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Scam Alert: The Superior Court of Santa Cruz has been notified that an individual posing as a deputy/court security is calling court customers stating that they owe money for failing to appear. If you receive a call of this nature, please contact the court directly at 831-420-2200 to receive accurate information.

Criminal Division

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

Criminal cases are filed only in the Santa Cruz Division; however, 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.

Mental Health Diversion

In 2018, the State of California passed a budget trailer bill that added Sections 1001.35 and 1001.36 to the Penal Code for the discretionary diversion of qualified persons who have committed a crime because of a mental disorder. In 2019, section 1001.36 was further amended by Senate Bill 215. These bills set in motion authority for courts to grant diversion at any time after the filing of an accusatory pleading alleging the commission of a misdemeanor or felony offense provided the court determines the individual qualifies for diversion.

Tiered Sex Offender Registration

Senate Bill 384, signed into law on October 2017, will transition California from a lifetime sex offender registration system to a tier-based system effective July 1, 2021. Individuals who qualify may petition the court in the county where they live for termination of their requirement to register. Please review the SB 384 Information Sheet for how petitions will be filed in Santa Cruz County Court. More information about this subject can be found on the website for the District Attorney of Santa Cruz County, SB384 Petition Resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pay Online

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:

  • An additional failure to pay violation
  • Referral to a collections agency

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

Please visit our Records and Information page.