The Santa Ana Courthouse is located in central Orange County. It handles cases from the Tustin area, Orange, Santa Ana, and the surrounding cities. Additionally, it manages civil cases, complex civil cases, and post-preliminary hearing felonies from around the county. As the main courthouse in Orange County, it is divided into four sections, comprising two towers, an annex, and a jail court for those in custody.
Importance of Understanding Courthouse Procedures
Understanding courthouse procedures is crucial when visiting the Santa Ana Courthouse in Orange County. The most important thing to know is that court officially starts at 8:30 AM. However, not every courtroom begins at this time. If you have a case, it’s important to consult with your attorney to determine the start time. While cases are scheduled for 8:30 AM, proceedings may not commence until 9:30 or even 9:45 AM. Each courtroom differs in how it starts. Additionally, several cases on the traffic calendar begin at 1:30 PM, typical for traffic trials.
The operational hours at the Santa Ana Courthouse are from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM. However, the court tends to be relatively empty between 8:00-8:30 AM and 4:30-5:00 PM. Moreover, there are exceptional holidays that close the court. It’s important to check whether the court is closed on your court date. Often, police officers mistakenly write down a holiday for a court date on a citation, which can result in a missed arraignment and necessitate a return visit to check on your case.
The Santa Ana Courthouse offers several parking options. There are two main entrances with paid parking at $2 per 15 minutes. Additionally, street parking is available at $0.25 per 15 minutes. There are also parking lots offering all-day parking for either $7 or $5. The lot charging $5 for the entire day is located behind the Public Law Center.
An arraignment is your first court date, preceding the pretrial process. It is when you either accept or deny the charges against you. Arraignments apply to both misdemeanor (DUI cases) and felony cases. In a felony case, where prison time is a possibility, you will be appointed a public defender. For misdemeanor cases, you may have no attorney, your own attorney, or a public defender. Arraignments for felony cases at the Santa Ana Courthouse are subject to change, so it’s wise to check the television screen in the middle of the courthouse. For misdemeanor cases, most arraignments are held in department C54.
Types of Cases Handled
The court handles misdemeanor and felony cases, as well as a number of civil and traffic cases from the surrounding area. Civil cases typically involve monetary disputes. Complex civil cases entail disputes over larger amounts or involve appeals or writs against governmental agencies. Misdemeanor cases are criminal cases with the potential of less than a year in jail, while felony cases can result in more than a year’s imprisonment.
Entering and Security Procedures
Security measures are enforced at both entrances to the courthouse, including the Civic Center entrance and the back parking lot entrance. Both feature metal detectors for public safety. Visitors are required to remove belts and empty their pockets into a basket for screening of dangerous weapons. Bringing any type of weapon or illicit drugs into the courthouse is illegal. The courthouse is accessible for individuals with disabilities, and it’s important to inform the bailiffs of any needs upon arrival.
Guidance on Court Appearances
If it’s your first court appearance, expect a considerable wait, especially for misdemeanor or felony cases. Allocate the entire morning for your case. If you have an attorney, they should inform you about what to expect. In some misdemeanor cases with an attorney, your presence may not be required. However, for felony cases, you must appear in court. It’s important to ask your attorney about the expected duration.
Information for People in Jail or Custody
If someone is in custody, their court case will be held at CJ One, across the street from the Santa Ana Courthouse, also known as jail court. Individuals in jail court are housed at the Orange County Jail and make appearances there as their case is heard. To visit someone in jail, arrangements must be made at the Orange County Jail.
Central Justice Center Victim/Witness Office
The Victim Witness Office at the Orange County Justice Center assists victims seeking compensation. If you are responsible for a crime causing damage, you must visit this office for restitution. Victims of crime should also visit or contact the office to seek restitution.
Central Justice Center Cafeteria
The cafeteria at the Santa Ana Courthouse opens at 8:00 AM and is located on the third floor on the east side of the building. Accessible via elevator or escalator (up to three floors), it is situated next to the jury assembly room. The cafeteria offers a variety of food options, from breakfast to lunch, including healthy snacks for those waiting for court.
- Orange County District Attorney’s Office
- MADD Victim Impact Panels
- OC Courts – Criminal Division
Are there any specific procedures or guidelines to follow when filing documents at the Santa Ana Courthouse?
Yes, there are specific procedures and guidelines to follow when filing documents at the Santa Ana Courthouse. Currently, you can check the OC Courts’ online website to find out procedures for filing civil documents. Additionally, family documents can also be electronically filed online. However, for criminal cases, those documents must be filed at the criminal clerk’s window on the first floor on the west side of the building at the Santa Ana Courthouse. The Criminal Clerk has both a public window and an attorney window.
How can one request or access transcripts of court proceedings held at the Santa Ana Courthouse?
To access transcripts at the Santa Ana Courthouse, you will need to visit the clerk’s office for the civil clerk, located on the east side of the first floor. For criminal matters, the criminal clerks’ office is on the west side near the elevators on the first floor. There is a form to fill out for the purpose of getting an audio recording of the hearing. Additionally, if you require a transcript of a court hearing, there may be some extra steps. First, you can obtain the audio and then have it transcribed by your own transcriber, or you could use the services of a court transcriber.
Are language interpretation services available at the Santa Ana Courthouse for non-English speakers, and how can they be arranged?
Language interpretation services are available at the Santa Ana Courthouse for non-English speakers who are facing criminal cases. If you are a non-English speaker facing a criminal case at the Orange County Courthouse, an interpreter will be available in your language, and you are entitled to one.
If you have a case at the Santa Ana Courthouse you reach out to our office at the link above or call our office at 714-589-3063 to set up a consultation about your case.