Santa Clara County Courthouses

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If you were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or a violation of the Vehicle Code* in Santa Clara County, you will be going to court in one of three courthouses: Palo Alto, San Jose, or Morgan Hill. Each of these locations has different personnel in the courthouse including judges, clerks, and bailiffs. The Santa Clara County District Attorney also assigns individual Deputy District Attorneys to each courtroom (and even each case sometimes) depending upon the severity of the allegations or charges.

You can click on the links above to go to their respective web sites. For your convenience, we have included some general information that might help you as you try to navigate the legal system. Of course, you can always call our office if you wish to schedule a free consultation. Our number is (510) 434-1400

Palo Alto Courthouse

You may be required to go to court in Palo Alto if you were arrested in Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos Hills, Sunnyvale, or Cupertino, or if your citation lists Palo Alto courthouse as the location for your arraignment. The Palo Alto Courthouse currently has five active courtrooms conducting both felony and misdemeanor criminal prosecutions. Earlier this year the traffic division was closed and relocated to Santa Clara.

The Courthouse also has an administrative wing, which houses the Court Clerk and the Northern District office of the Santa Clara District Attorney. If you are unsure about the correct jurisdiction where you were arrested, these law enforcement agencies usually give arraignment dates in the Palo Alto Courthouse:

Currently, misdemeanor arraignments are scheduled at 1:30 in the afternoon if you are cited to appear on a particular date and time. Unless you have a lawyer, you will need to be prepared to enter a plea to the charges that have been filed against you.

San Jose Hall of Justice

If you were arrested in Campbell, Los Gatos, Milpitas, San Jose, Santa Clara, or Saratoga you may be going to court in San Jose. This should be reflected by the citation or Notice to Appear that you received at the time of your arrest or release from custody. The San Jose Courthouse (also known as the San Jose Hall of Justice) currently has six active courtrooms conducting misdemeanor criminal prosecutions. Felony prosecutions have a “Master Calendar” and can be assigned to any available courtroom for preliminary examinations or jury trials. If you are unsure as to where you were when you were arrested, these law enforcement agencies usually give arraignment dates in the San Jose Courthouse:

Currently, misdemeanor arraignments are scheduled for 9:00 in the morning. If your citation or Notice to Appear states that you must appear at 9:00 on a particular date, you must either appear—prepared to handle your court case and questions from the judge regarding your Constitutional rights—or have a lawyer appear on your behalf.

South County Courthouse, Morgan Hill

If you were arrested in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, or San Martin you may be going to court in Morgan Hill; this should be reflected by the citation or Notice to Appear you received at the time of your arrest or release from custody. The Morgan Hill Courthouse (also known as the South County Courthouse) currently has one active courtroom conducting misdemeanor criminal prosecutions, although trial matters are assigned to the “Master Calendar” along with felony prosecutions and can be assigned to any available courtroom. If you are unsure as to where you were when you were arrested, these law enforcement agencies usually give arraignment dates in the Morgan Hill Courthouse:

If you were arrested for a misdemeanor DUI offense in an area covered by the South County Courthouse, you may have an arraignment at either 9:00 or 1:30 on a particular date. You must appear on that date and time prepared to handle the legal decisions that are part an arraignment, unless you have hired a lawyer to appear on your behalf.

Other Law Enforcement Agencies

There are several other agencies that enforce traffic laws in Santa Clara County. They may have county-wide or limited jurisdiction, and the enforcement capabilities of individual officers will depend upon their specific training. Generally, Santa Clara County Sheriff and the California Highway Patrol has law enforcement authority throughout the county, including both incorporated and unincorporated areas. Community College, Stanford, San Jose State University or other security and law enforcement may have more limited jurisdiction to enforce vehicle code violations like Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or driving with a suspended license.

*Violation of Vehicle Code §23152(a), §23152(b), §23152(c), §23152(d), §23152(e), §23153(a), §23153(b), §23140 or §23136.