Frequently Asked Questions
Can I report a crime to the DA's Office?
In most cases, crimes must be reported to the police department or other law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the city or county where the crime occurred. For example, if the crime occurred in Richmond, it should be reported to the Richmond Police Department. However, there are certain exceptions. Crimes involving consumer fraud or the unlawful discharge of hazardous materials may be reported to the District Attorney's Consumer Protection or Environmental Protection Units. Crimes involving misconduct by public officials may be reported to the District Attorney's Government Corruption Unit. Note, that police misconduct should be reported to the internal affairs section or professional standards section of the law enforcement agency with which the officer is employed.
I am a victim of crime. How do I get help?
We are here to help you. Our Victim Witness Assistance Program has a dedicated team of bilingual staff available.
You can contact a DA Victim Advocate at any of these numbers:
- Martinez (925) 957-8650
- Richmond (510) 374-3272
How do I make a California Public Records Act Request?
Our office follows state law (California Public Records Act) and Contra Costa County's Better Government Ordinance to respond to your requests for public records. We have developed an optional form for you to use to fill out your records request. You do not need to use the form to make a request or give us your name. Please call 925-957-2200 to verbally file a request, email us or fill out and submit the PRA Request Form.
How do I get a copy of a police report?
Contact the police agency that created the report to obtain a copy. If you are a victim of crime you may be entitled to a copy under Marsy's Law. Please call 925-957-2200 for more information.
Can you provide me with legal advice?
No. By law, the District Attorney's Office cannot answer legal questions or offer legal advice (California Business & Professions Code section 6131).
I think I have been cheated by a [contractor, tradesman, shopkeeper, other person who provides labor or services]. Can the DA's Office help me?
The DA’s Consumer Protection Unit may be able to help, or they may refer you to an agency that can help you. Complaints must be in writing. You can download a complaint form and mail it back to the Unit.
If I get a subpoena do I have to go to court?
Yes, you must go to court. If you fail to do so, the judge may impose a fine or a jail sentence. Be sure to bring your subpoena with you to court. Subpoenaed witnesses should call the number on their subpoena the day before the hearing to make sure they are still needed for court.
Why am I a witness? I didn't see the crime happen.
Witnesses are not limited to eyewitnesses. You may not have seen the crime happen but you may know something about it. You may also know something about a piece of evidence, or you may know something that contradicts another witness's testimony. If you wonder why you are testifying in a particular case, ask the prosecutor handling it. You can contact the prosecutor handling your case by calling the number on your subpoena.
As a witness, do I have to talk in front of the defendant in court?
Yes. The defendant must be present in court to hear what all the witnesses say about him/her. The lawyer for the defendant is called the defense attorney and will ask you questions after the prosecutor does.
Is the District Attorney my attorney or do I need to get my own attorney?
The District Attorney represents the People of the State of California. The district attorney does not have authority to prosecute civil cases on behalf of individual citizens.
If I miss work to testify, will the District Attorney pay for my loss in wages or get witness fees?
No. Witnesses must go to court to testify about matters that they have knowledge of. It is a civic duty imposed upon all citizens in order to insure a just and fair judicial system. Witness fees are not usually given except when a witness lives 150 miles or more from court.
I was the victim of a crime. Can you tell me the name of the defendant and the defendant's next court date?
The DA's Office can provide you with the name of the defendant and the next court date if we have filed charges against the defendant. To obtain this information, call us at 925-957-2200.
Where do I go to make a complaint about an attorney?
The California State Bar Association takes complaints against attorneys, investigates those complaints, and prosecutes/disciplines attorneys. The District Attorney's Consumer Protection Unit investigates and prosecutes unauthorized practitioners of law, including non-attorneys posing as attorneys and attorneys who have been disbarred.