Santa Rosa Court
The City of Santa Rosa is the seat of Sonoma County, California, and hence the location of the Superior Court of California for that county. The superior courts of California are the state trial courts with general jurisdiction over all civil or criminal cases not specifically designated for either other courts or for government administrative agencies. Each California county has a superior court, each of which has an appellate division to hear appeals in cases previously decided by former lower courts.* If you find yourself or a loved one in trouble with the law, you’ll want the help of a good Santa Rosa bail bonds company.
The Sonoma County Superior Court has 25 courtrooms in four Santa Rosa court locations, Courtrooms ##1–15 at the main building, the Hall of Justice on Administrative Drive, ##16 and 17 at the Empire College Annex building and ##18–23 at the Civil and Family Law Courthouse, both nearby across the Redwood Highway (United States Highway 101) from the Hall of Justice, and Courtrooms ##24 and 25 at the Juvenile Justice Center several miles to the east off the Sonoma Highway on Los Guilicos Road. City of Santa Rosa Bus Routes ##14 and 17 stop at the main courthouse complex daily. Sonoma County Transit Bus Route #30 stops at the remote Juvenile Court complex on weekdays.
The Sonoma County Superior Court organizes its administrative and judicial services by divisions:
- Accounting. The Accounting Division collects court-ordered fines. Failure to pay them may incur civil assessment delinquency fees, arrest warrants, and suspension of driving privileges. There is a grace period which ends on the 30th. Mailed payments should arrive by the 25th for adequate processing time.
- Civil. The Civil Division follows the common California practice of tentative rulings, which become final unless parties ask to be heard on them. Parties who desire to present oral argument or to request the presence of a court reporter at their hearings should contact the court by telephone before 4:00 PM the day before the hearing.
- Collections. The Collections Division collects delinquent traffic citation payments and criminal fines payable over time.
- Criminal. Criminal Division courts hear felony, misdemeanor, and ordinance infraction cases. The division posts the court criminal calendar daily, indicating the courtroom location at the top.
To appear voluntarily in response to a bench warrant, defendants should arrive by 8:00 AM Monday through Friday. Clear warrant felony request hearings begin at 8:30 AM, misdemeanor requests at 9:30 AM. Defendants released on bail bonds must submit written resumptions of liability from their bondsmen to have their requests scheduled for hearings.
- Family Law. The Family Law Division hears and decides cases of dissolution of marriage or divorce, terms of legal separation, marriage nullities, parental rights, child custody and support, spousal and family support, adoptions, and restraining or protective orders in cases of domestic violence.
- Juvenile. The Juvenile Division operates both juvenile delinquency and juvenile dependency courts.
- The juvenile delinquency court hears cases of juveniles accused of crimes. Considering the juvenile’s age, the gravity of the offense, and the juvenile’s criminal record, the court may order that
- The juvenile live at home under court supervision.
- The juvenile be on probation living with a relative, in a foster or group home, or an institution.
- The juvenile be on probation and at a probation camp or ranch.
- The juvenile be in the custody of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice. If tried in adult court, the juvenile will go to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Adult Operations.
- The Juvenile Dependency Court hears cases of alleged parental or custodial abuse or neglect where the juvenile’s personal safety may require intervention. Dependency matters are confidential with hearings closed to the public, only parties permitted to appear at proceedings.
- Probate. The Probate Division handles wills, conservatorships and guardianships, involuntary civil commitment petitions, minor claim compromises, petitions for change of name, and special needs trusts.
- Traffic. The Traffic Division processes moving violations, other vehicle code violations, and some city and county ordinance infractions. The division mails courtesy notices to those who have received traffic citations stating the bail amount for the citation, the payment due date, eligibility for Traffic Violator School, information on clearing violations with proof of corrective action, and where and when to report to appear in court to contest the citation.
*As in other California counties, the Santa Rosa court once had both superior trial courts of general jurisdiction and inferior courts of limited jurisdictions. California voters passed in June 1998 approved Proposition 220, which permitted each county to merge their courts into a single superior court. By February 2001, all 58 counties had voted to unify their trial courts.
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