San Joaquin County Criminal Court

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

What is the Burden of Proof?

The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.

Plea Agreements

A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In San Joaquin County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.

San Joaquin County Criminal Court

San Joaquin County Criminal Court

Where will San Joaquin County criminal case hearings take place?

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

I need help for my San Joaquin 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 San Joaquin 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 San Joaquin 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.

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.

Who is the prosecutor for San Joaquin County?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for San Joaquin County criminal cases will either be a representative of San Joaquin 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.

San Joaquin County Arraignments

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

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.

Can I appeal a guilty verdict?

If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the 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.

Required Court Appearances in San Joaquin County

Any required court appearances in San Joaquin 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.

Right to an attorney

The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In San Joaquin County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.

San Joaquin County Criminal Court Locations

  • San Joaquin County Superior Court – Juvenile Justice Center

    Address: 535 West Mathews Road, French Camp CA 95231
    Phone: 209-992-5698

  • San Joaquin County Superior Court – Manteca Branch

    Address: Phone: 209-239-9188 (Civil Harassment, Evictions)

  • San Joaquin County Superior Court – Stockton Courthouse

    Address: Phone: 209-992-5698 (Juvenile Delinquency), 209-992-5706 (Juvenile Dependency)

  • San Joaquin County Superior Court – Stockton Family Law Courthouse

    Address: Phone: 209-992-5690 (Family Law Services), 209-992-5283 (Facilitator)

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