Santa Cruz County Criminal Court

Santa Cruz County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Santa Cruz County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Santa Cruz County.

Who is the prosecutor for Santa Cruz County?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Santa Cruz County criminal cases will either be a representative of Santa Cruz 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.

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.

Santa Cruz County Criminal Court

Santa Cruz County Criminal Court

Who can help me in Santa Cruz County?

For general information about your case the Santa Cruz 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.

Jury Deliberations in Santa Cruz County

In Santa Cruz County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.

What if I can’t afford an attorney?

The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.

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 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.

Santa Cruz County Criminal Court locations

Criminal proceedings take place in the Santa Cruz County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.

Required Court Appearances in Santa Cruz County

Any required court appearances in Santa Cruz County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.

Burden of Proof Requirement

In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Arraignments in Santa Cruz County

During an arraignment in Santa Cruz County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Santa Cruz County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Santa Cruz County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.

Sentencing in Santa Cruz County

In Santa Cruz County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.

Santa Cruz County Criminal Court Locations

  • Santa Cruz County Superior Court

    Address: 2150 North Congress Drive, PO Box 1265, Nogales AZ 85628
    Phone: 520-375-7700 Fax: 520-375-7703

  • East Santa Cruz County Justice Court – Precinct 2

    Address: 3147 State Route 83, PO Box 1330, Sonoita AZ 85637
    Phone: 520-761-7887 Fax: 520-455-5133

  • Nogales Justice Court – Precinct 1

    Address: 2160 North Congress Drive, PO Box 1150, Nogales AZ 85628
    Phone: 520-375-7761 (Criminal) Fax: 520-375-7652

  • Nogales Municipal Court

    Address: 777 N Grand Avenue, Nogales AZ 85621
    Phone: 520-287-3181 Fax: 520-287-2230

  • Patagonia Municipal Court

    Address: 310 McKeown Avenue, PO Box 767, Patagonia AZ 85624
    Phone: 520-394-2958 Fax: 520-394-2861

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