Criminal Division

The Criminal Division has jurisdiction over felonies, misdemeanors, and some infractions. 

Criminal cases are filed only in the Santa Cruz Division; howerver, fine payments on traffic cases and existing payment plans for criminal cases are accepted at either the Santa Cruz or Watsonville Division. You may make payments online for your criminal case if you have already pled guilty and you have set up a payment plan. Use the link below to make an online payment.

Online Payment Instructions



1. How do I pay my fine?


By mail or in person - Santa Cruz Superior Court, 701 Ocean Street, Room 120, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 (Include your case number)

Santa Cruz Superior Court drop box (located at the address above)

Watsonville Division located at 1 Second Street, Room 300, Watsonville, CA

Reminder: Failure to pay a fine on or before the due date may result in one or all of the following:

  • A Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hold being placed on your driver's license.
  • An additional failure to pay violation
  • A civil assessment charge of $300.00

2.What happens if I miss my court date?

If you fail to appear in court, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. 

3. What if I have an outstanding warrant?

In some circumstances you may appear at the clerk’s office to set up a new court date, otherwise you must appear at the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department.

4. How can I change my court date?

You cannot change your court date on any criminal case. If you have an attorney, contact your attorney for assistance. If you posted a bail bond, contact the bail company. If you are on formal probation, contact your probation officer.

5.What if I can't afford an attorney?

You must appear in court to determine if you are eligible for court-approved counsel.

6.Where should I go when I come to court?

Look for your name, the courtroom department and the time your case will be heard on the calendar posted outside the Clerk’s Office - Room 120. If you are unable to find your name or locate a calendar, please check with the clerk.

7.How long should I plan to be in Court?

Expect to be in court for a substantial portion of the day.

8. What are the different types of hearings?

Arraignment: Reading of your Constitutional rights, advisement of the charges, entering a plea.

Pretrial Hearing: A conference between parties (prosecutor and defendant/counsel) regarding the settlement of the case.

Preliminary Hearing: A felony hearing by a judicial officer to determine if there is sufficient evidence to bind a defendant over for trial.

Jury/Court trial: The examination of evidence and the decisions of the issues of law by a judge or jury to determine guilt or innocence.

9. What is a Civil Assessment charge?

Failure to pay your fines as directed may result in the court referring your case to a collections agency and an additional $300.00 fee being added pursuant to Penal Code Section 1214.1

10. How can I get a criminal background check done?

For records of criminal cases prosecuted in Santa Cruz County, fill out Research and Copy Request Form and send to the Santa Cruz Court address on the top of the form. Enclose a check made out to Superior Court to cover the copy fees along with a self-addressed stamped envelope. On the memo line of your check write how much the check should not exceed – for example “not to exceed $50.00”. The court will write in the amount used and send a receipt along with the copies requested. 
For a copy of your California Department of Justice Record, which includes all criminal cases in California, go to for more information.

11. How do I request a copy of a court record?

Fill out Research and Copy Request Form (linked here) and send it to the Santa Cruz Court address listed on the top of the form (also included below). Please enclose a check made out to Superior Court of Santa Cruz County along with a self-addressed stamped envelope. On the memo line of the check, please write an amount not exceed for the purpose of covering the cost of the copies– for example “not to exceed $50.00”. The court will write in the exact amount once the request has been completed and will send you a receipt along with the copies requested.

Santa Cruz Superior Court,
County of Santa Cruz
Attn: Records Request
701 Ocean Street, Room 120
Santa Cruz, CA 95060