Misdemeanor cases in Arizona are usually handled in justice courts or municipal courts. There are over 30 different courts in Maricopa County alone that have jurisdiction over misdemeanor cases. While the courts generally all follow the same misdemeanor court process, the name of the hearing and the rules may vary from court to court.
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Misdemeanor Court Hearings
The Misdemeanor Arraignment is usually the very first hearing in a misdemeanor case. The purpose of the Arraignment is to advise the defendant of the charges, allow the defendant to enter a plea (guilty or not guilty) and set release conditions. Read more
The purpose of a Misdemeanor Pretrial Conference is for the criminal defense attorney to meet with the prosecutor and discuss the details of the case, and then advise the court as to the status of the case. Read more..
Oral Arguments and Evidentiary Hearings
Oftentimes, a misdemeanor Oral Argument will be set for the judge to hear the attorneys make arguments regarding the issue. This is an opportunity for the judge to ask the attorneys questions regarding their legal positions. If the legal issue also involves a factual issue involving witnesses in the case, the judge may also set a misdemeanor Evidentiary Hearing. Read more..
Pretrial Management Conference
If the parties are unable to negotiate a resolution of the case, then it is set for a Misdemeanor Pretrial Management Conference and either a Bench Trial or a Jury Trial. Read more..
Misdemeanor Bench Trial
Most misdemeanor cases are tried to a judge if they are set to trial. This is called a Misdemeanor Bench Trial. At a Bench Trial a judge decides both the issues of law and the issues of fact. Read more..
Misdemeanor Jury Trial
During a misdemeanor Jury Trial, the judge makes decisions regarding legal questions, while the jury makes decisions regarding factual issues. It is the jury’s responsibility to decide whether the prosecutor has proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant is presumed innocent until the prosecutor proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Read more..
Misdemeanor Sentencing is an opportunity for both defense and prosecution to present to the judge what they believe to be an appropriate penalty for the misdemeanor criminal charge. After hearing the arguments of both sides, the judge will then make a ruling and announce what the defendant’s penalty is going to be in the case. Read more..
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