tehama county superior court criminal and traffic divisions

Tehama County Superior Court – Criminal and Traffic Divisions

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The Tehama County Superior Court serves the citizens of Tehama County, California. The court handles a wide range of criminal and traffic cases at its facilities in Red Bluff and Corning. This article provides an overview of the court’s criminal and traffic divisions, the types of cases handled, and the procedures for different case types. Keep reading to learn more about navigating the Tehama County criminal and traffic court system.

Overview of Tehama County Superior Court

The Tehama County Superior Court is part of the California state court system. The court has jurisdiction over all criminal cases including felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions committed within Tehama County. Judges are elected officials serving six-year terms. The court operates two courthouse locations in Red Bluff and Corning to serve the county’s population of approximately 65,000 residents. The mission of the Tehama County Superior Court is to provide equal access to justice and resolve cases in a fair, timely, and efficient manner.

Purpose and Scope of Article

This article focuses specifically on the criminal and traffic divisions of the Tehama County Superior Court. The first section covers the criminal division and the procedures for felony and misdemeanor criminal cases. The second section explains the traffic division and how it handles infractions and misdemeanor traffic offenses. The third section provides an overview of the court locations and hours. The goal is to provide citizens with a helpful guide to navigating the court system if they face criminal charges or traffic citations in Tehama County.

Criminal Division

Overview of Criminal Division

The criminal division of the Tehama County Superior Court handles proceedings for all adult felony and misdemeanor criminal cases. Criminal cases begin when the district attorney’s office files formal charges against an individual based on an arrest or investigation. The court oversees the entire process from arraignment through trial and sentencing if convicted. The criminal division strives to achieve justice and protect community safety through fair and impartial application of the law. Proceedings take place at the main courthouse in Red Bluff.

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Felony Cases

Felony charges involve more serious criminal offenses punishable by imprisonment in state prison. Felony cases progress through multiple steps as described below:


The arraignment is the first court appearance after felony charges are filed. The defendant is informed of their rights and the charges against them. They enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. The judge sets bail or conditions of release unless the district attorney requests no bail. Defendants who cannot afford an attorney are appointed a public defender. Future court dates are scheduled for pretrial conferences and trial.

Pretrial Conferences

Pretrial conferences allow the defense and prosecution to discuss plea bargains, exchange evidence, file motions, and determine readiness for trial. The judge and attorneys discuss scheduling, anticipated length of trial, potential witnesses, jury instructions, and other issues to prepare. Defendants may choose to enter guilty or no contest pleas during pretrial conferences to avoid trial.


If no plea agreement is reached, the case will proceed to a jury trial. The prosecutor presents evidence and witnesses proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense can argue reasons for doubt and present their own evidence and witnesses. After closing arguments, the jury deliberates and returns a verdict. If found guilty, the judge sentences the defendant based on statutory guidelines.

Misdemeanor Cases

Misdemeanors are less serious crimes punishable by up to 1 year in county jail. The procedures are similar but move faster than felony cases:


Misdemeanor arraignments follow the same process as felonies. Defendants are informed of the charges, enter pleas, have bail set, and are appointed counsel if needed. Dates are scheduled for pretrial hearings and trial.

Pretrial Conferences

These are resolved faster than felonies, with fewer motions and less evidence to evaluate. Plea deals may be negotiated or defendants can request a bench trial before a judge instead of a jury trial.


Misdemeanor trials are bench trials without a jury. The judge hears arguments and evidence from both sides then determines the verdict. If convicted, sentencing occurs immediately after the trial’s conclusion.

Traffic Division

The traffic division handles infractions and misdemeanor traffic offenses committed within Tehama County. Infractions are minor violations like speeding tickets that don’t carry jail time. Misdemeanor traffic crimes like reckless driving or DUIs involve criminal penalties. Proceedings take place at the courthouses in Red Bluff and Corning. Traffic cases make up a high volume of the court’s caseload.


Infractions follow simplified procedures focused on efficiency:


Drivers can plead guilty or not guilty by mail without appearing in court for minor tickets. Not guilty pleas are scheduled for trial. Fines can be paid online or by mail if pleading guilty.


Defendants pleading not guilty have bench trials before a traffic court commissioner, not a jury. The officer presents evidence from the traffic stop. Defendants can dispute the allegations. Commissioners determine guilt or innocence and levy fines if applicable.

Misdemeanor Traffic Offenses

Misdemeanor traffic crimes involve additional steps and penalties:


Defendants are informed of rights, charges, and pleas at in-person arraignments. Not guilty pleas lead to pretrial conferences and trial. The judge sets bail and appoints counsel for indigent defendants.

Pretrial Conferences

Pretrial conferences allow plea negotiations between the prosecution and defense. Judges and attorneys discuss pretrial motions, evidence, witnesses, and other issues to prepare for potential trial.


Misdemeanor traffic trials are bench trials before a judge. Prosecutors present officers, witnesses, and evidence. Defense counsel raises doubts and presents counter evidence. Judges issue verdicts, followed immediately by sentencing if convicted.

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Court Locations and Hours

The Tehama County Superior Court operates two courthouse locations to serve all residents:

Red Bluff Courthouse

The main courthouse is located at 1500 Walnut Street in Red Bluff. It houses the criminal division and handles all felony cases and some misdemeanor cases. Hours are 8:00am to 4:00pm on weekdays except Wednesdays when it is closed from 8:00am to 1:00pm.

Corning Courthouse

The branch courthouse is located at 744 Pine Street in Corning. It handles traffic cases and some local misdemeanor cases. Hours are 8:30am to 3:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Closed other weekdays.

Online Court Resources

In this digital age, the legal world is not untouched by the power of technology. The Tehama County Superior Court, situated in the heart of California, has embraced the digital revolution, making essential resources and information accessible online. In this article, we’ll explore the online resources available for the Tehama County Superior Court, specifically in its Criminal and Traffic Divisions, as well as resources applicable to courts throughout Tehama County and California.

Dockets, Calendars, and Court Case Information

Tehama County Superior Court Schedule

One of the most valuable online resources for residents and legal professionals is the Tehama County Superior Court schedule. You can easily access the weekly schedule, filterable by department, case type, and presiding judge. This helps you stay informed about upcoming court activities.

Published Opinions and Orders

Tehama County Superior Court Standing Orders

Understanding the standing orders of the Tehama County Superior Court is crucial. The online platform provides you with a list of orders categorized by number, description, and date of issuance.

Attorney General Legal Opinions

Search California Attorney General Legal Opinions

To stay informed about legal decisions, you can access a vast database of California Attorney General legal opinions dating back to 1985. This is an invaluable resource for legal research and staying updated with legal precedents.

Forms and Related Information

AOC Records Request Form and Information

The Administrative Office of the Courts offers an online request form and comprehensive information on how to request records maintained by the Office, the Judicial Council, or the appellate courts. This is an essential resource for legal professionals and researchers.

Attorney Complaint Forms and Information

The State Bar of California provides a platform for lodging complaints against attorneys. You can find all the necessary information and access an online complaint form, ensuring transparency and accountability within the legal profession.

California State Superior Court Forms

This resource allows you to view and download California court forms. You can search by form name or number, select forms by case type, or find recently updated forms. It’s a time-saving tool for anyone navigating the legal process.

Interactive Online Forms

TurboCourt simplifies the process of preparing family law, small claims, eviction, domestic violence, guardianship, and child support forms. By answering a series of questions, you can generate the required forms for filing in California Superior Courts. Registration is required, with a convenience fee applicable.

Online Fine Payments

Pay Tehama County Superior Court Fines

For those dealing with criminal fines and traffic tickets in Tehama County, this online platform allows for the easy and convenient payment of fines, reducing the hassle of in-person transactions. Please note that a fee applies.

Self-Help, Legal Research, and General Information

Tehama County Law Library

The Tehama County Law Library offers an array of resources, making it an essential destination for those seeking legal information. It’s a valuable tool for students, researchers, and anyone looking to understand the legal landscape better.

Tehama County Probate Court

This section provides insights into Probate Court matters within Tehama County Superior Court, covering case types, conservatorships, guardianships, court investigators, and frequently asked questions. It’s a comprehensive resource for those dealing with probate issues.

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Tehama County Superior Court Civil, Family Law, and Probate Information

This resource provides detailed information about civil, family law, and probate cases within Tehama County Superior Court. You can access information on case types and frequently asked questions, along with additional resources.

Tehama County Superior Court Family Court Services

For individuals dealing with family law matters, this resource offers information about Tehama County Superior Court Family Court Services, including child custody mediation. It also provides links to additional family law resources and forms, making the process more manageable.

Tehama County Superior Court Juvenile Information

If you’re involved in juvenile cases in Tehama County Superior Court, this section provides details about court location, jurisdiction, case types, and additional resources. It’s a valuable guide for those navigating juvenile legal issues.

Tehama County Superior Court Rules

Understanding local court rules is essential for anyone involved in legal proceedings. This resource offers access to the local rules of Tehama County Superior Court, ensuring compliance and transparency.

Tehama County Superior Court Self-Help

For individuals seeking assistance and referrals, the Tehama County Superior Court Self-Help Assistance and Referral Program (SHARP) provides valuable support. Additionally, the Family Law Facilitator and other self-help resources are available to guide you through the legal process.

Tehama County Superior Court Small Claims

Navigating small claims cases in Tehama County Superior Court is made easier with this resource. It includes information on monetary limits, frequently asked questions, and access to the Small Claims Advisor, who can help prepare your case.

Tehama County Superior Court Traffic Information

This resource is dedicated to traffic cases within Tehama County Superior Court. You can find information on fine payments, contesting citations, frequently asked questions, and additional resources.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

ADR processes, including mediation, arbitration, neutral evaluation, and settlement conferences, offer alternatives to court litigation. This resource provides insights into ADR and links to local Superior Court ADR programs.


Key Takeaways

The Tehama County Superior Court oversees a wide range of criminal and traffic cases at its courthouses in Red Bluff and Corning. The criminal division handles felony and misdemeanor cases with separate procedures for each based on severity. The traffic division manages high volumes of infractions and misdemeanor traffic violations efficiently. Understanding the court locations, hours, and processes for different case types allows citizens to navigate the system effectively if needed.

Additional Resources

The court’s website at www.tehamacourt.ca.gov provides further details on divisions, forms, services, fees, and jury duty. Contact the courthouses directly by phone with questions or to schedule an appointment with court staff who can explain procedures and requirements. Consider consulting with an attorney for guidance and representation for any criminal or traffic matter.


Q: What is the difference between an infraction and a misdemeanor?

A: An infraction is a minor violation punishable by a fine, like a traffic ticket. A misdemeanor is a criminal offense punishable by up to 1 year in jail.

Q: What happens at a criminal arraignment?

A: During an arraignment, defendants are informed of the charges against them, enter pleas, have bail set, and are appointed counsel if eligible.

Q: Can I negotiate a plea deal before my trial?

A: Yes, plea bargains are often negotiated during pretrial conferences to resolve cases without trial.

Q: What is the burden of proof for a criminal conviction?

A: Guilt must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt” for both misdemeanors and felonies.

Q: Can I dispute a traffic ticket without going to court?

A: Yes, you can plead not guilty by mail and request a trial to contest an infraction without appearing in court

Are these online resources free to access?
Yes, the majority of these resources are freely accessible to the public. However, certain services may have associated fees, so it’s essential to review the specific details.

How can I request records through the AOC Records Request Form?
You can access the Administrative Office of the Courts’ online request form and follow the provided instructions to request records maintained by the Office, the Judicial Council, or the appellate courts.

What should I do if I have a complaint against an attorney in California?
The State Bar of California offers an online complaint form for lodging complaints against attorneys. You can find detailed information on their website.

Is there a cost associated with using TurboCourt’s interactive online forms?
Yes, there is a convenience fee associated with using TurboCourt’s services. The fee may vary depending on the specific forms and services you require.

How can I participate in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
To participate in ADR processes such as mediation or arbitration, you can contact your local Superior Court ADR program, which is linked in the provided resources. ADR can help parties resolve disputes without going to court.

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