If you are summoned to appear before the Apache County Superior Court for a DUI-related charge, it is important to know where to go and how to contact the court. The Apache County Superior Court is located at 70 W 3rd St S, St Johns, AZ 85936 and the phone number for the Clerk is 928-337-7550.
If you are being charged with a DUI in Apache County, Arizona, your case will be heard in either a Municipal Court, Justice Court, or the Apache County Superior Court, depending on the facts of your case and the type of DUI you are being charged with.
Municipal courts have criminal jurisdiction over misdemeanors, like DUIs where no one was injured. Justice courts have jurisdiction over misdemeanors and some preliminary hearings for felony charges. If you are being charged with a felony DUI, your case will likely be heard in the Apache County Superior Court. If you are facing a DUI charge, please give our expert Apache County attorneys a call at (480) 248-7666 to schedule a free consultation.
In Apache County, the first court appearance for a charge before the Superior Court is known as the Initial Appearance. Your hearing is required to be within 24-hours of your arrest. If you have not been arrested, you may be summoned to appear before the court for an Initial Appearance. At this hearing, you will be informed of the charges being brought against you, conditions of release are established and your next court date will be determined.
The court will determine at your Initial Appearance whether to set a bond and at what amount to set it. The bond is set to ensure you appear at the next proceeding and is determined based on your criminal history, past DUIs, and the severity of the present charges.
Prior to the actual trial, there will be a conference between the defense, the prosecution, and the judge and this hearing is commonly referred to as a status conference. It is important to have experienced DUI defense counsel at this stage to advocate for your defense and ensure that you have all discovery items necessary for your defense, plea deals may be negotiated at this stage, and important motions may be filed.
If you are charged with a felony DUI, you have the right to a preliminary hearing. This hearing must occur within 10 days of your Initial Appearance if you are in custody or within 20 days if you are out on pretrial release or bail. At this hearing, the prosecution must demonstrate that there is probable cause to believe you committed the crime you are accused of.
If the prosecution does not believe they are prepared to file charges, your preliminary hearing may be “scratched,” which means temporarily dismissed. However, this does not mean that you are in the clear, as the prosecution has 2 years to file charges for a DUI felony in Apache County, Arizona.
It is critical that you obtain qualified DUI Defense attorneys by the pre-file stage in Apache County. Before formally being indicted, your attorney may convince the judge to reduce or dismiss the charges during the pre-file stage.
The Grand Jury is responsible for determining whether there is probable cause to believe you committed the crime you are accused of based on the evidence presented by the prosecutor. Grand Jurors may question witnesses brought by the prosecutor, but the defendant is not permitted to participate or witness the proceedings unless summoned by the Grand Jury. Should you be indicted by the Grand Jury, you will proceed to Arraignment in Superior Court.
The arraignment hearing is where you will enter your plea of either guilty or not guilty. A trial date will be set at this hearing if you enter a not guilty plea and a sentencing date will be set if you enter a guilty plea. The arraignment must occur within 10 days of the indictment if you are in custody and within 30 days if you are not in custody.
If your felony DUI case goes to trial, a knowledgeable Apache County DUI defense attorney can help. At this stage, the prosecution must convince the Superior Court jury beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. A conviction must be unanimous. Should they return a not guilty verdict, the case will be dismissed and cannot be retried. Should they find you guilty, a sentencing hearing will be set.
Where you have either plead guilty or been found guilty, a sentencing hearing will be set to determine the appropriate sentencing. Because you are permitted to address the judge prior to they announce their sentence, it is imperative to prepare with experienced Apache County DUI defense counsel in order to minimize your sentence.
As mentioned above, Apache County Superior Court has jurisdiction over most felony DUI charges. While most first-time DUI charges are classified as misdemeanors, a DUI becomes a felony in Apache County if certain conditions are met. Based on these conditions, your DUI may be elevated to either a Class 4 or Class 6 Felony, depending on the seriousness of the crime. If you are facing a felony DUI charge, please give our Apache County felony attorneys a call at (480) 248-7666 to schedule a free consultation.
A DUI becomes a Class 4 felony if this is your third DUI in the last 7 years, you were driving impaired with a revoked, suspended, or invalid driver’s license, you were driving impaired in the wrong direction on the road, or if you failed to install an Ignition Interlock Device (“IID”) after a court order to do so. Class 4 felonies carry a mandatory prison sentence of 4 months plus fines and other penalties.
Class 6 felony charges are considered less serious than Class 4 felony charges, and as such the penalty is less severe. A DUI becomes a Class 6 felony when you are driving impaired and there is a minor under the age of 15 present in the vehicle. Class 6 felonies carry minimum jail time as opposed to time in prison and the length of the sentence depends on your BAC, ranging from a minimum of 10-45 days plus other fees and penalties.
In addition to a DUI charge, you may also face prosecution for vehicular endangerment if you are found to have “recklessly endanger[ed] another person with a substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury.” A.R.S. §13-1201
This charge is typically brought where you are alleged to have expressed extreme indifference to human life. Endangerment is a Class 6 felony and carries a mandatory jail sentence rather than time in prison.
If someone is injured during a car accident where you are charged with a DUI, you may also be charged with aggravated assault. Because vehicles are considered deadly weapons, the injury may be considered to have been the use of a dangerous instrument to cause injury, meeting the standards of aggravated assault. This charge is a Class 2 felony and carries 7-21 years in prison if another person was seriously injured or injured by your vehicle. If someone is temporarily impaired by the accident in which you were charged with a DUI, you may face a sentence of 5-15 years in prison. Because of the serious consequences of an Aggravated Assault charge, you should seek the assistance of qualified attorneys. Call our team at (480) 248-7666 to schedule a free consultation right away.
Vehicular manslaughter is a Class 2 felony with a minimum sentence of 7 years. This charge is based on an allegation that the defendant recklessly caused the death of another.
If a death has resulted from a DUI-related accident, the prosecution may pursue second-degree murder charges. If you are charged with murder as a result of a DUI-related accident, call us immediately at (480) 248-7666 to schedule a free consultation. Second-degree murder requires a showing that you engaged in conduct knowing that it would result in the death of another but without planning to do so. This charge carries a range of 16 years in prison to life in prison.
Given the seriousness of any DUI charge in Apache County and the wide range of penalties, it is imperative that anyone being charged with a DUI contact and retain a defense attorney. With the assistance of experienced DUI counsel, mandatory minimum penalties can be reduced through negotiation strategies. Due to the specialized nature of this law, it is highly recommended that you seek counsel. If you are facing a felony DUI charge, please give our Apache County and Scottsdale DUI Law Specialists at Rosenstein Law Group a call at (480) 248-7666 to schedule a free consultation.