Article VI § 1 of the Arizona Constitution provides that Arizona’s integrated judicial department consists of “a supreme court, such intermediate appellate courts as may be provided by law, a superior court, such courts inferior to the superior court as may be provided by law, and justice courts.” Arizona state criminal courts are city courts, justice courts, superior courts, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court.
Arizona city courts hear misdemeanor and petty offense cases that occur within their city or town limits such as DUI, shoplifting, and domestic violence. Some city courts do not require that city court judges be attorneys.
Arizona justice courts hear misdemeanor and criminal traffic cases that occur on the freeways, county land, or state land. There are 26 justice courts in Maricopa County (Glendale, Peoria, Surprise, Sun City, Avondale are a few of them). Arizona law allows individuals who are not attorneys to be elected as justice court judges.
Arizona superior courts hear felony cases that occur in their particular county and misdemeanor cases that are otherwise not provided for by law according to Article VI § 14(4) of the Arizona Constitution. All superior court judges must be attorneys.
Article VI §9 of the Arizona Constitution specifies that the jurisdiction, powers, duties and composition of the Court of Appeals shall be as provided by law. Arizona has two divisions of the Court of Appeals. Division One of the Court of Appeals hears appeals from cases originating in Maricopa County, Coconino County, Apache County, Yavapai County, Mohave County, La Paz County, Navajo County, and Yuma County while Division Two hears appeals from cases originating in Cochise, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal and Santa Cruz counties. A.R.S. § 12-120.21(A)(1) states that the Court of Appeals has appellate jurisdiction in all criminal actions except crimes for which a sentence of death has actually been imposed. A.R.S. § 13-4033(B) provides that a defendant may not appeal from a judgment or sentence that is entered pursuant to a plea agreement or an admission to a probation violation.
Article VI § 5(3) states that the Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction in all criminal actions except those originating in courts not of record unless the action involves the validity of a tax, impost, assessment, toll, statute or municipal ordinance. City courts and justice courts are considered courts not of record so any appeal has to challenge the validity of the statute or municipal ordinance under which the defendant was prosecuted.
You need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you through the criminal proceedings in the Arizona state criminal court system. Attorney Gary Rohlwing has over three decades of experience in the Arizona state criminal court system. Call him today for a free consultation.
Law Offices of Gary L Rohlwing
7112 N 55th Ave
Glendale, AZ 85301