A Criminal Action is the procedure by which a person accused of committing a crime is charged and brought to trial. In all criminal cases, the defendant is presumed to be innocent. The prosecutor must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Criminal cases range from relatively minor offenses such as traffic infractions to serious ones like robbery and murder.
The State, as the protector of all the people, makes the charge against someone accused of committing a crime because a crime is considered an act against society. Only the State, through the office of the District Attorney in each county, can charge individuals with criminal violations.
The prosecuting attorney presents the charge against the accused person (defendant) on behalf of the State (plaintiff), and must prove to the judge or jury that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
California statutes generally classify a crime as a felony, a misdemeanor or an infraction. A felony is a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment in a state prison or by death. A misdemeanor is a lesser criminal offense and punishable by fine and/or imprisonment in county jail. An infraction is punishable by a fine.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I have to go to court?
Criminal matters generally require a court appearance, unless advised differently by the court or your attorney. If you have a scheduled court date, in almost all cases you must appear. It is very important that you check the court or legal papers you have to find out the day and time you must appear in court.
If you have any questions about your court date, please contact the Clerks' Office at 11 Court Street, Weaverville, or call (530) 623-1208.
What if I miss my court date?
If you do not go to the scheduled court appearance on time, the judge may issue a bench warrant for your arrest. You need to contact your attorney immediately. If you do not have an attorney, contact the clerks office.
How do I get an attorney?
Attorneys may be located through the State Bar of California’s website (see link above), or through your local Yellow Pages.
If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, you can ask the judge at your first appearance in court, the arraignment, to appoint one. The Court may then appoint a Public Defender to represent you. The Judge will consider your income, expenses, and other factors to decide how much (if any) of the Court-appointed lawyer's legal fees you must pay.
How do I pay my fine?
If you were ordered to pay a fine you may send your payment to:
Trinity County Collections Department
PO Box 1446
Weaverville, CA 96093
Or pay in person at:
Trinity County Probation/Collections Department
333 Tom Bell Road
Weaverville, CA 96093
DO NOT MAIL CASH.
If you cannot pay the whole amount at one time you may be able to set up an installment plan by contacting the Collections Department.