Mesa Municipal / City Court
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People who are charged with crimes in Mesa, Arizona typically will have their case sent to the Mesa 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 Mesa Defense Lawyer at DM Cantor might help you to secure a successful resolution to your case.
Below is what you need to know about Mesa City Court, its process, and the different types of cases it handles.
Watch this video from David Michael Cantor talking about the Mesa City Court/ Municipal Court:
TYPES OF CASES HANDLED BY MESA CITY COURT
The Mesa City Court has limited jurisdiction to hear misdemeanor cases that have occurred within the city limits. It shares jurisdiction to hear misdemeanors with the Justice Court. Some common misdemeanors that are heard in Mesa City Court include the following:
- DUI offenses
- Reckless driving when no one was seriously injured
- Hit and run accidents when no one is seriously injured
- Driving with a suspended license
- Criminal speeding
- Misdemeanor assault/domestic violence
- Minor sex crimes including solicitation, prostitution and indecent exposure
In addition, the Mesa City Court also handles other misdemeanor offenses as well as civil traffic violations. If you have received a citation for an alleged criminal misdemeanor offense, you will be required to appear at the Mesa City Court on your court date. You are able to pay criminal violations in advance and must appear. Your first appearance is called an arraignment. Arraignments in the City Court begin at 8:30 a.m., and you should not appear late.
WHAT IS THE MESA COURT PROCESS?
Arraignment/ Initial Appearance
Your arraignment hearing is your initial appearance before a judge. At this hearing, the judge will advise you of the charges against you. It is beneficial for you to hire a lawyer before your arraignment so that they can appear with you before the judge. Especially because misdemeanor offenses can carry a possible jail sentence. At the hearing the judge will ask you whether you plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. You should not enter a guilty or no contest plea without talking to a criminal defense lawyer. If you enter a plea of not guilty, you will receive a future court date to appear.
The pretrial conference is where your attorney will have the opportunity to meet with the prosecutor to try and negotiate a better plea offer. Your attorney may also file motions in your case. Your attorney may review the evidence to determine whether the officer conducted an investigation in a constitutional manner. If any problems occurred during an investigation, 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.
At a motions hearing, you will have the opportunity to hear the officer testify. 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.
Jury or Bench Trial
In regards to your trial, your lawyer and you will discuss which option will be best for you in this particular case. It is important to note that you have the right to a jury trial or can opt to have your case heard by a judge in a bench trial. At whichever trial you opt for, the prosecutor will call witnesses to testify against you. Your lawyer will be able to cross-examine each witness for the defense. You also will have the right to testify as a witness, however, your lawyer can provide you with some guidance with whether or not you might want to testify in your own defense.
After the prosecution and the defense have finished presenting their 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.
EXAMPLES OF CHARGES IN CITY COURT
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. If your BAC tested at 0.05% to 0.79%, the prosecutor may be able to rebut the presumption. If your BAC was lower than 0.05%, there will be a presumption that you were not impaired. Again, however, the prosecutor may be able to rebut the presumption.
DUI cases are among the largest number of misdemeanor offenses that are heard in the Mesa City Court. These cases are handled differently than other types of misdemeanor offense. The potential penalties for DUI convictions are quite severe. 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
The potential penalties for the first DUI conviction include the following:
- 10 days in jail, but nine days can be waived by completing alcohol assessment and treatment
- Driver’s license suspension from 90 days to one year
- Mandatory installation of ignition interlock device for one year
- Pay $250 fine
- Pay $500 to the state treasurer prison construction fund
- Pay $500 to public safety equipment fund
- Traffic safety and survival school
- Alcohol assessment and counseling
If your blood alcohol concentration was .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.
In regards to a second or subsequent offense within several years, the penalties will be even higher.
Under A.R.S 13-1203, you can be charged with assault when a person either intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes any physical injury to another person; knowingly touches another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke; or intentionally places another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury. Normally any type of red mark or scratch can qualify as an “injury” under this statue.
POSISBLE PENALTIES FOR AGGRAVATED ASSAULT CASES
Most misdemeanor assaults are charged as class one misdemeanors, however, sometimes they are charged at the lower levels of class two and three misdemeanors if the defendant is found to not have intentionally committed assault or didn’t cause any physical injury.
Class 1 misdemeanor- range of punishments from probation, max punishment of 6 months in jail, or a $2,500 fine with 80% surcharge.
Class 2 misdemeanor- probation, up to 4 months in jail, and a $750 with 84% surcharge.
SENTENCING MISDEMEANOR CRIMES IN MESA
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:
- Class 1 misdemeanor – Six months in jail
- Class 4 misdemeanor – max of 4 months in jail
- Class 3 misdemeanor – max of 30 days in jail
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:
- Class 1 misdemeanors – up to $2,500
- Class 2 misdemeanors – fine up to $750
- Class 3 misdemeanors – fine up to $500
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:
- Class 1 misdemeanor – 3 years
- Class 2 misdemeanor – 2 years
- Class 3 misdemeanor – 1 year
HOW A MESA 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.
250 E 1st Ave,
Mesa, AZ 85210
Court Business Hours:
Monday- Friday 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM except holidays