WHERE IS THE SUPERIOR COURT OF SHASTA COUNTY IN THE STRUCTURE OF THE CALIFORNIA COURT SYSTEM?
Supreme Court of California
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Court of Appeal
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WHAT ARE THE THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT?
The Judicial Branch
Interprets and applies the laws
The Governor, State Departments and Law Enforcement:
Signs laws and carries them out
The Legislative Branch
The State Senate and the State Assembly: Writes and passes laws
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CASES?
Civil Cases - When one person or business sues another. After trial, the court decides if the party being sued must pay money to the person or business who filed the suit.
Small Claims Cases - When a person sues another for $7,500 or less. Lawyers are not allowed to argue the case, only the people who are involved argue the case.
Traffic Cases - When a person receives a ticket for an offense such as speeding.
Criminal Cases - When a person is accused of breaking the law a complaint is filed. If the person is found guilty, the judge tells the defendant to pay a fine or go to jail, or both. The two major kinds of criminal cases are misdemeanors and felonies.
Misdemeanors: The person accused, if convicted, may only be sentenced to up to one year in the county jail. Misdemeanors include such offenses as shoplifting, vandalism, and drunk driving.
Felonies: Are more serious than misdemeanors, and the accused, if convicted, may be sentenced to state prison.
Felonies may include robbery, burglary, and murder. In some murder cases, the death penalty may be ordered.
There are three main types of court proceedings in the criminal court: Arraignments, Preliminary Hearings, and Trials.
Arraignment - At an arraignment, the suspect is brought before a judge to hear what crime he or she is accused of committing, informed of his or her rights, has bail set, and enters a plea.
Felony Preliminary Hearing - A judge hears the prosecutor's case to decide if the accused should go to trial.
Criminal Trial - The prosecutor explains to the judge or jury why the defendant is guilty, and the defendant's lawyer tells why the defendant is not guilty.
WHO'S WHO IN THE COURTROOM?
Judge - An elected public official who hears and decides cases in a court of law.
Commissioner - A bench officer who is appointed by the judges to help with the court's business. A commissioner also hears and decides cases at court hearings and trials.
Bailiff - This person is responsible for the security of the judge, jury, and people visiting the courthouse. The bailiff is also responsible for the safety of the defendant in a criminal trial.
Court Reporter - The person who records the statements of all participants in a court proceeding.
Court Clerk - The person who keeps records for the court. The clerk also swears in witnesses and keeps exhibits safe.
Defense Attorney - A lawyer who defends someone accused of a crime in a criminal case or who represents the person being sued in a civil case.
Prosecuting or Plaintiff's Attorney - A lawyer who represents the people of the community in a criminal case or who represents the person who is suing the defendant in a civil case.
Jury - Twelve members of the community who decide the outcome of a criminal case or a civil case, when either party in the case asks for a jury trial instead of a trial to be heard by the judge.
Witness - A person who gives a statement in court about what he or she saw, felt, or heard in the case.
Defendant - In a criminal case, the defendant is the person accused. In a civil case, it is the person who is being sued.
Plaintiff - In a criminal case, the plaintiffs are the People of the State of California (usually represented by the Shasta County District Attorney). In a civil case, the plaintiff is the person suing.
Interpreter - A person who translates English into other languages for people in court who do not speak English.
What do I do when I come to court as indicated on my citation, citation letter, bail bond receipt, or jail release form?
Look for your name, the courtroom location, and the time your case will be heard on the calendar posted outside the Clerk's Office, room 219. If you are unable to find your name or locate a calendar, go to the Clerk's Office.
What do I bring to court?
Bring any relevant paperwork having to do with your case, such as:
- Proper identification - Driver’s License, California ID Card, Social Security Card, or other picture identification.
- Name used when arrested (if different from current name).
- If cited, bring a copy of the citation.
- Letter from the prosecuting agency or court regarding appearance.
- Copy of bond or cash bail receipt.
- Jail release paperwork.
- Sentencing paperwork relating to your case; for example, the fine payment slip, community service contract, any paperwork received while in custody, etc.
When appearing in the Clerk’s Office or courtroom, you must properly identify yourself.
Use the same name and spelling as listed on your paperwork.
If the name on the paperwork is incorrect, please advise the Court.
Be prepared to present a picture identification card.
How long should I plan to be in Court?
As a defendant, expect to be in Court for a substantial portion of the day to take care of all possible matters.
What are the different types of hearings?
Arraignment - Reading of your Constitutional rights, advisement of the charges, entering a plea.
Pretrial Hearing - A conference between parties (prosecutor and defendant) regarding the settlement of the case.
Preliminary Hearing - A felony hearing by a judicial officer to determine if there is sufficient evidence to bind a defendant over for trial.
Jury/Court Trial - The examination of evidence and the decisions of the issues of law by a judge or jury to determine guilt or innocence.
Post Judgment Hearing - Any hearing after sentencing that would require a modification or change in the Court's order.
What is the Addicted Offender Program?
The Addicted Offender program offers individuals facing non-violent criminal charges for drug use and posession an opportunity to enter into a substance abuse recovery program in lieu of straight jail time. The requirements of this program are quite strict. The defendants are frequently tested for drugs and must attend substance abuse recovery meetings in addition to making court appearances regularly.
Where do I go to make payments in person?
The Collections Office is located in Room 112 on the first floor of the courthouse. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday.
Can I pay by debit or credit card?
We accept Visa, Mastercard, and Discover Card.
Will I get a receipt?
You will be given a receipt when you pay in person. If you need a receipt by mail, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope along with your payment. Otherwise, your cancelled check will be your receipt.
Can I serve jail time in lieu of paying my fine?
Yes, with permission from the judge. You must appear before the judge and request jail time in lieu of payment. If your request is granted, be prepared to be taken into custody immediately. You are still responsible for paying any fees owed (eg: booking fees, lab fees, restitution, etc...).
How can I get the "hold" removed from my drivers license?
A Failure to Appear (FTA) will be electronically removed by our office from your record within 24 to 48 hours of your court appearance. If you have a Failure to Pay (FTP), our office will remove the hold only when your case is PAID IN FULL by verified funds (cash, debit/credit card, money order, or cashier's check).
Where can I obtain a copy of your Local Rules of Court?
Local rules are availale free of charge online at this site (See SHORTCUTS menu on the left)
, or you may obtain copies from our office for a fee of $10.00.
Do you accept faxed documents for filing?
The court will accept faxed filings pursuant to Rule 2005 of the California Rules of Court, which states that they must be faxed via a faxed filing agent.