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TIPS FOR COMING TO COURT
TIMING: You will need to budget plenty of time for getting through the metal detectors. This can vary from 30 second to 30 minutes depending on the courthouse. (Also, be advised that it is never a good idea to bring contraband into the courthouse.)
You will also need to budget time to locate parking. Finding free parking is difficult at most courthouses in California. The Law Office of Peter Depew provides free parking at our 1119 Palm Street office to all our clients who have matters in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.
Most court dates have an 8:30 AM call time. Your case is unlikely to actually be called at 8:30 AM, but you are required to be present and check in with the bailiff at that time. Often courtroom doors do not actually open to the public until 9AM. However, if you are not present at the appointed time, you risk being remanded into custody for failing to appear, even if you arrive just a few minutes late. Also, be advised to some counties have unusual call times (e.g. Kings County criminal courts start issuing Failure To Appear warrants at 8:15 AM sharp.)
CLOTHING: It is advisable to dress well for court. You will generally not be allowed to enter a courtroom if you are wearing shorts, sandals, or a tank-top. You must remove hats and sunglasses before coming into the courtroom. You should wear the most formal business attire you own and fee comfortable wearing. While you might feel over-dressed, judges often express their appreciation for defendants who wear jackets and ties. Blazers and sports coats with an open shirt are also good choices.
FINDING YOUR COURTROOM: In California, courtrooms are commonly called Departments. (For instance, “Department 10,” “D10” or “Courtroom 10” would all be the same place.) Most courthouses have large monitors that display where each matter is going to be heard that day. There are also paper printouts on the wall outside of each courtroom with the master calendar printed on them. Be advised that your case may not be in the same courtroom on each trip to court, so be sure to check.
COURT RULES: If you are in the audience, you cannot use a cellphone or any electronic device. If your phone audibly rings, you will be asked to leave the courtroom by the bailiff. While in court, it is a misdemeanor crime for anyone in the gallery to communicate with any person in custody. Although it is human nature to want to tell a family members that you love them, bailiffs will not tolerate any form of communication with people in custody, and they are quick to enforce this rule.
YOU WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO POST BAIL IN MOST MISDEMEANOR CASES. Even if you are arrested on a felony, if that felony is something that can also be charged as a misdemeanor (e.g. domestic violence causing injury), you may still be released without having to post bail. You have a right to be arraigned within two court days from being arrested, and at that time, the judge will determine if you will be released “on your own recognizance” (OR), which is essentially being released for free.
The main advantage to posting bail in a misdemeanor case is that you can be released without spending a night in jail. Although most arraignments happen within 12-48 hours of arrest, sometimes waiting to be arraigned can require up to 4 nights in jail (e.g. the arrest took place on a Friday before a holiday weekend.) Still, if funds are low, waiting for an OR release can free up funds that can be used for private legal defense.
If you wish to post bail, you can do so directly to the jail or through a bail bondsman. If posting bail directly to the jail, you will be required to deposit the entire amount. If you use a bail agent, you will give the bail bondsman up to ten percent of the total bail and he will post the rest.
Bail agents give a two-percent discount to clients represented by private attorneys.
COURTHOUSE LOCATIONS IN SLO COUNTY
All adult criminal matters are heard in San Luis Obispo Superior Court at 1050 Monterey Street.
All juvenile criminal matters are heard in San Luis Obispo Superior Court at 1065 Kansas Avenue.
Veterans Treatment Court matters are heard in San Luis Obispo at the Veterans Memorial Building at 801 Grand Avenue.
North County traffic matters are heard at the Paso Robles Branch of the Superior Court at 901 Park Street.
The currently assigned judges of the San Luis Obispo Superior Court are: Hon. Charles S. Crandall, Hon. Jacquelyn H. Duffy, Hon. Rita Coyne Federman, Hon. Ginger E. Garrett, Hon. Dodie A. Harman, Hon. Linda D. Hurst, Hon. Barry T. LaBarbera, Hon. Gayle L. Peron, Hon. John A. Trice, and Hon. Craig B. Van Rooyen.
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
North County criminal matters are heard in Santa Maria at 312 East Cook Street.
Lompoc Valley and Santa Ynez criminal matters are heard in Lompoc at 115 Civic Center Plaza.
South County matters are heard in Santa Barbara at 118 East Figueroa Street.
Santa Ynez Valley traffic matters are heard in Solvang at 1745 Mission Drive, Suite C.
The currently assigned judges of the Santa Barbara Superior Court are: Hon. Thomas R. Adams, Hon. Thomas P. Anderle, Hon. Clifford R. Anderson III, Hon. Jed Beebe, Hon. Michael J. Carrozzo, Hon. Jean M. Dandona, Hon. Rogelio R. Flores, Hon. Arthur A. Garcia, Hon. Donna D. Geck, Hon. James E. Herman, Hon. Brian Hill, Hon. Patricia L. Kelly, Hon. Kay S. Kuns, Hon. Gustavo E. Lavayen, Hon. Pauline Maxwell, Hon. John F. McGregor, Hon. Raimundo J. Montes de Oca, Hon. James F. Rigali, Hon. Timothy J. Staffel, Hon. Colleen K. Sterne, Hon. James K. Voysey
ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING (HOUSE ARREST / WORK ALTERNATIVE) IN SLO COUNTY
Although it is called “Home Detention,” generally the participant is allowed pre-arranged travel to work, religious services, medical appointments, grocery stores, laundromats and other essential functions.
The Sheriff’s Alternative Sentencing Unit (ASU) offers a Home Detention Program (HDP) for inmates who are sentenced to 10 days or more in the County Jail, and an Alternative Work Program (AWP) for inmates sentenced to 20 days or less. HDP allows an inmate to serve their sentence in their San Luis Obispo County home and continue to work at their regular job. AWP allows an inmate to perform eight hours of general labor for every one day of jail time. These voluntary programs are open only to minimum security/low risk inmates, as determined by the ASU staff. Certain crime convictions are not eligible for participation.
An application can be found on the SLO Sheriff’s website https://www.slosheriff.org/images/cms/files/ASU%20APPLICATION%202016.pdf
The Alternative Sentencing Coordinators phone number is (805) 781-4635.
ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING (HOUSE ARREST / WORK ALTERNATIVE) IN SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
Convicted misdemeanants with 60 days or less to serve may apply to the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program (SWAP) as an alternative to jail. The program involves assignment to one of several work sites throughout the County. Participants may serve their sentences in increments, such as weekends, so as not to affect their full-time jobs. Participants also pay a daily fee to offset the cost of the program.
Electronic Monitoring: Inmates in the Electronic Monitoring program continue their jobs within the community, while serving their court imposed sentence. A portion of the incarceration costs for these inmates is reimbursed by participants through a daily fee assessment. Due to jail overcrowding, the Work Furlough program was modified several years ago to allow these inmates to be placed on EM rather than being held in the facility. Additionally, in an effort to alleviate overcrowding, the program was expanded to allow participation by unemployed individuals.
BATTERER’S INTERVENTION PROGRAM FOLLOWING A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONVICTION
If a person is granted probation for a crime in which the victim is a person defined in Section 6211 of the Family Code, the terms of probation must include a 52-week BIP class. This class costs approximately $1900. Weekly payments are available and no person can be turned away for lack of income.
In San Luis Obispo County, enrollment is done through the probation department and classes are provided at four locations. https://www.slocounty.ca.gov/San_Luis_Obispo_Probation_Department/Adult_Services_Division/Batterer_s_Intervention_Program_Enrollment_FAQs.htm
In Santa Barbara County, classes are provided at four locations. https://www.countyofsb.org/probation/asset.c/666
DMV ALCOHOL CLASSES FOLLOWING A DUI
The Wet Reckless Program: Persons convicted of a reckless driving offence with a measurable amount of alcohol in their blood, complete a 12-hour DUI alcohol and drug education program. (Approximately $400.)
First Offender Program: Persons convicted of a first DUI offense will complete one of the following programs, usually determined by their BAC: three-month (30-hour), or nine-month (60-hour) program. Each program requires 12 hours of alcohol and drug education, a minimum of 10 to 44 hours of group counseling, and individual counseling interviews. (Approximately $900 for three-month and $1500 for nine-month.)
18-Month Program: Second and subsequent DUI offenders complete 18-month multiple offender programs with 12 hours of alcohol and drug education, 52 hours of group counseling, biweekly individual interviews, and 6 hours of community reentry monitoring. (Approximately $1900 – $2600.)
30-Month Multiple Offender Programs: A county may elect to provide 30-month DUI programs for third and subsequent DUI offenders. Program requirements are: 12 hours of alcohol and drug education, 78 hours of group counseling, individual interviews, and up to 300 hours of community service. (Approximately $3000.)
Where To Enroll: There are four locations in San Luis Obispo County. https://www.slocounty.ca.gov/health/DAS_Home/services/DUI_Programs_Summary.htm
There are four locations in Santa Barbara County. https://www.countyofsb.org/behavioral-wellness/asset.c/2581
The Law Office of Peter Depew can help you find a SR-22 provider if your current insurer is unwilling to provide one.
RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT PROGRAMS
Often a sentence will be substantially less harsh if the defendant is willing and able to enter a Residential Treatment Program. While there are many RTPs in California, bed availability can be a problem. It often takes months to find a RTP (especially an RTP that accepts MediCal.) The Law Office of Peter Depew utilizes a network of treatment providers and liaisons to find effective RTPs as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
VETERANS TREATMENT COURT
It is important to let your attorney know if you are a veteran of the US Armed Forces. Though it varies from county to county, typically any service member who completed basic training (or who was injured and received a VA disability rating during basic training) is eligible for Veterans Treatment Court regardless of the type of discharge. The primary advantage to VTC in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties is a reduced likelihood of custody time, reduced fines and fees, shorter periods of probation, faster expungements, and being connected to VA benefits. In SLO County, the only ineligible crimes are strike felonies and crimes requiring sex offender registration.
Veterans Treatment Courts are designed to address the growing number of veterans entering the criminal justice system as a result of traumatic experiences they endured while in the military, making it difficult to cope in civilian life. VTC’s assist veterans who have entered the criminal justice system in receiving treatment and rehabilitation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs if the criminal activity is attributed to conditions like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, sexual trauma and other triggers related to military service. The program is also designed to assist local agencies by having the VA provided staff in courts, provide treatment and use trained volunteer mentors in making sure the veterans complete the program.
BOOK AND RELEASE PROGRAM
Book and release is most frequently used when a person suffers a criminal conviction that requires fingerprints, DNA, or a photograph to be on file, but no jail time was imposed. The person essentially shows up to jail on a given date to provide the required samples and is released immediately afterwards without being incarcerated. (This is not to be confused with “cite and release” in which a person signs a promise to appear in court in lieu of arrest before any criminal court proceedings.)
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department gives two options for its Book and Release Program. A person can come to the San Luis Obispo County Jail on Kansas Street at any time with paperwork from court – this will typically take 3 hours. Or a person can make an appointment by calling (805) 781-4583 – this will shorten the process to about 30 minutes.
If a person is issued a citation in lieu of arrest on “recordable offense” (e.g. petty theft), that person may be required to be booked and released before the scheduled first court date. (Although this procedure is mandated in certain circumstances under California Penal Code Section 853.6(g), it seems to be infrequently done in practice on the Central Coast.) If a person is required to be booked and released on a recordable offense prior first arraignment in court, appointments are made with San Luis Obispo Jail Honor Farm by calling (805) 781-4583.
RECALLING A WARRANT
There are two types of warrants, jail-surrender-only warrants and court-surrender-authorized warrants. If your warrant is court-surrender authorized, The Law Office of Peter Depew should be able to get your matter back on calendar before the judge who issued the warrant, and address any problems. If the warrant was issued in a felony matter, the defendant must be personally present to have the warrant recalled.
If your warrant is jail-surrender-only, then it is very difficult (but not impossible) to have the matter placed back on calendar without having the defendant first turn himself in to the county jail.
Call or email to see if we can help you – 805-295-6856 – firstname.lastname@example.org