Tucson Surpasses Phoenix in DUI and other cases pending

Tucson, Ariz. Phoenix, the fifth largest city in the United States has less criminal misdemeanor cases pending, including DUI’s and domestic violence, than Tucson, a city much much smaller. What’s more, the Phoenix Municipal Court enjoys nearly twice judges and staff than the Tucson Municipal Court, but according to public statistics, has one third less filings. In 2013, for example, Phoenix had 34, 890 cases, while Tucson had 52, 030.

Tucson City Court

  • 2009: 67,586
  • 2010: 70,461
  • 2011: 64,593
  • 2012: 56,099
  • 2013: 52,030

Phoenix City Court

(only the city of Phoenix, does not include the surrounding cities)

  • 2009: 47,056
  • 2010: 44,634
  • 2011: 35,303
  • 2012: 34,210
  • 2013: 34,890

Tucson Municipal court judges, a hardworking group, are increasingly pressed not just by the mounting case load, but by significant budget constraints and unfilled positions on the Tucson City Court bench.

For those of us who practice law here in Tucson, the reasons for the significant trend are in some ways apparent. First, police DUI enforcement on the Fourth Avenue corridor, in the wider University area, and in the Tanque Verde corridor, has been intense. Furthermore, in March 2013 the Tucson Police Department Chief Villasenor made a little known public announcement that he was instituting a department-wide expectation that every uniformed officer make at least one traffic stop, write one ticket, or have at least one “contact” with the public per shift. Local media termed this a “quota”. Undoubtedly, these traffic stops lead to many criminal investigations including DUI, and significantly boost criminal filings. With a new school year starting, we believe we will see a continuation of these two enforcement trends in Tucson.

Michael has particular experience representing University students in DUI matters. In Arizona, in addition to DUI charges, any person under the age of 21 who is caught driving with any amount of alcohol in his or her body is going to be charged with a separate offense.

View our DUI page to learn more about Arizona DUI laws.

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Michael Harwin

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. Amazon Books