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.

Tribal Courts

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

Los Angeles City of Los Angeles
San Diego City of San Diego Official Website
San Jose San Jose, CA – Official Website
San Francisco City & County of San Francisco | San Francisco
Fresno City of Fresno | Welcome to Fresno, CA
Sacramento City Home – City of Sacramento
Long Beach City of Long Beach
Oakland City of Oakland The official website of the City of Oakland. Find out about meetings, request City services through OAK 311, or contact the Mayor and City Council.
Bakersfield City of Bakersfield
Anaheim Anaheim, CA – Official Website The home page of Anaheim.net allowing residents to navigate through the website and see what’s going on in the City and contact the right people.
Santa Ana The City of Santa Ana
Riverside Riverside, California | City of Arts & Innovation
Stockton
Chula Vista City of Chula Vista Welcome to Chula Vista. Chula Vista means “beautiful view” and there is more to see and do here than you can imagine! Visit Chula Vista for the best in outdoor recreation, family activities, and urban amenities.
Irvine City of Irvine Official site includes event schedules, city guide, and administration/department information.
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.
San Diego County SanDiegoCounty.gov The County of San Diego is one of the most award-winning and innovative government agencies in the United States. The five elected Supervisors run the County like a business, relying on the General Management System (GMS), a structure emphasizing accountability, efficiency and customer service.
Orange County Orange County, California
Riverside County County of Riverside This web site is designed to make it easier for Riverside County residents, businesses, and visitors to access the many programs and services offered by the county government and non-profit agencies.
San Bernardino County San Bernardino County – Official Website
Santa Clara County Welcome to the County of Santa Clara Located in northern California, the Official website of the County of Santa Clara, California, providing useful information and valuable resources to County residents.
Alameda County ACGOV.org | Alameda County Government
Sacramento County Sacramento County, California
Contra Costa County Contra Costa County, CA Official Website
Fresno County County of Fresno
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.
San Mateo County All of California in one County
San Joaquin County San Joaquin County California
Stanislaus County Stanislaus County Stanislaus County official site. Live, work and play here with recreation, arts and family fun. Info on Stanislaus County parks, jobs, animal services, tax bills & more.
Sonoma County County of Sonoma, California
Tulare County Tulare County Main
Santa Barbara County County of Santa Barbara
Solano County Solano County
Monterey County Monterey County, CA Proudly serving the community since 1850. The Mission of Monterey County is to Excel at providing Quality Services for the benefit of all Monterey County residents while developing, maintaining, and enhancing the resources of the area.
Placer County Placer County, CA | Official Website
San Luis Obispo County San Luis Obispo County
Santa Cruz County Santa Cruz County Home
Merced County Merced County, CA – Official Website
Butte County Butte County
Yolo County Yolo County
El Dorado County El Dorado County Welcome to the El Dorado County site. Local Number: (530) 621-5567. Phone: (530) 621-5567. Located in east-central California. The County seat is Placerville.
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
Kings County Kings County The home page for the Kings County website.
Napa County Napa County, CA | Official Website
Humboldt County Humboldt County, CA – Official Website The official website for Humboldt County government.
Nevada County Nevada County, CA | Official Website
Sutter County Sutter County Home Sutter County, California, official website.