Preliminary Provisions of California Penal Code >> Part 2.
No person can be punished for a public offense, except upon a
legal conviction in a Court having jurisdiction thereof.
Every public offense must be prosecuted by indictment or
1. Where proceedings are had for the removal of civil officers of
2. Offenses arising in the militia when in actual service, and in
the land and naval forces in the time of war, or which the state may
keep, with the consent of Congress, in time of peace;
3. Misdemeanors and infractions;
4. A felony to which the defendant has pleaded guilty to the
complaint before a magistrate, where permitted by law.
The proceeding by which a party charged with a public offense
is accused and brought to trial and punishment, is known as a
A criminal action is prosecuted in the name of the people of
the State of California, as a party, against the person charged with
The party prosecuted in a criminal action is designated in
this Code as the defendant.
In a criminal action the defendant is entitled:
1. To a speedy and public trial.
2. To be allowed counsel as in civil actions, or to appear and
defend in person and with counsel, except that in a capital case he
shall be represented in court by counsel at all stages of the
preliminary and trial proceedings.
3. To produce witnesses on his behalf and to be confronted with
the witnesses against him, in the presence of the court, except that:
(a) Hearsay evidence may be admitted to the extent that it is
otherwise admissible in a criminal action under the law of this
(b) The deposition of a witness taken in the action may be read to
the extent that it is otherwise admissible under the law of this
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the defendant in
a capital case shall be represented in court by counsel at all
stages of the preliminary and trial proceedings.
(a) The court may, after holding a hearing and making the
findings set forth in subdivision (b), order the removal of any
spectator who is intimidating a witness.
(b) The court may order the removal of a spectator only if it
finds all of the following by clear and convincing evidence:
(1) The spectator to be removed is actually engaging in
intimidation of the witness.
(2) The witness will not be able to give full, free, and complete
testimony unless the spectator is removed.
(3) Removal of the spectator is the only reasonable means of
ensuring that the witness may give full, free, and complete
(c) Subdivision (a) shall not be used as a means of excluding the
press or a defendant from attendance at any portion of a criminal
In any case in which a person is arrested and released
without trial or in which a person is arrested, tried, and acquitted,
if such person is indigent and is released or acquitted at a place
to which he has been transported by the arresting agency and which is
more than 25 airline miles from the place of his arrest, the
arresting agency shall, at his request, return or provide for return
of such person to the place of his arrest.
No person can be subjected to a second prosecution for a
public offense for which he has once been prosecuted and convicted or
No person charged with a public offense may be subjected,
before conviction, to any more restraint than is necessary for his
detention to answer the charge.
No person can be convicted of a public offense unless by
verdict of a jury, accepted and recorded by the court, by a finding
of the court in a case where a jury has been waived, or by a plea of
The provisions of Part 2 (commencing with Section 681) shall
apply to all criminal actions and proceedings in all courts, except
where jurisdictional limitations or the nature of specific provisions
prevent, or special provision is made for particular courts or
The following words have in Part 2 (commencing with Section
681) the signification attached to them in this section, unless it is
otherwise apparent from the context:
(a) The words "competent court" when used with reference to the
jurisdiction over any public offense, mean any court the subject
matter jurisdiction of which includes the offense so mentioned.
(b) The words "jurisdictional territory" when used with reference
to a court, mean the city and county, county, city, township, or
other limited territory over which the criminal jurisdiction of the
court extends, as provided by law, and in case of a superior court
mean the county in which the court sits.
(c) The words "accusatory pleading" include an indictment, an
information, an accusation, and a complaint.
(d) The words "prosecuting attorney" include any attorney, whether
designated as district attorney, city attorney, city prosecutor,
prosecuting attorney, or by any other title, having by law the right
or duty to prosecute, on behalf of the people, any charge of a public
(e) The word "county" includes county, city and county, and city.
(f) "Felony case" means a criminal action in which a felony is
charged and includes a criminal action in which a misdemeanor or
infraction is charged in conjunction with a felony.
(g) "Misdemeanor or infraction case" means a criminal action in
which a misdemeanor or infraction is charged and does not include a
criminal action in which a felony is charged in conjunction with a
misdemeanor or infraction.