Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Civil Case?
Civil cases involve a lawsuit in which one party sues another to:
- Recover money or property.
- To enforce a contract.
- To collect damages for injury.
- To protect some civil right.
Civil matters include family law, probate, guardianships, conservatorships, minor’s compromises, civil, small claims and adoptions.
What are Limited and Unlimited Civil Cases?
Civil lawsuits (other than family, juvenile, probate, unlawful detainer, and civil harassment cases) can generally be divided into three categories depending on how much money is involved:
When the dollar amount is ….
This case is usually called a ….
Small Claims case (Click here to access Small Claims information)
Up to $25,000
Limited jurisdiction civil case
Unlimited jurisdiction civil case
Is there any assistance available to help me with my case?
Please see our Self-Help page for more information.
How do I file documents?
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When filing documents, you need to provide the clerk with one original and the appropriate number of copies. The clerk cannot accept documents that are not stapled and organized. Please make sure all documents are dated and signed. Please include the appropriate filing fees (see Statewide Civil Fee Schedule (effective June 27, 2012) or submit an Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs (also see below).
What can I do if I cannot afford to pay the filing fee?
Fee Waivers are available for indigent plaintiffs and defendants. For Fee Waiver eligibility guidelines, click on: Information Sheet on Waiver of Court Fees and Costs.
Does the court provide interpreters?
If you have difficulties in speaking or understanding the English language, bring a friend or someone else to help you.
How do I get copies from a case file?
You may appear in person at the clerk’s office to request copies or you can mail a request for copies to the clerk’s office. See Contact Us page for address information.
If requesting copies by mail, write a letter specifically stating what it is that you want, along with a case number and payment. You must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope to receive copies through the mail. Turnaround time is usually within 1 to 2 days.
Copies are $.50 per page (double-sided sheet equals 2 pages). If you need a document certified, the cost is $25.00 in addition to the copy price. Payment may be made by check, cash, credit card or money order.
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When is the Law and Motion calendar heard?
The law and motion calendar is generally heard on Mondays at 1:30 p.m. in Department 3, which is located at 445 Pine Street, Red Bluff on the 1st Floor. See Calendars and Directions for additional information.
May I appear by telephone at Law and Motion?
You may contact Court Call at 1-888-88COURT (1-888-882-6878) to make an appearance by phone.
Do you accept faxed documents for filing?
In order for the court to receive faxed signatures, you will need to go through a fax filing agency, otherwise an original signature is required.
May I appear by telephone at a Case Management Conference?
Yes, please see our Case Management Conferences page for more information.
Court Reporter FAQ's
633 Washington - Room 22
Red Bluff, CA 96080
(P. O. Box 711, Red Bluff, CA 96080)
(530) 527-5605 - Press 4
Fax (530) 527-8030
(Click on name)
How may I obtain a transcript of court proceedings?
Attorneys or private citizens who wish to purchase a verbatim written record of court proceedings may purchase a transcript from the Court Reporter who reported the proceedings. You may contact the Court Reporter directly by e-mail or calling the Court Reporters Office - Press 4.
The following information will be needed: date of hearing, case number and name, name of judge or courtroom in which the hearing was held. Please specify if you are requesting the entire hearing transcript, just the Order of the Judge, or the specific portion of the hearing you need.
Transcripts are purchased on a per-page basis (folios), as governed by Government Code 69950. The Court Reporter will contact you with an estimate of the cost of the requested transcript. The Reporter will not begin preparation of the transcript until full payment has been received. Any over-estimate amount will be refunded to the paying party.
The Tehama County Superior Court employs licensed pro tempore reporters on a regular basis. If the name of the Court Reporter who reported the hearing is not listed on this website, please contact our office at (530) 527-5605 and your request will be forwarded to the appropriate pro tem reporter. Please include a telephone number where the court reporter may contact you.
Who do I contact regarding pro tem court reporter work?
If you are a licensed California Certified Shorthand Reporter, call or e-mail one of the Official Reporters listed above. Please inform us if you do Real-Time reporting.
Criminal Law FAQ's
Do I have to appear in Court?
Court appearances are mandatory on criminal misdemeanor and felony cases. You must appear at the Court on the date and time as directed on your release paper or arraignment letter. Failure to appear may result in a warrant for your arrest.
On your court date, check the posted court calendar for your name 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, including jail release paperwork, notice to appear, bail or bond receipts, or arraignment letter.
How do I pay my Fine?
All fines are due by the date the judge specifies in court. Your paperwork will reflect the amount owed and the due date. An arrest warrant will be issued if you do not pay or set up a payment plan by the due date.
Payments may be sent by mail, in person, or paid through a work program referral by the Court. If you are requesting a work program, you must make arrangements to appear in Court. We currently accept credit cards, cash, personal checks, money orders, Western Union and Money Grams. Please do not mail cash. The Court only accepts U.S. Funds. Please make checks payable to TCSC and include your docket number on the check.
What happens if I Fail to Appear or Pay a Fine?
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 a collection agency. Section 1214.1 (a) of the Penal Code states, "In addition to any other penalty in infraction, misdemeanor, or felony cases, the Court may impose a civil assessment of up to three hundred dollars ($300)."
What help is provided to the Victim(s) of a crime?
For information about assistance available to victim’s and victim’s restitution, please call the District Attorney’s Office at: 530-527-4296.
How do I get Court-Appointed Counsel?
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.
May I speak to my friend who is in custody in the courtroom?
No, you may be charged with a misdemeanor if you attempt to speak or motion to anyone in custody.
How do I find out about someone who is in custody?
Contact the Tehama County Sheriffs Department, (530) 529-7900, 502 Oak Street, Red Bluff, or visit their website at: http://www.tehamaso.org/
Can I get copies of criminal records?
The court clerks maintain 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, you can write to or visit the clerks office where your case was heard. If you make your request in writing, be sure to include:
- A check made out to "Tehama County Superior Court” in the appropriate amount as stated on the Statewide Civil Fee Schedule (effective June 27, 2012) (pdf). For a certified copy of the document, you will need to pay an extra $25.00 fee plus $0.50 per copy per page (two-sided pages count as two pages).
- A stamped envelope that the clerk can use to return the documents.
(The envelope must be addressed to you.)
- The defendant's name
- The defendant’s date of birth (if known)
- The name of the documents you want copied
What is a Criminal Case?
A criminal case begins when a person is arrested, and charges are filed through the District Attorney or by an agency such as Tehama County Sheriff’s Department, Red Bluff Police Department, or Corning Police Department. In all criminal cases, the defendant (person accused of a crime) is presumed to be innocent. That means he or she may not be convicted of a crime unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
What is an Infraction?
An infraction is an offense punishable by a fine only and which the law does not declare to be a misdemeanor or felony. A person charged with an infraction is not entitled to a trial by jury, and is not entitled to be represented by Court-appointed counsel.
What is a Misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by: imprisonment in the county jail, a fine or both. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you have a right to a trial by jury or by Court and to be represented by an attorney at all proceedings.
What is a Felony?
A felony is a crime punishable with death or by imprisonment in state prison. A defendant charged with a felony has a right to trial by jury or by Court, and has a right to be represented by an attorney at all proceedings.
What is an Arraignment?
The arraignment consists of reading the complaint or citation to the defendant and asking him/her whether he/she pleads guilty or not guilty.
What is a Preliminary Hearing?
A preliminary hearing is a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed with the case.
What is a Pretrial Conference?
The purpose of the pretrial conference is to discuss the possibility of disposing of the case prior to trial or to discuss measures to facilitate the expeditious handling of the trial.
Am I entitled to a Jury Trial?
A person charged with a misdemeanor or felony is entitled to a jury trial. A trial by court (judge only) is held for those that are charged with infractions or those defendants who waive their right to a jury trial.
What is Bail?Back to Top of Page
Bail allows a defendant to be released from custody upon the posting of a bond, cash deposit, or other security deemed necessary to guarantee the defendant’s appearance in court.
Family Law FAQ's
What is the difference between a divorce, a legal separation, and an annulment?
Please refer to the California Court’s website: Divorce, Legal Separation and Annulment.
What is Summary Dissolution?
A summary dissolution is a simplified way to get divorced. To find out if you qualify for a summary dissolution, please refer to the California Court’s website: Summary Dissolution Qualifications.
What is a Paternity suit?
A paternity suit establishes parentage. An action is filed by an unmarried mother or by an unmarried father who have minor children together. Through this action, the Court will determine paternity (or non-paternity if the father is found not to be the biological father of the minor children), and make custody and visitation as well as child support orders.
What is Child Support?
Child support is the amount of money that the court orders one parent to pay the other parent every month for the support of the child(ren). California has a formula (called a "guideline") for figuring out how much child support should be paid in all cases. To learn more about how child support is calculated, see the California Court’s website: Child Support.
What is legal custody of children?
Legal custody determines which parent will make decisions concerning the child’s health, safety, education and welfare. If one parent is authorized to make these decisions alone it is known as sole legal custody, and it is called joint legal custody if both parents retain those rights. If there is joint legal custody, the parents should cooperate in making the decisions, but one parent can make the decisions alone.
What is physical custody of children?
Physical custody determines where the child will reside. If sole physical custody is ordered, the child will live with one parent and visit the other parent.
What is a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?
A restraining order is a Court order issued to prevent the recurrence of acts of abuse by a batterer. Under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, abuse is defined as any of the following:
- Intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury.
- Sexual assault.
- Placing a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another.
- Engaging in any behavior that has been or could be enjoined such as molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, battering, harassing, telephoning, destroying personal property, contacting the other by mail or otherwise, disturbing the peace of the other party.
The act(s) of abuse/violence must be recent, and the batterer must be a spouse, ex-spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend, someone with whom the victim has or has had a dating relationship, an immediate family member (mother, father, in-laws, siblings, adult children), or a person with whom a party has a child/ren together. For more information on restraining orders, please see the California Court's website: Domestic Violence Restraining Orders.
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Jury Services FAQ's
When I am summoned as a juror, what should I do?
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Please first read the summons. The address, the date, your group number and the time that you are to report for jury duty will be written on the summons. Also, please note the location. Tehama County Superior Court has four different locations where you might be summoned to serve.
Is jury service mandatory?
Yes, it is an obligation of citizenship.
Where do you get your names for jury duty?
We receive names annually from the Tehama County Voter Registration list and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
May I reschedule?
Yes, but NOT on the day of appearance. All requests for postponement must be submitted no later than five (5) days from receipt of the summons. If you have health problems, a paid vacation or other personal commitments at the time you are initially called, you may request a one-time postponement. Generally, the jury commissioner can grant you a 30, 60 or 90-day deferment, but you are limited to two deferments. No phone requests for postponement can be granted.
Can I be excused for medical, mental or physical disability reasons?
A juror must provide a physician's verification note on a prescription pad or letterhead signed by a doctor. The note must state that the juror cannot serve on jury duty for medical reasons and should indicate the duration of the illness or problem. If the condition is permanent or long term, the physician must also include that information in the statement.
How do I request a postponement?
Mail the post card from your summons (Part II) with the reason for the request for postponement. If your postponement is not granted, you will be called and so notified.
Please note: The summons is a tri-fold form and has three parts. It needs to be fully opened to see all the information. Please read all the information completely.
How will I know if my postponement request was granted?
If you request a postponement of your service and it is granted, you will not be called and you will be resummoned for jury service at a later date. If your request is not granted, you will be called and so notified.
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Who may be called to serve as a Juror?
You may be called to serve if you are at least 18 years old, a United States citizen, and a resident of the county. You must be able to understand English, be physically and mentally capable of serving, and have no felony convictions. You will be excused from jury service if you have proof that you already were called as a juror during the past 24 months.
Do I get paid for jury duty?
The first day is unpaid. If you are summoned for more than one day, you are paid for each day of service or part of a day that you serve after the first day. The State Legislature sets the minimum amount paid. After the first day of service, the Court will reimburse for one-way mileage costs.
How should I dress?
Business or casual attire is suggested. Shorts, tank tops, bare midriffs, beach shoes, or similar dress are not appropriate for the courtroom. Jurors are advised to dress in layers as the temperature of the courtrooms can be unpredictable.
How long does an average trial last?
In most cases, trials last from 1 to 3 days.
Can my employer prevent me from attending?
No. Please see the section Information for Employers.
Does my employer have to pay me when on Jury Duty?
There is no law that compels your employer to pay.
Is Day Care provided?
No. Please make other arrangements for your children's care. Please do not bring children to court.
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How often must I serve?
In Tehama County, a person who is summoned and appears for a trial is exempt from further jury service for 24 months. If you call in and your jury service is cancelled (the trial goes off), then you may be recalled sooner than 24 months.
What happens if I'm late?
Contact the jury commissioner's office as soon as you know that you are going to be late. If you do not have a good excuse, the judge may fine you for being late.
What if I fail to appear or miss my report date?
Please contact the jury office immediately. If you fail to appear in Court as
summoned, the Court may order and issue a warrant for your arrest. If you are found in contempt, you may be punished by jail and/or a fine.
What should I do if I need special accommodations?
Contact your jury office and let them know what type of assistance you will need. If they cannot reasonably accommodate you, you may be excused from jury service. Please contact the jury office as soon as you receive your summons if you require special accommodations.
What are the typical hours of service?
You should plan on being present from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day. In some instances, you may be summoned to appear beginning in the afternoon. The lunch break for jurors is typically from 12 noon to 1:30 PM with brief recesses throughout the day.
For Red Bluff locations, parking is limited. Early arrival is suggested. For parking information and driving directions, please see: Courthouse Directions.
Juvenile Delinquency and Dependency
What is Juvenile Dependency?
These cases concern family situations where allegations of abuse or neglect have been made, and the Juvenile Court intervenes to protect the family’s children. Whenever possible the Court strives to preserve and strengthen families so children can be raised safely in their own homes. When this is not possible, the Court's focus then shifts to ensuring that children receive a permanent home in a timely fashion, either through reunification with their rehabilitated parents or through adoption, legal guardianship or a long term foster care commitment. Further placement and responsibility for that child is given to Child Protective Services.
What is Juvenile Delinquency?
These cases involve children who have committed law violations that, if committed by an adult, would be considered crimes. Following the arrest of a juvenile offender, a law enforcement officer has the discretion to release the juvenile to his or her parents, or take the offender to juvenile hall. Further placement and responsibility for that child is given to the Probation Department.
Does someone need to accompany my child to court?
Yes. No case will be heard unless the parent or legal guardian is present in court with the minor.
How can I get my juvenile delinquency case sealed?
Contact the Probation Department (530) 527-5380. For a small fee, they will prepare all the paperwork for you.
Does my child need an attorney?
Yes. Your child has a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney for your child, the Court will appoint an attorney to represent him or her.
Do I, as a parent or legal guardian, need an attorney?
In both dependency and delinquency cases, parents have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, upon request, the Court will appoint an attorney to represent you. Please note, if your child has an attorney, the attorney represents your child and not you.
Will I be required to pay my child’s fees?
You may be held responsible for various fees, including you or your child’s attorney fees; probation department services fees and placement costs for keeping your child in a state placement such as the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice, Juvenile Hall, or an out-of-home placement.
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Probate Court FAQ's
- If I become conservator of the person, will I automatically become conservator of the estate?
No. If you want to become conservator of the estate, you must petition for that. You can do it at the same time as you file your petition for conservatorship of the person or you can file a separate petition later.
- Is a probate conservatorship different from a mental health (LPS) conservatorship?
Yes. An LPS conservatorship is only for people who are seriously mentally ill and need special care (usually placement in a locked facility and/or very powerful drugs to control behavior).
But, if a person suffers from dementia and needs special drugs to control the dementia, they may need a probate conservatorship, not an LPS conservatorship.
- Is a probate conservatorship different from a limited conservatorship?
Yes. A limited conservatorship is a type of probate conservatorship for people who are developmentally disabled. Developmentally disabled people can usually do many things a conservatee cannot do. So, the Court limits their conservators’ powers. Read more about limited conservatorships.
- Who can file for conservatorship?
The person who wants to be a conservator can file. Others can file too, like a spouse, a relative, a state or local government agency (like the county Public Conservator/Guardian ), or any other interested person or friend. Even the person who will be the conservatee can file, but that is extremely unusual.
Before you file, find out if someone else is already planning to file a petition.
- Who can be appointed as conservator?
The law has a system for choosing the conservator. It gives preference to the person at the top of the list, then moves down:
- Adult child
- Any other person approved by the Court.
- Public Guardian
If the person closest to the top of the list does not want to be conservator, s/he can nominate someone else.
- What if no one is qualified to be conservator?
A private professional fiduciary may be appointed as conservator. Private professional fiduciaries charge fees. If the person who needs help can’t pay the fees and there is no suitable family friend or relative to serve, the Public Conservator/Guardian may be appointed.
- When should the Public Guardian be conservator?
The Court can sometimes appoint the Public Guardian as conservator. This usually happens when someone makes a referral. Referrals can be made by:
- Adult Protective Services (APS),
- A relative,
- A neighbor,
- A doctor,
- A police officer,
- The Court, or
- Another interested person.
- Can I make medical decisions for the conservatee?
If you are a conservator of the estate only, no.
If you are a conservator of the person, you can supervise the conservatee’s routine medical care unless s/he does not want you to.
If there is a medical emergency, you can supervise the conservatee’s care even if s/he objects. If the conservatee does not want medical treatment s/he needs, you can ask the Court for the power to give informed consent for the conservatee. This lets you authorize treatment even if the conservatee refuses.
If the conservatee is clearly unable to give informed consent, because of a stroke, dementia or some other problem that makes communication with the doctor impossible, the doctor will probably fill out a declaration for you to submit to Court. If the Court approves your request, you will be able to make most medical decisions without the Court’s permission.
But, if the conservatee has dementia and needs to be in a secure long-term care or residential care facility, or needs special drugs to treat the dementia, you must ask the Court for permission to have the conservatee confined, or to administer these drugs.
To ask the Court for these special medical powers, a physician or licensed psychologist must fill out the Capacity Declaration—Conservatorship form GC-335 , which you must then file with the Court. This is a state Judicial Council form. If the conservatee’s needs change, you can always file a new petition to ask for the powers you need.
- Can I make Estate Planning decisions for the conservatee?
If you are the conservator of the estate, you control the conservatee's finances. But, the conservatee still has the power to make a Will.
The Court will let you make a Will if:
- the conservatee is too sick to make a Will or estate plans, or
- the conservatorship was established because someone was taking advantage of the conservatee or exerting undue influence on him/her.
- What does the court investigator do in conservatorship cases?
The court investigator gives neutral information about your case to the judge. The investigator will call you and set up a visit with you and the proposed conservatee. Sometimes, s/he will meet with you and the proposed conservatee more than once.
The Court wants the investigator to:
- Have a private interview with the proposed conservatee.
- Explain how the conservatorship will change his/her life.
- Explain what will happen at the hearing.
- Explain about the proposed conservatee’s right to object to the conservatorship, to have an attorney, to have a different conservator and to have a trial by jury if s/he wants it.
- If the proposed conservatee does not have the ability to understand or to give an opinion, the investigator will decide if a lawyer should be appointed to represent him/her
- Review the petitioner’s Confidential Supplemental Information form and get more information if needed
- Find out if the proposed conservatee is willing and able to come to the hearing. The investigator is allowed to look at the proposed conservatee’s confidential medical records.
- See if the proposed conservatee is able to fill out an affidavit of voter registration.
- Write a confidential report for the Court and send a copy to the conservator and the conservator’s attorney.
- Make recommendations to the judge about your case.
- For more information on the investigator’s duties, see Probate Code §1826.
- Does the court investigator stay in touch with the conservatee?
Yes. In a year, or in some cases sooner, the investigator will review your case again to make sure you are fulfilling your responsibilities as conservator and that the conservatee’s rights are being upheld. After the first year visit, the investigator will visit the conservatee every 2 years, or as often as the investigator feels necessary.
If the investigator thinks there may be a problem, s/he will write a report and ask the judge to appoint a lawyer for the conservatee. This may start the legal process to remove or replace a conservator.
The investigator will also visit the conservatee and make a report if:
- The temporary conservator wants to move the proposed conservatee out of his/her residence.
- The conservator petitions for exclusive authority to make medical decisions for the conservatee, especially if s/he is asking for special powers to take care of the needs of a demented conservatee.
- The conservator wants to sell the conservatee’s home (or former home).
The court investigator will explain the implications of these situations to the conservatee. S/he will then write a report to the Court with his/her recommendations.
- When can I establish a probate conservatorship?
You must be sure that establishing a conservatorship is the only way to meet the person’s needs. If there is another way, the Court will not grant your petition.
You may not need a conservatorship if the person who needs help:
- Can cooperate with a plan to meet his/her basic needs.
- Has the capacity and willingness to sign a power of attorney naming someone to help with his/her finances or healthcare decisions.
- Has only social security or welfare income every month and the Social Security Administration can appoint you Representative Payee. The Representative Payee is the person the beneficiary allows to receive Social Security checks in their name on behalf of the beneficiary.
- Is married and the spouse can handle financial transactions. The property must be community property or in joint accounts.
Answers to the questions listed below, as well as other information can also be found in the Duties of Guardian form, one of the forms provided in the Guardianship Packet at the Civil Clerk’s Office.
1. How do I become the guardian of a minor?
You may wish to seek legal advice before petitioning the court for guardianship. You will need to petition the court for guardianship and attend a hearing on the matter. For assistance with the completion of the forms you may contact the Self Help Assistance and Referral Program (SHARP), located on the second floor of the Courthouse in Room 22. (Telephone 527-8649 for an appointment.) An investigation by the Court Investigator will be conducted, which will include site visit(s), criminal background history, and may include contacts with schools, employers, relatives, friends and/or neighbors. (Note: Past law enforcement issues will not necessarily prevent you from being eligible for appointed as guardian.)
2. If I am appointed guardian, do I have to allow the parents visitation with the minor(s)?
You do not have to allow visitation unless there is a Court Order for visitation. Without such order, visitation is at the discretion of the guardian only and should be allowed only when it is safe and in the best interests of the child, not the parents. The parents’ rights are suspended for the duration of the guardianship. If you wish to allow visitation but feel certain restrictions are necessary to protect the minor(s), you may petition the court for a visitation order.
3. If the parent(s) have improved their situation and/or become available to parent their child(ren) again, can I return the child(ren) to them?
Do not return the minor(s) to the parents without Court approval. You or a parent may petition the Court to terminate the guardianship, or you may wish to request court approval to continue as guardian while allowing the minor(s) to reside with the parent(s) under certain conditions, through court approval. Forms to terminate the guardianship are available at the Civil Clerk’s Office.
4. Can I move the minor(s) to a different address within the State of California?
Yes, but you must inform the court within 30 days of any new street and mailing address.
You do not have the right to move the minor(s) out of the State of California without first obtaining this Court’s permission. Out of State moves involve the noticing of appropriate parties, petitioning the Court for approval, and possible court investigation.
5. As guardian, which decisions can I make for the minor(s)?
As guardian you have full legal and physical custody of the minor(s) and are responsible for all decisions relating to the minor. The parents’ rights are suspended – not terminated- and they no longer have legal authority to make decisions for the child(ren) while a guardianship is in place.
6. Where can I obtain more information about guardianships in California?
-You may wish to contact a local attorney familiar with probate guardianships;
-Read through a copy of the Duties of Guardian included in the guardianship packet;
-You may visit the Law Library and read the sections in the Probate Code pertaining to guardianships.
-As mentioned above, SHARP is a resource available free of charge and can be accessed online through the Tehama County Superior Court website at http://tehamacourt.ca.gov/help.html .
-Court clerks or deputy clerks are restricted from providing legal advice (Sections 24004 and 68082 of the Government Code).
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Small Claims FAQ's
How much can I sue for in Small Claims court?
The maximum amount you can sue for is up to $10,000. You cannot file more than two claims for more than $2,500.00 each during a calendar year.
How do I file a claim?
Obtain a small claims packet from the Civil Division Clerk’s office or refer to one of the websites listed on the Small Claims Home Page. You may also have the packet mailed to you by sending in a request with a self-addressed stamped envelope.
How much does it cost to file a claim?
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Click here to see or print the Statewide Civil Fee Schedule (effective June 27, 2012)
Do my forms have to be typed?
No, the court will accept legible handwritten forms.
May I fax my Small Claims documents?
Current legislation does not allow for fax filings in small claims.
Is this the proper Court to hear my case and do I meet the requirements for suing in Small Claims Court?
The plaintiff must file his or her claim in the proper Court and judicial district. This rule is called venue. You must be at least 18 years old to file a claim. If you are not at least 18 years old, you may ask the court to appoint a guardian. For more information on the proper venue and other requirements, see the California Courts’ form Information for the Small Claims Plaintiff.
How Can the Defendant Be Notified of the Case?
You must make sure the defendant finds out about your lawsuit. This has to be done according to the rules or your case may be dismissed or delayed. The correct way of notifying the defendant about the lawsuit is called service of process. This means providing the defendant with a copy of the claim. You cannot do this yourself. For information on service of process, please see the Administration Office of the Courts’ website: What is Proof of Service? You may also serve the defendant by certified mail through the Clerk’s Office for a fee.
May I be represented by an attorney at the trial?
No, neither side may be represented 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.
May I get a continuance on my court date?
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In order to request a continuance you must file a Request to Postpone Small Claims Hearing with the court indicating why the continuance is being requested and include a processing fee (if the defendant has been served). You are also required to mail a copy of the letter to the other parties on the case. If the request is received by the court within 5 days of the court date, the request will be attached to the court case to be considered by the judge at the time of trial. If the request is received more than 5 days prior to the court date you, will be notified of the judge's decision by mail.
What should I do to prepare for my Court date?
- Come to court organized and prepared.
- Arrive promptly at your assigned court time; if you arrive late, your case may be heard without you.
- Bring enough photocopies of all your evidence for each party and the judge.
- Any copies submitted to the judge the day of trial may not be returned to you.
- Bring all your witnesses.
- If both parties are present, meaning both the plaintiff and the defendant, you will be asked to go into the hallway to exchange and review any documents that will be submitted to the judge as evidence. This must be done prior to the case being heard.
- Have all your documents ready and in chronological order when your case is called.
- There will be several other cases assigned to the same time as yours so you may have to wait to have your case heard.
- When your case is called, you will stand at a podium in front of the judge. You will be asked to present your evidence and give your testimony. Always address the judge and not the other party.
- Usually, the plaintiff will give his/her testimony first and then the defendant.
- The judge will probably ask questions to further his/her understanding of the case.
- If you are the only party to appear at the trial and you are the plaintiff, you still must prove your case. Do not expect to "automatically" win your case if the other party does not appear.
- The proceedings will not be recorded by a court reporter or by any other type of recording.
- If you are not fluent in the English language, you must bring an interpreter with you. Small Claims courts do not provide interpreters.
- The judge may not tell you the decision in court. The decision (judgment) will be mailed to you.
For more information about getting ready for court, please see the California Courts’ website page: Going to Court.
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If I am the Defendant (person being sued), what should I know?
If you have been named as a defendant in a Small Claims action and have received an order to appear at a Small Claims hearing, this means that you are being sued. If you do not know why you are being sued, contact the plaintiff immediately for an explanation.
Never ignore an order to appear in court even if you think the case is wrong, unfair, or has no basis. If you do not appear in court at the proper time and date, the court may still hear and decide the case without you and you may lose the suit by default.
If you believe the plaintiff has caused you injury or owes you money for any reason, you can file a claim against the plaintiff in the same Small Claims court action. If your case is related to the subject of the plaintiff's case, it may be helpful and convenient to resolve it at the same hearing by filing a Defendant's Claim and Order to Plaintiff.
If judgment has been entered against you and the appeal time has lapsed, your money or property and maybe a portion of your earnings can then be taken legally by the judgment creditor to pay the judgment against you. A Small Claims judgment is public record. Small Claims court does not report to any credit reporting agency; however, credit agencies check the Court’s records to find judgments and recordings that have an effect on credit ratings.
Also, see Plaintiff's Claim and Order (page 4 of this form contains Information for the Small Claims Defendant).
My case was taken under submission. Has a ruling been entered?
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.
I won my case, how do I collect the judgment?
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 about his/her assets. This is done by filing an Application and Order to Produce Statement of Assets and to Appear for Examination with the Clerk’s Office including a filing fee. You must serve a copy on the defendant.
Once you have the financial information needed, you may request a Writ of Execution. There is a fee for issuance of a Writ of Execution. A Writ of Execution is a court order authorizing the sheriff or other officer of the law to carry out the Court’s decision to collect a money judgment. This document 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 include: wages, bank accounts, automobiles, and business property or rental income. The Sheriff will charge a fee to execute the writ.
If the debtor owns real property, you may want to record an Abstract of Judgment to place a lien on the property so that you will be able to be paid if the property is purchased, sold or financed. There is a fee to the Court for issuing an Abstract of Judgment, and the abstract needs to be recorded with the County Recorder in the county where the property is located. The Recorder’s office will charge a fee to have the abstract recorded.
The Tehama County Recorder/County Clerk’s Office’s address is:
633 Washington Street, Room 11
P. O. Box 250
Red Bluff, CA 96080
What needs to be done when the judgment debtor makes payment?
It is required by law that the creditor files an Acknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment with the court upon full or partial payment of a judgment. If this form is not filed, liens cannot be removed from a debtor's property and credit reporting agencies will continue to report outstanding judgments. The judgment creditor may be liable for damages if satisfaction of judgment is not filed with the court in a timely manner.
What can be done if you do not agree with the judgment?
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If you do not agree with the judgment, you may ask the Court to vacate the judgment. To make this request, you must file a Motion to Vacate the judgment within 30 days after the date that the Notice of Entry of Judgment was mailed to you. If granted, the default judgment will be vacated and the matter will be reset for a trial. If the request is denied, you then have 10 days from the date that the notice of denial was mailed to you to file a Small Claims Appeal.
How will I know how much my ticket will cost?
You will receive a Courtesy Notice in the mail within three weeks. The Courtesy Notice will indicate how much you will need to pay, the due date if your violation was an infraction, or the scheduled mandatory Court appearance date if your violation was a misdemeanor. The notice will also contain information regarding traffic school eligibility, and any proof of correction requirements needed to clear the citation. If you do not receive your Courtesy Notice within three weeks, call the phone number on your ticket.
What does the date at the bottom of the ticket mean?
If your citation is an infraction, the date at the bottom is a date by which this citation must be paid, or you must make arrangements to appear. If your citation includes any misdemeanor violations, you must appear in Court on that date and time.
What if I can’t pay by the due date or need an extension of my court date?
The clerks are authorized to grant one extension on most traffic citations. For any further extensions, you must appear in court and speak with a judge.
How do I pay my ticket?
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Payments may be sent by mail, paid in person, paid online or by phone, or paid through a work program referral by the Court. If you are requesting a work program, you must make arrangements to appear in Court. We currently accept cash, personal checks, money orders, Western Union, Money Grams, MasterCard, Discover and Visa. Please do not mail cash. The Court only accepts U.S. Funds. Please make checks payable to TCSC and include the docket number (located on the Courtesy Notice) on the check. To pay online with your Visa, Discover or MasterCard, go to: www.tehamacourt.ca.gov, and click on the "Pay Now" button. To pay by phone, call: (877) 490-0230. You must have your Docket Number to access your account. A processing fee is charged for this service. Amount due must be paid in full. We do not accept partial payments.
What is POC?
POC stands for Proof of Correction. Proof of Correction refers to any: (1) Mechanical, (2) Insurance, or (3) Registration/License issues that must be corrected to obtain a reduced fine amount. If you cannot provide proof, you will be required to pay the full bail associated with that violation or appear in Court.
(1) How do I correct Mechanical Violations?
Proof of Corrections for most mechanical violations can be signed off on the back of the citation by CHP, a Sheriff, or City Police Departments. You must file the signed citation with the Court
(2) How do I correct Insurance Violations?
If you did not have proof of financial responsibility (insurance) at the time the citation was issued, you may pay the full bail amount for this violation, schedule a Court date, and/or purchase insurance (pre-paid for six months) for a reduction in bail.
If you were insured at the time the citation was issued, but were unable to provide proof of insurance, you may either submit proof by mail, or bring your proof of insurance to the Court and present it to the clerk.
(3) How do I correct Registration/Driver License Violations?
If you were cited with a registration/driver’s license violation and have proof of a valid registration/driver’s license from DMV, you may submit a copy of your registration/driver’s license with the appropriate bail to the Court.
What do I do if I need an Interpreter?
You must contact the clerk’s office prior to your appearance to make arrangements for interpreters, including American Sign Language.
What is Bail Forfeiture?
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The bail due for a citation is the amount of money required to guarantee your appearance in Court. If you choose to pay the bail on the citation without going to trial, it is called bail forfeiture. The citation is deemed paid, and the resulting conviction will be reported on your driving record.
Am I eligible to attend Traffic School?
You may attend traffic school if the following criteria are met:
- If you have not attended in the last 18 months (from violation date to violation date).
- You must hold a valid driver’s license.
- You are not eligible for Traffic School if you have a commercial driver's license or were driving a commercial vehicle when issued the citation.
- The violation on your ticket must be an eligible violation, and if there are any correctable violations on your citation, these corrections must be received along with any fees.
You must pay the bail plus a non-refundable traffic violator school fee when requesting traffic school. You will receive a letter granting you permission to attend traffic school and continuing your case 60 days for the class to be completed. Locate a traffic violator school at: California DMV's list of Traffic Schools. Once payment is received, you must submit satisfactory proof of completion to the Court by your due date. The citation will be reported to DMV as a traffic school confidential conviction. If you sign up for traffic school and fail to file the certificate of completion by the due date, the traffic school fee you paid will be deemed as bail and forfeited, and DMV will be notified of a conviction.
What happens if I Fail to Appear or Pay a Fine?
You may be charged with a misdemeanor under Vehicle Code section 40508, be charged up to $300 under Penal Code section 1214.1 or have a warrant issued for your arrest and the court may impound your driver's license and place a hold on your license/registration. The court also may assign your case to a collection agency or the State Franchise Tax Board for collection.
What is a DMV Hold?
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The Court notifies DMV that you have failed to appear and/or failed to pay a fine which places a hold on your driver's license. This means you will not be able to renew your license until this has been taken care of. To release a DMV hold, you may pay in person with a MasterCard, Discover or Visa, by cash, money order, cashier's check, Western Union or Money Grams, and the DMV hold will be released immediately. With payment online or by phone, it takes up to 48 hours to release DMV holds. If the fine is paid by personal check, the DMV hold will not be released for 21 days. Please do not mail cash. The Court only accepts U.S. Funds.
What is a Written Trial by Declaration?
A written Trial by Declaration is where, instead of going to court for a trial on your citation, you plead not guilty and submit a written statement on a Trial by Declaration form explaining the facts of your case and why the Court should rule in your favor.
For instructions on how to fill out the form, click here:
Instructions to Defendant (form TR-200)
To access the form, click below:
Request for Trial by Written Declaration form (form TR-205)
For additional forms available at the California State Judicial Council's web site, click here: Judicial Council Forms.
How do I Request a Traffic Court Trial?
If you wish to plead not guilty to a traffic citation and have a Court trial with the officer present, you may sign the Courtesy Notice indicating your request for a Trial by Court and return it to the clerk’s office with the full amount of bail. You will be notified of the trial date.
What happens if a minor receives a traffic ticket?Back to Top of Page
When a juvenile (under age 18) receives a citation, they are required to appear in Court if they live within Tehama County. A Courtesy Notice will be mailed to the juvenile and their parents advising them of the appearance date. Please contact the clerk’s office at the phone number at the bottom of the citation if you don’t receive the notice. On the Court date, the juvenile must appear with a parent or legal guardian.