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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


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General

Where is the courthouse located?

Criminal Courts are located at the Ventura County Government Center at 800 South Victoria Avenue, Ventura, and the Juvenile Courthouse is located at 4353 East Vineyard, Oxnard. The East County Courthouse is at 3855-F Alamo Street, Simi Valley. For directions and maps, visit the Ventura County Superior Court’s website: http://www.ventura.courts.ca.gov/index.html.

What is the District Attorney's jurisdiction?

The Ventura County District Attorney‘s Office prosecutes crimes that occur throughout Ventura County.

Can you provide me with legal advice?

No. The District Attorney’s Office is prevented by law from answering legal questions or offering legal advice.
The Ventura County Superior Court’s Self-Help Legal Access Center offers guidance on how to fill out court forms for various types of cases including eviction/unlawful detainer actions; however their staff cannot offer any legal advice. For recorded information, please call (805) 654-3962 or visit their site at: http://www.ventura.courts.ca.gov/shlac.html.

The Ventura County Bar Association offers attorney referral services and limited pro bono (free) legal assistance. You may visit their site at: http://www.vcba.org/.

How do I get a copy of a police report?

Contact the police agency that created the report to request a copy.

Who decides what charges to file, and how do they make that decision?

Deputy district attorneys review cases brought to the District Attorney’s Office by law enforcement agencies. The facts are reviewed in light of current laws to decide whether criminal charges should be filed in court.

What happens at the arraignment, preliminary hearing, and pre-trial court dates?

At an arraignment, the charges against the defendant are presented, a lawyer is appointed if the defendant cannot afford one, and the defendant’s plea is entered. At a preliminary hearing, the prosecutor presents evidence to a judge to show there is probable cause that the defendant committed the crime(s) charged and should face trial. A pre-trial conference is an opportunity for the parties to discuss the case with the judge, including possible dispositions and dates for future court hearings.

Can I gain access to criminal records online?

There is no mechanism in place for public access to criminal records online.

I would like information about a criminal case that has been filed in the Ventura County Superior Court. How can I get case information?

You may call (805) 654-2611 or check the Ventura County Superior Court’s web site: http://www.ventura.courts.ca.gov/case-inquiry.html.

You will need the defendant’s full name and date of birth to access case information.

How can I find out where someone is incarcerated?

If an individual is incarcerated in Ventura County, you can check the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office’s website at http://www.vcsd.org/. Click on Inmate Information to search the Ventura County jail inmate list. To locate an inmate within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), please call (916) 445-6713, which is accessible 24 hours a day. You must have either the inmate’s CDCR number or the inmate’s full name and date of birth to receive information. You can also find this information on the CDCR website at: http://inmatelocator.cdcr.ca.gov/.

Where do I find a list of all District Attorney’s Office employees and their email addresses?

For security reasons, such a list is not provided to the public. You may call (805) 654-2500 to be connected to an employee’s voicemail. You may also send an email to our office with the employee’s name in the subject line and it will forwarded to the employee.

How do I find what employment opportunities exist in your office?

Employment opportunities for the District Attorney’s Office and other county agencies can be found through the County of Ventura’s website here: http://agency.governmentjobs.com/ventura/default.cfm.

You may also contact Ventura County’s Human Resources Division at (805) 654-5129 for more information. If you complete an interest card on the county’s website, you will receive an email when there are postings for the job classification listed on your interest card.

Where do I find information about family support? Who can I talk to about wages garnished for child support?

The District Attorney’s Office no longer handles child support cases. These cases are handled by the Department of Child Support Services. You can obtain more information from their website located at: http://portal.countyofventura.org/portal/page/portal/DCSS.

You can also contact them directly by calling (866) 901-3212.

I want to file a complaint about a police officer or sheriff’s deputy. Can the District Attorney’s Office help me?

You should report the matter to the officer’s employing agency. Law enforcement agencies are required by law to receive complaints, investigate the matter, and respond back to the complaining party.

I have a complaint about an employee of the District Attorney’s Office. How do I contact you and will you respond?

You may call (805) 654-2500, write a letter to 800 S. Victoria Ave. Suite 314, Ventura, CA 93009 or send an email summarizing your complaint. It will be reviewed by appropriate personnel and in most cases you will be contacted afterwards.

How do I report a Brown Act or open meeting violation? What if I also have any other concerns regarding an elected person or body?

Please submit your complaint in writing to:

Ventura County District Attorney’s Office

ATTN: Public Integrity Unit
800 S. Victoria Avenue
Ventura, CA 93009

What if I have a question that is not answered in your FAQs?

Call or visit our office. Our receptionists will try to assist you; however, we cannot give legal advice on private legal issues.

I would like to contact the victim’s family; will you provide their contact information?

To protect the privacy rights of victims, we do not give out contact information regarding victims or their families.

I would like to contact the defense attorney; who is he or she and what is his or her telephone number?

If the defendant is represented by the Public Defender’s Office, call (805) 654-2201. If the defendant is represented by a private attorney, you may look up the attorney’s contact information on the California State Bar Association’s website: http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/MemberSearch/QuickSearch.

Where can I find a catalogue of County of Ventura enterprise systems covered by SB 272?

A catalogue of County of Ventura enterprise systems covered by SB 272 is available in PDF form on the County of Ventura website found here.

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Victims

I was the victim of a crime. What services are available to me?

Our Crime Victims’ Assistance Unit offers a variety services to victims of crime. You may also call (805) 654-3622 to inquire about what services may be available to you as a crime victim.

I was the victim of a violent crime. Will your office pay for my medical bills? Will your office help me collect for lost wages and for pain and suffering?

We may be able to help you recover medical expenses and other financial losses. Other services may also be available to you. Please contact our Crime Victims’ Assistance Unit or call (805) 654-3622 for more information.

Who is the victim advocate assigned to my case?

Please call our office at (805) 654-3622 to obtain this information.

The judge ordered the defendant to pay restitution to me but I have not received anything. Who can help me?

If the defendant is on probation, restitution is usually paid through the Court Collections Department and you may call them at (805) 639-5010. If the defendant is on formal probation, you may also contact the assigned probation officer by calling the Probation Agency at (805) 654-2132.

How can I get my property returned in a criminal case?

When a criminal case has been resolved, our office sends a property release to the police agency that handled the case. You should contact that police agency directly. If they do not have a release on file, please contact our office and the attorney who handled the case will review your request and prepare a property release, if appropriate. In certain cases we are required to wait at least 60 days to see if an appeal is filed. If you are the victim, in many cases we may be able to have your property photographed and returned to you. We do not authorize the release of firearms or other contraband to defendants after a conviction.

I was the victim of a crime. Can you tell me the name of the defendant and the defendant’s next court date?

If the case has been submitted to our office by law enforcement and charges have been filed, we can provide you with the name of the defendant and the next court date. To obtain this information, please call (805) 654-2500.

I am the victim in a domestic violence case and I want to drop charges. Can I do that?

All criminal complaints are prosecuted on behalf of the State of California. Only the prosecutor can issue or dismiss charges. Although the decision whether to prosecute or not prosecute is ultimately up to the prosecutor, the victim’s opinion is important and the prosecutor will take those wishes into account when making his or her decisions regarding the case.

If you wish to submit a “Request for Dismissal” you must do so in person at the District Attorney’s Office and provide photo identification.

I am the victim in a domestic violence case. Can I file a complaint with your office?

Please contact the law enforcement agency where the crime occurred. That agency is responsible for investigating domestic violence cases.

I am the victim of a crime and I want a restraining order to keep a person away from me. Will your office do this for me?

Our office does offer assistance in obtaining certain types of restraining orders. When a case involves domestic violence, we work with victims to obtain domestic violence restraining orders.

We also work with victims and witnesses in obtaining criminal protective orders after a criminal case has been filed. If a case is presented and filed, the assigned prosecutor can request a criminal protective order in court. You may call our Crime Victims’ Assistance Unit at (805) 654-3622 to determine if either of these orders may be appropriate in your matter.

I received a bad check. What can I do?

If you are a merchant or a private citizen in Ventura County who has received a bad check, please contact our Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) Check Unit at (805) 662-1720 for more information. You may also view our NSF Bad Check Complaint Form here.

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Witness

If I get a subpoena do I have to go to court?

When you receive a subpoena from the District Attorney’s Office, please call our Witness Coordination Unit for further instructions. From Camarillo, Ojai, Oxnard, Point Mugu, Port Hueneme, Saticoy and Ventura, please call (805) 654-3006. From other areas inside California, call (800) 692-8887. From outside California, you may call collect to (805) 654-3006. Para asistencia en Español, llame (805) 654-3708.

Why am I a witness? I didn’t see the crime happen.

Witnesses are not limited to eye witnesses. You may not have seen the crime happen but you may know something about it. You may also know something about a piece of evidence, or you may know something that contradicts another witness’s testimony. If you wonder why you are testifying in a particular case, you may ask the prosecutor who issued the subpoena.

As a witness, do I have to talk in front of the defendant when I am in court?

Yes. The defendant has the right to be present in court to hear what all the witnesses say about him or her. Both the prosecutor and the defendant’s attorney will ask you questions.

If I miss work to testify, will the district attorney pay for my loss in wages?

Generally, witnesses, apart from experts retained by the parties, must come to court to testify about matters that they have knowledge of without payment. It is a civic duty imposed upon all citizens in order to insure a just and fair judicial system.

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Consumer Related

Whom can I talk to about a consumer-related problem?

Assistance from the Consumer Mediation Unit is available from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. To speak with a mediator in Ventura or Simi Valley, please call (805) 654-3110 (Ventura) or (805) 306-7930 (Simi Valley). You may also reach our Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit by calling (805) 662-1750.

How do I verify if a business is operating legitimately or if it has been the subject of complaints?

The Better Business Bureau provides information about businesses and consumer complaints.

I think I’ve been cheated by a contractor/ tradesman/ shopkeeper, or other person who provides labor or services. Can the District Attorney’s Office help me?

Our Consumer Mediation Unit attempts to resolve disputes between consumers and businesses. If you wish to speak with a mediator about your complaint, please call (805) 654-3110 (Ventura office) or (805) 306-7930 (east county office). Please read more about consumer mediation here.

Does your office offer any assistance in Small Claims matters?

If you have questions regarding a small claims matter, you may contact our Small Claims Advisors at the District Attorney’s Office in Ventura by calling (805) 654-5054. You may contact our Small Claims Advisor at the District Attorney’s East County Office by calling (805) 306-7930. Small Claims Advisors are available Monday through Friday 8:00-12:00 p.m. and 1:00-5:00 p.m. Please read more about Small Claims Advisors here.

I think someone is using my credit cards (or has stolen my driver’s license). Can the District Attorney’s Office help me?

You should report this crime directly to your local law enforcement or police agency.
The California Attorney General’s Office has a list of steps that can be taken if you are the victim of identity theft. You can get more information at their website: http://oag.ca.gov/idtheft/facts/victim-checklist.

I am the victim of an internet scam; where can I get help?

Unfortunately, internet scams are all too common. Many of these scams originate from overseas and are matters which cannot be effectively prosecuted by local prosecutors.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has been established to review all types of internet fraud schemes. This site is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center. You can file a complaint with IC3 at the following website: http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx.

I am constantly bothered by telephone solicitors; can you help me with this?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides information to consumers on how to prevent unwanted telephone solicitations. You can get more information on the steps that can be taken to avoid these calls at their website: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/telemarketing/tel19.shtm.

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Real Estate Fraud

I am having trouble with my landlord/tenant, can you help me?

The California Department of Consumer Affairs offers a publication entitled “California Tenants: A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities.” It has basic information on the responsibilities of landlords regarding residential dwellings. You can find the publication at this website: http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/catenant.pdf.

The Ventura County Superior Court’s Self-Help Legal Access Center offers guidance on how to fill out court forms for various types of cases including eviction/unlawful detainer actions; however their staff cannot offer any legal advice. For recorded information, please call (805) 654-3962 or visit their site at: http://www.ventura.courts.ca.gov/shlac.html.

The Ventura County Bar Association offers attorney referral services and limited pro bono (free) legal assistance. You may visit their site at: http://www.vcba.org/.

I think I may be the victim of Real Estate Fraud; what services are available to me?

To report real estate fraud, please complete a real estate fraud complaint form here. Mail or deliver it with all supporting original documents to the address provided on the form. For more assistance, please call (805) 662-1750.

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Defendant

Can you help me clear up a felony warrant I have against me?

The District Attorney’s Office is prohibited by state law and the California State Bar Rules from providing legal assistance or advice to a defendant. The Public Defender provides legal assistance to individuals charged with a crime in state court who are financially unable to retain private counsel. You may retain private counsel to assist you. You may also contact the Ventura County Public Defender’s Office for advice about how to handle your felony warrant by calling (805) 654-2201 or visit their website at: http://www.pubdef.countyofventura.org/index.htm.

How can I have my criminal record expunged?

Depending on the type of crime for which you were convicted and the sentence imposed by the judge, there are various procedures and forms that may be required before a judge will consider your request. You should seek assistance from the attorney who represented you in your case to assist you. The District Attorney’s Office does not initiate or handle expungement requests. The Ventura County Public Defender’s website offers guidance about court forms used to make these requests at: http://www.pubdef.countyofventura.org/forms.htm.

I was cited and released by the police. Can you tell me if your office filed charges against me?

Yes, please call (805) 654-2500 and we will provide you with that information.

I am a defendant in a case and I can’t seem to get in touch with my lawyer. Can I speak to your office?

All attorneys are governed by a code of ethics that prevents them from directly speaking to a person who is represented by an attorney. Therefore, any questions you have about your case must be answered by your own lawyer.

Where do I go to make a complaint about a problem with a privately retained attorney?

The State Bar of California receives complaints against attorneys, investigates those complaints, and disciplines attorneys. You may call their attorney complaint hotline at (800) 843-9053. The complaint form and more information about how to file a complaint can be found on their website: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/LawyerRegulation.aspx

The District Attorney’s Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit investigates and prosecutes unauthorized practitioners of law, including non-attorneys posing as attorneys and attorneys who have been disbarred. If you have reason to believe a person has engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, please call (805) 662-1750.

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Human Trafficking Posting Requirements

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. As defined under U.S. federal law, victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex trade, adults who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts, and anyone forced into different forms of "labor or services," such as domestic workers held in a home, or farm-workers forced to labor against their will.

What businesses are required to post the notices?

  • On-sale general public premises licensees under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act (Division 9 (commencing with Section 23000) of the Business and Professions Code).
  • Adult or sexually oriented businesses, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 318.5 of the Penal Code [live performances with exposure of genitals, buttocks, or female breasts].
  • Primary airports, as defined in Section 47102(16) of Title 49 of the United States Code.
  • Intercity passenger rail or light rail stations.
  • Bus stations.
  • Truck stops. For purposes of this section, "truck stop" means a privately owned and operated facility that provides food, fuel, shower, or other sanitary facilities, and lawful overnight truck parking.
  • Emergency rooms within general acute care hospitals.
  • Urgent care centers.
  • Farm labor contractors, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 1682 of the Labor Code.
  • Privately operated job recruitment centers.
  • Roadside rest areas.
  • Businesses or establishments that offer massage or bodywork services for compensation. [A former exception for sole proprietorships and businesses that employed only certified persons, expired on January 1, 2015. Bus. & Prof. Code § 4620; AB 1147].

Why is the posting required?

Senate Bill 1193 added Section 52.6 to the California Civil Code. This law requires, as of April 1, 2013, that specified businesses and other establishments must post a notice informing the public and victims of human trafficking of a telephone hotline number to seek help or report unlawful activities.

What happens if I do not post?

A required business or establishment that fails to comply will be given 30 days from the date of the violation notice to comply. If the violation is not corrected, the business or establishment is liable for a civil penalty of five hundred dollars ($500) for a first offense, and one thousand ($1,000) for each subsequent offense.

Where do I have to post?

Civil Code section 52.6 requires that a specified business or other establishment must post the notice in a conspicuous place near the public entrance of the establishment or in another conspicuous location in clear view of the public and employees where similar notices are customarily posted.

Which poster do I need to display to be in compliance with the law?

Printable versions of posters that meet the legal requirements are available on the Ventura County District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Web page www.vcdistrictattorney.com/HT. The poster must be at least 8 ½ by 11 inches in 16-point font. In Ventura County, businesses must display posters in English and Spanish. The District Attorney’s Office has made available three posters: an English version that is 8 ½ by 11 inches, a Spanish version that is 8 ½ by 11 inches, and one that is in both English and Spanish that is 11 x 17 inches. The Attorney General of California has also created a model template which can be found on their Web site http://oag.ca.gov.

How long do I have to keep the poster up?

Law requires the posting and there is currently no expiration date.

How does the poster have to be hung?

There is not a specific requirement for how the poster is hung, other than it must be displayed and visible. The poster may be printed on any thickness or type of paper and may be laminated and/or framed if desired.

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