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Santa Monica, California

The City of Santa Monica is known for its world-famous pier, rent-controlled housing, broad beaches, beautiful hotels, San Vicente Boulevard, the Third Street Promenade shopping mall and its large homeless population.  The city was home to the Academy Awards show for decades before yielding to Hollywood. 

The population of Santa Monica itself is just under 100,000.  It is an equal mix of college aged men and women, young professionals and a significant retired population.  It is well-known for having one of the most educated and liberal populations in the Los Angeles area.  The city is bordered by Brentwood to the northeast, Pacific Palisades to the north, West Los Angeles to the east, Mar Vista to the southeast and Venice to the south.

With its proximity to Hollywood, dozens of movies, commercials and TV shoes are filmed in Santa Monica.  Its relatively wide streets with sidewalks and street lighting have been seen by almost everyone who has watched their fair share of television and movies.

Santa Monica has its own police department.  Crime is relatively low in Santa Monica, although it has its share of white-collar crime, as well as alcohol-related crime with its active nightlife that attracts a younger crowd.  Santa Monica is known to have a small amount of gang activity (most notably the Santa Monica 13 gang, Venice Shoreline Crips, Sotel 13 and the Culver City 13 gangs), although in recent years this has decreased substantially.

Legal disputes arising in Santa Monica involving civil issues are heard in the Santa Monica Courthouse.  Criminal cases are heard in the Airport Courthouse off La Cienega Boulevard just south of the 105 Freeway.

With the closure of the Culver City Courthouse, the Santa Monica Courthouse assumed handling of civil disputes arising in the Culver City area as well.  The Santa Monica courthouse draws jurors from Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Mar Vista, Culver City, Venice, Playa Del Rey, Marina Del Rey and of course, Santa Monica.

The nine-story Airport Courthouse handles criminal cases arising out of Santa Monica, as well as those from the Beverly Hills.  It is very common to see television camera crews at the courthouse for cases involving celebrities.

We handle quite a few DUI matters (misdemeanor DUI is Vehicle Code § 23152 and felony DUI is Vehicle Code § 23153, a wobbler) arising out of the Santa Monica area, as well as a fair number of domestic violence matters (Penal Code §§ 243(e)(1) and 273.5), shoplifting (Penal Code § 459.5 or 484(a)), public urination (Santa Monica Municipal Code § 5.08.110(D)) and public intoxication (Penal Code § 647(f)). 

The judges in both the Santa Monica Courthouse and the Airport Courthouse are generally very good.  They see a wide variety of cases, so their perspective is broad and they know when a small misdemeanor case does not need to be treated like the second coming of Charles Manson. 

Parking at the Santa Monica Courthouse on Ocean Avenue is either by parking meter along the street or in a large parking lot just south of the courthouse, which is expensive. 

The Santa Monica Courthouse no longer has a cafeteria like it did perhaps ten years ago.  Now, on the second floor, there is a room with several vending machines selling sodas, coffee and candy only.

Parking at the Airport Courthouse can be tough.  There are about 75 metered parking spots at the courthouse itself.  These are expensive spots, generally charging $0.25 for each six minutes.  There is also a larger lot to the west of the courthouse, which is somewhat expensive.  One ought to budget for $15 if one parks all day along.

The Airport Courthouse does have a cafeteria on the first floor.  One can order a hamburger from their grill and have lunch there, although it is very expensive.  There are no other facilities to buy a snack at within walking distance, so the courthouse cafeteria enjoys something akin to a monopoly and its pricing suggests this.

The Airport Courthouse, on the fourth floor, also serves as a county recording office, so it is not uncommon to see weddings there.

For more information about common cases that one might face if arrested in this city, click on the following articles:
  1. What Punishment Do I Face for Domestic Violence?
  2. What Punishment Do I Face for a First-Time DUI?
  3. What Punishment Do I Face for Public Urination?
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