Imperial County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Imperial County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Imperial County.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
Arraignments in Imperial County
During an arraignment in Imperial County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Imperial County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Imperial County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Required Court Appearances in Imperial County
Any required court appearances in Imperial County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
Imperial County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Imperial County will take place at the Imperial County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Imperial County Criminal Court Locations.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
Who is the prosecutor for Imperial County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Imperial County criminal cases will either be a representative of Imperial County or a representative from California. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
I need help for my Imperial County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Imperial County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Imperial County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
Jury Deliberations in Imperial County
In Imperial County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.
Imperial County Criminal Court Locations
Imperial County Superior Court – Brawley
Address: 220 Main Street, Brawley CA 92227
Phone: 760-336-3550 Fax: 760-351-7703
Imperial County Superior Court – El Centro
Address: 939 West Main Street, El Centro CA 92243
Phone: 760-482-2200 Fax: 760-337-7742
Imperial County Superior Court – Winterhaven
Address: 2124 Winterhaven Drive, Winterhaven CA 92283
Imperial County Superior Court – Jail Court
Address: 328 Applestill Road, El Centro CA 92243
Phone: 760-336-3575 Fax: 760-339-6532
Imperial County Superior Court – Juvenile Court
Address: 324 Applestill Road, El Centro CA 92243
Phone: 760-336-3581 Fax: 760-339-6210
Imperial County Superior Court – Valley Plaza Infractions Court
Address: 1625 West Main Street, El Centro CA 92243
Phone: 760-336-3500 Fax: 760-336-3599