Note: This is part of series of posts on contesting California traffic tickets. If you haven’t already, you should read my earlier post on how I beat my traffic ticket.
In legal terms service is when you serve, or deliver, documents to a party in a legal proceeding. For example, in my traffic ticket I served the DA a motion to suppress the testimony of the citing officer. That means I had my motion delivered to the DA. The motion contained specific arguments, as well as a statement informing the DA that a motion hearing would be held at a specific time and place. Local rules of court generally have specific rules on when motions may be heard (the process of setting up a time with the court to hear your motion is called to calendar the motion) and how far in advance motion paperwork may be sent to the opposing side. If this had been a case the DA was actively prosecuting, an assistant district attorney would have filed an opposing brief prior to the motion hearing, and then showed up to the motion hearing to give an oral argument.
Proof of service is how the court ensures that you actually delivered the documents. Using my proof of service form, you can effect proof of service. You must have someone who is not a party to your case (i.e. a friend) mail the forms and fill out the proof of service. Mail one set (documents being served + proof of service form) to the party being served and another copy to the court. Otherwise you could lie about whether you actually served the forms in order to show up to your hearing unopposed.