California state court system
Understanding how the system of California state court works is very important as it helps you find court records easily.
California Courts Overview
California, unlike most states of the United States, has a unified court system. This actually means that finding court records is easier because you only have one central system to research from.
The trial court system of California State consists of Superior Courts. Since the state has a unified court system, it therefore goes without saying that all court proceedings in California are conducted only in Superior Courts.
California Superior Courts
Superior Courts are the only court systems in California. These courts are further organized into court divisions depending on case type. They have jurisdiction over all criminal and civil cases. Divisions within a California Supreme Court may include Small Claims, Traffic, Juvenile, Probate, Family, Criminal, and Civil.
Criminal Divisions generally hear misdemeanor and felony cases.
Criminal Divisions may be divided into divisions for “Limited” cases and “Unlimited” cases. Criminal Divisions generally handle felony and misdemeanor cases. “Unlimited” cases generally involve claims for $25,000 or more, and “Limited” cases generally involve claims for below $25,000.
Generally, Small Claims Divisions hear civil claims that are less than $7500, provided the case can be simplified for Small Claims process. Besides, there are restrictions on Small Claims jurisdiction, including financial as well as other limits on when and how to use the Small Claims process by organizations and businesses.
Family Divisions on the other hand generally hear cases that involve children and families, including legal separation, dissolution of marriage, spousal support, division of marital property, child support, child custody, and paternity.
Probate Divisions typically hear cases related to wills, trusts, conservatorships, estate administration and guardianships.
Juvenile Divisions, just like the name suggests, generally handle cases that involve juvenile delinquency, children in need of supervision, and child abuse and neglect.
Traffic Divisions normally hear traffic-related citations, including parking as well as other offenses that are punishable by fines. This division may handle some juvenile traffic cases.
Many Superior Courts of California have Drug Court programs or departments that focus mainly on rehabilitation as an alternative to incarceration for some types of criminal cases, especially those that are committed due to mental illness or drug addiction.
Besides Superior Courts, California also has independent Tribal Courts. Some Native American nations in California run their own judicial systems independently. These courts are recognized in the larger California court system and are known as Tribal Courts. These courts have some criminal and civil jurisdiction. The California court system may enforce the orders of Tribal Courts.
The Official Website of California County
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San Diego City of San Diego Official Website
San Jose San Jose, CA – Official Website
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Sacramento City Home – City of Sacramento
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Los Angeles County Los Angeles County Los Angeles County, one of California’s original 27 counties, was established on Feb. 18, 1850. It is one of the nation’s largest counties with 4,084 square miles, and has the largest population of any county in the nation.
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Kern County Kern County, CA Official County Web Site Kern County, located in the heart of California, is a growing community with a variety of industries and recreational opportunities.
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Merced County Merced County, CA – Official Website
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Imperial County Imperial County Website Official Website for The County of Imperial, CA
Shasta County Shasta County Official website of Shasta County, California
Madera County Madera County
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Napa County Napa County, CA | Official Website
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