The main functions of the Clerk’s Office are to:
The Clerk’s Office is available to help you with court procedures and case information. The Clerk cannot give you legal advice or refer you to an attorney.
Below is a list of services the Clerk’s Office CAN or CANNOT help you with:
Explain and answer questions about how the court works.
Tell you whether or not you should bring your case to court.
Provide you with the phone number of the local lawyer referral service, legal services program, family facilitator program, and other services that provide legal advice.
Refer you to an attorney.
Provide you with general information about court rules, procedures and practices
Give you an opinion about what will happen if you bring your case to court.
Provide you with schedules and information about how to get a case scheduled for court.
Tell you what to say in court.
Provide you with court forms and instructions that are available.
Tell you what words to use in your court papers. (However, we can check your papers for completeness. For example, we check for signatures, notarization, correct county name, correct case number and presence of attachments).
Provide you with information from your case file.
Talk to the Judge for you or change an order signed by the Judge.
Usually answer questions about court deadlines and how to compute them.
Let you talk to the Judge outside of court.
If you need legal advice, consult with an attorney licensed by the State Bar of California.
The Clerk’s Office cannot recommend an attorney. An attorney referral service may offer low-cost or no-cost options to qualifying persons.
All criminal offenses require a court appearance. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you are required to appear in Court on the date, time and location indicated on the citation, promise to appear, bail bond, District Attorney letter or any notice of hearing with a court date.
Failure to appear for a court appearance may result in a warrant issued for your immediate arrest. Court Clerks are not authorized to continue or postpone a court date.
To confirm a court appearance date:
If the person was arrested and is in custody at the Monterey County Jail, he/she may be:
To check the status of a person in-custody, contact:
Pursuant to California Penal Code section 977(c), the Court may permit the initial court appearance or arraignment held at any state, county or local detention facility be held by two-way electronic audio video communication between the defendant and the courtroom in lieu of the physical presence of the defendant in the courtroom.
The Judge will advise the defendant of his/her constitutional rights and the right to be present in the courtroom. All defendants must sign a consent form prior to the video arraignment. The District Attorney, Public Defender and interpreter, if required, are present in the courtroom.
If you failed to appear for a court appearance, a warrant of arrest may have been issued for your immediate arrest.
In addition to a warrant issued for your arrest, other actions may have taken place as a result of your failure to appear:
Contact the Clerk’s Office to reschedule your case for court.
Important: If you have a warrant outstanding for your arrest and you have a scheduled court date, the warrant will remain outstanding until you appear in court and you may still be subject to arrest by any law enforcement agency. For information on posting bail, you may contact a bail bondsman or the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office regarding this procedure.
If you do not post bail, there is no guarantee when you appear in court that the Judge will release you on your own recognizance; you may be remanded into the custody of the Sheriff until bail is posted. Click here for information on posting Bail.
A few days before your court date, you can confirm that your case is scheduled for court by:
To verify the Court’s address, click here Court Locations, map & directions.
You should plan to arrive at the court location of your scheduled hearing at least 15-30 minutes prior to the time of your court appearance. Parking is very limited at the Salinas court location and you will have to pass through security screening at all court locations.