Criminal Charges

If you have been cited for a criminal misdemeanor offense you must appear at the Oro Valley Magistrate Court on your court date for an arraignment.  An arraignment is a court appearance in which you are formally notified of the charges that have been filed against you.

Driving without Insurance

I received a Driving Without Insurance suspension, what do I do?

The following is important information for you to know if you have received a driver license and/or registration suspension for driving without insurance pursuant to ARS § 28-4135A, 28-4135B or 28-4135C.

Effective September 30, 2009, Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) §  28-4135 requires the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) to administratively suspend the driver license and registration of any person convicted of a violation of A.R.S.§ 28-4135 (A), (B) and (C) upon receipt of the abstract of the record of judgment.  The monetary penalties associated with the violations of the above referenced statute remain the same and are:

  • $938 + surcharges and court fees, for a first offense 
  • $1383 + surcharges and court fees, for a second offense 
  • $1828 + surcharges and court fees, for a third offense

Effective September 30, 2009, the statute also allows the court to reduce or waive the penalty imposed for a violation of A.R.S. § 28-4135 if the person provides proof of both the following items:

  1. The defendant (driver) has not been found responsible of a violation of A.R.S. § 28-4135 within the past 24 months OR has not had more than one violation of A.R.S. § 28-4135 within the past 36 months as evidenced by the person's driving record.
  2. The defendant has purchased a six month policy of insurance that meets the requirements of A.R.S. § 28-4009.

The statue allows the courts to:

  • waive the monetary penalty
  • waive only the driver license suspension
  • waive only the registration suspension
  • waive both the driver license suspension and the monetary penalty 
  • waive both the dirver license suspension and registration suspension
  • impose a lower monetary penalty, or
  • any combination of the items listed here

Upon receipt of the record of judgment, MVD is responsible for entering a suspension of the defendant's driver's license and/or registration/plates in their system.  In order to ensure that the defendant is in compliance with the suspension and to receive timely notification from MVD, the defendant must ensure that MVD has their most current address.

The suspension of the defendant's driver's license/registration/plates is not effective until MVD mails the Corrective Action Notice to the address of record.  Service of the notice is considered complete upon the mailing of the Corrective Action Notice.  The Corrective Action Notice will provide information of the effective date for the suspension and reinstatement requirements (e.g., fees, SR22, proof of insurance, etc.).

Defendants may be eligible for a MVD issued restricted license if they obtain a SR22, proof of insurance and they comply with the additional criteria established by the MVD.

To determine eligibility and for any other questions regarding suspension, defendants should contact MVD at:

TTD Systems Only:     Phoenix (602) 712-3222   |  Elsewhere in Arizona 1-800-251-5866

Arraignment

The purpose of your arraignment is to inform you of the charge(s) against you, to provide you with a copy of the complaint (if you do not already have one) and to answer any questions you might have. You will also have the opportunity to enter a plea to the charge(s) and to set a date for your pretrial conference, trial or sentencing.

You have a right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself and to be represented by an attorney at all proceedings in your case.

NOTE: This information is important to you. Please read it carefully. If you do not understand something on this page, ask the judge to explain it when you are called to appear before the judge.

About your Plea
When you are called to stand before the judge, you will be required to plead either guilty, not guilty or no contest to the charges(s) against you. 

  • GUILTY: A plea of guilty means that you are admitting you did what the state accuses you of doing. It will result in a conviction for the charge(s) and there will be a record of the conviction in this court.
  • NOT GUILTY: A plea of not guilty means you are denying the charge(s) against you and demanding the state prove them.
  • NO CONTEST: A plea of no contest means you are not admitting guilt and not denying it. You are saying that you do not intend to contest the charges. In this case, the judge will find you guilty of the charges, if there are facts sufficient to show that you are guilty. It will result in a conviction and there will be a record of the conviction in this court.

If you plead Guilty or No Contest
If you plead guilty or no contest, you will be giving up your right to a trial, your right to be represented by an attorney, your right to confront the witness against you and to cross-examine them, your right to present evidence in your own behalf, the right to have subpoenas issued to compel witnesses of your choosing to appear and testify, your right to remain silent and your right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you plead guilty or no contest, the judge will sentence you. The sentence will usually be pronounced on the same day you enter your plea, if you consent to it and the judge finds no reason to delay the passing of the sentence.

If you plead Not Guilty
You should plead not guilty if you wish to contest the charges and have a trial, or if you feel you may wish to have a trial. You should also plead not guilty if you are not sure what to do, or if you are confused, or if you want to think about it further. A plea of not guilty has the effect of keeping your options open for a while. You can later decide to change your plea to guilty or no contest if you wish. If you plead not guilty you will be required to attend a pretrial conference with the city prosecutor.

THERE IS NO PENALTY FOR PLEADING NOT GUILTY. YOUR SENTENCE WILL NOT BE MORE SEVERE IF YOU PLEAD NOT GUILTY, NOR WILL IT BE LESS SEVERE IF YOU PLEAD GUILTY OR NO CONTEST.

Pretrial Conference

It is mandatory that you attend the pretrial conference if one has been set in your case. If you have one, your attorney should come with you. If you do not attend the pretrial conference it will be a violation of a court order and a complaint will be issued for your Failure to Appear and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

The pretrial conference is for the purpose of discussing the case with the prosecutor if you wish to do so. A prosecutor will inform you how to obtain a copy of the police report in your case. They will also advise you of the sentence they intend to recommend in the event that you are convicted.

At this Point you will have Two Options:

  1. You can enter into a plea agreement with the prosecutor, change your plea to guilty or no contest and be sentenced, usually on that same day. Your sentence will be the sentence you have agreed to in the plea agreement, unless the judge does not accept it, in which case you have the right to withdraw your plea agreement.

  2. You can reject the plea agreement, in which case a trial date will be set in your case.

About your trial
Do you need a lawyer? Only you can answer this question. You may represent yourself, or an attorney may represent you.

What should you do before the trial? You are responsible for making any necessary preparations for the trial. You may wish to look for evidence in your favor, locate witnesses, and prepare photographs, sketches or maps that might help you explain your case.

If there are witnesses that you wish to have the court order to appear or feel will not, or cannot come to court without a subpoena, you will need to fill in each witness's name and address on a subpoena form. The court will issue a subpoena to require them to come to court to testify in your case.

What happens at the trial?

  • If you do not understand the nature of the charges, ask the judge to explain them. If you would like to have a copy of the law, request a copy from the judge.

  • The prosecutor will present the State's case.

  • You will have the right to cross-examine each witness for the State.

  • You may, if you choose to do so, testify in your own behalf. If you do testify, you would be subject to cross­examination by the prosecutor.

  • If you are found not guilty, any bond you have posted will be refunded.

  • If you are found guilty, sentence will be pronounced.

  • If you were found guilty, you would have the right to appeal the conviction and/or sentence by filing a notice of appeal within ten days after the entry of the sentence. The appeal would be on the record of the case.

Sentence Enforcement
If you are found guilty and fines are imposed, you will be required to pay the fines in full on the day of sentencing.
Oro Valley Magistrate Court accepts cash, check, money order, Visa, MasterCard or Discover.

Crime Victims Website
Every victim of crime is entitled to Safety, Healing, Justice and Restitution. The mission of the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Crime Victim Services Unit is to effectively administer Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Assistance funds by ensuring appropriate and accessible services are available to crime victims, enhancing the delivery of those services through technical assistance, training opportunities, and promoting a continuum of care for every victim in every community.

Defendant's Notice of Right to Appeal

This notice explains your rights and responsibilities to file an appeal to Superior Court from an order or final judgment and your right to an attorney to represent you.

Your right to a lawyer during the Appeal stage
You have a constitutional right to a lawyer to represent you during the appeal stage of your case. This means that: (a) you have the right to hire a private lawyer, and (b) in certain situations, you may be eligible for a court-appointed attorney to represent you. Normally, if you had a court appointed attorney for the trial, you will continue to have court appointed counsel for the appeal. If you are appealing a case where the trial court sentence included jail time or probation, and you cannot afford to hire, a private lawyer, you may fill out a financial statement for a court appointed attorney. Depending on your income and financial situation, an attorney may be appointed, your request may be declined, or you may have an attorney appointed with the requirement that you pay some amount in contribution to the cost of the attorney’s services. The procedure to apply for a court-appointed attorney is set forth in Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 6. If you wish to look into this process, ask the clerk for further instructions.

The Appeal process in general
There are two separate stages to the appeal process. The first stage begins in this court; the second stage takes place in the Superior Court. Remember, you must complete all steps at both stages, or you run the risk of having your appeal dismissed. This notice does not set forth all the rules on criminal appeals. To read them entirely, you may review the Arizona statues, rules of criminal procedure, and in particular the “Superior Court Rules of Appellate Procedure - Criminal” at the library. It is recommended that you keep a copy of all your documents and receipts during the appeal.

STAGE ONE - THE TRIAL COURT

The Notice of Appeal
To appeal, you must file a "Notice of Appeal” with the trial court clerk within 14 calendar days from the date of the appealable order or final judgment. If you do not file a “Notice of Appeal” within these 14 days, you lose the right to appeal. The notice of appeal must specifically state the judgment or ruling that is being appealed. Within the time to file your notice of appeal, you must also file an original and one copy of the “Designation of the Record.” This is your list of the items in the court record that you want to include in the appeal.

The Record
On or before the 14-day deadline to appeal, you must also pay for a copy of the proceedings at the hearing, which will be sent to Superior Court with the appeal. You may request a copy for yourself for an additional fee. The copy may be a recording or a transcript. The clerk will explain which type of record is required. Payment must be in cash or other method explained by the clerk. If you cannot afford to pay for the record, ask the clerk for information about a possible waiver or extension (“deferral”) to make payment later. If you fail to pay for the record or transcript, your appeal may be dismissed. Additional copies of the trial or proceeding record or transcript may be obtained for an additional charge.

The Conditions of Release Pending Appeal
You cannot be forced to post an appeal bond in order to exercise your right to appeal. If you have been released on your own recognizance during the trial stage of your case, this will be your status during the appeal also. If the trial court required a bond during the trial stage, however, you may still be required to post this bond during the appeal to ensure your appearance at further court proceedings and to make sure you prosecute the appeal diligently.

The Written Appellant's Memorandum
If you appeal, you are called the “Appellant.” After the record or transcript is prepared, the court will contact you to pick up your record. You will need the record for this next step - the “Appellant’s Memorandum.” The Appellant’s Memorandum is your written “brief” or explanation why the trial court ruling was legally wrong. Normally, the Memorandum will refer to specific portions of the record of the hearing to point out where there was error by the court. (That is why a party who appeals pays for a copy of the record.) The Memorandum should be typed or printed on letter-sized white paper, double spaced, and not exceed 15 pages in length, not counting any exhibits from the trial or proceeding you want to attach to the memorandum.

Filing the Appellant's Memorandum Within 60 Calendar Days
The "Appellant’s Memorandum” must be filed with the court within 60 calendar days of the deadline to file the Notice of Appeal. Type the words “Appellant”s Memorandum” below the caption of the case so the court can identify it. You must file the original and one copy of the Memorandum with the court. (The copy you file is sent to the other side. The other side then has 30 days to file an “Appellee’s Memorandum.”) If you are represented by an attorney, you file only the original memorandum; you attorney will send copies to the other side as necessary.)

Wait for Further Instructions
Once the Memorandum has been filed, you should await further instructions from the Superior Court as outlined in the next stage. To keep you informed, remember that the trial court must have your current mailing address at all times. Even if you hire an attorney, your address is still required for legal notifications.

STAGE TWO - THE SUPERIOR COURT

Notification from Superior Court
If you have completed all of the first stage, your case moves to Superior Court where an appeals judge will look at the case. About 60 days after your file your Memorandum, you will receive notification that your case has been sent to Superior Court. Next, you will receive a second notice from the Superior Court assigning a Superior Court case number to use in all further correspondence, and telling you what will happen next.

Superior Court Action on the Appeal
If you have now completed all these steps, you will receive a ruling from the Superior Court. The Superior Court has the right to affirm the trial court, overrule the trial court, modify some of the trial court decision, or, if record is not clear, order a new trial in the Superior Court. If the final outcome of your case is that the ruling stands, or if your appeal is dismissed for any other reason, remember that the court may apply any bond, deposit, or payments already made and that you may have to return to the trial court to be given other instructions in person.