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Frequently Asked Questions

 


Q: Can I report a crime to the District Attorney's Office?

A: In most cases, a crime must be reported to the police department or other law enforcement agency which has jurisdiction over the city or county where the crime occurred.

For example, if the crime occurred in the City of Santa Barbara, Lompoc or Santa Maria, it should be reported to the local police department. If the crime was committed in the unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County, the crime should be reported to the Sheriff's Office. However, there are certain exceptions. Crimes involving consumer fraud, bad checks, and environmental crimes should be reported directly to the District Attorney's Consumer/Environmental Protection Unit.

Note, however, that reports of officer misconduct should be reported to the Internal Affairs sections of the officer's department.

Q: I am the victim of a crime and I want to drop charges.

A: Crimes are charged by the District Attorney's Office on behalf of the People of the State of California, not on behalf of any particular victim. The decision to file charges in any criminal prosecution can only be made by an attorney in the District Attorney's Office. A victim's wishes will be considered, but the final determination whether or not charges will be filed or dismissed rests with the D.A.'s Office.

Q: How do I file a domestic violence complaint with your office?

A: Contact your local law enforcement agency. They are responsible for the investigation of domestic violence cases. Our Domestic Violence Unit will review the investigation report and file any appropriate criminal charges.

Q: I was the victim of a violent crime. Will the District Attorney's Office pay for my hospital bill and my lost wages? Will the District Attorney's Office help me collect for pain and suffering?

A: The District Attorney's Office may be able to help you file for recovery of unreimbursed medical expenses and lost income. You should contact the District Attorney Victim Witness Assistance program at (805) 568-2400 in Santa Barbara and at (805) 346-7529 in Santa Maria. To obtain compensation for pain and suffering, you may need to contact a private attorney. If you do not have a private attorney, you can contact the Santa Barbara County Bar Association at (805) 569-5511 for a referral. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may call the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County at (805) 963-6754.

Q: I was the victim of a crime. Can you tell me the defendant's next court date?

A: The District Attorney's Office can provide you with the next court date if we have filed charges against the defendant. To obtain this information, call (805) 568-2300 for assistance.

Q: In court, the judge ordered the defendant to pay me restitution. So far, I have not received anything. Can anyone help me?

A: Call the Probation Department at (805) 882-3700 and ask for the probation officer assigned to your case. The officer can help you get your money if restitution was a condition of the defendant's probation.

Q: I think I have been cheated by a contractor, tradesman or other person who provides labor or services. Can the District Attorney's Office help me?

A: The District Attorney's Consumer Fraud Unit may be able to help or they may refer you to an agency that can help you. The Consumer Fraud Unit also helps consumers who have been victims of false or misleading advertising and unlawful business practices. CLICK here.

Q: I want a divorce. [Or, I want to sue someone. Or, I want to adopt a child.] Can the D.A.'s Office help me?

A: No, but a private attorney may be able to help you. If you do not have a lawyer, you can contact the Lawyer Referral Service of Santa Barbara County at (805) 569-9400, which is operated by the Santa Barbara County Bar Association (805) 569-5511. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may call the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County at (805) 963-6754.

Q: I want a restraining order to keep my [husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, or other person away from me. Will the D.A.'s Office do this for me?

A: No, but a private attorney may be able to help you. If you do not have a lawyer, you can contact Lawyer Referral Service of Santa Barbara County at (805) 569-9400, which is operated by the Santa Barbara County Bar Association (805) 569-5511. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may call the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County at (805) 963-6754. You can also file the paperwork yourself. Forms can be obtained at the County Clerk-Record's Office located in the Courthouse.

Q: I need child support. Can you help me?

A: No. Child support enforcement is done by the Department of Child Support Services. They have offices in Santa Barbara, Lompoc and Santa Maria. CLICK here for more information.

Q: I have been subpoenaed by the District Attorney to appear as a witness in a criminal case. Can I get witness fees? What if I can't attend on the date stated in the subpoena?

A: Whether a witness receives any witness fee is within the discretion of the court. A court can order that you receive witness fees (not to exceed $18 per day) plus reasonable and necessary expenses after testifying. If you have a conflict with the date on the subpoena, contact the Deputy District Attorney handling the case before the appearance date and discuss your conflict. The name and phone number of the attorney handling that case is on your subpoena.

Q: I was cited and released by the police. Can you tell me if the D.A. filed charges against me?

A: To find out whether charges have been filed against you, telephone the D.A.'s Office located in the judicial district where the crime occurred. In Santa Barbara call (805) 568-2300. In Lompoc call (805) 737-7760. In Santa Maria call (805) 346-7540.

Q: Can I talk to Mrs. Dudley? I think she's the person handling my case since her name is on all the documents in my case.

A: Mrs. Dudley is the Santa Barbara County District Attorney and her name appears on most court documents in your case. Mrs. Dudley's name also appears on most District Attorney's Office correspondence in your case just above the signature of the employee who wrote the letter. The person working on your case is most likely the person who actually signed the court document or letter. This is the person you should contact.

Q: I am a defendant and I don't like the attorney who is representing me. Can I talk to you or one of your deputies about my case?

A: No. All attorneys are governed by a code of ethics which prevents them from speaking directly to anyone who has an attorney. As long as you are represented by an attorney, we may speak only to your attorney. Any questions that you have about your case should be answered by your attorney.

Q: I am a defendant and I want to get a copy of the police report. How do I get a copy? Is there any cost?

A: If you are a defendant in a case, and you have an attorney, he or she will obtain a copy of the police report from our discovery clerk. If you do not have an attorney and you have been charged with an offense, you can obtain a copy of the police report. You will be charged $10.00 for initial discovery and $.25 per page for supplemental and $10.00 when media and you must pay cash and appear in person at the District Attorney's Office with a picture identification. CLICK here for locations.

Q: I have a complaint about your office. How do I contact you and will you respond?

A: Please click HERE for complaints against sworn personnel. Please click HERE for complaints against non sworn personnel.

Q: Can you help me file a Small Claims Court case against a merchant or someone I have a dispute with?

A: No. If you want to file a Small Claims Court case, you can go to the Small Claims Court and obtain the necessary forms. In Santa Barbara it is located in the Courthouse, Superior Court Clerk's Office, 1100 Anacapa Street, 2nd Floor, Santa Barbara, California 93101. Telephone: (805) 568-2770. In Lompoc it is located at Superior Court, 115 Civic Center Plaza, Lompoc, California 93436-6967. Telephone: (805) 737-7790. In Santa Maria it is located at Superior Court-Cook Division, 312-C East Cook Street, Santa Maria, California 93456-5369. Telephone: (805) 346-7414.

Q: What information can I get on someone's case?

A: The name of the defendant, the charges and the next court date.

Q: If my case is closed how can I get my property?

A: Our office sends a property release to the law enforcement agency that handled the case; the agency will then contact you once they receive a signed release from our office. Expect to wait at least two weeks or more.  Please contact us if you haven’t received your property in 21 days.

Q: If someone is arrested what is the time frame they will be in court?

A: In most circumstances they will appear in court in 2 court days.

Q: If I have more information about a pending criminal case, who do I give that information to?

A: You can report it to the agency who took the report.

Q: How can I expunge my record?

A: Go to the court clerk’s office for documents or see a criminal defense attorney or the public defender.

Q: How can I get my criminal history?

A: Contact the Department of Justice (DOJ). Please click here

Q: Can I report a crime anonymously?

A: Please call Crime Stoppers of Santa Barbara at 1-877-800-9100.

 

Q: Where can I report Internet Crimes?

A: FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center(IC3)

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