La Paz County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in La Paz County. See below for more information about criminal cases in La Paz 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.
La Paz County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the La Paz County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
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 La Paz County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
Mandatory Appearances in La Paz County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in La Paz 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.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
Who is the prosecutor for La Paz County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for La Paz County criminal cases will either be a representative of La Paz County or a representative from Arizona. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
Who can help me in La Paz County?
For general information about your case the La Paz County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
La Paz County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In La Paz County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in La Paz 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 La Paz 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.
In a jury trial in La Paz County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
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.
La Paz County Criminal Court Locations
La Paz County Superior Court
Address: 1316 Kofa Avenue, Suite 607, Parker AZ 85344
Phone: 928-669-6131 Fax: 928-669-2186
Parker Justice Court
Address: 1105 Arizona Avenue, Parker AZ 85344
Phone: 928-669-2504 Fax: 928-669-2915
Quartzsite Justice Court
Address: 555 North Plymouth Avenue, PO Box 580, Quartzsite AZ 85346
Phone: 928-927-6313 Fax: 928-927-4842
Salome Justice Court
Address: 38226 Salome Road, PO Box 661, Salome AZ 85348
Phone: 928-859-3871 Fax: 928-859-3709
Parker Magistrate Court
Address: 1314 11th Street, Parker AZ 85344
Phone: 928-669-0011 Fax: 928-669-5247
Quartzsite Magistrate Court
Address: 465 North Plymouth Avenue, PO Box 583, Quartzsite AZ 85346
Phone: 928-927-7477 Fax: 928-927-4332