Orange County, Calif. courts add online portal for easier access to traffic and criminal cases
Orange County Superior Courtintroduced an online portal for those with traffic infractions and lower-level criminal cases, part of an ongoing effort to help people avoid crowds at court facilities in the midst of the pandemic.
The Court User Portal‘s dashboard is meant to consolidate a variety of functions that were previously spread out across the court website. It allows users to create one account to deal with multiple cases.
Users can search for their cases or citations, make payments or set up payment plans, submit electronic correspondence to the court, reserve a court date, or set up email or text reminders for future hearing dates or payment due dates.
Orange County courthouse facilities remain largely closed to the public because of the coronavirus, though key court functions such as jury trials are underway.
Court officials limit access to courthouses to participants in the judicial proceedings and ask those who need to deal with other issues, such as traffic infractions, online.
“The portal will provide an essential channel for access to justice, especially during the challenging times of COIVD-19 when we must maintain social distancing,” Orange County Superior Court Presiding Judge Kirk Nakamura said.
The pandemic has prompted technological additions to the courthouse, including video-conferencing so participants can appear in court remotely and live-streaming of criminal trials and hearings.
Funding for the portal came from the Judicial Council of California, which provides guidance and sets policy for local court systems, to make courts more efficient and accessible.