I have been doing the trial by written declaration for years, I have won red light violations, Speeding, unsafe lane change, sound violations, I have lost 2 or 3, but its your best bet at winning, what you want to do is around the last day get an extention, and then drag that out and then go to the clerk of the court, and tell her you need to do the trial by written declaration. Then take what "Kobaiyashi" said and paste it in, and send it in a week before the due date, and wait.
Chances are you will win, I live in costa mesa and I have goten several tickets in costa mesa and newport. I just got $522 back from some cop that gave me a red light ticket when I was allready in the intersection making a turn waiting for people to get out of the street.
no points and I got all my money back.