Four Main Courts in Arizona for Criminal & DUI Cases

When you have been arrested for a crime in Arizona, you will receive a notification of your court date. There will be many factors that determine which type of court will hear your case. Type of offense, arresting agency, and even your age can have an impact on which court will manage your case..

When you have to go to court to face criminal charges, it will always be in your best interest to have legal representation. The Law Office of Robert A. Dodell can represent you in any of the criminal courts in Arizona.

Arizona Justice Courts

Every county has a minimum of one justice court within its boundaries. The amount of courts available in any county is based on the population size. For example, Maricopa County has the highest population in Arizona, and there are 26 justice courts.

The type of cases that these courts manage include:

  • Misdemeanor offenses of all types
  • Civil and criminal traffic offenses

The most common cases held in justice court include:

  • Misdemeanors (Punishments that cannot exceed six months in jail or a $2,500 fine)
  • Misdemeanor DUI
  • Traffic and vehicular offenses
  • Certain bad check cases
  • Violations of protection orders

Other misdemeanors can also be handled in this type of courtroom. The notice that you receive will indicate the type of court that you will have to attend and its location. The justice court has limited jurisdiction over cases, Justice courts are presided over by a judge that has been elected to a four-year term.

Arizona City or Municipal Courts

Some of the cities or municipalities in Arizona have established their own courts to manage certain types of cases. The term municipal court and city court can be used interchangeably. Many of the cases that are managed by the city courts could also be handled in justice courts. The main difference is that the arresting officer was a city officer as opposed to a county or state officer.

The majority of cases that go to city court include:

  • Misdemeanors (Punishments that cannot exceed six months in jail or a $2,500 fine)
  • Misdemeanor DUI
  • Traffic and vehicular offenses
  • Misdemeanor domestic violence offenses
  • Code violations and similar offenses

The crimes must have occurred within the city limits of the court. In general, a city court will share its jurisdiction with the justice court in that county. It is very important that anyone who has been arrested, and has received notice to appear, should verify which court they must attend. In Arizona, the person presiding over cases in a city court is a city judge or magistrate. These judges are selected by the city council to serve in this position; they are not elected.

Arizona Superior Courts

The superior court is the highest trial court in the state. The Constitution of Arizona gives the superior court jurisdiction to handle many different cases, including all felonies and misdemeanors. The superior court retains jurisdiction over justice and city courts because it is main court system for the state.

Superior courts hear many civil cases as well as criminal. The Law Office of Robert A. Dodell represents clients for criminal offenses in all courts.

Some of the criminal cases that can be heard in superior court include:

  • Violent Crimes - Including murder, sexual assault, and assaults
  • Drug offenses
  • Vehicular homicide
  • Felony DUI
  • Theft - including auto theft
  • Probation violations

Superior courts have jurisdictional authority over most criminal cases that take place within the state and are presided over by elected judges. Article VI of the State Constitution of Arizona gives the superior court the following additional jurisdictional authority in specific cases:

  • Any criminal case, whether a misdemeanor or felony
  • Any case that was assigned to justice court and later found to be a felony
  • Jurisdiction for any case that has not been assigned to any other court in the state

Arizona Juvenile Courts

The juvenile court is a division of the superior court system that is dedicated to overseeing cases that concern minors. A minor is defined by the Arizona State Constitution as anyone who committed a misdemeanor or felony that is under the age of 18, with exceptions for those serious felony cases that can be transferred to the adult court. The juvenile court system is much different than the adult system. There are different rules of procedure, and the laws they use and penalties they give out for adjudications are those that are set specifically for minors in the Arizona.

It is very important that any adult or juvenile charged with a crime receive legal representation. Robert A. Dodell, represents those in their time of need.

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