Kern County Criminal Court

Kern County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Kern County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Kern County.

Appealing a guilty verdict

A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.

What is Jury Deliberation?

After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.

Kern County Criminal Court

Kern County Criminal Court

Where will Kern County criminal case hearings take place?

Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Kern County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Kern 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.

Where can I get help for my Kern County criminal case?

The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Kern County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.

The Right to Trial by Jury

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.

Required Court Appearances in Kern County

Any required court appearances in Kern 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.

Sentencing in Kern County

In Kern County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.

The Right to Counsel

The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.

Prosecutor in Kern County

In Kern County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Kern County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent California. For the most part, the prosecutor in Kern County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.

Kern County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Kern County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Kern County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Kern County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.

Can I request a Plea Agreement?

In Kern County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.

Kern County Criminal Court Locations

  • Kern County Superior Court – Arvin/Lamont Branch

    Address: 12022 Main Street, Lamont CA 93241
    Phone: 661-868-5800

  • Kern County Superior Court – Delano/McFarland Branch

    Address: 1122 Jefferson Street, Delano CA 93215
    Phone: 661-720-5800

  • Kern County Superior Court – Kern River Branch

    Address: 7046 Lake Isabella Boulevard, Lake Isabella CA 93240
    Phone: 760-549-2000

  • Kern County Superior Court – Metro Traffic Division

    Address: 3131 Arrow Street, Bakersfield CA 93308
    Phone: 661-868-2382

  • Kern County Superior Court – Metropolitan Division

    Address: 1415 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield CA 93301
    Phone: 661-868-4934

  • Kern County Superior Court – Metropolitan Division

    Address: 1215 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield CA 93301
    Phone: 661-868-2608

  • Kern County Superior Court – Metropolitan Division

    Address: 2100 College Avenue, Bakersfield CA 93305
    Phone: 661-868-4270

  • Kern County Superior Court – Mojave Branch

    Address: 1773 Highway 58, Mojave CA 93501
    Phone: 661-824-7100

  • Kern County Superior Court – Ridgecrest Branch

    Address: 132 East Coso Avenue, Ridgecrest CA 93555
    Phone: 760-384-5900

  • Kern County Superior Court – Shafter/Wasco Branch

    Address: 325 Central Valley Highway, Shafter CA 93263
    Phone: 661-746-7500

  • Kern County Superior Court – Taft/Maricopa Branch

    Address: 311 Lincoln Street, Taft CA 93268
    Phone: 661-763-8531

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