Santa Barbara County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Santa Barbara County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Santa Barbara 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.
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 Santa Barbara 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.
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.
I need help for my Santa Barbara 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 Santa Barbara 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 Santa Barbara 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.
Santa Barbara County Required Court Appearances
In Santa Barbara 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.
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.
Burden of Proof Requirement
In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
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.
Santa Barbara County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Santa Barbara County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
Arraignments in Santa Barbara County
During an arraignment in Santa Barbara 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 Santa Barbara 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 Santa Barbara County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
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.
Prosecutor in Santa Barbara County
In Santa Barbara County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Santa Barbara County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent California. For the most part, the prosecutor in Santa Barbara County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Santa Barbara County Criminal Court Locations
Santa Barbara County Superior Court – Anacapa Division
Address: 1100 Anacapa Street, PO Box 21107, Santa Barbara CA 93121
Phone: 805-882-4520 Fax: 805-882-4519
Santa Barbara County Superior Court – Cook Division
Address: 312-C East Cook Street, Santa Maria CA 93456
Phone: 805-614-6414 Fax: 805-614-6616
Santa Barbara County Superior Court – Figueroa Division
Address: 118 East Figueroa Street, Santa Barbara CA 93101
Phone: 805-568-3959 Fax: 805-882-4647
Santa Barbara County Superior Court – Lompoc Division
Address: 115 Civic Center Plaza, Lompoc CA 93436
Phone: 805-737-7789 Fax: 805-737-5440
Santa Barbara County Superior Court – Miller Division
Address: 312 East Cook Street, Building E, Santa Maria CA 93454
Phone: 805-614-7550 Fax: 805-614-6591
Santa Barbara County Superior Court – Santa Barbara Juvenile Court
Address: 4500 Hollister Avenue, Santa Barbara CA 93110
Phone: 805-882-4576 Fax: 805-882-4698
Santa Barbara County Superior Court – Santa Barbara Pre-Trial Services
Address: 4434 Calle Real, Santa Barbara CA 93110
Phone: 805-681-5645 Fax: 805-681-5641
Santa Barbara County Superior Court – Santa Maria Juvenile Court
Address: 4285 California Boulevard, Suite B, Santa Maria CA 93455
Phone: 805-614-6579 Fax: 805-614-6581
Santa Barbara County Superior Court – Santa Maria Pre-Trial Services
Address: 4251 California Boulevard, Santa Maria CA 93455
Phone: 805-934-6140 Fax: 805-934-6323
Santa Barbara County Superior Court – Solvang Division
Address: 1745 Mission Drive, Suite C, Solvang CA 93463
Phone: 805-686-5040 Fax: 805-686-7491