7 Facts To Prepare You For A Misdemeanor Case At City Or Justice Court in Arizona
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor in Arizona, please watch this video to learn what you need to know to prepare yourself for your appearance in City or Justice Court.
Hello, I am Zach, the owner of Future First Criminal Law. If you have never been to court before, or even if you have, please listen to this video because I am going to review seven important things you should know prior to attending your misdemeanor court appearance in Maricopa County.
- What will happen when you go to court.
- Where the court is located.
- How you get there.
- What you should wear.
- When and Where should go inside the court building.
- How you should behave while in the courthouse.
- What and who you should bring.
A misdemeanor case most commonly takes place in a city court. City Courts or Justice Courts, located in Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, etc. If you must appear in court for a misdemeanor, this is important for you to know.
When you go to court. First, you will be represented by us, the law firm. Most likely Ed is going to be the lawyer appearing there with you. We will be sending you text messages advising you of your upcoming court appearances. It is your responsibility to read these text messages, they are especially important. Mark these dates in your calendar. Usually in the beginning of any misdemeanor case, we as the lawyers are allowed to attend court, contact the court and the prosecutors without you being present. We will manage your case until the end. You will have to attend your final court dates unless your case is dismissed.
When we get towards the end and you must appear, we normally prepare a Loom video specifically for you. Especially if we have a plea deal, we will explain accepting the plea or what trial might look like. We will break down details regarding the police evidence and explain what potential resolutions are available for you. We want you to watch this video about a week prior to the actual court appearance so you are prepared for what will take place.
What you should wear. The way you dress is important. The judges in misdemeanor courts understand most are working class people and productive members of society. You do not have to wear fancy clothes, but you must dress nicely. We want to give a good impression to the judge and prosecutor; we want them to see you are taking this seriously. Think business casual, church, or wedding when you choose your outfit. Do not wear cut-up jeans and a dirty t-shirt. For men, wear a collared shirt and the nicest pants you have. Comb your hair. Clean your shoes. If you need to wear a (clean) work uniform, that is completely acceptable as well.
For ladies, think business casual, church, or wedding as well. The general rule of thumb for court at all levels is to keep shoulders, cleavage and legs covered. Also wear comfortable, closed toe shoes, no high heels. A long dress or skirt is appropriate. Be comfortable, but not so comfortable that you are wearing athletic gear. We all love Lulu, but Lulu does not belong in the courtroom. Bring a sweater in the event it gets cold. I do not make these rules, just what it is these days.
Where the court is located. Days before your court date, please Google the address at the same time you will be traveling to court. Check the traffic and know how long it will take you to get there. Every one of our city and justice courts has free parking.
How to get there.
Google your court location in advance on Google Maps https://www.google.com/maps
Enter the address of your courthouse and be familiar with the route. Go to their website and find where to park. For example, Mesa City Court has parking information on their home page. https://www.mesaaz.gov/government/court
Parking. Most courts have metered parking outside the court building; you can use quarters, or credit card. However, keep in mind you have no control over how long you will be in court. You cannot leave to feed more money in the meter. If you are unfamiliar with the area, we recommend you visit the court and the surrounding areas before your actual court date. It is a bad excuse to show up late because you could not find parking, because you were lost, or you went to the wrong court. We will text you the address ahead of time. Have a plan, it is your responsibility to get to the correct court at the correct time.
When to arrive at court. Most start times will be 8:30am or 1:30pm. This is the default time judges schedule for everyone. That is the time you are required to be there; however, lawyers are not. Sometimes we must talk to the prosecutors in their office at 8:30am. Lawyers are allowed to be late because we contact the judge in advance to inform them of our arrival time. This is customary practice for lawyers. You must be there and check-in at 8:30am or 1:30pm. Keep in mind after you park, you must get through security before you arrive at your designated court room. There is no good excuse for you being late.
When you get through security, there is a general waiting area in the court building. We will tell you in advance which courtroom to attend; you can wait in the courtroom – quietly. However, we prefer you to wait just outside of the courtroom. That way it is easy for us to see you when we get there. But if you are in the courtroom, just know it can look awkward if we must come in and pull you out. And please do not wait outside the building. If we have not met prior, we usually know what you look like, and you can see what we look like on our website.
Also, when we are waiting in the courtroom it is okay to be using your cell phone. Play games, text, Facebook, Instagram, etc. However, the moment the judge comes out, you must put it on silent and put your phone away. Do not use your phone when the judge is present. When the judge enters the courtroom, you must stand until he/she tells everyone to be seated.
What to bring. Do not bring any guns, knives, pepper spray, etc. You will have to throw it away or take it back to your car. It is not a good look. Do not allow this to be the reason you are late. Please bring all your court paperwork, anything pertaining to your case. If you have fingerprints done, screening, counseling, AA slips, letters of support, etc. Bring everything, even if you already provided us with copies. It is always best to have an extra copy. We will be able to go over any last-minute things we need to discuss with you.
Who you should bring to court. Family is allowed in the courtroom, however, as our client, we are there to help you in the most efficient way possible to get you the best result possible. Typically, this does not mean accommodating members of your family. If you need to have someone with you, bring a supportive family member or friend. Bringing multiple people tends to be a distraction.
Also, important – do NOT bring anyone under the age of eighteen. Children are not allowed in the courtroom and you cannot leave them in the hallway while in the courtroom for an hour or more. You must get childcare, and plan for the entire day just in case. Courtrooms are sometimes very crowded and can take hours before your case is called. Sometimes we are in and out in 20 minutes. Other times it is going to take 2-4 hours. Occasionally, the judge will cancel and reschedule court appearances without telling anyone in advance. It is especially important for you to have your phone and check for our text messages.
This covered some of the basics that will hopefully make it easy for you to plan. We want this to go as smoothly and easily as possible. Please let us know ahead of time if you have any questions or if you need any special accommodation, such as interpreters or wheelchair access, etc. Thank you.
“We Help Keep Good People Out Of Jail!”
Watch “7 Important Facts To Prepare You For A Misdemeanor Case At Maricopa County City Or Justice Court In Arizona” on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBFFuyx0Z64