Criminal cases range from relatively minor offenses such as traffic infractions to serious ones like robbery and murder. The State, as the protector of all the people, makes the charge against someone accused of committing a crime because a crime is considered an act against society. Only the State, through the office of the District Attorney in each county, can charge individuals with criminal violations. The prosecuting attorney presents the charge against the accused person (defendant) on behalf of the State (plaintiff), and must prove to the judge or jury that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
California statutes generally classify a crime as either a felony or a misdemeanor. A felony is a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment in a state prison or by death. A misdemeanor is a lesser offense than a felony and generally is punishable by fine or imprisonment in county jail rather than in a state penitentiary.
Find Your Court Date / When to Arrive at Court
Please check the court or legal papers you have to find out the day and time you must appear in court. You can find this information on one of the following:
- Notice of Hearing
- Signed Promise to Appear
- Notice to Appear
If you have questions about your court date, you may also contact the Criminal Division:
By Phone: 707-263-2374
(during the hours of 8:00a.m. to 4:00p.m.)
To view when cases are heard, please visit the Online Case Information Page
Cleaning Your Record
For information on how to clean your criminal record (California convictions only), please visit the California Courts website.