A Criminal Action is the procedure by which a person accused of committing a crime is charged and brought to trial. After evidence is presented from the prosecution and defense, a decision is made as to the person’s guilt, and if found guilty the accused is sentenced according to law.
In all criminal cases, the defendant is presumed to be innocent. That means he or she may not be convicted unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A criminal case begins when a prosecutor, the District Attorney, initiates a criminal action for the People of the State of California by filing a charging document: a Complaint, Information, or Indictment.
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, in extreme cases, 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.
If a defendant who has been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint them a public defender. (The court does not appoint a public defender in infraction cases since they do not result in jail or prison terms).
The first appearance in court on a criminal case is the arraignment. At the arraignment, the defendant, the person accused of the crime, will be informed of their constitutional rights and provided with an explanation of the charges filed against them. They will be asked by the judge if they understand these charges. A 'yes' answer means they understand what charges have been filed, not that they are guilty of these charges, simply to understand what the charges are and what they mean. Additionally, defendants will be asked to plead to the charges against them: guilty, not guilty, or, in some cases, nolo contendere (which means the person does not contest the charges and is legally the same as a guilty plea).
Bail (property temporarily given to ensure that a person released from custody will return at an appointed time) may also be raised or lowered during arraignment. In order to be released without paying bail, defendants may request to be released on their promise to appear. This is called "on their own recognizance".
If the defendant is in custody, he or she has the right to an arraignment within 48 hours of being arrested. Weekends, court holidays, and mandatory court closure days do not count against the 48 hours. Also, the deadline for arraignment depends on what time of the day you were arrested, so talk to a lawyer to find out exactly when the prosecutor’s deadline to file charges is.
Failure to Appear
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony and you do not appear on your court date, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest. If a bench warrant is issued, you need to report to the court on a Monday or Friday for the clear warrant calendar (see the Law & Motion Calendar page for the specific times), turn yourself into local law enforcement, or contact an attorney who can advise you.
The Public Defender may be appointed to represent defendants involved in a criminal case who cannot afford to hire an attorney. Eligibility is determined by established financial guidelines. If you are eligible for a Public Defender, one will be appointed by the Court and their contact information will be provided to you.
The District Attorney's Office represents the People of Lassen County and is responsible for prosecuting criminal cases in court. The Office of the District Attorney is located at 2905 Riverside Drive, Susanville, CA 96130 and can be reached at (530) 251-8283.
All fines are due by the date the judge specifies in court.
Your paperwork will reflect the amount owed and the due date. If you do not pay or set up a payment plan by the due date your case will be referred to collections and a warrant can be issued for your arrest.
Payments may be made online, in person, by mail, or by telephone.
View the Make Payment page for additional information and to make a payment online.
When you have been ordered to pay a fine or fee on a criminal case and you are unable to pay in full within 7 business days, please report to the Lassen County Office of Recovery and Reimbursement. More information on OR&R is located on their website: Office of Recovery & Reimbursement or by calling 530-251-8227.
Information including a Register of Actions on cases can be viewed on the court's Case Index & Calendar Portal.
The court maintains an index of filings and a record of dispositions. Court staff cannot look up any criminal records over the telephone. To get information about or copies of documents from a criminal case, visit the Records & Information page.
You can appear for the clear warrant calendar on Monday or Friday, turn yourself in to law enforcement, or contact an attorney who can advise you. For the dates and times of the clear warrant calendars, see the Law & Motion Calendars page.
No shorts, cut-offs, see-through clothing, or bare feet are allowed in the courtroom.
Court appearances are mandatory on criminal misdemeanor and felony cases and can be on some infractions. You must appear at the Court on the date and time as directed on your release paper, arraignment letter, or courtesy notice. Failure to appear may result in a warrant for your arrest.
If you fail to appear in Court or pay a fine as promised/ordered, the Court will order and issue a warrant for your arrest. Further, you may be punished by jail and/or a fine, regardless of the disposition of the original charge. In an effort to facilitate the effective collection of fines, fees and assessments ordered or authorized by the Court, your case may be referred to collections.
Section 1214.1(a) of the Penal Code states, in part, "the court may impose a civil assessment of up to one hundred dollars ($100) against a defendant who fails, after notice and without good cause, to appear in court for a proceeding authorized by law or who fails to pay all or any portion of a fine ordered by the court or to pay an installment of bail as agreed to under Section 40510.5 of the Vehicle Code."
Yes. Anyone can review a case that has been filed with the court.
- In person: At the Clerk's Office the entire file is viewable by the public, except for any confidential information such as police reports, probation reports, or any document deemed confidential under the law.
- Online: Viewable information includes case types, case descriptions, charges, filing date, record of actions, event, and dispositions through the Case Index & Calendar Portal.
For information about assistance available to victim's and victim's restitution, please call the District Attorney's Office at: 530-251-8283.
You may request Court-Appointed Counsel from the Judge at your first appearance in court. The judge will require that you fill out a financial declaration and determine if you qualify. At the end of your case a hearing will be held to see if you must reimburse the court for some or all of the cost of the Court-Appointed Counsel fees.
For more information on the requirements of qualification for Court-Appointed Council, visit the Ability to Pay section on the Lassen County Office of Recovery & Reimbursement website or call (530) 251-8227.
No, you may be charged with a misdemeanor if you attempt to speak or motion to anyone in custody.
Contact the Lassen County Adult Detention Facility (Jail) at (530) 251-5245 or 1415 Sheriff Cady Lane, Susanville, CA 96130.
Calendars (both daily and weekly) for non-confidential matters are available on the Case Index & Calendar Portal. Once on the portal, select the SCHEDULING menu at the top of the screen, then Court Calendar. From the court calendar view, enter your hearing date and click Retrieve. From the results for your hearing date, select the Docket Type (Traffic/Crim Law & Motion, Felony/Misdemeanor Law and Motion, etc.) from the table. Locate your case in the Hearing List, the courtroom for your hearing will be shown in the Court Room column next to your case.
Additionally, you can view all hearings for your case (including the courtroom) from the Hearing Summary page from within your case. To navigate to your case:
- If you know your case #:
- If your case number is in the format 2023-CR1234567: click on the CASES menu at the top, then Criminal Case. From the Criminal Case page enter your case number in the boxes located towards the top-middle of the page (ex. 2023 CR 1234567). Click Retrieve. Once your case is displayed, click Hearings in the left menu. You will now see the Hearing Summary page. Each non-sealed/non-confidential hearing will be displayed. The date, time, and courtroom will be shown for each hearing.
- If your case number is in the format CR123456: this case number is an "old" case number from a previous court case management system, you now have a new case number. Don't worry, you can still search using this previous case number. Click on the SEARCHES menu at the top, then Previous Case Number Search. Enter your CR123456 case number in the box and click Search. The results for this search will be shown. Look for your name/information in the results. If your information/case is shown, note down your new case number under the Case Number column in the format 2010-CR1234567, this will be how your case is references from this point forward. Click on the new case number to proceed to the case detail page. From the case detail page, click Hearings in the left menu. You will now see the Hearing Summary page. Each non-sealed/non-confidential hearing will be displayed. The date, time, and courtroom will be shown for each hearing.
- If you do not know your case #: click on SEARCHES menu at the top, then Case Searches > By Party. Enter your first and last name on the Cases By Party Search page and click Search. Locate your case within the results. Click on the case number (ex. 2023-CR123467) to view the case detail page. From the case detail page, click Hearings in the left menu. You will now see the Hearing Summary page. Each non-sealed/non-confidential hearing will be displayed. The date, time, and courtroom will be shown for each hearing.
If you are unable to locate your case from the Case Index & Calendar Portal, you can call the court at (530) 251-8205. Select option 1 for case information, then option 2 for Criminal to speak to a clerk regarding your case.
In-custody arraignments are held as needed on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at the Hall of Justice - 2610 Riverside Drive in Susanville, CA. Please see the Law & Motion Calendar page for additional information and specific times arraignments are held. Most in-custody defendants are placed on calendar the morning of court and may not appear on the online Case Index & Calendar Portal.
As a defendant, you should expect to be in Court for a substantial portion of the day to take care of all possible matters.
On your court date, check the electronic court docket located next to the elevator in the lobby of the Hall of Justice for your name, case number, and courtroom. If your name is on the calendar, go directly to the courtroom. If not, report to the Clerk's Office. Be prepared to provide identification and information on the arrest or alleged offense(s), including jail release paperwork, notice to appear, bail or bond receipts, or arraignment letter.
If you were convicted of a non-motor vehicle related infraction, misdemeanor, or felony and meet guidelines in Penal Code 1203.4, you or an attorney can file a Petition for Dismissal [form CR-180] and Order for Dismissal [form CR-181] per PC 1203.4(a) to have the charges dismissed from your record. Additional information is available on the California Courts' Self-Help page Clean your record.
The forms as well as additional information on the who can apply and how you apply can be found on the California Courts' Self-Help page Certificate of Rehabilitation.
Direct links to the forms are also provided for your convenience below: