Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Appearing in Court at the Central Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana: What to Expect

This post in part 2 in my series about what to expect when appearing in an Orange County courthouse.  Today, I want to discuss the largest and busiest court in the Orange County criminal justice system -- Santa Ana, A.K.A. Central Orange County.

The Santa Ana courthouse is located at 700 Civic Center Dr. West.  From the 5 Freeway, exit at Santa Ana Blvd. and follow the signs to the court.  The Central Justice Center hears criminal matters from Santa Ana, Tustin, Villa Park and Orange.

There is a large parking garage, but the fee to park is $1.50 per 20 minutes (as of 11/17/15).  There is also metered parking on surrounding streets and some lots in the area that charge a flat fee.

Since the courthouse is so big and busy, make sure you allow yourself enough time to get through the security line.  Some judges are more strict than others regarding punctuality.

The Central OC Courthouse complex features a "tower" and an "annex".  The tower is obvious -- it's the tall part.  The annex is the 3-story wing that runs along the west side of the building.

Most misdemeanors in Santa Ana are heard on the second floor of the annex.  Arraignments are usually heard in department C-54, and subsequent pre-trial conferences are conducted down the hall, in department C-48.  For more information regarding what to expect at your arraignment and what happens at a pre-trial conference, see my previous post about appearing at the North Justice Center in Fullerton.

Felonies in Santa Ana are generally handled in department C-5 until they are assigned to another room for preliminary hearings and trial.  Department C-5 is located on the second floor of the tower.

Attorneys who handle felony criminal matters in Santa Ana understand the importance of proper preparation at the early stages. Because of the building's heavy volume, judges in Santa Ana are under tremendous pressure to ensure that cases are handled expeditiously and without unnecessary delays.  They expect that attorneys are working diligently to resolve their matters from day-1.  Judges will not tolerate excessive continuances or inexplicable "foot-dragging". Attorneys from out of the area are often surprised by our local judges' hard-line policies against granting continuances.

As a criminal defense attorney who practices primarily in Orange County, I understand the importance of diving in and getting to work immediately when I'm dealing with felonies in Santa Ana.  Time is of the essence in these cases.  Discovery requests must be served on the DA at the time of arraignment to avoid delays.  Investigations must be conducted expeditiously.  I try to predict issues before they arise so that I can plan our strategy accordingly.  I even prepare motions in advance so that they're ready to file on short notice.

If you or a loved one has a criminal case in or around Orange County, call us for a free consultation. (714) 449-3335.  Ask for John.

Thanks for reading.

Santa Ana Criminal Defense Attorney