If you have been arrested and have a court date in Mesa Municipal Court, this page can help you navigate the process. We understand the stress that you may feel. Many people experience a feeling of dread as their court date gets nearer.
Our team includes attorneys who are former prosecutors who have decades of combined experience handling criminal city court charges. We also have a former Mesa City Police Sergeant who serves as an investigator for our firm. Together, we have created this page to help you gain some control of your legal situation.
If you are charged with a crime in Mesa Municipal Court, you are charged with a misdemeanor and not a felony. While misdemeanors can be serious, you are not facing prison time or a loss of your right to vote. Misdemeanor offenses are handled differently. Generally speaking, the process is more informal and people are given more time to prepare.
Because of this, you have time. The first court date is not trial. In Mesa City Court it is an opportunity to enter of plea. As a result, the court date is fast and won’t affect you very much. The initial appearance usually lasts only a few minutes. But keep in mind that if the court is busy that you may be waiting quite some time for your case to be called.
Be on time for your first court date. Wear conservative clothing that is free from logos or messages. Do not wear a hat. Make sure that your cellphone is off. Try to arrange for childcare. Most importantly, be very careful not to act in a disruptive manner. Do not talk or chew gum in court. If you violate the rules of court, you could be asked to leave. This could harm your criminal case.
You need to be careful if you are going to court AND you have a warrant for your arrest. If you think that you may have an open and unresolved case in Mesa City Court, call well in advance of your court date. The court will tell you if there is a warrant for your arrest. If there is a warrant, ask if there is a BOND amount. Usually when the court issues a warrant they will also set a bond amount. For example, sometimes courts issue warrants for old traffic charges. The court may have set a bond of a few hundred dollars. If you are going to court for another matter and you appear in front of the judge, the judge will know if you have a warrant. If you have a warrant, you can be taken into custody.
Do what you can to pay bonds before you go to court. If you can’t pay the bond, bring what you can to court. When a judge in Mesa wants to take you into custody, you can explain why you did not go to your court date in the past. You can tell the court that you do have some money to pay a bond and that you will show up for future court dates. The judge may quash the old warrant and set the matter with your new case. In the alternative, the judge could lower the bond or take you into custody.
Address the court in a respectful matter. For example, make sure to say, “Your Honor.” The more respectful you can be the better. At your first court appearance, the judge will not hear arguments or evidence. Do not try to have the court dismiss your case or otherwise try to explain your actions. Understand that the first court date just gets the ball rolling, and there will be time later to make a case. In conclusion, make sure that the court senses that you are taking the case seriously.
Should you plead “Not Guilty?” At the first court date it is usually a good idea to enter a plea of not guilty. There are some exceptions to this, such as times when the prosecutor offers a diversion deal. However, for DUI and other serious misdemeanor offenses, you can usually enter plea of not guilty and setting your case to a pretrial conference.
Criminal cases in Mesa Municipal Court can take many months to resolve. Some cases are extended over and over. For example,the reasons for these delays can be due to scheduling, evidence collection or witness issues. That is why you do not necessarily need to hire a criminal defense attorney immediately after your arrest. You have some time to reflect and consider your options.
A public defender may be assigned to your case if the Mesa City prosecutors are seeking jail time for you. The court will want to know your financial status. If the court determines that you are unable to afford a private attorney AND the prosecution is trying to send you to jail, they will give you a public defender.
You can represent yourself in Mesa Municipal Court. However, the judges will expect that you know the local rules of court and the general procedures of the process. It is always a good idea to sit down with a criminal defense attorney to learn how the system in Mesa works. You will have some time to hire a private attorney. However, after several pretrial conferences, Mesa Municipal Court judges will set your matter to trial.
Once your case is set to trial, you may not be able to negotiate a plea with the prosecutor. Also, once your case is set to trial, you may not be able to ask for more time. Expect that a case in Mesa City Court will get set to trial after three pretrial conferences. This means that you probably will have at least a couple of months to decide whether or not you want to hire a private attorney.
At the pretrial conference, you can negotiate with the prosecutor. Be careful, however, because everything that you tell the prosecutor can be used against you. Prosecutors in Mesa work to convict people. That’s why you should be very careful when you speak with them. You do not need to talk with a prosecutor about your case. However, if you don’t negotiate with them, they will probably not change their plea offer or consider dismissing your case.
As you know, Criminal defense attorneys protect you. They speak for you. Defense attorneys and prosecutors negotiate throughout a criminal case. In some cases it can take months of discussions for a prosecutor to dismiss a case or offer a very reduced plea agreement. However, during those negotiations, your attorneys words cannot be used against you.
In summary, if you have a criminal case in Mesa Municipal Court, be prepared. Call the court well in advance. Find out if you have any other warrants. Show up on time. Dress appropriately and speak respectfully. Try to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney before you go to court.
Our firm has experienced former prosecutors and a police officer on staff. We are very familiar with the court system in Mesa. We would be happy to help explain how your case could affect you. The consultation is free. Our number is 602-989-5000.
Criminal Defense Attorney
Here at Alcock and Associates our team and staff are dedicated to helping and representing YOU. The first step is to understand your case. We will take the time to get to know you and your legal situation so that we are best able to answer all of your questions. After your initial consultation with our attorneys, you will know what you are facing and what can happen to your case.
EVERY CONSULTATION IS COMPLETELY FREE AND COMPLETELY CONFIDENTIAL.
Alcock & Associates P.C.
2 North Central Avenue, 26th Floor
Phoenix AZ 85004