We've compiled a list of commonly asked questions from each division here on this page. For more information on a topic please visit our Division pages from the menu tab above.
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Q: What is an adoption?
A: An adoption is an action to take a child (or adult) of another into one's family and give him or her the rights, privileges and duties of a child and heir.
Q: What is the filing fee for an adoption?
A: The fee is $20 per child.
Q: Where do I file my documents?
A: All documents should be filed at the Juvenile and Probate Courthouse, located at 4353 E. Vineyard Avenue in Oxnard.
Q: How long does an adoption take?
A: Once a petition is filed with the court, the adoption is usually finalized within one year. The actual time is based on when the relinquishment of the parental rights of the natural parent(s) is obtained. There are cases which may take more than one year depending on individual circumstances.
Q: Can I get a copy of my own adoption papers?
A: The adoptive parents or child may request a Certificate of Adoption which states the date and place of adoption, the child's birth date, the names of the adoptive parents and the name the child has taken. A release of any further information requires an order from the court. The form, Petition for Authorization to Inspect Adoption and Birth Record Information and to Obtain Copies (VN200), is available on this website.
Q: Where do I find the papers to start an adoption?
Q: Where can I get more information about adoptions?
A: You may find more information about adoptions at the California Courts website (http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-adoption.htm) and the California Department of Public Health website (http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/)
Q: Are there any additional fees in an adoption case?
A: Human Resources Agency is required to conduct an investigation. The fee is $64 per hour with a maximum fee of $700.
For more information please visit our Adoption Information page.
Q: I wish to appeal my case. Is there a fee?
A: There is no fee for filing an appeal on a traffic, criminal or juvenile court case. There is a filing fee for filing an appeal in a Small Claims, Family Law, Probate, Mental Health, Civil (limited and unlimited jurisdiction) cases.
Q: What is the fee for filing an appeal on a Civil Limited Jurisdiction case (to Appellate Division)?
A: $225.00 where the amount demanded in the case does not exceed $10,000. $370.00 where the amount demanded in the case exceeds $10,000 (but does not exceed $25,000).
Q: What is the fee for filing a small claims appeal?
Q: What is the fee for filing an appeal in a Civil Unlimited, Probate, Mental Health or Family Law case to the Court of Appeal?
A: $775.00 payable to the District Court of Appeals and collected at the time of filing the appeal in Superior Court. There is also a $100 deposit for the Clerk's transcript required at the time of filing, payable to the Ventura Superior Court.
Q: Can the fees for filing an appeal be waived?
A: If you qualify for a fee waiver, you may get the fees waived, except for the fees required to pay for court reporter’s transcripts.
Q: Are forms provided for filing an appeal?
A: There are Judicial Council forms for filing all types of appeals.
Q: What is the fastest way for me to get the forms and are they available on the Internet?
A: Forms are available at the forms kiosk in the clerk's office and in the Self-Help Legal Access Centers. There is no fee for the forms. Forms are also available on the court website and can be completed online at this webiste by visiting the On-Line Forms section. Forms can also be received by mailing a written request identifying the form(s) requested and a self-addressed, stamped return envelope to the court.
Q: Are there instructions available for filing an appeal?
A: There are Judicial Council information forms for filing Civil Limited, Civil Unlimited, Misdemeanor and Infraction appeals. The Law Library has code books available for public use.
Q: Where can I get information about filing an appeal?
A: The rules on appeal are technical. It is helpful to have the advice of an attorney, but it is not required. The California Rules of Court control many of the details of an appeal to the Superior Court. These rules should be followed exactly and may be found in any law library.
Q: Where do I file my appeal?
A: The Ventura Superior Court Local Rules, Rule 2.02.01, require Notice of Appeal and all documents relating to the completion of the appellate record must be filed with the Appeals Clerk located in the Ventura Courthouse. This rule appiles to Civil Unlimited, Family Law, Mental Health, Probate and Felony Criminal appeals.
Notice of Appeal and all documents relating to the appeal in a Juvenile Dependency or Juvenile Delinquency case must be filed at the Juvenile Courthouse located in Oxnard.
Appeals to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court, County of Ventura
Notice of Appeal and all documents relating to the appeal must be filed with the Appeals Clerk located in the Ventura Courthouse. This applies to Civil Limited, Criminal Misdemeanor and Infraction appeals, including Juvenile Infractions.
Q: Where can I file a Small Claims appeal?
A: Small Claims appeals may be filed with the Appeals Clerk at the Ventura Courthouse.
Q: How long do I have to file my appeal?
A: On a decision of the Limited Jurisdiction Court, the notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the mailing of the notice of entry of judgment or 30 days from the sentencing. For a non-criminal case, if notice was never mailed or personally served, the appeal period is 90 days from the entry of judgment by the court.
On a decision of the Unlimited Jurisdiction Court, the notice of appeal must be filed within 60 days of the mailing of the notice of entry of judgment or 60 days from the sentencing. For a non-criminal case, if notice was never mailed or personally served, the appeal period is 180 days from the entry of judgment by the court.
Q: Will I get a new hearing or trial and can I introduce new evidence and witnesses?
A: Except for small claims matters, appeals are an examination of the original hearing or trial by judges of the next higher court. No new evidence or witnesses can be introduced.
If your appeal stems from a small claims matter you will have a new trial and you must present your evidence and any witnesses again.
Q: I was found guilty of a criminal case and have filed an appeal. Do I still have to comply with all of the terms of the court order or can I wait until my appeal has been decided?
A: The filing of an appeal does not stop the enforcement of the judgment. You must still comply with the terms of the court order, or request a stay of execution pending the outcome of the appeal.
Q: I'm the plaintiff in a small claims case and I lost my claim. May I appeal the court's decision?
A: The court's decision on your claim is final. You may not appeal your own claim.
Q: An attorney wasn't allowed to represent me at my small claims trial. Can I have an attorney represent me for the appeal?
A: Yes, you may be represented by an attorney at the appeal.
For answers to questions specific to individual appeals, you must contact the clerk's office.
For more information please visit our Appeals page.
Q: What is the fee for filing a civil case?
A: The fee for filing an initial complaint, petition or application is:
- $ 435.00 if the amount demanded is in excess of $25,000.00, including Unlawful Detainer cases.
- $ 370.00 if the amount demanded is over $10,000.00, and no more than $25,000.00.
- $ 225.00 if the amount demanded is $10,000.00 or less.
- $ 385.00 - Unlawful Detainer if the amount demanded is over $10,000.00, and no more than $25,000.00.
- $ 240.00 - Unlawful Detainer if the amount demanded is $10,000.00 or less.
Q: What forms are required to file a complaint?
A: The Complaint, Summons, and Civil Case Cover Sheet are required at the time of initial filing.
Q: What is the fastest way for me to get the forms and are they available on the Internet?
A: Forms can be printed and completed online at this website by visiting the Local Forms page. Forms are also available at the forms kiosk in the clerk's office and in the Self-Help Legal Access Centers.
Forms can also be received by mailing a written request identifying the form(s) requested and a self-addressed, stamped return envelope to the court.
There is no fee for forms.
Q: Does Ventura Superior Court require a blue backing on all documents filed?
A: No, blue backs are not required by the court.
Q: How must the defendant be served with my complaint?
A: The summons and complaint may be served by a Sheriff, Marshal, registered process server, or anyone over the age of 18 who is not a party to the action. The party performing the service must complete and sign the mandatory Judicial Council Proof of Service form. The original proof of service must be filed with the court before a judgment can be obtained against the defendant.
Q: How do I respond to a complaint?
A: If you have been served with a summons and want to respond, forms may be available online at this website by visiting the Local Forms page or in the clerk's office. A five day summons requires an immediate response. Failure to file a response may lead to a judgment being entered against you. The fee for filing an answer or response, per defendant, is $435.00 if the demand is of the complaint exceeds $25,000.00; $370.00 if the demand of the complaint is over $10,000.00 and no more than $25,000.00 and $225.00 if the demand of the complaint is $10,000.00 or less.
Q: Can documents be filed with the court by fax?
A: Yes. To file a document by fax you must be registered with Official Payments Corp. Please call 1-855-467-2329. If you are already registered, you may fax your document by calling 1-800-530-3202.
Q: What is the fee for filing a motion?
A: The fee for filing a motion is $60.00 if the first appearance fee has already been paid. The fee for filing a Summary Judgment or Summary Adjudication motion is $500.00.
Q: Does the court allow telephonic appearances and is there a form?
A: A party may appear by telephone at a law and motion or a case management conference hearing if they have timely filed and served notice of such in compliance with California Rule of Court 3.670.
Q: If my case is not on the Tentative Ruling line, do I have to appear?
A: You must appear unless you have contacted the clerk’s office and they have indicated that you do not need to appear.
Q: Is my hearing still on calendar?
A: This information is not available over the Internet, you should contact the clerk's office.
Q: How do I file a petition for Change of Name?
A: Petition for Change of Name packets are available online at this website by visiting our Form Packets page and in the clerk's office with all necessary forms and information included. Multiple family members may file in the same case. The filing fee is $435.00. The law requires the parties must publish a notice in a newspaper of general circulation for four weeks, the fee is determined by the newspaper.
Q: Where can I get legal help?
A: Brochures which provide information on free or low cost legal assistance are available in the clerk's office. You may also find legal guides and references in the Ventura County Law Library which is located in the Hall of Justice at 800 South Victoria Avenue in Ventura. The law library is open Monday through Thursday 8:00am to 6:00pm, Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm, and closed Saturday and Sunday.
Legal assistance can also be obtained from the courts Self Help Legal Access Centers. The Ventura center is located in Room 106 on the 1st Floor of the Hall of Justice at 800 South Victoria Avenue in Ventura. Click here for the schedule.
For more information please visit our Civil page.
Q: Why has my ticket amount increased by $300.00?
A: When you fail to pay or appear in court by the date given on the bottom of your citation, the court increases the amount owed by a $300.00 Civil Assessment fee, pursuant to Section 1214.1 of the Penal Code, instead of issuing a bench warrant.
Q: Why did I get charged an additional $35.00?
A: When the court grants you monthly payments your are charged an additional $35.00 administration fee for processing installment accounts, pursuant to Section 1205d of the Penal Code.
Q: Can I pay several cases with one check?
A: Yes. Please make sure that you include each case number and the amount to be paid on each case and advise us of any change of address and phone number.
Q: Who do I make my check or money order payable to?
A: SCCU or Superior Court Collection Unit.
Q: Where do I mail my check to?
A: Superior Court Collection Unit, P.O. Box 6489, Ventura, CA 93006-6489. Please do not mail cash.
Q: Where do I go to make payments in person?
A: You may pay in person at the Ventura, East County, or Juvenile Courthouse, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Ventura: Government Center, Hall of Justice
800 South Victoria Avenue, Room 205
Ventura, CA 93009
Simi Valley: East County Courthouse, South Side
3855-F Alamo Street
Simi Valley, CA 93065
Oxnard: Juvenile Courthouse - Room 122
4353 E. Vineyard Avenue
Oxnard, CA 93036
Q: Can I pay by credit card?
A: Yes. We accept VISA, VISA Check Card, MasterCard, Master Money Debit Card, American Express and Discover cards. Please call:
Ventura Collections: 1-888-422-6906
Simi Valley Collections: 1-888-682-0930
Q: Can I pay my fine at the DMV?
A: Yes, however, it is not recommended. The DMV may not know the correct total amount due to the court and it takes several weeks to receive the money from the State of California. The only DMV that has a court clerk available is in Oxnard. We recommend that you come to the Collection counter in person or mail your payment.
Q: Will I get a monthly bill?
A: No, but you will receive a thank-you notice when you make regular monthly payments. Therefore, it is very important that we have your current address on file.
Q: Will I receive a receipt?
A: You will be given a receipt when you appear in person to make a payment. Otherwise, your canceled check is your receipt.
Q: How can I get the "hold" on my drivers license removed?
A: When the case is paid in full the court will electronically send an abstract to the DMV to release the "hold." This takes between 24 to 48 hours. You must keep your address current with the DMV.
Q: How do I provide proof of correction?
A: You must have an authorized citing agency sign the ticket proving correction. Then bring the signed ticket to the collection unit and pay a $25.00 proof of correction fee.
Q: How do I get my name off of a photo citation when I wasn’t driving the car?
A: You must call the Oxnard Police Department at (805) 385-7600. They are located at 251 South C Street, Oxnard, CA 93030.
Q: Why was my case referred to the Franchise Tax Board?
A: Your case was referred to the Franchise Tax Board because you failed to make your payment(s) and your account was deemed delinquent. You must contact the Franchise Tax Board for an arrangement to pay. The phone number to call is (916) 845-4064.
Q: Why does my balance increase each month?
A: Some cases on formal probation are charged a monthly supervision fee. This fee is added each month on the same date you went to court and were originally placed on formal probation.
Q: Do you have night court?
A: Yes. In Ventura night court is held the 2nd Thursday of each month. In Simi Valley night court is held on the 4th Wednesday of each month.
Q: Can I serve jail time instead of paying my fine?
A: Yes, with the courts permission. You must appear before the judge and request jail time in lieu of paying your fine. If you are granted jail time for your fine you must still pay any fees that you were ordered to pay. You can not do jail time for fees.
Q: Why was I told to report to the Collection Unit after my court appearance?
A: To have Collections explain your court order, set up payments, advise you of any time limits for reporting to other agencies and ensure our information is current so you will receive any notices that need to be mailed.
Q: How will my Probation Officer know I made my payment?
A: All probation officers have on-line computer access to the Collections cases to ensure clients are making their payments on time.
Q: What are your hours?
A: The Superior Court Collection Units are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except on holidays.
Q: Can I email the Collection Unit with questions?
A: Yes. Email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information please visit our Collections page.
Q: What does a court reporter do?
A: The court reporter is the impartial preserver of the verbatim court record, which is used for trial preparation, impeachment purposes and appellate review.
Q: How does a person become a court reporter?
A: By attending an accredited court reporting school and then passing the state licensing examination. It takes normally three to five years to complete the study and training required.
Q: Why does the time vary for the school program?
A: Academics are studied for a prescribed period of time. Building speed and accuracy on the writer varies wih the individual.
Q: How do I obtain a transcript?
A: Call the Reporting Services office with the following information: the Date of the Hearing, the name of the case and case number, and the courtroom number or name of the judge. You will be referred to the person who reported the hearing on that date.
Q: How much does a transcript cost?
A: The cost varies with the length of the transcript. The rate is set by statute. The court reporter will provide a cost estimate. Upon receipt of payment, the reporter will begin preparation of the transcript.
Q: If we have paid for reporter fees, why don't we get a free transcript?
A: That's only to have a reporter present, making a record of the proceedings.
Q: How much do you charge a page?
A: We charge by Folio (100 words) not by page.
Q: What are the educational requirements and training for a court reporter?
A: A CSR license by the state of California.
Q: What information do I need to order reporters transcript?
A: Date of Proceedings
Your name & phone number.
Q: Where can I pick up the preliminary hearing transcript?
A: Room 118, first floor, Hall of Justice, 800 South Victoria Avenue, Ventura.
Q: How much do court reporters charge for their services?
A: The Court does not monitor or oversee the private contractual arrangements that parties make with court reporters that report hearings. This applies regardless of whether the party contracts with a reporter from the Approved Official Reporter Pro Tempore List or from any independent source.
Q: Who pays for the reporters?
A: Payment for court reporting services for hearings at which the Court will no longer be providing such services (see Notice of Unavailability of Official Reporter Pursuant to Local Rule 18.00(F)) is the responsibility of the party(ies) arranging for the court reporter.
Q: What is the benefit of contracting with a reporter from the Approved Official Reporter Pro Tempore List?
A: By statute, reporters from the Approved Official Reporter Pro Tempore List can report hearings without the parties having to stipulate to the reporter or obtain an order from the Court. Gov’t Code §70044. [If the court reporter is not on the Approved Official Reporter Pro Tempore List, the parties must complete the Stipulation to Appointment of Official Reporter Pro Tempore and the Agreement and Order for the Appointment of Reporter Pro Tempore.]
Q: Do I need to file the Stipulation or the Order before the hearing?
A: The Stipulation to Appointment of Official Reporter Pro Tempore should be brought to the hearing so that all of the parties (or their attorneys) that appear at the hearing can stipulate to the use of the court reporter who will report the hearing. The Agreement and Order for the Appointment of Reporter Pro Tempore (“Agreement”) should also be brought to the hearing so that the judicial officer can review the Agreement and appoint the court reporter, as appropriate.
Q: If the parties stipulate to a court reporter is the stipulation good for the duration of the case?
A: Yes, so long as the parties continue to use the same court reporter.
Q: What if I or my attorney participates in the hearing via phone? May I orally stipulate to the court reporter?
A: Yes. The Minute Order will reflect that the party/attorney orally stipulated to the court reporter.
Q: How many reporters can report a hearing? What if the other parties in my case do not agree about who should be the court reporter at the hearing?
A: There can only be one official transcript of the proceedings. CCP §273; Redwing v. Moncravie, (1934) 138 Cal. App. 432, 434. As a result, there can only be one court reporter who can report the hearing at a time. The Court expects parties to come to an agreement prior to the hearing as to reporting services. Proceedings will not be delayed due to disagreement among the parties as to the selection of the court reporter.
Q: How do I order transcripts of the hearing?
A: Contact the court reporter who reported the hearing.
Q: What if I can’t arrange for a court reporter to report my hearing?
A: Parties are expected to make arrangements for court reporters in advance of their hearings. Whether the parties will be allowed to continue a hearing in order to secure the appearance of a court reporter will be at the discretion of the judicial officer presiding over the matter.
For more information please visit our Court Reporting Services page.
DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE is the same as DIVORCE. This is a legal process where a marriage is dissolved or terminated. A final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage terminates the marriage, determines rights to property and obligations for debts between the parties, resolves issues of child custody, visitation, support and spousal support. Once the marriage is dissolved, the parties may remarry. Divorce in California is ‘no-fault’ and does not require the consent of the other party.
LEGAL SEPARATION is the same as a Divorce except that at the end of the process, the parties are still legally married and may not remarry. This option may be elected by parties for cultural or religious reasons or because one of the parties has significant medical needs and may not be able obtain health insurance once no longer married to the spouse. After a Judgment of Legal Separation is entered, either party may file a separate dissolution action to terminate the marital status but may not reopen the issues already decided in the Legal Separation.
NULLITY can only be filed if certain grounds exist which the party can prove. Unlike Dissolution or Legal Separation actions, the party requesting the Nullity must prove to the court that sufficient grounds exist to annul the marriage. If the party can do so, the marriage will be annulled and the marriage has ‘never existed’.
PETITIONER and RESPONDENT are the titles given to the parties in Family Law matters. The PETITIONER is the party who starts the case. The RESPONDENT is the opposing (or Responding) party. The parties never ‘switch titles’. Even if the Respondent is filing for a hearing as the ‘moving party’ he or she will never become the Petitioner. The Petitioner remains the Petitioner even if responding to a Motion or OSC.
DATE OF SEPARATION is the date the parties have a ‘parting of the ways with no present intention of resuming marital relations’ and there is conduct which evidences a complete and final break in the marital relationship. This may not mean that the parties actually live separate and apart but is an intention to not remain married with actions that support this intention. This date is important as this is the date the community estate ends and all property or debts acquired after this date are separate.
COMMUNITY PROPERTY is any property, whether real or personal, which has been acquired by the parties during the marriage. This property is owned equally by the parties. The same applies to debts acquired during the marriage.
SEPARATE PROPERTY is any property, whether real or personal, acquired by a party before they married, after the date of separation with separate funds or during the marriage by gift or inheritance. This property belongs solely to the party acquiring it.
LEGAL CUSTODY applies to the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the health, education and welfare of the minor child. SOLE LEGAL CUSTODY means that only one parent has the right to make these decisions. Usually, the court will order JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY which means that either parent may make the decisions unless the court specifies circumstances requiring joint consent.
PHYSICAL CUSTODY addresses the period of time each parent will have the child in his or her physical custody. An order for JOINT PHYSICAL CUSTODY does not necessarily mean a 50/50 custody arrangement but instead that each parent will have significant periods of physical custody. A SOLE PHYSICAL CUSTODY order means that the child will reside primarily with one parent who will have the day-to-day care of the child and the other parent will have ‘visitation’ on specified times.
GUIDELINE CHILD SUPPORT is the amount of child support which is presumed to be correct. This is a complicated formula which has been turned into a computer program called DISSOMASTER. This program calculates Guideline child support and may be used to calculate temporary spousal support but not ‘long-term’ spousal support.
SPOUSAL SUPPORT is a payment made by a higher earning spouse to a lower earning spouse. SS used to be called ‘alimony’.
TEMPORARY or PENDENTE LITE ORDERS are orders that are issued at any time after the Petition is filed until the Final Judgment is entered. Often these orders are designed to maintain the ‘status quo’ of the parties until a final judgment on all issues can be ordered and involve issues of custody, visitation, child and/or spousal support.
SERVICE or SERVICE OF PROCESS is the procedure whereby a party is given copies of certain documents filed with the court or notice of hearings or orders requested. Service can be done personally on the other party or, in some situations, by mail, publication or posting. Service cannot be done by a party but must be done by a person over the age of 18 who is not a party to the action. The person serving the documents completes a PROOF OF SERVICE stating that he or she served the documents which is then filed with the court.
JURISDICTION DATE is the date the Court acquires jurisdiction over the Respondent by service of the Summons and Petition upon the Respondent. This date is important because it starts the clock running for the 30 day default and 6 month waiting periods.
DEFAULT may be entered by Petitioner against Respondent if the Respondent fails to file a Response to the Petition within 30 days of being served. When the Petitioner files a default against the Respondent, the Respondent is prevented from entering into the case unless he or she files a motion (order to show cause) to set aside the Default.
SIX MONTH WAITING PERIOD is the earliest possible time the marital status of the parties can be terminated. This time period is counted from the date the court acquires jurisdiction by service of the Petition. The termination of status does not happen automatically. A final Judgment of Dissolution must be filed. Status can be ‘bifurcated’ from all other matters and a ‘status only’ judgment can be entered after the six month waiting period has expired however certain conditions apply against the bifurcating party.
REQUEST FOR ORDER or RFO is a legal ‘pleading’ (document) filed by a party setting a hearing date for the other party to appear and show cause as to why the court should not issue the orders requested. The party filing the RFO is called the MOVING PARTY. An RFO is different from a TRIAL in that only certain, specific issues are addressed and these issues may be decided on the documents filed. A TRIAL is the final resolution of all issues remaining in the case and is usually decided by evidence presented in open court.
MANDATORY SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE or MSC is a conference set by the court before a Trial is set. The parties must appear and try to settle their case by agreement.
For more information please visit our Family Law page.
Q: What is an Expungement?
A: It is the court ordering that a conviction be set aside, a plea of not guilty entered, and the Complaint be dismissed.
Petition for Dismissal (CR-180) and Order for Dismissal (CR-181) are located on the California Courts website at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm?filter=CR
The forms that you submit will be reviewed for completeness. The forms must be filled out completely or they will be returned to you. If you need help filling out the form(s), please contact the Self-Help Legal Access Center, located in Room 106 in the Hall of Justice at 800 South Victoria Avenue, Ventura.
Q: Who is Eligible for an Expungement?
A: Anyone convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or infraction charge as long as they have fulfilled the following criteria:
Felony Cases Pursuant to §1203.41:
These cases require a motion to be filed and the case placed on calendar, usually to have the offense reduced to a misdemeanor before the expungement can occur. Individuals are referred to their attorney or the Public Defender’s Office for assistance.
Misdemeanor Cases Pursuant to §1203.4:
- You were placed on probation (conditional or formal), have fulfilled the conditions of probation for the entire time required, OR you returned to court
and the court ordered your probation be terminated successfully.
NOTE: If you violated your probation and it was reinstated or revoked, the court has discretion whether or not to grant your request for expungement.
If you were not placed on probation, it has been at least one year since the date you were convicted, and you have paid all fines, restitution and reimbursement ordered by the court as part of your sentence. The court may consider any violations of law occurring within the year following sentencing in determining whether or not to grant your request for expungement.
- You are not currently under arraignment for a new criminal offense (charges pending), nor are you on probation for another offense.
Infraction Cases Pursuant to §1203.4:
- It has been one year since the date you were convicted. You have completed your sentence and are not serving a sentence for any offense of any crime since your conviction.
NOTE: Not all charges are eligible for an expungement. If you were convicted of any of the following offenses you are not eligible for a dismissal:
Any misdemeanor within the provisions of Section 42002.1 of the Vehicle Code
Any infraction falling within the provisions of Section 42001 of the Vehicle Code
Penal Code Sections §286(c), 288, 288(c), 288.5, 289(j), 311.1, 311.2, 311.3, or 311.11
A felony under Penal Code Section 261.5(d)
Q: Is there a fee?
A: Yes, there is a non-refundable $60.00 service fee for each petition filed.
Fee waivers are available to those who qualify. (Local Form VN188 - Expungement Financial Data Sheet Re: Ability to Pay Costs of Services) A judge will review the form to determine whether you have the ability to pay the fee.
Q: Does the judge make a decision based on just my declaration?
A: No, the clerk is required to run a printout from the Department of Justice [DOJ] and a printout from the Department of Motor Vehicles [DMV]. This is attached to your declaration for the judge to review.
If at the conclusion of your probation you were on Formal Probation [reporting to a probation officer], your expungement declaration will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for comment. Their comments will be attached to your declaration for the judge to review.
Q: How will I know if the Expungement is granted/denied?
A: Once the judge has made a ruling on the case(s), the court’s computer system will be updated and copies of the signed declaration will be filed and mailed to you. It will take approximately three to four weeks for this process; however, it may take longer.
For more information, please refer to the California Self-Help website below. This information is available in both English and Spanish:
Q: I would like to drive my electric vehicle to court. Are there any charging stations available?
A: Currently the County of Ventura does not have any charging stations for vehicles in its parking lots at the Government Center Complex for either 240 or 120 volt plugs. We are advised that the County is seeking Federal grant money for this type of amenity but there is no word on when or if that would occur.
Q: Where is the court and how do I get there?
A: The court is in the city of Ventura, located at 800 South Victoria Avenue. Coming from the South, take the 101 to Ventura, exit on Victoria Avenue turn to the right at the bottom of the ramp. The court is approximately one mile up on Victoria Avenue. Enter the Hall of Justice building; the Jury Assembly Room is on the first floor of the Hall of Justice, Room 113.
Q: I live in the Simi area. Why can't I serve there?
A: Everyone must report to the Ventura courthouse. Jury trials are not heard at the Simi courthouse at this time.
Q: I just realized I did not return the paperwork within 5 days. Am I going to be fined?
A: No. If you are asking to be excused, return the paperwork as soon as possible. If you are going to serve within the next week, bring your paperwork in on the day you report. You may also postpone or confirm your appearance by calling (805) 289-8661 or online on the Jury Service page. Click the “RESPOND ONLINE” button.
Q: A Summons was sent to my old address. I don't live there anymore. What should I do?
A: You may write your new address on the summons and mail it to Jury Services. Or contact Jury Services by calling (805) 289-8661 or make the change online. Click the “RESPOND ONLINE” button on the Jury Service page.
Q: What happens if I can't report on the day my group number is called because I have a doctor appointment.
A: You may come in on another day that week. If you need to postpone, you may complete this procedure by calling (805) 289-8661 or click the “RESPOND ONLINE” button on the Jury Service page.
Q: I've received two jury summonses for the same week but with different badge numbers. What do I do? Why did this happen?
A: The Jury Service list is comprised of names obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles and a list of registered voters provided by the Elections Office. If your name varies in spelling between the two agencies, the jury management software treats you as two different people. Please contact Jury Services for assistance. You may call (805) 289-8661or e-mail your question to email@example.com. Please include both badge numbers if possible.
Q: I am not a Citizen of the United States. Why did I receive a Jury Summons?
A: Anyone who possesses a California Driver License or Identification Card can receive a summons. Jury summons are sent out at random from a list of registered California residents provided to us by the DMV. If you are not a citizen, please fill out the summons by marking the box at Step 2, “A.” Then sign and date the summons and return in the mail. You may also complete this task online on the Jury Service page. Click the “RESPOND ONLINE” button. You will receive a confirmation postcard in the mail that your request has been granted or denied. Most denials are because the signature is missing on the summons. Please be sure to sign and date the summons.
Q: I received a postcard stating that I failed to report for Jury Service. Why?
A: Postcards are sent to jurors who failed to report or respond to the Jury summons sent to them. You must contact Jury Services to reschedule. You may reschedule by calling (805) 289-8661 or click the “RESPOND ONLINE” button on the Jury Service page.
Q: What time are the jurors supposed to report?
A: 8:00 a.m.
Q: What day do I report?
A: Call (805) 289-8661 after 4:00 p.m. beginning the Friday before your reporting week or check our Jury Service page for reporting information.
Q: Is there a maximum age limit?
A: There is no maximum age limit. If you have a mental or physical condition that would prohibit you from serving and you are 70 years of age or older, you may request to be excused, and you do not need to provide a doctor’s note. If you are under the age of 70, a doctor’s note is required to be excused from jury duty due to a mental or physical condition.
For more information please visit our Jury Service page.
Juvenile cases are confidential, except for traffic infractions. Information cannnot be given over the phone or via e-mail. In order to obtain confidential information you must be a party to the case and show photo identification at the clerk’s counter when making your request.
Q: Where will my juvenile case be heard?
A: All juvenile matters are heard at the Juvenile and Probate Courthouse located at 4353 E. Vineyard Avenue in Oxnard.
Q: I am a minor and received a citation and I have not received anything in the mail. Where can I get more information?
A: If a minor received a traffic infraction ticket, you may contact the clerk’s office at (805) 289-8820 or visit the traffic page of this website. Information cannot be given over the telephone for any other types of juvenile cases.
Q: How do I get a copy of my juvenile record?
A: To request a copy of your juvenile record please come in person to the clerk's office with proper identification. You may fax your request, along with a copy of your photo identification to (805) 981-5965. Please include your telephone number and return address in your letter.
Q: How do I change my court date?
A: To change your court date you must contact your attorney. If you have not made an appearance and do not have an attorney, you may contact the Public Defender's office at (805) 289-8820. Once a court date has been scheduled, it cannot be changed by the clerk.
Q: Where does a minor go to do community service?
A: Community service must be authorized by the judge. A fee will be assessed. You will be provided a list of locations where community service can be performed. You must your selection at the same time the fee is paid.
Juvenile Traffic FAQs
Q: How do I get an extension on my traffic ticket?
A: Traffic infraction tickets are entitled to two extensions. You may obtain an extension by either calling the clerk’s office at (805) 289-8820 or online our Online Public Access page.
Q: How do I pay my traffic ticket?
A: You can pay the amount indicated on your courtesy notice unless the notice says that you must appear. You may pay with a Visa or MasterCard on the telephone, on this web site, or at any court location. You may also send a check, made payable to the Ventura Superior Court, through the mail. Do not send cash through the mail.
Q: How do I place my traffic case on calendar?
A: Juvenile traffic cases are heard at the Juvenile and Probate Courthouse. You must appear at the clerk’s office, Room 122, and show photo identification and complete a Request for Hearing form to calendar your case. You will then be given the next available court date.
Sealing a Juvenile Case FAQs
Q: How do I seal a juvenile case?
A: To begin the process of sealing your juvenile record you must submit a Petition to Seal Juvenile Records (Local Form VN077).
Q: Is there a fee to file a Petition to Seal Juvenile Records?
A: Yes. The fee to file the petition is $120.
Q: What are the qualifications for having my record sealed?
A: Please see Local Form VN089 Sealing Your Juvenile Record Information Sheet for more information on the qualifications.
Q: How long does it take to seal my juvenile record?
A: The process takes approximately three to nine months.
Q: Does submitting the Petition to Seal Juvenile Records guarantee that my record will be sealed?
A: No, submitting the form does not guarantee that your record will be sealed. The decision will be made by the judge.
Q: How will I know if my record got sealed or not?
A: You will be mailed a certified copy of the order signed by the judge. The order will indicate if your request was granted or denied by the court.
For more information please visit our Juvenile page.
Q: Does every estate have to go through probate?
A: There are many situations where an estate does not require formal probate. Even when formal probate is not required, some form of legal process is often necessary. This is especially true when an estate owns an interest in real property.
Q: What is the filing fee for a Petition for Probate?
A: The fee for filing a Petition for Probate is $435.00. The fee for filing an Objection or Response to a Petition for Probate is $435.00. Certain subsequent petitions relating to probate are also $435.00. Please refer to the fee schedule for updated fee changes.
Q: What are Probate notes?
A: These are tentative rulings on the Probate cases that are set for hearing. Visit our Tentative Rulings page.
Q: When are the Probate notes/Tentative rulings available to me?
A: Generally, after 4:00 p.m. on the day prior to the hearing date.
Q: How long will it take before the Probate case I am filing is heard?
A: New cases are set for a hearing 4 to 5 weeks in the future to allow for publication of Notice of Probate. Any other requests that must go before the judge are usually set within 3 to 4 weeks of the date of filing the paperwork with the court.
Q: How much will it cost for me to get certified copies of the documents I will need to conduct the business of the estate?
A: The certification fee is $25.00 plus 50 cents per page for the copy. ($25.50 for a one-page document). These documents will be issued, at your request, by the Probate clerk at the Juvenile and Probate Courthouse in Oxnard, after the initial hearing and after the court makes the order that the documents can be issued.
Q: What forms do I need to start a Probate case?
A: A petition and the necessary fees are needed to start a probate case. If there is an original will, it should be filed at the same time you file the petition. The forms are available on our form packets page.
Q: If the deceased person resided and died in one county can the probate be filed in another county?
A: The probate proceeding must be filed in the county where the decedent resided or owned real property.
Q: What if I was married to the deceased person?
A: You may be able to use a summary proceeding such as a Spousal Property Petition to transfer property.
Q: Can documents be filed with the court by fax?
A: Yes. To file a document by fax you must be registered with Official Payments. To register, call 1-855-467-2329. If you are already registered, you may fax your document by calling 1-800-322-4945.
Q: Is there a fee to lodge a will?
A: There is $50 fee to lodge a will with the court. The court accepts a will only if the person is deceased.
Q: Will the court appoint an attorney for me?
A: The court does not appoint attorneys for probate cases. You may hire private counsel of your choosing or contact the Ventura County Bar Association (www.vcba.org) for a referral.
For more information please visit our Probate page.
Q: Where is the Records Office located?
A: Records is located in the following locations:
Superior Court Records
Superior Court Records
Oxnard, CA 93036
Q: What is the mailing address?
A: Records mailing addresses are listed below:
Superior Court Records
Superior Court Records
Q: What are the hours?
A: Records is open from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays.
Q: What is the telephone number for Records?
A: Records staff may be reached at (805) 289-8668 at the Ventura Hall of Justice, and at (805) 289-8820 at the Juvenile Courthouse in Oxnard.
Q: What types of cases does the court handle?
A: The Ventura Courthouse handles civil, family law (divorce, legal separation, and child custody matters), small claims, criminal (both felony and misdemeanors), and traffic. The court also handles confidential categories such as paternity and mental health.
The East County Courthouse handles civil, family law, small claims, criminal, and traffic. Completed traffic and criminal citations and files are sent to Ventura when complete.
The Juvenile Courthouse handles confidential juvenile, adoptions and probate.
For marriage and business licenses, contact the Ventura County Clerk’s office at (805) 654-3788 and (805) 654-3790. For birth certificates, death certificates, and mechanic liens, contact the County Recorder’s Office at (805) 654-2295.
Q: How do I find a case? Do I need to know the case number?
A: Depending on how old the case that you are searching for is, you may be able to find it at this web site. Go to Public Access & Case Inquiry from our home page and then choose Case Inquiries.
You can also come into either Ventura or East County courthouse to look up a case personally. There are public access terminals available in the lobbies of room 210 and 218 of the Hall of Justice in the Ventura Courthouse and also in the lobby at the East County Courthouse. There is no fee to utilize these terminals.
You can also ask the clerk at the Records counter in room 218 or the East County Courthouse to search the record for you. The fee for a search is $15.00 for any search taking longer than 10 minutes. Fees can be paid via cash or check.
You can also mail your request to either courthouse with a self addressed stamped envelope and a check made out to Ventura Superior Court for $15.00. Include the name you want searched, the type of case involved, and the approximate date of the case. Be sure to include fees for any copies that you may need (see below).
Q: How far back does the court search?
A: Unlimited Jurisdiction (Superior Court) cases are searched from 1873 to the present. Most of these records are available on microfilm. Limited Jurisdiction (Municipal Court) cases are searched back seven years.
Q: What if I want copies?
A: Copies are $.50 per page. If you need your copies certified, there is a $25.00 fee in addition to the per page fee. A Certified copy of a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage (divorce) is $15.00 (no additional per page fee). Authentications (exemplifications) will be issued for a $50.00 fee in addition to the $.50 per page fee. Copies in excess of 75 pages require five working days for completion.
Q: Can I obtain copies by e-mail?
A: Judgments, orders amending judgments, miscellaneous wills and probated wills that were filed at the Ventura Courthouse after January 1, 2003 are available via e-mail. There is currently no charge for this service. Certified copies are not available via e-mail.
Q: What if I want to view a case file?
A: Ventura files can be viewed in room 218 at the Hall of Justice. East County cases can be viewed at the East County Courthouse. Probate, conservatorship, guardianship, juvenile and adoption cases can be viewed at the Juvenile courthouse. A current picture identification is required. The identification will be returned when the case file is returned to the records clerk. In order to view juvenile and adoption cases, you must be a party to the case, and in some instances viewing will not be permitted without a court order. Documents are not to be removed from case files. Case files are not to leave the courthouses. Photographs of documents in the court file are not permitted.
Q: Is there a waiting period to view case filed?
A: A portion of our cases is stored at an offsite facility. Some of these cases are available on microfilm. There is a one to two day waiting period for these cases to be available at the Ventura Courthouse. Some cases are also stored in the basement of the Ventura Courthouse. There is a one-half to one-day waiting period (depending on time of request) for these cases to be available at the Ventura Courthouse for viewing.
Q: Are all cases public record?
A: Certain case categories are not available for public inspection such as adoption, paternity, juvenile, mental health, and unlawful detainers. Other categories, unless ordered sealed by the court, are open for public inspection. Certain documents in these cases, such as police reports, are not available for public inspection.
Q: Can I obtain a copy of a court proceeding?
A: If the proceeding was digitally recorded, a CD of the proceedings can be purchased for $11.00.
If the proceeding was audio taped, a copy of the tape can be purchased for $11 plus a blank 90-minute leaderless tape for each audiotape duplicated.
If there was a court reporter present at the proceedings, a copy of the transcript can be purchased from the court reporter’s office at (805) 654-2212.
For more information please visit our Records page.
Q: How much can I sue for in Small Claims court?
A: Your claim cannot ask for more than $5,000 if you are a business or public entity or for more than $10,000 if you are a natural person (including a sole proprietor). If you have a claim for more than this amount, you may sue in the civil division of the trial court or you may sue in the small claims court and give up your right to the amount over the limit. You cannot file more than two cases in small claims court for more than $2,500 each during a calendar year.
Q: May I sue for the recovery of property?
A: Small claims court is for the recovery of money only.
Q: How do I file a claim?
A: The forms to file a small claims case can be located on the court website under Online Forms by selecting the Judicial Council hyperlink. If you do not have access to a computer, you may either come directly to the clerk’s office to fill out the appropriate paperwork or have the paperwork mailed to you by sending in your request along with a self-addressed stamped envelope. There is also a Small Claims Kiosk in the clerk’s office where you can complete the claim form online by answering questions. This is an easy process and if used, the clerk will print your claim forms for you for no cost.
Q: How old do I have to be to file a claim?
A: You must be at least 18 years of age to file a claim. If you are not yet 18, you may ask the court to appoint a guardian ad litem. This is a person who will act for you in the case. The guardian ad litem is usually a parent, a relative or an adult friend.
Q: How much does it cost to file a claim?
A: See the fee structure below.
- If the claim is for $1,500.00 or less, the filing fee is $30.00.
- If the claim is more than $1,500.00 but less than or equal to $5,000.00, the filing fee is $50.00.
- If the claim is more than $5,000.00 but less than or equal to $10,000.00, the filing fee is $75.00.
- If the person has filed more than 12 small claims in California within the past 12 months, the filing fee is $100.00.
Q: How do I obtain the forms needed to file my claim?
A: Forms can be obtained on at the State Forms page of the California Courts website. The forms can also be completed online. Forms can also be obtained at either court location or may be received by mail by sending your request along with a self-addressed stamped envelope to the court.
Q: Do my forms have to be typed?
A: The forms do not have to be typed. They can be handwritten but must be legible. It is preferable that the forms be completed in blue or black ink.
Q: Is this the proper court to hear my case?
A: You must sue in the right court and location. This rule is called venue. The Ventura Superior Court has two divisions where small claims cases are assigned and heard. The right location may be any of these:
- Where the defendant lives or where the business involved is located;
- Where the damage or accident happened;
- Where the contract was signed or carried out;
- If the defendant is a corporation, where the contract was broken
- For a retail installment account or sales contract or a motor vehicle finance sale:
- Where the buyer lives;
- Where the buyer lives when the contract was entered into;
- Where the buyer signed the contract; or
- Where the goods or vehicle are permanently kept
Q: Is there anyone that I may speak with to obtain legal advice?
A: The District Attorney's Small Claims Legal Advisor may be reached by calling (805) 654-5054, or the Ventura County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral and Information Service at (805) 650-7599. You may also obtain legal information (not advice), on a drop-in basis at one of our Self-Help Legal Access Centers located at the Ventura Hall of Justice on the 4th floor, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to noon or 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Q: How do I go about serving the defendant(s) with their notice of the claim?
A: The defendant must be served with a copy of the claim 15 days prior to the hearing date if they live in the county and 20 days prior if they live outside the county. The types of service are:
Certified Mail - Service by certified mail must be done by the clerk's office. The fee is $15.00 per defendant being served. You will need to check with the court prior to the hearing to see if the receipt for certified mail was returned to the court. Certified mail is the least effective form of service. If the defendant does not personally sign the certified mail return receipt, or if the signature is illegible, and the defendant does not appear at the trial, the court will not enter a default judgment and you will be required to select another form of service and attempt service again.
Service by law officer - You may have the Sheriff serve the defendant for a fee of $35.00.
Personal service or process server - Anyone over 18 years of age, not a party to the case, may serve the defendant. Registered process servers will do this for you for a fee. You may also ask a friend or relative to do it. The person serving must sign a proof of service form showing when the defendant was served and this form must be filed with the court 5 days prior to the hearing date.
Q: May I be represented by an attorney at the trial?
A: No, neither side may be represent by an attorney at trial. However, attorneys may represent either side if an appeal is filed or in connection with the enforcement of a judgment.
Q: May someone else appear in court on my behalf?
A: Only the named parties on the case may appear in court. There are some exceptions to this rule, for example, if a husband and wife are both named on the claim either spouse can appear for the other. Please refer to the Judicial Council form “Authorization to Appear” (SC-109) for additional exceptions. You will also need to complete this form if you are appearing on behalf of a corporation, partnership, etc.
Q: May I postpone my court date?
A: Yes. If the defendant(s) have been served, you can complete Judicial Council forms “Request To Postpone Small Claims Hearing” (SC110) and “Order on Request to Postpone Small Claims Hearing” (SC-111). There is a $10.00 processing fee. The request must be filed with the court at least 10 days prior to the court hearing. If it is not, you must provide additional information on the form to show good cause why you are requesting a continuance less than 10 days prior to the hearing. You are also required to mail a copy of the letter to the other parties on the case.
Q: Has the certified mail been returned as served on my case?
A: Each case is handled on an individual basis. You will need to contact the clerk's office within 5 days prior to the court date to verify whether or not the defendant(s) was served in your case.
Q: My case has settled but there is still a court date scheduled, what do I do?
A: The plaintiff must file a Judicial Council form “Request For Dismissal” (CIV-110) with the court. If the claim was satisfied with payment by check, the plaintiff may want to wait until the check has cleared the bank before filing the dismissal.
Q: My case was taken under submission. Has a ruling been entered?
A: The judge has up to 90 days to make a ruling on a case that has been taken under submission. Notice of the ruling will be mailed to you when a decision has been made.
Q: I won my case, how do I collect the judgment?
A: You must pursue the collection of the judgment. The court offers forms that you may fill out for enforcement of a judgment. You may either contact the clerk's office for assistance or the Small Claims Legal Advisor at (805)654-5054, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., for an explanation of your options. If you do not have information regarding the judgment debtor’s income or property, you may make the debtor come to court to answer questions. This is done by filing an order of examination. There is a $60.00 filing fee.
Once you have the financial information needed, you may file a writ of execution . There is a $25.00 filing. A writ of execution is a court paper which tells a law officer to take property of the judgment debtor to pay your claim. The kinds of property an officer may be able to take: wages, bank accounts, automobiles, business property or rental income. The Sheriff will charge a fee to execute the writ.
If the debtor owns property you may want to record an abstract to place a lien so that you will be able to be paid if the property is purchased, sold or financed. There is a $25.00 filing fee. The abstract is recorded with the County Recorder in the county where the property is located. The Recorder will charge a fee to have the abstract recorded.
Q: I won my small claims case and the judgment debtor has paid me in full. Is there anyone I should notify?
A: After full payment of the judgment is made, the judgment creditor must immediately file with the court Judicial Council form “Acknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment (EJ-100). The judgment creditor may be liable for damages if satisfaction of judgment is not filed with the court in a timely manner.
Q: I failed to appear at my small claims trial and now there is a judgment against me. Is there anything I can do?
A: You may ask the court to vacate the judgment. To make this request you must file Judicial Council form Notice of Motion to Vacate Judgment and Declaration (SC-135) within 30 days after the date the Notice of Entry of Judgment was mailed to you. There is a $20.00 filing fee. If your request is denied, you then have 10 days from the date the notice of denial was mailed to file an appeal.
For more information please visit our Small Claims page.
Q: What is small claims mediation?
A: Mediation is a confidential, voluntary process in which a trained mediator acts as a neutral person who facilitates
communication between individuals who have a dispute, and assists parties in an attempt to reach a mutually acceptable resolution
of all or part of their dispute. The mediator is not the decision maker and does not resolve the dispute- the parties do.
However, with the help of a mediator the parties are often able to more fully explore their underlying interests, needs and priorities. Mediation is a flexible and less formal process than a trial that may reduce the time and costs often incurred by litigants.
Q: Is Small Claims mediation really Free?
A: Mediation services at the Court are free. Mediations held at the VCDS offices are nominal in cost, and when necessary fees will be waived completely.
Q: When is Small Claims mediation appropriate?
A: You can mediate your case before or after a small claims case has been filed. If you mediate before filing a case
and an agreement is reached at the mediation, there will be no need to file a small claims case. If a case has already been filed,
the agreement reached at the mediation can be entered into the court record without having to appear in court. You may also have
an opportunity to mediate your case on the day of the hearing at the courthouse.
Mediation may be particularly useful when parties have a relationship they want to preserve. So when family members, neighbors, or business partners have a dispute, mediation may be the most effective process to use. However, mediation may be beneficial in almost any kind of dispute between people. Mediation is effective even when emotions are getting in the way of resolution. An effective mediator can help the parties communicate with each other in a respectful and constructive manner.
Q: When may Small Claims mediation be inappropriate?
A: Mediation may not be appropriate if one of the parties is unwilling to cooperate or communicate. Mediation also may not be effective if one of the parties has a significant advantage in power over the other. Therefore, mediation may not be a good choice if the parties have a history of abuse or victimization. Mediation is not appropriate in cases in which a crime is involved.
Q: What is the role of the Small Claims mediator?
A: The mediator is an impartial neutral intermediary whose role is to facilitate a discussion of the issues and perspectives between the parties in an effort to help them reach an agreement. The mediator does not impose a settlement, but will assist the parties in exploring settlement options. Generally, the mediator does not communicate with the court except to file the parties’ settlement agreement.
Q: Is Small Claims mediation confidential?
A: All communication, negotiations, or settlement discussions in the court of a mediation or mediation consultation are confidential. This means that whatever is said in the mediation meeting, even if no settlement is reached, may not be used in any later court proceeding.
Q: Is Small Claims mediation required by the court?
A: Mediation is a "voluntary" process. Any party may end a mediation at any time without adverse consequences. The mediator is not empowered to hold you in a mediation against your wishes. That said, there is so much that is offered by mediation, and so little to lose, that you are encouraged to participate fully.
Q: How long does a Small Claims mediation last and how do I prepare?
A: Usually, mediation of a small claims dispute lasts around 30 minutes to an hour if held at the court. You need to be prepared to discuss all relevant issues in your case. You need to be prepared to state your position and to listen carefully to the other side. You will be required to exchange evidence with the other side. This will be a requirement by the court even if you do not mediate in order to shorten trial time.
Q: What if we don’t settle our dispute at the Small claims mediation?
A: If you and the other party are unable to reach a full agreement at the mediation, your case will still be
decided by the Judge, Commissioner or Temporary Judge assigned to your small claims case usually on the same day your hearing
was originally scheduled. If you mediate before filing a small claims case, but don’t reach a full agreement, you can still
file a small claims case with the court.
However, your claim may be time sensitive, so you may want to check with your attorney or with the Small Claims Advisor to determine when you have to file your case. You can visit the Small Claims Advisor in person or call (805) 654-5054.
For more information please visit our Small Claims page.
Q: What if I received a traffic ticket/citation?
A: If you received a traffic citation for an infraction violation, a courtesy notice will be mailed to you at the address on your citation in approximately two weeks. The courtesy notice tells you how to take care of your citation. If you do not receive a courtesy notice by your appearance date, you should contact the court on or before the date and time written on the bottom of the citation. You can also check our web site to see if the court has received your citation - Criminal or Traffic Case Inquiries.
Q: Where and when can I take care of my ticket?
A: The Criminal/Traffic Departments at the Ventura Courthouse and the Juvenile Courthouse in Oxnard are open from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays. The Criminal/Traffic Department at the East County Courthouse in Simi Valley is open from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays only. The Walk-Up Express Window at the Ventura location is open until 6:45 p.m. The Walk-Up Express Window at the East County Courthouse in Simi Valley is open until 4:30. You can make payments, pay for your traffic ticket, show proof of corrections without entering the courthouse at our Walk-Up Express Window in the Ventura or East County Courthouse.
Ventura: Government Center, Hall of Justice, Room 118
800 South Victoria Ave., Ventura CA 93009
Tel (805) 289-8584
Simi Valley: East County Courthouse, South Side
3855-F Alamo Street, Simi Valley, CA 93063
Tel (805) 289-8584
Oxnard: Juvenile Courthouse – Room 122
4353 E. Vineyard Ave., Oxnard, CA 93036
Tel (805) 289-8820
Oxnard DMV: A court clerk is also stationed at the Oxnard DMV to take payments from 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Q: How can I pay for my traffic ticket?
A: You can pay the amount indicated on your courtesy notice unless the notice says that you must appear. You can pay with a Visa or MasterCard on the phone or on our web site or at any of the court locations listed above. Click here to pay for your traffic citation with a credit card. You can also send a check made out to the Ventura Superior Court through the mail. We also accept cash at any court location.
Q: Can I make payments on my traffic ticket?
A: To request payment arrangements, please contact the Superior Court Collection Unit at (805) 639-5010.
Their telephone hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday through Friday, and from 8:00 am to 4:30
pm on Saturday.
You can also contact the Collection Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What if I received a traffic ticket with correctable violations?
A: If you received a citation with correctable violations, you can submit proof of correction with your payment, either through the mail or at any court location. To establish proof of correction, a law enforcement officer must stamp the back of your citation and sign for each violation that was corrected. A law enforcement officer cannot sign off on an insurance violation. Proof of insurance must be submitted to the Court. See more information regarding insurance violations below. Pollution Control Device violations must be certified by a smog check station licensed by the California Bureau of Automotive Repair. Registration and driver’s license violations may be certified by a Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) clerk. All proof of corrections must be submitted to the Court with your payment.
Q: How can I get an extension?
A: Click here to obtain either a 28-day case extension or a 14-day traffic school extension. The clerks in the Criminal/Traffic Department at any court location are also authorized to grant extensions either at the counter. The clerks are not able to grant extensions on misdemeanor or felony cases. If you were arrested and posted bail to appear, the clerk cannot change the date or time of the appearance. For extensions beyond what the clerks are authorized to grant, you must appear in court and ask the Judge or Commissioner.
Q: What time will I be on calendar for my ticket?
A: Traffic citations are not automatically on the Court’s calendar. The appearance date noted on a traffic citation is usually a due date, not a Court appearance date. If you received an infraction ticket, you must take care of your ticket on or before the date on your ticket or courtesy notice. If you received a ticket for a misdemeanor violation, you must appear on the date and time listed on your ticket. Check the calendar in the lobby to see if your name is listed. If your case is listed on the calendar, you can go straight to the courtroom listed. If your name is not listed, check in with the clerk at the counter in the Criminal/Traffic Department.
Q: How do I know if I am eligible for traffic school?
Q: How do I plead not guilty?
A: If the citation is an infraction that does not require a mandatory court appearance, you have three options available to you.
- You can plead not guilty and request a court trial by mail or in person. If you wish to plead not guilty by mail, you will be required to post the total amount of bail owed on your case. Contact the clerk’s office at (805) 289-8584 to request a Written Not guilty Plea form be mailed to you. The clerk’s office must receive the completed form and the bail by your due date. The form will be returned to you with the date of your Court Trial. The clerk’s office will subpoena the officer to appear at the court trial.
- The clerk’s office has the authority to accept a not guilty plea at the counter and release you on a written promise to appear in lieu of posting the total amount of bail owed on your case. The court trial will be set within 45 days. The clerk’s office will subpoena the law enforcement officer to appear at the court trial.
- You can post the total amount of bail owed on your case and request a Trial By Written Declaration. A Trial By Written Declaration is a method of contesting your case without having to make a personal court appearance. Judicial Council form TR-200 includes instructions for a Trial by Written Declaration. Judicial Council form TR-205 is the form that you must submit with your bail. The form and your bail must be received in the clerk’s office on or before your due date. If you are eligible for traffic school and wish to attend if you are found guilty, you must include the traffic school fee with your bail.
Q: What if I received a citation for not having insurance?
A: Pursuant to Vehicle Code section 16028(a), every person who drives a motor vehicle upon a highway shall provide evidence of financial responsibility (insurance) for their vehicle at all times and provide it to any peace officer upon demand. Your courtesy notice will reflect the amounts due for the scenarios listed below.
- You had insurance at the time you received a traffic ticket but the proof of insurance was not in the vehicle. Mail a copy (in the envelope provided with your courtesy notice) or bring your insurance policy or insurance card showing the date of issuance to the clerk’s office. Include a check in the amount of $25.00 made out to Ventura Superior Court.
- You bought insurance after you received the traffic ticket. Mail a copy or bring your insurance policy or insurance card showing the date of issuance to the clerk’s office. Your fine will be reduced to the amount reflected on your courtesy notice. Include a check made out to Ventura Superior Court for the reduced fine amount You can make arrangements to pay your fine in installments to the Court Collections Unit. A $35.00 Accounts Receivable Fee will be added to your fine.
- No insurance. If you do not plan to purchase insurance, you can pay the entire amount due reflected on your courtesy notice. If you wish to make arrangements to pay your fine in installments to the Court Collections Unit, a $35.00 Accounts Receivable Fee will be added to your fine.
Q: What if I received a Photo Red Light citation but I was not driving the car?
A: If you received a notice regarding a photo red light violation from either the City of Oxnard or the City of Ventura and you were not the driver, you must follow the instructions on the notice to identify the driver. For questions about the notice and red light camera enforcement, call 1-877-847-2338 between the hours of 7:00 am and 5:00 pm.
Q: What if I received a juvenile misdemeanor citation?
A: If your citation was marked “to be notified”, you will receive a notice by mail giving you a court date and time. A parent or guardian will be required to appear with you. Failure to appear could result in a hold being placed on your driver’s license. If a hold has been placed on your driver’s record, this citation requires your appearance at the Juvenile Courthouse in Oxnard and you must bring one parent or guardian.
For more information please visit our Traffic page.