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What is Criminal Court?

The Superior Court has jurisdiction over cases alleging violations of California statue (e.g. Penal Code) and municipal ordinances. Cases generally are heard in the County in which the alleged violation of the law occurred. Alleged violations carry penalties that fall into three categories:

  • Infractions are punishable by a fine, traffic school for traffic offenses, or some form of community service.
  • Misdemeanors are punishable by jail time of up to one year, a fine up to $1000, or both.
  • Felonies are punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, or by death. Beginning October 1, 2011, Assembly Bills 109 and 117 (AB 109/117) establish sentences on felony convictions be served in the county jail for specified non-violent, non-serious, non-sex offenders who previously served their time in state prison.
  • The Superior Court may hear cases filed by the prosecutor, representing the People of the State of California:
  • The City Attorney prosecutes infraction and misdemeanor violations alleged to occur within City boundaries.
  • The County District Attorney prosecutes infractions, misdemeanors and felonies within County boundaries. The District Attorney may also represent cities within Los Angeles County that do no have a City Attorney.
  • The State Attorney General may prosecute cases in any California County.
Copyright 2014 Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles