Scottsdale City Court / Municipal Court Information

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People who are charged with crimes in Scottsdale, Arizona typically will have their cases sent to the Scottsdale 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 Scottsdale defense lawyer at DM Cantor might help you to secure a successful resolution to your case.

Below is what you need to know about the Scottsdale City Court, its process, and the different types of cases it handles.

Watch this video from David Michael Cantor talking about the Scottsdale City Court / Municipal Court:

Types of Cases Handled by the Scottsdale City Court

The Scottsdale 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 the Scottsdale City Court include the following:

  • DUI offenses
  • Reckless driving when no one was seriously injured
  • Hit and run accidents when no one was seriously injured
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Criminal speeding
  • Misdemeanor trespassing

In addition, the Scottsdale 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 Scottsdale City Court on your court date. You are unable 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 Scottsdale Court Process?

The first appearance in City Court is called the arraignment. At this hearing, the judge will advise you of the charges against you. You will be asked whether you plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Since misdemeanor offenses carry a possible jail sentence, you have the right to be represented by an attorney. It is a good idea for you to hire a lawyer before your arraignment so that he or she can appear with you. You should also not enter a guilty or no-contest plea without talking to a criminal defense lawyer.

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.

Your attorney will have the opportunity to meet with the prosecutor to try to negotiate a better plea offer at a pretrial conference. He or she may also file motions in your case. For example, if you have been charged with a DUI offense, your attorney may review the evidence to determine whether the officer conducted the stop and 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.

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. in others, winning a motions hearing will reduce the evidence that the prosecutor can use against you at trial.

If you do not succeed at a motion hearing and are unable to resolve your case through the negotiation process, your case will be set for trial. You have the right to a jury trial or can opt to have your case heard by a judge in a bench trial. Your lawyer will discuss your rights with you so that you understand the option that might be best for you in your particular case.

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 about whether or not you might want to testify in your own defense. You are also able to call witnesses 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 the 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 were convicted.

Sentencing for Misdemeanor Crimes in Scottsdale

In Arizona, misdemeanors are divided into three classes that denote how serious they are. Under A.R.S. 13-707, Class 1 misdemeanors are considered to be the most serious. The potential sentences for misdemeanor convictions other than DUIs are as follows:

  • Six months in jail for a Class 1 misdemeanor
  • A maximum of four months in jail for a Class 2 misdemeanor
  • A maximum of 30 days 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:

  • Class 1 misdemeanors – Up to $2,500
  • Class 2 misdemeanors – Fine of up to $750
  • Class 3 misdemeanors – Fine of up to $500

If you are convicted of a petty offense, you may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $300.

Under A.R.S. 13-902, the magistrate may sentence you to a term of probation. In most cases, a sentence of probation may be issued in lieu of jail time. The length of a probationary sentence will depend on the class of your misdemeanor conviction as follows:

  • Three (3) years for a Class 1 misdemeanor
  • Two (2) years for a Class 2 misdemeanor
  • One (1) year for a Class 3 misdemeanor

Scottsdale DUI Charges in City Court

DUI cases in Scottsdale, Arizona are handled differently than other types of misdemeanor offenses. Under A.R.S. 28-1381, you can be charged with a 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 a 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 0.079%, it will give 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 than 0.05%, there will be a presumption that you were not impaired. Again, however, the prosecutor may be able to rebut the presumption, depending on the facts of your case. If you have a CDL and are charged with drunk driving while operating a commercial vehicle, you can be found guilty of a DUI if your BAC tests at 0.04%.

DUI cases are among the largest number of misdemeanor offenses that are heard in the Scottsdale City Court. The potential penalties for DUI convictions are quite severe. It is important for you to get help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged for a DUI.

Potential penalties for DUI cases in Scottsdale City Court

The penalties that you might face for a DUI conviction in the Scottsdale 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 a first DUI conviction include the following:

  • 10 days in jail, but nine days can be waved by completing an alcohol assessment and treatment
  • Driver’s license suspension from 90 days to one year
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for one year
  • Pay a fine of $250
  • Pay an assessment of $500 to the state treasurer prison construction fund
  • Pay an assessment of $500 to the public safety equipment fund
  • Attendance at a traffic safety and survival school
  • Complete an alcohol assessment and receive alcohol counseling

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 seven 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 the Scottsdale City Court.

How a Scottsdale 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 able 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.


Directions to the Scottsdale City Court

3700 North 75th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

(480) 312-2442

Court Business Hours:
Monday-Friday 8:00am until 5:00pm

* The first and third Wednesday of each month, Court hours will be
8:30AM until 5:00PM

For all other week days, Court hours are 8:00AM until 5:00PM

Directions from Loop 101
Exit Indian School Road and turn West;
Turn South on 75th Street;
Drive south three blocks to the Scottsdale Justice Center and park in the lot East of the court

Directions from Loop 202
Exit Scottsdale/Rural Road and turn North;
Turn East at Indian School Road;
Turn South on 75th Street;
Drive south three blocks to the Scottsdale Justice Center and park in the lot East of the court

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