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Court Jurisdiction: What It Is and Why It is Important to Your Defense

Jurisdiction as it relates to criminal charges is a certain Court’s authority to hear specific types of cases. It involves both geographic elements as well as legal authority afforded by the State, County and Federal laws. Felonies and Misdemeanors have are heard in different courts. Generally, the city, county and state where a person is arrested, or accused of a crime, is the geographic location where the criminal justice court proceedings will begin. Below are some facts and guidelines for Arizona court jurisdiction for felonies and misdemeanors in Maricopa County:

  1. Felonies are heard in the Arizona Superior Courts.  AZ Superior Court is considered only one entity, but they have different locations serving Arizona, and Maricopa County.
  2. Misdemeanors are heard in the lower courts – Municipal Courts, City courts and Justice Courts in Arizona.  The Municipal Court in Mesa is located at:

    Mesa Municipal Court 

    250 E. 1st Avenue 

    Mesa, Arizona 85210 


  3. Felony cases sometimes have preliminary hearings in the lower courts (Municipal, City, and Justice Courts).
  4. A defendant  may be charged with a misdemeanor initially, but later their charges can be raised to a felony, upon receipt of new evidence or completion of a criminal investigation.  The defendant will then be notified of the change,  higher charges, and new court location they will need to appear.
  5. The Court in where the defendant needs to appear will be on the paperwork or Complaint they received following their arrest, or by other communication such as mail.

Criminal Court Appearance in Mesa, AZ

If you are required to appear in Court for DUI or criminal charges, you should consult an attorney who defends charges in that court Jurisdiction. They will be familiar with the laws, courts, rules of criminal procedures, and all the elements that surround the criminal process.

Once an official attorney has been established, your attorney can defend your charges and guide you through the case stages of a felony or misdemeanor charge. There may be defenses they can use to challenge the charges or evidence, to help you get a favorable outcome in your case. For example, if charges are brought in the wrong jurisdiction, you attorney can move to have the charges dismissed.

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