 88). Misdemeanor cases are cases in which a person has been charged with or convicted of a crime for which the punishment can include jail time of up to one year but not time in state prison (see California Penal Code sections 17 and 19.2). (If the person was also charged with or convicted of a felony in the same case, it is considered a felony case, not a misdemeanor case.) Infraction cases are cases in which a person has been charged with or convicted of a crime for which the punishment can be a fine, traffic school, or some form of community service but cannot include any time in jail or prison (see California Penal Code sections 17 and 19.8). Examples of infractions include traffic tickets or citations for violations of some city or county ordinances. (If a person was also charged with or convicted of a misdemeanor in the same case, it is considered a misdemeanor case, not an infraction case.) You can get copies of these statutes at any county law library or online at www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html.

Do I need a lawyer to represent me in a writ proceeding?

You do not have to have a lawyer; you are allowed to represent yourself in a writ proceeding in the appellate division. But writ proceedings can be very complicated and you will have to follow the same rules that lawyers have to follow. If you have any questions about the writ procedures, you should talk to a lawyer. In limited civil cases and infraction cases, you must hire a lawyer at your own expense if you want one (the court cannot provide one). You can get information about finding a lawyer on the California Courts Online Self-Help Center at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/lowcost.

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you to fill in the information that needs to be in a writ petition. a. Description of your interest in the trial court's ruling Your petition needs to tell the appellate division why you have a right to ask for a writ in the case. As discussed above, usually only a person who was a party in the trial court case--the plaintiff or defendant in a civil case or the defendant or prosecuting agency in a misdemeanor or infraction case--asks for a writ challenging a ruling in that case. If you were a party in the trial court case, say that in your petition. If you were not a party, you will need to describe what "beneficial interest" you have in the trial court's ruling. A "beneficial interest" means that you have a specific right or interest affected by the ruling that goes beyond the general rights or interests the public may have in the ruling. To show the appellate division that you have a beneficial interest in the ruling you want to challenge, you must describe how the ruling will affect you in a direct and negative way. b. Description of the legal error you believe the trial court made Your petition will need to tell the appellate division what legal error you believe the trial court made. Not every mistake a trial court might make can be addressed by a writ. You must show that the trial court made one of the following types of legal errors:


INFORMATION FOR THE PETITIONER
This part of the information sheet is written for the petitioner--the party asking for the writ. It explains some of the rules and procedures relating to asking for a writ. The information may also be helpful to a real party in interest. There is more information for a real party in interest starting on page 9 of this information sheet.
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Who can ask for a writ?

Only a party in the trial court proceeding--the plaintiff or defendant in a civil case or the defendant or prosecuting agency in a misdemeanor or infraction case--can ask for a writ challenging a ruling on a motion to disqualify a judge (see California Code of Civil Procedure section 170.3(d)). Parties are also usually the only ones that ask for writs challenging other kinds of trial court rulings. However, in most cases, a person who was not a party does have the legal right to ask for a writ if that person has a "beneficial interest" in the trial court's ruling. A "beneficial interest" means that the person has a specific right or interest affected by the ruling that goes beyond the general rights or interests the public may have in the ruling.
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How do I ask for a writ?

To ask for a writ you must serve and file a petition for a writ (see below for an explanation of how to "serve and file" a petition). A petition is a formal request that the appellate division issue a writ. A petition for a writ explains to the appellate division what happened in the trial court, what legal error you (the petitioner) believe the trial court made, why you have no other adequate remedy at law, and what order you are requesting the appellate division to make.
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The trial court has a legal duty to act but: o Refuses to act o Has not done what the law says it must do o Has acted in a way the law says it does not have the power to act The trial court has performed or says it is going to perform a judicial function (like deciding a person's rights under law in a particular case) in a way that the court does not have the legal power to do.



How do I prepare a writ petition?

If you are represented by a lawyer, your lawyer will prepare your petition for a writ. If you are not represented by a lawyer, you must use Petition for Writ (Misdemeanor, Infraction, or Limited Civil Case) (form APP-151) to prepare your petition. You can get form APP-151 at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms. This form asks
New January 1, 2009

To show the appellate division that the trial court made one of these legal errors, you will need to:


Show that the trial court has the legal duty or the power to act or not act in a particular way. You will need to tell the appellate division what legal
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authority--what constitutional provision, statute, rule, or published court decision--establishes the trial court's legal duty or power to act or not act in that way.


Changing or refusing to change the place of trial (venue) Granting a motion to quash service of summons Granting a motion to stay or dismiss the action on the ground of inconvenient forum Granting a new trial Denying a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict Granting or dissolving an injunction or refusing to grant or dissolve an injunction Appointing a receiver Made after final judgment in the case



Show the appellate division that the trial court has not acted in the way that this legal authority says the court is required to act. You will need to tell the appellate division exactly where in the record of what happened in the trial court it shows that the trial court did not act in the way it was required to.



c. Description of why you need the writ


One of the most important parts of your petition is explaining to the appellate division why you need the writ you have requested. Remember, the appellate division does not have to grant your petition just because the trial court made an error. You must convince the appellate division that it is important for it to issue the writ. Your petition needs to show that a writ is the only way to fix the trial court's error. To convince the court you need the writ, you will need to show the appellate division that you have no way to fix the trial court's error other than through a writ (this is called having "no adequate remedy at law"). This will be hard if the trial court's ruling can be appealed. If the ruling you are challenging can be appealed, either immediately or as part of an appeal of the final judgment in your case, the appellate division will generally consider this appeal to be a good enough way to fix the trial court's ruling (an "adequate remedy"). To be able to explain to the appellate division why you do not have an adequate remedy at law, you will need to find out if the ruling you want to challenge can be appealed, either immediately or as part of an appeal of the final judgment. Here are some trial court rulings that can be appealed. There are laws (statutes) that say that certain kinds of trial court rulings ("orders") can be appealed immediately. In limited civil cases, California Code of Civil Procedure section 904.2 lists orders that can be appealed immediately, including orders:



In misdemeanor and infraction cases, orders made after the final judgment that affect the substantial rights of the defendant can be appealed immediately (California Penal Code section 1466). In misdemeanor cases, orders granting or denying a motion to suppress evidence can also be appealed immediately (California Penal Code section 1538.5(j)). You can get copies of these statutes at any county law library or online at www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html. You should also check to see if there are published court decisions that indicate whether you can or must use an appeal or a writ petition to challenge the type of ruling you want to challenge in your case. If the ruling can be appealed, you will need to show that an appeal will not fix the trial court's error. If the trial court ruling you want to challenge can be appealed, you will need to show the appellate division why that appeal is not good enough to fix the trial court's error. To do that, you will need to show the appellate division how you will be harmed by the trial court's error in a way that cannot be fixed by the appeal if the appellate division does not issue the writ (this is called "irreparable" injury or harm). For example, because of the time it takes for an appeal, the harm you want to prevent may happen before an appeal can be finished.

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d. Description of the order you want the appellate division to make Your petition needs to describe what you are asking the appellate division to order the trial court to do or not do. Writ petitions usually ask that the trial court be ordered to cancel ("vacate") its ruling, issue a new ruling, or not take any steps to enforce its ruling. If you want the appellate division to order the trial court not to do anything more until the appellate division decides whether to grant the writ you are requesting, you must ask for a "stay." If you want a stay, you should first ask the trial court for a stay. You should tell the appellate division whether you asked the trial court for a stay. If you did not ask the trial court for a stay, you should tell the appellate division why you did not do this. If you ask the appellate division for a stay, make sure you also fill out the "Stay requested" box on the first page of the Petition for Writ (Misdemeanor, Infraction, or Limited Civil Case) (form APP-151). e. Verifying the petition Petitions for writs must be "verified." This means that either the petitioner or the petitioner's attorney must declare under penalty of perjury that the facts stated in the petition are true and correct, must sign the petition, and must indicate the date that the petition was signed. On the last page of the Petition for Writ (Misdemeanor, Infraction, or Limited Civil Case) (form APP-151), there is a place for you to verify your petition.
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A record of what was said in the trial court about the ruling that you are challenging (this is called the "oral proceedings") and Copies of certain important documents from the trial court.



Read below for more information about these two parts of the supporting documents. Record of the oral proceedings: There are several ways a record of what was said in the trial court may be provided to the appellate division:


A transcript--A transcript is a written record (often called the "verbatim" record) of the oral proceedings in the trial court. If a court reporter was in the trial court and made a record of the oral proceedings, you can have the court reporter prepare a transcript of those oral proceedings, called a "reporter's transcript," for the appellate division. If a reporter was not there, but the oral proceedings were officially recorded on approved electronic recording equipment, you can have a transcript prepared for the appellate division from the official electronic recording of these proceedings. You (the petitioner) must pay for preparing a transcript, unless the court orders otherwise. A copy of an electronic recording--If the oral proceedings were officially recorded on approved electronic recording equipment, the court has a local rule for the appellate division permitting this recording to be used as the record of the oral proceedings, and all the parties agree ("stipulate"), a copy of the official electronic recording itself can be used as the record of the oral proceedings instead of a transcript. You (the petitioner) must pay for preparing a copy of the official electronic recording, unless the court orders otherwise. A summary--If a transcript or official electronic recording of what was said in the trial court is not available, your petition must include a declaration (a statement signed by the petitioner under penalty of perjury) either:
o



Is there anything else that I need to serve and file with my petition?

Yes. Along with the petition, you must serve and file a record of what happened in the trial court (see below for an explanation of how to serve and file the petition). Since the appellate division judges were not there in the trial court, a record of what happened must be sent to the appellate division for its review. The materials that make up this record are called "supporting documents." What needs to be in the supporting documents: The supporting documents must include:



Explaining why the transcript or official electronic recording is not available and providing a fair summary of the proceedings,
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Statutory Writ Writ challenging a ruling on a motion to disqualify a judge (see California Code of Civil Procedure section 170.3(d)) Writ challenging the denial of a motion for summary judgment (see California Code of Civil Procedure section 437c(m)(l)) Writ challenging a ruling on a motion for summary adjudication of issues (see California Code of Civil Procedure section 437c(m)(l)) Filing Deadline 10 days after notice to the parties of the decision

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including the petitioner's arguments and any statement by the court supporting its ruling or Stating that the transcript or electronic recording has been ordered, the date it was ordered, and the date it is expected to be filed.

Copies of documents from the trial court: Copies of the following documents from the trial court must also be included in the supporting documents:


The trial court ruling being challenged in the petition All documents and exhibits submitted to the trial court supporting and opposing the petitioner's position Any other documents or portions of documents submitted to the trial court that are necessary for a complete understanding of the case and of the ruling being challenged

20 days after service of written notice of entry of the order



20 days after service of written notice of entry of the order

What if I cannot get copies of the documents from the trial court because of an emergency? Rule 8.931 of the California Rules of Court provides that in extraordinary circumstances the petition may be filed without copies of the documents from the trial court. If the petition is filed without these documents, you must explain in your petition the urgency and the circumstances making the documents available. Format of the supporting documents: Supporting documents must be put in the format required by rule 8.931 of the California Rules of Court. Among other things, there must be a tab for each document and an index listing the documents that are included. You should carefully read rule 8.931. You can get a copy of rule 8.931 at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/rules.
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For common law writs or statutory writs where the statute does not set a deadline, you should file the petition as soon as possible and not later than 60 days after the court makes the ruling that you are challenging in the petition. While there is no absolute deadline for filing these petitions, writ petitions are usually used when it is urgent that the trial court's error be fixed. Remember, the court is not required to grant your petition even if the trial court made an error. If you delay in filing your petition, it may make the appellate division think that it is not really urgent that the trial court's error be fixed and the appellate division may deny your petition. If there are extraordinary circumstances that delayed the filing of your petition, you should explain these circumstances to the appellate division in your petition.
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How do I "serve" my petition?

Is there a deadline to ask for a writ?

Yes. For statutory writs, the statute usually sets the deadline for serving and filing the petition. Here is a list of the deadlines for filing petitions for some of the most common statutory writs (you can get copies of these statutes at any county law library or online at www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html).

Rule 8.931(d) requires that the petition and one set of supporting documents be served on any named real party in interest and that just the petition be served on the respondent trial court. "Serving" a petition on a party means that you must:


Have somebody over 18 years old who is not a party to the case--so not you--mail or deliver ("serve") the petition to the real party in interest and the respondent court in the way required by law.

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Make a record that the petition has been served. This record is called a "proof of service." Proof of Service (Appellate Division) (form APP-109) can be used to make this record. The proof of service must show who served the petition, who was served with the petition, how the petition was served (by mail or in person), and the date the petition was served.

What happens after I file my petition?

Within 10 days after you serve and file your petition, the respondent or any real party in interest can serve and file preliminary opposition to the petition. Within 10 days after an opposition is filed, you may serve and file a reply to that opposition. The appellate division does not have to wait for an opposition or reply before it can act on a petition for a writ, however. Without waiting, the appellate division can: a. Issue a stay b. Summarily deny the petition c. Issue an alternative writ or order to show cause d. Notify the parties that it is considering issuing a preemptory writ in the first instance Read below for more information about these options. a. Stay of trial court proceedings A stay is an order from the appellate division telling the trial court not to do anything more until the appellate division decides whether to grant your petition. A stay puts the trial court proceedings on temporary hold. b. Summary denial A "summary denial" means that the appellate division denies the petition without deciding whether the trial court made the legal error claimed by the petitioner or whether the writ requested by the petitioner should be issued based on that error. Remember, even if the trial court made a legal error, the appellate division can decide not to consider that error now but to wait and consider the error as part of any appeal from the final judgment. No reasons need to be given for a summary denial. Most petitions for writs are denied in this way. c. Alternative writ or order to show cause An "alternative writ" is an order telling the trial court either to do what the petitioner has requested in the petition (or some modified form of what the petitioner

You can get more information about how to serve court documents and proof of service from What Is Proof of Service? (form APP-109-INFO) and on the California Courts Online Self-Help Center at www.courtinfo.ca.gov /selfhelp/lowcost/getready.htm#serving.
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How do I file my petition?

To file a petition for a writ in the appellate division, you must bring or mail the original petition, including the supporting documents, and the proof of service to the clerk for the appellate division of the superior court that made the ruling you are challenging. If the superior court has more than one courthouse location, you should call the clerk at the courthouse where the ruling you are challenging was made to ask where to file your petition. You should make a copy of all the documents you are planning to file for your own records before you file them with the court. It is a good idea to bring or mail an extra copy of the petition to the clerk when you file your original and ask the clerk to stamp this copy to show that the original has been filed.
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Do I have to pay to file a petition?

There is no fee to file a petition for a writ in a misdemeanor or infraction case, but there is a fee to file a petition for a writ in a limited civil case. You should ask the clerk for the appellate division where you are filing the petition what this fee is. If you cannot afford to pay this filing fee, you can ask the court to waive this fee. To do this, you must fill out an Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs (form FW-001). You can get form FW-001 at any courthouse or county law library or online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms. You can file this application either before you file your petition or with your petition. The court will review this application and decide whether to waive the filing fee.

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The respondent court or a real party in interest can file a response to the appellate division's notice (called an "opposition") that explains why the trial court should not be ordered to do what the petitioner has requested. The opposition must be served and filed within the time specified by the appellate division or, if no time is specified, within 30 days from the date the notice was issued. The petitioner will then have a chance to serve and file a reply within 15 days after the opposition is filed. The appellate division may then set the matter for oral argument. When all the papers have been served and filed (or the time to serve and file them has passed) and oral argument is completed, the appellate division will decide the case.
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requested) or to show the appellate division why the trial court should not be ordered to do what the petitioner requested. An "order to show cause" is similar; it is an order telling the trial court to show the appellate division why the trial court should not be ordered to do what the petitioner requested in the petition (or some modified form of what the petitioner requested). The appellate division will issue an alternative writ or an order to show cause only if the petitioner has shown that he or she has no adequate remedy at law and the appellate division has decided that the petitioner may have shown that the trial court made a legal error that needs to be fixed. If the appellate division issues an alternative writ and the trial court does what the petitioner requested (or a modified form of what the petitioner requested as ordered by the appellate division), then no further action by the appellate division is needed and the appellate division may dismiss the petition. If the trial court does not comply with an alternative writ, however, or if the appellate division issues an order to show cause, then the respondent court or a real party in interest can file a response to the appellate division's order (called a "return") that explains why the trial court should not be ordered to do what the petitioner requested. The return must be served and filed within the time specified by the appellate division or, if no time is specified, within 30 days from the date the alternative writ or order to show cause was issued. The petitioner will then have an opportunity to serve and file a reply within 15 days after the return is filed. The appellate division may set the matter for oral argument. When all the papers have been served and filed (or the time to serve and file them has passed) and oral argument is completed, the appellate division will decide the case. d. Peremptory writ in the first instance A "peremptory writ in the first instance" is an order telling the trial court to do what the petitioner has requested (or some modified form of what the petitioner requested) that is issued without the appellate division first issuing an alternative writ or order to show cause. It is very rare for the appellate division to issue a peremptory writ in the first instance, and it will not do so without first notifying the parties and giving the respondent court and any real party in interest a chance to file an opposition.
New January 1, 2009

What should I do if the court denies my petition?

If the court denies your petition, it may be helpful to talk to a lawyer. In a limited civil or infraction case, you must hire a lawyer at your own expense if you want one (the court cannot provide one). You can get information about finding an attorney on the California Courts Online Self-Help Center at www.courtinfo.ca.gov /selfhelp/lowcost.

INFORMATION FOR A REAL PARTY IN INTEREST
This part of the information sheet is written for a real party in interest--a party from the trial court case other than the petitioner who will be affected by a ruling on a petition for a writ. It explains some of the rules and procedures relating to responding to a petition for a writ. The information may also be helpful to the petitioner.
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I have received a copy of a petition for a writ in a case in which I am a party. Do I need to do anything?

You do not have to do anything. The California Rules of Court give you the right to file a preliminary opposition to a petition for a writ within 10 days after the petition is served and filed, but you are not required to do this. The appellate division can take certain actions without waiting for any opposition, including:

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Information on Writ Proceedings in Misdemeanor, Infraction, and Limited Civil Cases
If you decide to file a preliminary opposition, you must serve that preliminary opposition on all the other parties to the writ proceeding. "Serving and filing" an opposition means that you must:


Summarily denying the petition Issuing an alternative writ or order to show cause Notifying the parties that it is considering issuing a peremptory writ in the first instance
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Read the response to question about these options.

for more information


Have somebody over 18 years old who is not a party to the case--so not you--mail or deliver ("serve") the preliminary opposition to the other parties in the way required by law. Make a record that the preliminary opposition has been served. This record is called a "proof of service." Proof of Service (Appellate Division) (form APP-109) can be used to make this record. The proof of service must show who served the preliminary opposition, who was served with the preliminary opposition, how the preliminary opposition was served (by mail or in person), and the date the preliminary opposition was served. File the original preliminary opposition and the proof of service with the appellate division. You should make a copy of the preliminary opposition you are planning to file for your own records before you file it with the court. It is a good idea to bring or mail an extra copy of the preliminary opposition to the clerk when you file your original and ask the clerk to stamp this copy to show that the original has been filed.

Most petitions for writs are summarily denied, often within a few days after they are filed. If you have not already received something from the appellate division saying what action it is taking on the petition, it is a good idea to call the appellate division to see if the petition has been denied before you decide whether and how to respond. This would also be a good time to talk to a lawyer. You do not have to have a lawyer; you are allowed to represent yourself in a writ proceeding in the appellate division. But writ proceedings can be very complicated and you will have to follow the same rules that lawyers have to follow. If you have any questions about writ proceedings or about whether and how you should respond to a writ petition, you should talk to a lawyer. In a limited civil case or infraction case, you must hire a lawyer at your own expense if you want one (the court cannot provide one). You can get information about finding an attorney on the California Courts Online SelfHelp Center at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/lowcost. If the petition has not already been summarily denied, you may, but are not required to, serve and file a preliminary opposition to the petition within 10 days after the petition was served and filed. In general, it is a good idea to consider filing a preliminary opposition if the petition misstates the facts or if you think the petition shows that the trial court made a legal error that may need to be fixed. However, the appellate division will not grant a writ without first issuing an alternative writ, an order to show cause, or a notice that it is considering issuing a peremptory writ. In all these circumstances, you will get notice from the court and have a chance to file a response. A preliminary opposition is therefore typically used to explain to the appellate division why you believe it should not grant an alternative writ or order to show cause.



You can get more information about how to serve court documents and proof of service from What Is Proof of Service? (form APP-109-INFO) and on the California Courts Online Self-Help Center at www.courtinfo.ca.gov /selfhelp/lowcost/getready.htm#serving.
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I have received a copy of an alternative writ or an order to show cause issued by the appellate division. Do I need to do anything?

Yes. Unless the trial court has already done what the alternative writ told it to do, you should serve and file a response called a "return." As explained above, the appellate division will issue an alternative writ or an order to show cause only if the appellate division has decided that the petitioner may have shown that the trial court made a legal error that

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Unless the appellate division sets a different filing deadline in its alternative writ or order to show cause, you must serve and file your return within 30 days after the appellate division issues the alternative writ or order to show cause. The return must be served on all the other parties to the writ proceeding. "Serving and filing" the return means that you must:


needs to be fixed. An "alternative writ" is an order telling the trial court either to do what the petitioner has requested in the petition (or some modified form of what the petitioner requested) or to show the appellate division why the trial court should not be ordered to do what the petitioner requested. An "order to show cause" is similar; it is an order telling the trial court to show the appellate division why the trial court should not be ordered to do what the petitioner requested in the petition (or some modified form of what the petitioner requested). If the appellate division issues an alternative writ and the trial court does what the petitioner requested (or a modified form of what the petitioner requested as ordered by the appellate division), then no further action by the appellate division is needed and the appellate division may dismiss the petition. If the trial court does not comply with an alternative writ, however, or if the appellate division issues an order to show cause, then the respondent court or the real party in interest may serve and file a response to the appellate division's order, called a "return." A return is your argument to the appellate division about why the trial court should not be ordered to do what the petitioner has requested. If you are represented by a lawyer in the writ proceeding, your lawyer will prepare your return. If you are not represented by a lawyer, you will need to prepare your own return. A return is usually a legal response called an "answer." An answer is used to admit or deny the facts alleged in the petition, to add to or correct the facts, and to explain any legal defenses to the legal arguments made by the petitioner. You should read California Code of Civil Procedure sections 430.10430.80 for more information about answers. You can get copies of these statutes at any county law library or online at www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html. A return can also include additional supporting documents not already filed by the petitioner. If you do not file a return when the appellate division issues an alternative writ or order to show cause, it does not mean that the appellate division is required to issue the writ requested by the petitioner. However, the appellate division will treat the facts stated by the petitioner in the petition as true, which makes it more likely the appellate division will issue the requested writ.

Have somebody over 18 years old who is not a party to the case--so not you--mail or deliver ("serve") the return to the other parties in the way required by law. Make a record that the return has been served. This record is called a "proof of service." Proof of Service (Appellate Division) (form APP-109) can be used to make this record. The proof of service must show who served the return, who was served with the return, how the return was served (by mail or in person), and the date the return was served. File the original return and the proof of service with the appellate division. You should make a copy of the return you are planning to file for your own records before you file it with the court. It is a good idea to bring or mail an extra copy of the return to the clerk when you file your original and ask the clerk to stamp this copy to show that the original has been filed.





You can get more information about how to serve court documents and proof of service from What Is Proof of Service? (form APP-109-INFO) and on the California Courts Online Self-Help Center at www.courtinfo.ca.gov /selfhelp/lowcost/getready.htm#serving.
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I have received a copy of a notice from the appellate division indicating it is considering issuing a peremptory writ in the first instance. Do I need to do anything?

Yes. You should serve and file a response called an "opposition." As explained in the answer to question 18 , a "peremptory writ in the first instance" is an order telling the trial court to do what the petitioner has requested (or

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some modified form of what the petitioner requested as ordered by the appellate division) that is issued without the appellate division first issuing an alternative writ or order to show cause. The appellate division will not issue a peremptory writ in the first instance without first giving the parties notice and a chance to file an opposition. However, when the appellate division issues such a notice, it means that the appellate division is strongly considering granting the writ requested by the petitioner. An opposition is your argument to the appellate division about why the trial court should not be ordered to do what the petitioner has requested. If you are represented by a lawyer in the writ proceeding, your lawyer will prepare your opposition. If you are not represented by a lawyer, you will need to prepare your own opposition. Like a return discussed above, an opposition is usually a legal response called an "answer." An answer is used to admit or deny the facts alleged in the petition, to add to or correct the facts, and to explain any legal defenses to the legal arguments made by the petitioner. You should read California Code of Civil Procedure sections 430.10430.80 for more information about answers. You can get copies of these statutes at any county law library or online at www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html. Unless the appellate division sets a different deadline in its notice that it is considering issuing a peremptory writ, you must serve and file your opposition within 30 days after the appellate division issues the notice. The opposition must be served on all the other parties to the writ proceeding. "Serving and filing" the opposition means that you must:


File the original opposition and the proof of service with the appellate division. You should make a copy of the opposition you are planning to file for your own records before you file it with the court. It is a good idea to bring or mail an extra copy of the opposition to the clerk when you file your original, and ask the clerk to stamp this copy to show that the original has been filed.

You can get more information about how to serve court documents and proof of service from What Is Proof of Service? (form APP-109-INFO) and on the California Courts Online Self-Help Center at www.courtinfo.ca.gov /selfhelp/lowcost/getready.htm#serving.
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What happens after I serve and file my return or opposition?

After you file a return or opposition, the petitioner has 15 days to serve and file a reply. The appellate division may also set the matter for oral argument. When all the papers have been filed (or the time to file them has passed) and oral argument is completed, the appellate division will decide the case.

Have somebody over 18 years old who is not a party to the case--so not you--mail or deliver ("serve") the opposition to the other parties in the way required by law. Make a record that the opposition has been served. This record is called a "proof of service." Proof of Service (Appellate Division) (form APP-109) can be used to make this record. The proof of service must show who served the opposition, who was served with the opposition, how the opposition was served (by mail or in person), and the date the opposition was served.



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