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Arizona Criminal Court – Changes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, our firm is working hard to stay apprised to all of the changes being made that effecting legal matters in Arizona. Although the world seems to have come to a screeching halt, life continues to go on and people will still need legal help. A number of changes have been made to criminal court proceedings and which will continue during the coming months.

Below we’ve compiled the most recent updates from the Maricopa County Superior Court Criminal Division regarding changes made due to COVID-19:

  • All Grand Jury proceedings, Jury Summons, Master Calendar to schedule jury trials, walk-in calendars (such as Pleas on Demand), Settlement Conferences, and Settlement Conference on Demand are all currently suspended indefinitely.
  • Based on all jury summons and therefore all jury trials being suspended, all Final Trial Management Conferences are currently being vacated and continued.
  • All Initial and Comprehensive Pretrial Conferences are being held on a non-appearance basis, with defense counsel and prosecutors communicating to the Court by written stipulation.
  • Drug Court, DUI Court, Civil Forfeiture Court, and other specialty courts are all currently closed and operations suspended.
  • Hearings that are continuing to be and are currently being held include Sentencings whose pleas were prior to March 11, 2020, Rule 11 Mental Health proceedings, and for in-custody defendants only: Initial Appearances, Arraignments, Preliminary Hearings, and Modification of Release Conditions. All in-custody Initial Appearances and Arraignments are being held via video conference with the jail. All initial appearances and arraignments for out of custody defendants are being continued to future dates.
  • Time under Arizona Criminal Procedure Rule 8 for speedy trials and deadlines for all other procedural rules is excluded through June 1, 2020.
  • All criminal court operations, other than the filing counter which is still operating in the downtown Central Court Building, have been consolidated in the downtown South Court Tower.
  • Payments for fines, fees and restitution are still be accepted and processed in-person at the Clerk’s filing counter in the downtown Central Court Building.

In summary, courts are working hard to swiftly and safely pivot their operations to ensure the safety of court staff and the public, while maintaining operations that serve and protect the families in our community.

To find out how COVID-19 could be affecting your criminal or DUI matter, contact the attorneys at OWENS & PERKINS by clicking here or by calling our office at 480.630.2464 to schedule your FREE 30-minute consultation. We remain fully operational while practicing appropriate social distancing and cleaning regimes.

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