Are Courts in Arizona Closed Due to Coronavirus?

We hope you are all well. We’ve had a lot of questions lately about court appearances in Tucson on criminal matters in light of the National and State Emergencies. For the most part, other initial appearances after custodial arrest, and certain in-custody matters and orders of protection, most criminal matters in Tucson are temporarily continued, at least for the next few weeks, as we explain below. A couple things to keep in mind:

First, if you or your loved one has an attorney, assigned or retained, of course contact the attorney for any and all details. The situation is changing rapidly, but depending on which court has jurisdiction over your case and the stage of your case, the court may or may not take action on your case right now.

Second, the Arizona Supreme Court issued a directive for all Arizona courts permitting attorneys to appear telephonically, waiving the requirements of the client’s presence except in sentencing and changes of pleas and limiting the number of people present in the courtroom at any one time. At all levels, courts are directed to the greatest extent, to avoid in-person proceedings, but the courts are given some flexibility to enact this Administrative Order in the manner that best suits the court’s needs.

As such, in light of the directive, here is a summary of how courts in Pima County are currently operating, at least for the time being:

Pima County Justice Court

  • All hearings continued for 30 days except:
    • In-custody initial appearances (will occur at the jail)
    • In-custody domestic violence arraignments (via video)
    • In-custody pre-trial conferences (via video)
    • Preliminary hearings
    • Orders of Protection
  • No in-person fine payments, must pay online, by telephone or mail
  • There is a drop box where you can file new cases and attach a check for filing fee.
  • For all continued hearings, parties will be notified of new court date
  • Warrant resolution night court is cancelled

Tucson City Court

Like Justice Court, most out of custody matters continued. In custody transports and orders of protection are still available. The City employees are/should be there if you have particular questions.

  • Warrant resolution night court (which takes place at the Justice Court) is cancelled

Pima County Superior Court-Criminal Matters

All matters are continued until after April 17 except:

  • In-custody initial appearances, arraignments, preliminary hearings and conditions of release proceedings;
  • Domestic violence protective proceedings;
  • Child protection temporary custody proceedings;
  • Civil commitment hearings and reviews;
  • Emergency protection of elderly or vulnerable persons proceedings;
  • Habeas corpus proceedings;
  • COVID-19 public health emergency proceedings;
  • Juvenile detention hearings; and
  • Any other proceeding that is necessary to determine whether to grant emergency relief

Court will communicate with the parties to reschedule other cases.

US District Court-Tucson

  • Initial appearances, preliminary, and detention hearings proceeding as scheduled
  • All other proceedings are continued until at least April 1, subject to further continuance
  • All criminal and civil trials scheduled to begin on or before May 4th are continued until further notice
  • New filings may be made via mail or drop box

Stay safe and of course stay home unless absolutely necessary. We wish all of you the best. –MH

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About Michael Harwin

Michael’s skill and experience have been recognized repeatedly. He holds an A-V 5/5 preeminent rating by Martindale Hubbell. He has been named one of the top lawyers in Arizona by Southwest Superlawyers, and one of the best lawyers in Tucson by Tucson Lifestyle Magazine. He also has been named one of the best lawyers in the United States by BestofUS.com , and given the highest rating possible by AVVO, 10/10 Superb.
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