Graham County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Graham County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Graham County.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
What is Jury Deliberation?
After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.
Right to an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Graham County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
The Right to Trial by Jury
The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.
Graham County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Graham County will take place at the Graham County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Graham County Criminal Court Locations.
I need help for my Graham County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Graham County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Graham County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
Mandatory Appearances in Graham County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Graham County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
Graham County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Graham County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Graham County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Graham County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
Prosecutor in Graham County
In Graham County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Graham County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Arizona. For the most part, the prosecutor in Graham County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Appealing a guilty verdict
A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Graham County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.
Graham County Criminal Court Locations
Graham County Superior Court
Address: 800 West Main Street, Safford AZ 85546
Pima Justice Court-Precinct 2
Address: 136 West Center Street, PO Box 1159, Pima AZ 85543
Phone: 928-485-2771 Fax: 928-485-9961
Safford Justice Court – Precinct 1
Address: 800 West Main Street, Safford AZ 85546
Pima Municipal Court
Address: 110 West Center Street, Pima AZ 85543
Safford Municipal Court
Address: 717 West Main Street, Safford AZ 85546
Thatcher Municipal Court
Address: 3700 West Main Street, Thatcher AZ 85552