Criminal and traffic cases from Costa Mesa will soon be heard in Westminster court, officials said Tuesday.

Newport Beach's Harbor Justice Center will handle Costa Mesa misdemeanor and felony cases filed before March 18.

The West Justice Center, at 8141 13th St. in Westminster, will hear cases filed after that date, according to an announcement from the Orange County Superior Court.

All Costa Mesa traffic cases, regardless of when they were filed, will move to the West Justice Center on May 6.

The Orange County Superior Court said state budget cuts and the closure of Laguna Hills' traffic operations contributed to the change.

The Orange County Superior Court cannot continue to lease the Laguna Hills property because of funding cuts, and all South County traffic cases are moving to Newport Beach, said Judge Tom Borris.

Because of that disproportionate case load that moved to Harbor Court with the additional traffic cases, the court looked at all police departments using that courthouse and found the Costa Mesa Police Department most easily could move to Westminster, Borris said.

Borris compared the constraints in Orange County to Los Angeles County, where 10 courthouses are set to close and 26 small claims courtrooms are to be whittled to six.

"We haven't quite reached that, but Orange County is slowly moving in that same direction," Borris said.

People can continue to pay for traffic citations and appear for traffic arraignments at any of the court's four remaining justice centers.

lauren.williams@latimes.com

 

Twitter: @lawilliams30