Pima County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Pima County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Pima County.
Prosecutor in Pima County
In Pima County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Pima County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Arizona. For the most part, the prosecutor in Pima County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
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.
Pima County Required Court Appearances
In Pima County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.
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.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Pima 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.
I need help for my Pima 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 Pima 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 Pima 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.
Where will Pima County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Pima County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Pima County.
What happens in Pima County at an arraignment?
In Pima County the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.
The Right to Counsel
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.
Can I appeal a guilty verdict?
If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.
In a jury trial in Pima 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.
Pima County Criminal Court Locations
Pima County Juvenile Court
Address: 2225 East Ajo Way, Tucson AZ 85713
Phone: 520-724-2000 Fax: 520-724-9281
Pima County Superior Court
Address: 110 West Congress Street, Tuscon AZ 85701
Phone: 520-740-4200 Fax: 520-798-3531
Ajo Justice Court
Address: 111 La Mina Avenue, Ajo AZ 85321
Green Valley Justice Court
Address: 601 North La Canada Drive, Green Valley AZ 85614
Phone: 520-648-0658 Fax: 520-648-2235
Pima County Consolidated Justice Court
Address: 115 North Church Avenue, Tucson AZ 85701
Marana Municipal Court
Address: 11555 West Civic Center Drive, Marana AZ 85653
Phone: 520-382-2700 Fax: 520-382-2701
Oro Valley Magistrate Court
Address: 11000 North La Canada Drive, Oro Valley AZ 85737
Phone: 520-229-4780 Fax: 520-229-4789
Sahuarita Municipal Court
Address: 360 West Sahuarita Center Way, Sahuarita AZ 85629
Phone: 520-344-7150 Fax: 520-344-7151
South Tucson City Court
Address: 1601 South 6th Avenue, South Tucson AZ 85713
Tucson City Court
Address: 103 East Alameda Street, Tucson AZ 85701