Orange County Criminal Court

Orange County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Orange County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Orange County.

Orange County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Orange County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Orange 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 Orange 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.

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.

Orange County Criminal Court

Orange County Criminal Court

Where can I get help for my Orange 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 Orange 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.

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.

Where will Orange County criminal case hearings take place?

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

If guilty, who sentences the defendant?

If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.

Orange County Required Court Appearances

In Orange County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.

Right to Jury Trial

For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.

Orange County Prosecutor

For criminal cases in Orange County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Orange County. The Orange County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Orange County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.

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.

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.

Orange County Criminal Court Locations

  • Orange County Superior Court – Central Justice Center (CJC)

    Address: 700 Civic Center Drive West, Santa Ana CA 92701
    Phone: 877-872-2122 (Criminal/Traffic)

  • Orange County Superior Court – Community Court

    Address: 909 North Main Street, Santa Ana CA 92701
    Phone: 657-622-5800

  • Orange County Superior Court – Civil Complex Center (CXC)

    Address: 751 West Santa Ana Boulevard, Santa Ana CA 92701
    Phone: 657-622-5300

  • Orange County Superior Court – Harbor Justice Center Newport Beach (HJC/NB)

    Address: 4601 Jamboree Road, Newport Beach CA 92660
    Phone: 877-872-2122 (Criminal/Traffic)

  • Orange County Superior Court – Lamoreaux Justice Center (LJC)

    Address: 341 The City Drive South, Orange CA 92868
    Phone: 657-622-5500 (Juvenile)

  • Orange County Superior Court – North Justice Center (NJC)

    Address: 1275 North Berkeley Avenue, Fullerton CA 92832
    Phone: 877-872-2122 (Criminal/Traffic)

  • Orange County Superior Court – West Justice Center (WJC)

    Address: 8141 13th Street, Westminster CA 92683
    Phone: 877-872-2122 (Criminal/Traffic)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.