Free Consultation in San Jose
1671 The Alameda | #309
San Jose, CA 95126
NEARLY 20 YEARS OF REFUSING TO BACK DOWN IN THE SAN JOSE COURTROOM
Since opening the doors to his firm nearly two decades ago, Attorney Dunn and the legal team have always believed that every client is innocent until proven guilty. The firm is known in the legal community as the place to go when clients really want to fight their charges. Unlike other defense firms that handle more cases and perhaps charge smaller fees, Mr. Dunn’s firm refuses to back down and take the “deal” that the client most likely would have received without legal representation. Mr. Dunn is one of the few criminal defense attorneys who is almost always in trial. This is how the firm earned its reputation and how it gets such extraordinary results for its clients.
Attorney Dunn’s firm offers the following benefits to Santa Clara county clients:
- Free initial case evaluation
- Nearly 1,500 cases resolved
- Harvard attorney on legal team
- Perfect Avvo Rating of 10/10 Superb
- BBB A+ Rating
- Specialist Member and Board Member of the California DUI Lawyers Association
Arrested in San Jose? Read Our Frequently Asked Questions Section
The majority of the firm’s clients are successful people who have little or no experience with the criminal justice system. They are unfamiliar with the legal process, but because of their careers and reputation, they have much to lose if their case is not properly defended.
If this describes you, know that you are not alone. Having defended San Jose clients accused of crimes for nearly 20 years, we know the questions that our clients usually ask. The firm’s attorneys have put together this question and answer section to get you started. Our goal is to help you understand the process of arrest, bail, court appearance and defending your case. We prefer to work with clients who are informed because it helps us work together to develop the best defense strategy.
Every case is different and every client has a unique situation, so feel free to call or email our office any time. We recognize that our clients are anxious and we make every effort to be available outside of normal business hours including nights and weekends. We have even been known to give a phone consultation after the dinner hour.
What criminal courts are included in Santa Clara County?
The Santa Clara County Court System includes courts in Palo Alto, San Jose, and Morgan Hill. When people are arrested and placed in custody in Santa Clara County, they can be found in one of a few county jails and can often be bailed out through the Sherriff’s Office or Jail, or by paying a fee to a private bail bonds company.
As of August 19, 2016, the Terraine Street Drug Court Location, was closed. Staff and services have moved to the Family Justice Center Courthouse, San Jose, CA 95113.
How can I search for a Santa Clara County criminal court record?
There is a way to search for criminal cases in Santa Clara County, although it takes time before the court enters this information into this online system. You will need specific information to confirm that a certain defendant has a case including a last name and/or case number. If you are a client of the firm our office staff will help you with this process and keep you informed at each development in the case. Clients of the firm have access to a client portal which is the portion of our website that we use to help keep you in the loop and facilitate communication.
If someone is arrested, how long before they see a judge.
According to law, someone arrested must see a judge within 48 (non weekend or holiday) hours or be released. Upon release, that person may be rearrested or noticed to appear in court at such time that the Santa Clara County District Attorney is ready to pursue the case. Therefore you should seek out legal advice even if you were released. If you decide to wait in custody for your case, you will be brought into court in your jail attire. Each case is different and many times an attorney can argue to get the bail lowered.
Not bailing out used to have a negative consequence for people without an immigration status. The Santa Clara County Sherriff’s Office would grant an immigration hold. However, that has been happening less in the last few years — especially in less severe cases, due, in part, to local budgetary policy.
What happens if I bail out?
If you bail out, a court date is given to you and you must appear unless your lawyer tells you otherwise. The court date is usually set a few weeks out or more.
How does bail work?
Bail is refundable at the end of the case if you put the whole amount up with the jail, so long as you attend all required hearings. However, many people use a bail bonds company – a private company in the business of bailing people out. The company charges you a nonrefundable fee to bail you out. While you then pay a fraction of the cost of bail, you do not get that money back. The bail bonds person gets that fraction as their fee. Sometimes bailing out is quick and sometimes it takes hours. However, lawyers and bail bonds companies can update your family during the process.
If you hire our firm prior to obtaining bail, we may be able to recommend a bail bondsman and help you get a discount on your bail bonds fee.
Do I need a lawyer to appear for me in court?
While it is a very good idea to have a lawyer with you, you are not required to do so. Criminal defense lawyers are trained and experienced in navigating the criminal courts. If you appear without a lawyer, you run the risk of making mistakes in handling your defense and giving the appearance to the judge of a lax attitude. Also, there are times when a judge will strongly suggest that you do not talk but instead find a lawyer or at least work with the public defender’s office if you are eligible.
If you are accused of a crime, you should take it seriously. In addition to fines and possible jail time, a conviction results in a permanent criminal record which will have lasting affect on your ability to get a job or qualify for a professional license.
Can I use the public defender?
If you are indigent and have no resources to hire an attorney, the Public Defender’s office will make themselves available to you. People who qualify for the public defender program usually are unemployed and do not own a home.The first time you will talk with them is in court and they will be helping others at the same time. They are independent from the District Attorney’s office and should be able to help better than if you represented yourself. Keep in mind that they are a solution to a problem, but are extremely understaffed, and cannot carefully weigh all facts or discuss the case at length with you.
If I hire a lawyer, can he or she appear for me in Santa Clara County courts without me being present?
Often – Yes! Please ask your lawyer. It truly depends on the situation; however, there are times when lawyers can and do appear without their clients present. You must check with your hired attorney on this matter, otherwise always plan on going yourself.
Do Santa Clara County Criminal Cases fall under state law or federal law?
Most criminal cases are in the Superior Courts, which are county courts which apply State Law. Federal cases and courts have a separate jurisdiction including cases involving the violation of Federal laws.
What is a Criminal Case?
Criminal cases range from minor offenses called infractions to more serious ones called misdemeanors which include shoplifting and some drug crimes. The most serious classification of crimes are called felonies and include domestic violence, embezzlement, rape or homicide. The State has the option to charge someone accused of committing a crime because a crime is considered an act against society, but they need not proceed with a police officer’s recommendation. Only the State, through the office of the District Attorney in each county, can charge individuals with criminal violations.
Many crimes are considered to be wobblers which means that they can be charged by the district attorney either as a felony or a misdemeanor. Effective criminal defense attorneys can make the argument to get a crime originally charged as a felony reduced to much less serious misdemeanor.
- A felony is a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment in a state prison or by death.
- A misdemeanor is a lesser offense than a felony and generally is punishable by fine or imprisonment in county jail rather than in a state penitentiary. Most misdemeanors can be negotiated so that a first time offender would serve no jail time.
Where are San Jose criminal cases heard?
Criminal cases are heard in the Hall of Justice in downtown San Jose, as well as in the Family Justice Center (Drug Court), Palo Alto, and South County Courthouses.
I’ve been charged with a federal crime in San Jose. Where are federal cases heard?
There is a Federal Courthouse in San Jose: Robert F. Peckham Federal Building, 280 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113. For more information, go to
Where can I find inmates in Santa Clara County?
The Santa Clara County Department of Corrections Inmate Finder will help you look up information regarding individuals in custody.
I heard about drug court and someone said some of the judges there are used to addiction issues. Can that help me?
San Jose has a drug crime court which recently moved to the Family Court where they are more prepared to address those matters. If you are accused of drug possession or distribution, this does not guarantee you will be required to appear in drug court. Once you are in drug court, the judge may be more accommodating to your situation if you agree to get the treatment you need. The system in drug court may give positive incentives for progress in weening off the defendant’s addiction. The Santa Clara County judge who is a pioneer in both drug cases and mental health cases is Justice Steven V. Manley; however others also have made great contributions in court reform in this area.
How do I know if I have a Federal Case?
You should already know if you have a federal case; however if you are unsure, you may show your documents to one of our lawyers and we will let you know. In general , when there are issues involving federal jurisdiction or federal law you may have a case in Federal court. Financial service fraud, some business scam cases with pyramid schemes and cases involving multiple defendants tend to be federal (fraud and complicity). Other examples include certain child pornography cases, large cases involving accomplices invoking the RICO statute, crimes occurring across state lines with jurisdiction in California, white collar crime such a matters than involve criminal violation of securities law, mass infringement of intellectual property, and more. There are times when it is advantageous for you to fight your case in Federal Court and sometimes a case can be moved to Federal Court. The Federal Court in San Jose, Santa Clara County, is Robert F. Peckham Federal Building, 280 S 1st St., San Jose, CA 95113.
The following is list of US District Court in Northern California Federal Court Judges. This page links to individual judges’ court calendars and shows the cases that they are hearing.
Where are traffic cases in Santa Clara county heard?
To look up your traffic case, you can refer to the Santa Clara County Traffic Index at the Public Access Traffic Case Lookup:
Be careful to read your citation to determine what your traffic court location will be.
Santa Clara County Traffic Court
1095 Homestead Rd.
Santa Clara, CA 95050
Traffic Court Hours are listed as 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM. For more details, see the Santa Clara County Traffic Courthouse location information here.
Note that as of June 21, 2016, all hearings for citations issued in the cities of Morgan Hill, Gilroy and San Martin are held at the South County Morgan Hill Courthouse.
South County Morgan Hill Courthouse
301 Diana Dr.
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
Santa Clara County Jails
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office Custody Division runs the jails of the county and is the fifth largest jail system in California. It ranks among the top 20 largest systems in the United States and inmate population on average is around 4000 per day. Approximately 65,000 arrestees are booked into the Main Jail annually. The average length of stay is about 110 days. Eighty percent of the inmates have a history of drug or alcohol related problems.
The Custody Division consists of several units within the division: Main Jail Facility, Elmwood Correctional Facility, and Custody Administrative Services. More information can be found at the Santa Clara County Sherriff’s Web Page.
If you believe that someone you know is in custody and you would like to bail them out, you should consider contacting a bail bonds’ company who will often provide information. However, before this, it makes sense to talk to an attorney so you understand the general process. If someone you know has been in custody for a while, they might be listed on the following inmate finder search tool, which may help you locate them.
However you look for an inmate, you will be asked general information such as their exact name and date of birth. If you have booking numbers, including a PFN or CEN number, searching will be faster but date of birth will usually work. You may also contact the Department of Corrections at (408) 299-299-2305 to find out more. When you visit, you should determine visiting hours and special requirements for visiting an inmate.
For more information about visiting an inmate in Santa Clara County, you can consult the site or call the jail.
If you hire the Law Offices of James Dunn, our attorneys can visit your friend or relative outside of regular visiting hours.
A Relative was Arrested in San Jose. How Can I visit a Jail?
To visit a jail, you should consult their web page and personally go during visiting hours. Expect that you may need to wait for meals and lock downs for shift changes. Lawyers are not subject to visiting hours the way others are. For the most part, we can visit our clients and even prospective clients as needed. However sometimes we are told to wait as well.
Main Jail Visitor Information: You should read information at the following link to find out the rules and hours of visitation as well as other information.
Santa Clara County Jail (“Main Jail”)
150 W. Hedding Street
San Jose, CA 95110
The jail is divided into “Main Jail North” and “Main Jail South” and for both you must go to 150 W. Hedding Street which is next door to the Superior Court. Those who are staying for shorter periods of time stay or at least begin in this facility.
Directions to Main Jail
The Main Jail is located at 150 W. Hedding St. at the intersection with San Pedro Street. The complex is approximately one block west of North First Street and one block east of Highway 87, in downtown San Jose.
From Interstate 880
Take the North First Street exit. Proceed south on North First Street to West Hedding Street. Turn right on West Hedding Street. The complex is on the southwest corner of the intersection of West Hedding and San Pedro.
From U.S. 101
Merge to southbound Interstate 880. Exit at the North First Street exit. Proceed south on North First Street to West Hedding Street. Turn right on West Hedding Street to San Pedro.
Elmwood Facility Visitor Information:
If visiting an inmate held in Milpitas at the Elmwood Facility, consult the Elmwood Facility Visiting guidelines. Those who are not bailing out in the short term may be transferred to this facility.
Elmwood Correctional Facility
701 S. Abel Street
Milpitas, CA 95035
Santa Clara Juvinile Delinquency
Juvenile Detention Center
840 Guadalupe Freeway
San Jose, CA 95110
William F. James Boys Ranch
Juvenile Detention Center
19050 Malaguerra Ave
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
165 Lewis Road
San Jose, CA 95111
I heard about Weekend Work Programs. Can you tell me about that and other inmate programs?
Inmate Programs that are listed by the Santa Clara County Sherriff Web Page Include:
- Weekend Work Program and Public Service Program: The weekend work program is set up to accommodate qualified offenders who cannot interrupt their daily job for jail time sentenced. Please discuss this possibility with your attorney. https://www.sccgov.org/sites/sheriff/Pages/wwp.aspx
- Reentry Services: Reentry services involve services which prepare and accommodate individuals incarcerated and under probation and parole which support a transition to the outside world after sentences are served. The County asserts this is a “new way of doing business.”
- Inmate Welfare Fund: The jail is set up with a commissary and family can arrange to allow inmates to buy extra items in jail, such as confectionary items, postage, writing materials, toilet articles and supplies. The fund built on commissary sales is set up to accommodate those in custody who might not be able to afford the services of the jail. All commissions from the commissary sales are to be deposited into an inmate welfare fund.
I want this case to go away? Should I talk to the District Attorney about my side of the story?
Whether you are talking with police or the district attorney, what you are saying will be used against you. The District Attorney is a prosecutor for the State working up a case against you. They generally have no interest in letting things slide in their job just as you wouldn’t. It is not advisable to talk with them about your version of facts, or whether you are a nice person or have no priors. Use an attorney to do the talking in court for you, so that you can remain silent as is your constitutional right. There are even times when an attorney can deliver a packet to the district attorney that adds desirable facts about you, but that is an exception to the rule.
RETAIN SAN JOSE CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY JAMES DUNN TODAY!
A complimentary consultation with Attorney Dunn is your first chance to explain your circumstances and share your side of the story without being judged. No matter what, it is Attorney Dunn’s goal to get you fair treatment under the law.
19 Years of ExperienceAs seasoned defense lawyers with prosecutorial experience, the legal team has a thorough knowledge of how to succeed in the San Jose’s criminal justice system.
10/10 Superb Avvo RatingAvvo is a lawyer rating service that uses a mathematical formula that factors in peer reviews, case results, experience, and more.
More Than 1,500 Criminal CasesAs defenders who have seen it all, James Dunn and his team have battle-tested insights into what it takes to win even the most complex cases.
Proven Advocacy in 100+ TrialsWe won’t back down from a trial if that’s what it takes to defend your full rights. We are skilled litigators who can fight for you in court.