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Jurisdiction in Arizona Criminal Courts

Jurisdiction as it relates to criminal charges, and the court which has the authority to hear the criminal case. Each court has designated jurisdictional authority over specific types of cases such as Felonies or Misdemeanors. The Court in where the case will initially be heard, should appear on the Citation or Complaint document they received at the time of their arrest or by mail. Arizona law extends jurisdictional authority to certain courts for specific types of cases as follows:

1)      Felony charges are heard in Arizona Superior Court.  AZ Superior Court is considered one entity. However, there are different locations serving Arizona, and Maricopa County.

2)      Misdemeanor cases are held in lower courts including municipal Courts, city courts and Justice Courts.

3)      Preliminary hearings for felony charges may occasionally be heard in the lower courts such as city, municipal and justice courts.

4)      Initial Charges Misdemeanor –  In some cases, defendants  may be initially charged with a misdemeanor; but due to the development of new evidence or circumstances by the police and prosecution, they are later elevated to felonies.  In these cases, the court location will then be changed from a lower court to the AZ Superior court. The defendant will be notified of any changes in charges and court location if applicable.

Notice of Charges and Court Appearance in Gilbert AZ

You should never ignore a citation, or instructions to appear in criminal court for a crime or DUI offense. If you have not retained legal representation, a Bench Warrant may be issued by the presiding judge for your arrest A.R.S. 13-2506 (Misdemeanor) & A.R.S. 13-2507 (Felony). Failure to appear for your scheduled court will result in addition criminal charges, and is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. If you have retained a criminal defense attorney, they will provide you with additional or alternative instructions. It is always best to retain criminal defense representation, or in the least a consultation well in advance of a scheduled court appearance for your charges.