The Santa Monica Courthouse is often confused with both the West Los Angeles courthouse and the LAX courthouse. Many a day has been wasted by a misinformed Angeleno doing the Westside courthouse shuffle.
Things are now more confusing than ever as the West LA courthouse on Purdue is closed, the Malibu courthouse is closed, and the Beverly Hills courthouse is only accepted limited cases. So if your ticket was originally set for West LA, you have to go to Beverly Hills for arraignment, but your trial will be in Santa Monica. If your ticket was set in Malibu, everything is now in Santa Monica. If it’s a Beverly Hills ticket, you still go to Beverly Hills for arraignment, but trial is in Santa Monica. Santa Monica tickets, which used to go to West LA because Santa Monica didn’t do tickets, now stay in Santa Monica. But don’t try to arraign one of these in Beverly Hills, not happening. Final caveat, if your case has been filed as a misdemeanor (driving on suspended license or driving without a license) ignore all of this and head to LAX court, or maybe Van Nuys. See it’s all perfectly organized just like the rest of Los Angeles.
The traffic clerks office in the Santa Monica courthouse is so busy that they have installed a television in the hallway above the line. You now get the pleasure of watching about an hour or two of CNN while you wait to the get the run around about your traffic ticket. If you manage to get your case called in to court, you may be surprised to see ex-mayor Kenneth Hahn calling the traffic court calendar and asking you if you want to plead guilty or not guilty to running that stop sign. Santa Monica Courthouse traffic cases with failures to appear or failures to pay are handled by a private collection agency known as GC Services. Anyone with traffic warrants or tickets in collections at the Santa Monica courthouse should contact a lawyer with experience dealing with traffic cases in collections. Individuals charged with driving without a valid license or driving on a suspended license should exercise caution due to the risk of increased insurance premiums, or further suspensions for being a negligent operator and receiving too many points on a DMV record. Unlicensed drivers may also face immigration issues. Anyone dealing with immigration issues should take care to avoid misdemeanor convictions. Hiring a lawyer to assist you with traffic court issues can be cost effective when you factor in the savings from reduced fines and the other penalties that can be associated with a conviction.