Standard Court Process

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Standard Court Process

Adults accused of committing crimes in Arizona go through specific criminal court procedures. These procedures are meant to build evidence for the case against the individual accused, to conclude the guilt of the individual, and, if found guilty, to sentence them according to the crime committed. The court process overall looks slightly different based on specific offenses. Coolidge Law has years of experience in the courtroom and with court proceedings in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Gilbert.

Investigation Stage

An initial investigation takes place in order to verify if a crime is being committed. An investigation is when a police officer is dispatched to the scene. The officer assess the situation and interview all witnesses. Evidence of fingerprints, pictures, or other additional pieces of evidence may be recorded at the time if needed. If there is probable cause of a crime committed by a suspect, the individual may be arrested immediately. If the suspects are not arrested, the police officers submit the report to detectives who may follow up by investigating further evidence. It may then lead to an arrest or many require more evidence be brought to a prosecutor for review.

Charging Procedure

Depending on whether or not the prosecutor feels if there is sufficient evidence to charge an individual with a crime, a direct complaint will be filed. This document lays out the charges against the defendant for a judge to review and to set a preliminary hearing. A grand jury indictment may also be filed at this time, which allows the defendant to be heard in trial. Nine citizens are then selected at random with the authority to determine the defendant’s guilt or innocence.


If sentencing cannot be determined for the accused after a preliminary hearing with a judge, or through plea agreements and negotiations, a trial may be the determining factor in sentencing. After all the trial proceedings where evidence is presented and defended, the judge will set a date for sentencing if the accused is found to be guilty. In felony cases, the sentencing is set 30 days out from a change in plea or guilty verdict. There are a lot of sentencing possibilities from restitution, probation, prison, and fines. The particulars in sentencing will be determined based upon the crime committed and the circumstances surrounding the crime.

When it comes to court proceedings, it is best to have a capable legal team on your side with extensive knowledge of the process and court system. Coolidge Law can help you through any court proceedings that you may have coming up. Contact us today.


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (8/28/2017) slashvee (Flickr)