Chandler City Court / Municipal Court Information
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Below is some helpful information regarding Chandler City Court. People who are charged with crimes in Chandler, Arizona typically will have their case sent to the Chandler City Court. If you are facing charges and have been ordered to appear, it is important for you to understand the process so that you know what to expect. Getting help from an experienced Defense Lawyer at DM Cantor might help you to secure a successful resolution to your case.
Watch this video from David Michael Cantor talking about the Chandler City Court/ Municipal Court:
TYPES OF CASES CHANDLER CITY COURT HANDLES
Chandler City Court deals with traffic violations, violations of local ordinances, and misdemeanors. A misdemeanor is any crime which has a maximum punishment of up to six months in county jail. In addition, the highest fine can be $2500 plus additional surcharges and penalties which approach 84%. All cases which have court dates in City or Magistrate courts, such as Chandler City Court, are misdemeanors. Some common misdemeanors that are heard in Chandler City Court include the following:
- DUI offenses
- Misdemeanor trespassing
- Misdemeanor assault
- Civil traffic violation
- Criminal traffic violation
- Indecent exposure
It is important to note that the Chandler City Court and the justice court share jurisdiction to hear misdemeanors. This means that Chandler City Court has limited jurisdiction with misdemeanor cases depending on where the incident occurred in city limits.
SENTENCING MISDEMEANOR CRIMES IN CHANDLER
In Arizona, misdemeanors are divided into three classes that denote how serious they are. Under A.R.S 13-707, class 1 misdemeanors are divided into three classes that denote how serious they are. The potential sentences for misdemeanor convictions other that DUIs are as follows:
- Six-month jail for Class 1 misdemeanor
- Four months maximum in jail for a class 4 misdemeanor
- Thirty days maximum in jail for a class 3 misdemeanor
If you are over the age of 18 and have been convicted of at least one previous misdemeanor offense within the past two years, you will be sentenced under the next higher Class for your current misdemeanor conviction.
In addition to the potential for a sentence to incarceration, you may also be ordered to pay a fine. Under A.R.S 13-802, the fines that may be ordered for the different misdemeanor levels include the following:
- Up to $2,500 for Class 1 misdemeanors
- A fine up to $750 for Class 2 misdemeanors
- A fine up to $500 for Class 3 misdemeanors
If you are convicted of a petty offense, you may be ordered to pay a fine up to $300.
Under A.R.S 13-902, the magistrate may sentence you top a term of probation. In most cases, a sentence of probation may be issued in lieu of jail time. The length of probationary sentence will depend on the class of your misdemeanor conviction as follows:
- Three (3) years for Class 1 misdemeanor
- Two (2) years for Class 2 misdemeanor
- One (1) year for Class 3 misdemeanor
WHAT IS THE CHANDLER COURT PROCESS?
WHAT IS AN ARRAIGNMENT?
Your first appearance before a judge is called an arraignment. Arraignments in Chandler City Court begin at 8:30 am, and you should not appear late. Within this hearing the judge will advise you of the charges against you. In addition, the judge will ascertain your true name and address: inform you of the charges against you; inform you of your various constitutional rights; consider any view of comments offered by the victim concerning the issues of release (this usually occurs on assault and domestic violence cases); and determine your conditions of “release.” You will be asked whether you plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
Due to misdemeanor offenses carrying a possible jail sentence, you have the right to be represented by an attorney during this hearing. It is a good idea for you to hire a lawyer before your arraignment so that he or she can appear with you. Having a good Arizona criminal defense attorney during your arraignment is important to insure you have the correct information when appearing before a Chandler City Court judge. It is also important to note that you should not enter a guilty or no contest plea without talking to a criminal defense lawyer.
WHAT IS A PRETRIAL CONFERENCE?
In most cases, a lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to secure a lesser sentence or a reduced charge. In others, an attorney may be able to successfully fight the charges at a jury or bench trial. If you enter a plea of not guilty, you will receive a future court date to appear.
During the pretrial conference, your attorney will have the opportunity to meet with the prosecutor to try and negotiate a better plea offer and also file motions in your case. Your attorney may review the evidence from the incident to determine whether the officer conducted the investigation in a constitutional manner. If any problems occurred, your lawyer may file a motion to suppress some or all of the evidence against you. If your lawyer files evidentiary motions, a motions hearing will be set by the court.
You will have the opportunity to hear the officer testify during the evidentiary hearing. Your lawyer will be able to challenge him or her in cross-examination. In many cases, succeeding at a suppression hearing means that the prosecutor will be forced to dismiss the charges or perhaps reduce the evidence that the prosecutor can use against you in trial. Your case will be set for trial if you are unable to resolve your case through the negotiations process.
BENCH TRIAL v. JURY TRIAL
If you are unable to resolve your case through the negotiations process, your case will be set for trial. Your lawyer will discuss your rights with you so that you understand the option that might be best for you in this particular case. You have the right to a jury trial or can opt to have your case heard by a judge in a bench trial.
A jury trial is comprised of 6 jurors. A normal misdemeanor jury trial take approximately 1 to 2 days, depending on the jurisdiction. At the close of all evidence, the jury decides whether you are “guilty beyond reasonable doubt” or “not guilty beyond reasonable doubt.” A jury can also decide if they are unable to reach a unanimous verdict otherwise known as a “hung” jury. If the jury “hangs” the state can either move to dismiss charges, negotiate a new plea agreement, or they can retry the defendant on the exact same charges as many times as they wish until the verdict is rendered one way or the other. Misdemeanor jury trials are only allowed for 7 types of cases: DUI, shoplifting, theft, prostitution, solicitation of prostitution, public sexual indecency, and incident exposure.
The other type of trial for misdemeanors in Arizona is a bench trial or a trial to the judge. All misdemeanors, except for the seven listed above, will be bench trials. The benefit of bench trials is that the judges do not necessarily take the officers’ word for face value. They have been around long enough to know which officers tend to exaggerate. In addition, they know the processes behind police investigations and can determine if an investigation was performed badly or not. The downside is that without a good Arizona defense lawyer bench trials conviction rates are much higher.
At your trial, the prosecutor will call witnesses to testify against you. Your lawyer will be able to cross-examine each witness. You also will have the right to testify. However, it may not be a good idea in some cases. Your lawyer can provide you with some guidance with whether or not you might want to testify in your own defense. You are also able to call a witness to testify in your defense case.
Once the prosecution and the defense have finished presenting evidence, they will give closing statements before the case is sent to jury. The jury will deliberate and will return its verdict. If you are convicted, you will be sentenced by the judge according to the type of offense and level of the misdemeanor of which you are convicted.
CHANDLER DUI CHARGES IN CITY COURT
DUI cases are among the largest number of misdemeanor offenses that are heard in the Chandler City Court. The potential penalties for DUI convictions are quite severe.
Under A.R.S 28-1381, you can be charged with DUI if you drive or are in actual physical control of a car or other vehicle when you have drunk alcohol or have used drugs if you are impaired to the slightest degree. You can also be charged with a DUI if your blood alcohol concentration is found to be 0.08% or higher within two hours of when you drove.
This means that you may be charged with DUI when the prosecutor does not have information about your blood alcohol concentration such as if you refused a breath or blood test. It is also possible for you to be charged with a DUI even when your BAC was under 0.08%. If your BAC tested at 0.05% to 0.79%, it will be given rise to a presumption that you were not driving under the influence. However, the prosecutor can present evidence that you were impaired, and you could still be convicted. If your BAC was lower that 0.05%, there will be a presumption that you were not impaired. If you have a CDL and are charged with drunk driving while operating a commercial vehicle, you can be found guilty of DUI if your BAC tests at 0.04%. This is why It is important for you to get help form an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged with DUI.
POTENTIAL PENALTIES FOR DUI CASES IN CHANDLER CITY COURT
The penalties that you might face for a DUI conviction in Chandler City Court will depend on a few different factors, including whether you have prior DUI convictions and your blood alcohol concentration. The potential penalties for the first DUI conviction include the following:
- Attendance a traffic safety and survival school
- Complete an alcohol assessment and receive alcohol counseling
- Mandatory installation of ignition interlock device for one year
- 10 days in jail, but nine days can be waived by completing alcohol assessment and treatment
- Driver’s license suspension for up to one year
- Pay fine of $250
- Pay and assessment of $500 to the state treasurer prison construction fund
- Pay and assessment of $500 to public safety equipment fund
If your blood alcohol concentration was 0.15% or higher, the penalties will be enhanced. You will face 90 days in jail, but you will be eligible for home detention after you serve six days. The fines will be higher, and your license will be revoked for one year. You will still have the other penalties that were listed above.
For a second or subsequent offense within several years, the penalties will be even higher. It is very important for you to get legal help when you have been charged with any DUI offense and have been ordered to appear in Chandler City Court.
HOW A CHANDLER DEFENSE ATTORNEY CAN HELP?
All misdemeanor cases carry the potential for jail time, substantial fines, and other penalties. It is important for you to talk to a lawyer before you enter a guilty plea. Your attorney can review the evidence that is being used against you to identify all of the defenses that you might raise in your defense. An attorney may be able to secure a plea to a lesser offense or to an alternative sentence that does not include jail time in some cases. If you want to fight the charges, your lawyer can thoroughly prepare you for a trial and represent you before the jury or judge.
Our attorneys are familiar with the city’s prosecutors, judges, and police officers and are available to anticipate how your case might be handled. This helps us to identify the potential defenses that can be raised so that you can obtain a better outcome. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling us at 602.307.0808.
200 E Chicago St,
Chandler, AZ 85225
Court Business Hours:
Monday- Friday 8:00 am- 5:00 pm