Most California state court cases begin in one of the county superior courts. While the individual is waiting for their court date, they could benefit from help of a good Placerville bail bonds company. The California Superior Court is the state trial court with general jurisdiction over any legal action not specially heard by some other court or by a government administrative agency. The California Constitution has established a superior court in and for each of the 58 counties, one example is the Superior Court of El Dorado county, also known as the Placerville Court. County superior courts also have appeals divisions to hear appeals from decisions in cases heard formerly by inferior courts now parts of the superior court.
The next level of judicial authority upward is with the courts of appeal, where most cases involve review of challenges to superior court decisions. Courts of appeal sit in six appellate districts at nine locations. The Supreme Court of California, the highest court, has discretionary jurisdiction over decisions of the courts of appeal and mandatory jurisdiction over appeals from trial court death penalty judgments.
Superior Court of El Dorado County
This court maintains full-service facilities in Placerville, Cameron Park, and South Lake Tahoe. The Placerville court dress code for all locations excludes shorts, tank tops, crop tops, and bare feet but otherwise allows business or casual dress including jeans. Visitors may bring cell phones with cameras into the courthouse but may not use them to photograph, record, or broadcast from within the building without court approval.
The Placerville Court Divisions
- The Appeals Division is responsible for all appeals. Because they now encompass all former courts of inferior jurisdiction, superior courts must hear relatively minor infractions, misdemeanors, and limited civil cases previously heard in such courts. The Appellate Division now hears appeals from decisions of other El Dorado Superior Court judges, commissioners, or judges pro temp who hear and decide such minor cases originally.
- The Civil Division adjudicates all civil disputes, civil harassment restraining orders, name change applications, and unlawful detainers.
Upon the filing of every civil complaint, the division assigns the case to a single judge for all purposes. Limited civil cases involve money or property in dispute up to $25,000 in value. General civil cases involve amounts over $25,000. Unlawful detainer or eviction proceedings are actions by property owners to recover possession from occupants.
- The Criminal Division has jurisdiction over felonies, misdemeanors, and some infractions. The division maintains online indices of filings and records of criminal dispositions. A felony is a crime punishable by death or jail time of at least one year in a state prison or county jail. A misdemeanor is punishable by imprisonment of up to a year in a county jail, by a fine, or both except when state law expressly provides otherwise.
- Family law courts hear all cases of dissolution of marriage, legal separation, paternity, domestic violence, child custody, visitation, and support. Court services are mediation, family law facilitators, and a panel of attorneys for settlement conferences. All California family courts say they follow a family-centered case resolution process for early settlement and prompt trial dates.
The Family Law Facilitator, an attorney assisting parties representing themselves, can help prepare forms before or orders after hearings. When parents separate or divorce, they need to decide where and with whom their child(ren) will live. These important decisions are sometimes the most difficult. When parents cannot reach agreement, they must meet with professional mediators before may proceed in court.
- The Juvenile Division handles legal matters involving minors, delinquency cases of minors charged with violations of the law and dependency cases of minors neglected or abused.
- The Probate Division is for conservatorships, decedent estates, guardianships, trusts, and other protective proceedings. The probate court advises prospective parties to consult attorneys before filing their petitions. Within 30 days after a testator death, the custodian should present to the court clerk the original will for safekeeping unless a petition for probate comes sooner. Conservatorship proceedings are to appoint conservators or guardians to manage finances or personal care for the physically or mentally incapacitated.
- The Small Claims Division has a court where parties personally exercise their rights to resolve disputes. Attorneys may not represent either plaintiffs or defendants except in small claims appeals. Small claims are for damages of $10,000 or less. The Small Claims process is affordable and fast with rules simple and informal.
In Placerville there is a small claims advisor available every Tuesday and Friday from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and from 1:00 to 3:00 PM at the El Dorado County Law Library. In South Lake Tahoe a small claims advisor is available every Tuesday from 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM at the branch courthouse. The toll-free number for the small claims advisor at both locations is1-800-815-2947. This service is free to the public.
- The Traffic Division hears and decides charges of minor traffic violations, hunting and fishing violations, local city and county ordinance infractions, and animal control citations. Driving while intoxicated violations are heard in the Criminal Division. Law enforcement agencies may take up to 30 days to send traffic citations to the court. Citations must be in the court’s traffic system to be viewed or paid online. Please allow at least 30 days from the violation date for processing.
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