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Appearing in Court

Criminal matters generally require a court appearance, unless advised differently by the court or your attorney. Click here to read more about:

  • Where to appear
  • Changing your court date
  • Courtroom rules
  • Defendants in custody

Failing to Obey a Court Order or Appear for a Hearing

If you fail to appear as ordered by the court, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. Additionally, other actions may also take place as a result of your failure to appear or comply with a court order:

  • The ordering and issuance of a warrant for your arrest or the holding of the warrant until a future hearing date.
  • If applicable, revoking of your probation.
  • An additional failure to appear charge, which may add an additional fine/fee or sentence in addition to the originating charge(s).
  • If applicable, the forfeiture of any posted bail or bond.
  • If applicable to the charge, a hold may be placed on your driver’s license by the Department of Motor Vehicles, resulting in the inability to renew your license and/or a suspension or revocation of your licensing privileges.
  • A civil penalty pursuant to Penal Code section 1214.1(a) for failure to pay a fine or fee. Each additional failure to appear can result in additional penalties for each non-appearance.
  • You may be subject to referral to a collection agency including wage/bank garnishments and levies.

To verify the status of your case, you may access the court’s online case and calendar information.


Appearing on a Warrant

To appear or post bail on a warrant, you must report to the Criminal Operations Department by 8:00 a.m. Monday-Friday at the Justice Center which ordered the warrant. Defendants appearing after 8:00am will be required to return the next business day unless the court otherwise allows.


Obtaining an Attorney

Read information about obtaining a private attorney or public defender.


Court Locations and Resources

The general information page of this website contains the locations, phone numbers, and other resources.


Types of Hearings

Criminal cases have various stages of proceedings set and heard by the court. Listed below are customary hearings for misdemeanor and felony matters.

MISDEMEANOR:

Arraignment:

The defendant is brought before the court to plead to the charges in the complaint.

Pre-Trial:

A conference of both the prosecuting attorney and defense to discuss the possibility of disposing of a case prior to a trial.

Motions:

An oral or written request made by a party to the court for a ruling or order directing some act or action to be performed.

Court Trial:

There is no jury and a judicial officer determines both the issues of law and the facts of a case. The judicial officer will determine guilt or innocence and impose sentence.

Jury Trial:

The case is presented to a jury and the factual questions and the final judgment are determined by a jury.

Sentencing:

(Terminal Disposition), (Formal/Informal Probation): Judgment of the court.

Terminal disposition:

A sentence does not include probation and will close once the terms of the sentence are satisfied.

Formal/Informal Probation:

Supervised by Probation Dept/Non Supervised by Probation. Conditional sentence in lieu of imposing the maximum penalty and subject to conditions imposed by the court.

Probation Violation Arraignment/Hearing:

Failure to comply with a term or condition of probation.

Probation Modification:

Request to modify a term or condition of probation.


FELONY:

Arraignment:

The defendant is brought before the court to plead to the charges in the complaint.

Pre-Trial:

A conference of both the prosecuting attorney and defense to discuss the possibility of disposing of a case prior to a trial.

Motions:

An oral or written request made by a party to the court for a ruling or order directing some act or action to be performed.

Preliminary Hearing:

Hearing by a judge to determine if there is enough evidence to convict the person of the charges before them. If so, they will be held to answer to Superior Court and a new charging document titled an Information will be filed.

Held to Answer/Arraignment:

New charging document titled an Information will be filed and defendant is arraigned again.

Trial Setting Conference:

If after discussions between counsel and the court and no disposition having been reached, the case is given a trial date with pre-trial motions set as needed.

Pre-Trial:

A conference of both the prosecuting attorney and defense to discuss the possibility of disposing of a case prior to a trial.

Motions:

An oral or written request made by a party to the court for a ruling or order directing some act or action to be performed.

Court Trial:

There is no jury and a judicial officer determines both the issues of law and the facts of a case. The judicial officer will determine guilt or innocence and impose sentence.

Jury Trial:

The case is presented to a jury and the factual questions and the final judgment are determined by a jury.

Sentencing:

(Terminal Disposition), (Formal/Informal Probation) (State Prison): Judgment of the court.

Terminal disposition:

A sentence does not include probation and will close once the terms of the sentence are satisfied.

Formal/Informal Probation:

Supervised by Probation Dept/Non Supervised by Probation. Conditional sentence in lieu of imposing the maximum penalty and subject to conditions imposed by the court.

Probation Violation Arraignment/Hearing:

Failure to comply with a term or condition of probation.

Probation Modification:

Request to modify a term or condition of probation.

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