Questions or concerns about a case in Tucson City Court in which you are a victim?
Call Victim Notification and Assistance at 791-5483.
Please have the docket number and defendant's name ready when you call.
Procedures in Tucson City Court, Your legal options, and Important Phone Numbers
Each court system handles cases differently. Because your case occurred within the city limits of Tucson, the following describes the general processes within Tucson City Court.
Held at Tucson City Court
103 East Alameda
Tucson City Court also provides valuable information at http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/courts
Docket or Complaint Number
The numbers assigned to the defendant’s case and used throughout the system. Be prepared to cite one of these numbers if you call to ask questions about the case.
The Prosecutors’ Role
City Prosecutors represent the interests of the State in the charges against the defendant. You have the right to discuss this case and a possible plea agreement with a prosecutor.
Formulating a plea agreements:
The prosecutor will take your input and concerns into consideration, along with the circumstances of the case, the law, and the policies of the Prosecutor’s Office.
To discuss your case with a prosecutor
- You may appear at the defendant’s next scheduled court date and introduce yourself to the prosecutor in the courtroom as the victim in the cited case
- You may speak with a prosecutor by calling 520-791-4104 at least three working days prior to the defendant’s next scheduled court appearance
Be prepared to repeat the docket number when you call.
It is your responsibility to make contact with the Prosecutor and/or Victim Notification and Assistance to communicate your questions and concerns 520-791-5483.
Jail or Video Arraignment
If the defendant was arrested and taken to jail, their arraignment must occur within 24 hours of arrest.
City Court has a television link with the Pima County jail and the arraignment is completed while the defendant is in jail.
Two matters are determined during this arraignment:
- Conditions of the defendant’s release from jail and/or the amount of bail
- Whether or not the prosecution will request a mandatory jail sentence.
Has the defendent posted bond and been released or remain in jail?
- Call 520-547-8111 or 520-547-8211
- Check the jail web site at http://www.pimasheriff.org/
Want to be heard regarding possible conditions of the defendant’s release regarding any plea offer extended to the defendant?
- At the defendent's arraignment, identify yourself as the victim to the Prosecutor (seated on the right side of the courtroom) as soon as possible.
- State that you would like to speak at the arraignment
You can also address the judge with your situation and concerns.
Want to be notified prior to the defendant’s release from custody?
Go in person to the Pima County jail and sign a form
What if the defendant contacts you after the arraignment when the judge has ordered “no contact”?
Call Victim Assistance (8 a.m.-5 p.m.)
Call the Police
Non-emergency: 520-791-4444 (8 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
After 10 p.m.: 9-1-1 for emergency and non-emergency incidents
If the defendant was not arrested and taken to jail, s/he is assigned to appear before a City Court judge at the time and date written on the complaint issued by a Tucson police officer.
The defendant appears before the judge and is informed of the charges and his/her rights. TThe judge requests the defendant’s plea to those charges. If it is the defendant’s first offense, the prosecutor may offer the defendant a reduced sentence for pleading guilty to the charge(s).
A defendant can plead:
When the defendant enters a plea of guilty in a case with a victim, a change of plea/restitution hearing is set for a future date, so that the victim can be notified to attend
- NOT GUILTY.
This results in a pretrial date set 3 to 6 weeks in the future; or,
- NO CONTEST.
This indicates that the defendant is not contesting the charge, but is not necessarily admitting that s/he committed the offense.
You are not required to be present at the arraignment but you are encouraged to attend. You have a right to be present and to talk to the judge about any plea offer extended to the defendant or about the sentencing imposed by the court.
If you are unable to attend, you may contact Victim Notification and Assistance at the Tucson City Prosecutor’s Office before the arraignment, and ask that your preference be noted in the defendant’s file. (791-5483).
This hearing is usually held 3 to 6 weeks after the arraignment to determine whether the case will proceed to trial. The defendant will either accept a Change of Plea and proceed with sentencing at this time, or state his/her intention to proceed to trial.
If the case proceeds to trial, a pretrial statement is prepared listing the prosecution and defense witnesses and any exhibits that will be used at the trial. If the defendant declines the State’s plea offer, a future trial date will be set. Most criminal misdemeanors in Tucson City Court that proceed past pretrial result in a bench trial--a trial held before a judge.
If you are entitled to RESTITUTION and wish to make a claim, appear on this date with copies of your restitution information. As an alternative you may mail your restitution information to the City Prosecutor’s Office. The decision to grant your restitution request is up to the court. If you mail your restitution information it must be received by the Prosecutor’s Office at least three working days prior to the scheduled pretrial.
Change of Plea
The defendant pleads guilty and gives up the right to a trial, usually with the prosecutor agreeing to charge the defendant with a lesser charge or a reduced sentence. If you are requesting restitution, you must appear at this hearing.
You and other witnesses will be subpoenaed to testify before a judge who decides if there is enough evidence to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant may be present. A victim advocate may accompany you to court if you make arrangements before the court date.
If the defendant is found guilty and the victim has timely forwarded restitution information to the Prosecutor’s Office, the judge will set a hearing to determine the amount of restitution the defendant should pay. Your presence is required at this hearing. This hearing may be combined with a Pretrial, Change of Plea, or Sentencing hearing.
If the court orders the defendent to make restitution to you, you have the right to file a restitution lien pursuant to A.R.S. 13-806
At the sentencing hearing, you have the right to tell the judge what you think the defendant’s sentence ought to be. To do this, contact the Prosecutor’s Office and have the defendant’s file pulled so you can talk with the “office prosecutor” at 791-4104, or a victim assistant at 791-5483.
Making an Impact Statement
You are informed that at any upcoming hearing, pretrial, review, trial or sentencing, the defendant may accept a plea which results in a conviction. The defendant could also plead guilty to the Judge at the pretrial hearing which also results in a conviction.
If there is a trial and the Court finds the defendant guilty, that will also result in a conviction. You have the right to be notified, be present and to be heard at any presentencing or sentencing proceeding that results in a conviction. You also have the right to make an impact statement prior to the imposition of the sentence.
An impact statement may contain an explanation of:
1) the nature and extent of any physical, psychological, or emotional harm or trauma you suffered;
2) the extent of any economic loss or property damage you suffered;
3) your opinion on the need for restitution if any;
4) if you’ve applied for or received any compensation for loss or damage.
If the matter is set for a pretrial, you do not have to be personally present but you have the right to be present. If you cannot appear, you may furnish the impact statement to City Prosecutor's Office 7 calendar days prior to the next pretrial or sentencing hearing. However, if Defendant has requested a trial and you are subpoenaed, you must be personally present.
If you have a written impact statement and there is a trial set, please furnish it to the Victim Assistance Unit prior to the trial or bring it with you to Court. If the case in which you are the listed victim is dismissed as part of a change of plea proceeding, you still are able to exercise the enumerated rights.
Additionally if the Court orders restitution made to you, you have the right to file a restitution lien pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-806.
There may be delays at every stage (and often are). These delays are called continuances. Ask the office prosecutor or victim assistant what you should expect. 520-791-4104 / 520-791-5483)