If you have been arrested in Prescott, Camp Verde, or any other city or town in Yavapai County, then your case will likely end up in the Yavapai Superior Court. The Yavapai County Superior Court has original authority over felony offenses, but can prosecute misdemeanors, too.
If you have been charged with a DUI or criminal offense in Yavapai County, then you need to take action to prepare your legal defense. Although a charge is different from a conviction, it’s still crucial to get started on your defense as soon as possible.
Don’t wait. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Yavapai County DUI Defense Lawyers to protect your rights. Call (480) 248-7666 now.
Going to court can feel stressful, and it’s more uncomfortable if you don’t know what to expect. If you are involved with the court system in Yavapai County, here are some things you will want to consider, so you can attend your court date with more confidence.
The Yavapai Superior Court has two locations which are located at:
Yavapai County Superior Courthouse
120 South Cortez Street
Prescott, AZ 86303
For Case Information: (928) 771-3312
Superior Court – Camp Verde
2840 North Commonwealth Drive
Camp Verde, AZ 86322
For Case Information: (928) 567-7741
County Superior Courts in Arizona hear both civil and criminal cases. Some of the kinds of criminal cases the Yavapai County Superior Court has jurisdiction over include:
A criminal case heard against you in Yavapai County Superior Court will generally proceed as follows:
This is the first time you will be required to appear in court. If you are already in custody, then the initial appearance happens within 24 hours of your being taken into custody. If you are not in custody, then the court will send you a document with the date and time of the initial appearance. This is known as a “summons.”
During the initial appearance, the court will advise you of the formal charges being brought against you. It will also inform you of your right to present a legal defense and to have an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, then an attorney will be appointed for you at no cost to you. The judge will also set the conditions for your release from jail, as well as a new court date for the next hearing in your case.
In some cases, the charges against you might not come from an arrest at the scene, like with a DUI charge, but will come from a grand jury investigation. A grand jury is comprised of 16 jurors. It decides whether the county has probable cause to file criminal charges based on evidence the county prosecutor presents to it. If the grand jury decides there is probable cause, then you will receive a grand jury indictment.
The court will also decide whether you are to be held in custody pending the upcoming trial, or how much money the bail amount or bond will be to allow you to remain out of custody. Once the court sets your bond amount at the initial appearance, your release is conditional based on observing the terms of bond.
A status conference is a meeting at the court. It is an opportunity for your defense lawyer and the county prosecutor to resolve the case before trial. If you and your attorney reach an agreement with the county during this conference, then the court will schedule a sentencing hearing in which the judge will consider the agreed-upon resolution of the matter. If no agreement is reached, then the court will schedule a preliminary hearing.
A preliminary hearing is also known as a probable cause hearing. During this hearing the prosecutor presents evidence to the court to prove the county has probable cause to proceed with the charges against you. The judge may either dismiss the case for insufficient evidence or order a trial.
At this point, your case may be “scratched” or temporarily dismissed. This only applies to felony charges. If a case has been scratched, it may still be filed in the future. The state has seven years to file a case for a felony charge, so it is important to know that if your case is scratched, this does not mean that it is going away for good.
If no settlement is reached by this point, then an arraignment will be your opportunity to enter a plea to the county’s charges against you. If you enter a “Not Guilty” plea, then the court will set a date for your trial. If you enter a “Guilty” plea, then the court will schedule a sentencing hearing for you.
If a criminal case against you goes to trial, then the county must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. To whom the county must prove the charges depends on whether your case is decided by a jury, or by the judge.
Jury trials: Superior Court juries have eight or twelve jurors, depending on the charges. A jury verdict must be unanimous, or the court can declare a mistrial to have occurred and set the case for retrial.
Bench trials: In some situations, you can agree to waive your right to a jury in your case. If you, your lawyer, and the prosecutor agree to a bench trial, then no jury will participate, and the judge will determine the verdict.
After the prosecutor has presented the county’s case against you and your defense attorney has presented your defense against the charges, then the jury or the judge if it is a bench trial will consider the question of your innocence or guilt. If you receive a not guilty verdict, then the charges are dismissed, and you cannot be retried on the same charge.
If you receive a guilty verdict, then you will face a range of possible sentences. The judge will set a sentencing date, where your defense attorney and the prosecution may present evidence to help the judge determine an appropriate sentence.
Court cases in Yavapai County are driven by deadlines. If you are facing DUI or criminal charges in Yavapai County, it is important to act immediately to avoid losing your legal rights. If you or a loved one has been arrested and faces prosecution in Yavapai County Superior Court, call the DUI and Criminal Law Specialists at Rosenstein Law Group now. We are available 24/7, call us at (480) 248-7666.
Don’t wait until an important court deadline has passed. Call the Rosenstein Law Group today.