I don’t know if most people realize that I’ve been practicing criminal defense in the Van Nuys courthouse and surrounding communities now for 26 years and that whole area — especially if you live there — you probably realize is a huge area for all sorts of activity — good activity and bad activity.
There’s criminal activity going on around the courthouse. I see a lot of cases that I get in the Van Nuys courthouse are right from the city there in Van Nuys. Van Nuys Boulevard is the main thoroughfare there so there’s a lot of action going on.
Obviously if you live in the San Fernando Valley, Van Nuys is right in the heart of the Valley and that courthouse pretty much controls the entire San Fernando Valley. There are some excepts to that, but Van Nuys is the main courthouse in the San Fernando Valley and there are all sorts of different crimes going on there. If you go near the courthouse you can see that there’s bail bondsmen all around the courthouse.
You have the criminal court building, which is its own building. Then there’s the civil court building right there. There’s a bunch of parking structures. So, if you’ve got a case there and you hire somebody like me, I’d like to kind of give you a little perspective of what’s going on there.
Van Nuys Superior Court
In order to get into the courthouse, you have to go through a metal detector. Obviously, you don’t wan to bring anything in there that could perceive as any type of a weapon. I wouldn’t bring any type of lighters in there. Nothing that’s a knife — even a little pocketknife — or something that normally would be legal.
They’re not going to let that inside the courthouse. There’s no free parking around there. You’ll either have to park at a meter unless you can somehow find a two-hour parking, but it’s very rare that you’d be able to find that because residences surround that courthouse, so they’ll usually take up anything that’s free.
So, you can park at the meters or they’ve got parking lots there. The fee for the parking ranges from five to ten dollars depending on exactly where you park.
Once you park, you’d obviously go into the courthouse. The courthouse in the city of Van Nuys opens at 8:00 a.m. and they start letting the public in. Right now, because of the coronavirus you can’t even get into the courthouse unless you actually have a case and they’re usually standing out front asking you whether or not you have a case.
They’re going to look you up on their list to see if you’re on it for that particular day. They will not let family members in the courthouse that don’t have cases because of the coronavirus right now.
Types of Common Crimes in Van Nuys
There’s a lot of action going on in the city of Van Nuys, ranging from prostitution on Sepulveda Boulevard to drug cases, gun cases, gang activities. There’s a number of gangs in the San Fernando Valley that are arrested and prosecuted in the Van Nuys courthouse.
There are all sorts of theft-related offenses. I’ve seen prostitution activity, pimping and pandering. There’s such a range of activity going on. You pretty much hit on every single crime. Domestic violence cases are also very common.
My main office is in Encino, so I’m about ten minutes from the courthouse. I do a lot of business there. That’s my favorite courthouse. I know the judges there pretty well. I know the prosecutors. In the City of Van Nuys you have the City Attorney’s who prosecute misdemeanors and the District Attorney’s office prosecutes felonies.
That’s pretty much the dividing line. There are exceptions. Sometimes, depending on where the case is, the DA’s may be handling a misdemeanor, but usually for example, in Malibu, the court is closed down, so they have divided the cases between Van Nuys and the LAX court.
Those cases, whether they’re a felony or a misdemeanor, are typically going to be handled by the District Attorney’s office, which is kind of silly because a lot of times the District Attorney’s office will handle misdemeanors different than the City Attorney’s office, but you want to have consistency there.
Jurisdiction of the Van Nuys Court
So, I’ve got a lot of experience there. If you’ve got a case in the Van Nuys court and you were arrested in Van Nuys or even any surrounding areas — what a lot of people don’t realize is, just because your case is outside the city of Van Nuys you can still be prosecuted in the Van Nuys court.
The Van Nuys court handles most of the Valley — the middle of the Valley, west Valley. North Valley is handled by San Fernando court, and jurisdictions like Pasadena, Burbank, Glendale — they have their own little courthouses there.
But Van Nuys probably handles most of the cases in the San Fernando Valley, so you obviously want to get somebody who is local to that court — which I am, and has handled hundreds — I’ve literally handled thousands of cases in that courthouse. So, if you’ve got a case, pick up the phone. Make the call. I stand at the ready to help you.