Criminal Traffic Violations



If you have been charged with a criminal traffic violation, you have the following rights:

  • The right to a trial before a justice of the peace, and in some cases, before a jury.
  • The right to be represented by an attorney at all stages of the case. In some cases, if you are unable to pay for an attorney, the court may appoint an attorney for you. You will have to provide evidence that you are indigent or are unable to afford an attorney. The court may require that you contribute a reasonable amount toward attorney fees.
  • The right to confront witnesses and cross-examine them as to the truthfulness of their testimony.
  • The right to have subpoenas issued by the court at no cost to you to compel the attendance of witnesses.
  • The right to remain silent and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • The right to appeal. There is no right to appeal a guilty plea.


At an initial appearance/arraignment, you will be informed of the charge(s) against you and their possible maximum and minimum penalties. At this time, you will enter a plea to the charge(s). You have the following plea options:

Not Guilty

A plea of Not Guilty means that you are denying the charge(s) against you and the State will have to prove the charge(s). At this time, you may request court-appointed counsel. A Pre-Trial Conference will be set at a later date, and you will be ordered to appear.


A plea of Guilty means that you are admitting that you did what you are charged with. It will result in a conviction for the charge(s). You may be sentenced at this time, or a Judgment and Sentencing will be set later.

No Contest

A plea of No Contest means that you are not admitting or denying guilt, but do not intend to contest the charge(s). In this case, the Judge will find you guilty of the charge(s). It will result in a conviction for the charge(s).

Pre-Trial Conference

It is mandatory that you attend the Pre-Trial Conference. You should appear with your attorney, if you have one. If you do not attend the Pre-Trial Conference, you will be in violation of a court order and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

The purpose of a Pre-Trial Conference is for you to meet with a Prosecutor to discuss your case. You will get a copy of the police report. The Prosecutor will advise you of the sentence he/she intends to recommend in the event you are convicted. You will have the following choices:

  • You can accept the plea agreement with the prosecutor and change your plea to Guilty or No Contest. You will receive a court date for a Change of Plea. At that time, you will be sentenced to the terms that you have agreed to in the plea agreement unless the Judge does not accept it. If this happens, you have a right to withdraw your change of plea.
  • If you reject the plea agreement, a Court Trial will be set for your case.
Court Trial

You will appear at the Court Trial with your attorney if you have one representing you. The Prosecutor will present the State’s case. You or your attorney will have the right to cross-examine each witness for the State. You may testify on your own behalf. If you do testify, you will be subject to cross-examination by the Prosecutor.

If you are found Not Guilty, any bond that you have posted will be refunded. If you are found Guilty, you may be sentenced at that time or set for sentencing at a later date. If found Guilty, you have the right to appeal the conviction and/or sentence by filing a notice of appeal within fourteen (14) days from the sentencing date. The appeal is a review of the case. You would not automatically receive a new trial.

The following violations require an appearance before the Judge:

ARS 28-693A
Reckless Driving
ARS 28-695
Aggressive Driving

ARS 28-661A1

Leaving the Scene of an Accident/ Personal Injury

ARS 28-661A2

Failure to Stop at the Scene of an Accident/Personal Injury

ARS 28-708A

Racing on Highway

ARS 28-1381A1

Driving While Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor or Drug

ARS 28-1381A2

Driving While Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor with A Blood Alcohol Content of .08 or More

ARS 28-1381A3

Driving While Under the Influence of Drugs or Metabolite

ARS 28-1381A4

Driving While Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor in a Commercial Vehicle with A Blood Alcohol Content of .04 or More

ARS 28-1382A

Driving While Under the Extreme Influence of Intoxicating Liquor

ARS 28-3473A

Driving While Driver’s License Suspended/Revoked/Cancelled
Appeal Process

After the conclusion of a criminal trial, the State or the defendant may appeal the court’s ruling. The appeal procedure is set forth in Superior Court Rules of Appellate Procedure and in the Arizona Revised Statutes.
To start an appeal, a Notice of Appeal must be filed with the trial court within fourteen (14) calendar days from the date of the final order. If a Notice of Appeal is not filed within 14 calendar days, the final order can no longer be appealed.
There are two stages to the appeal process. The first stage begins in the Justice/Municipal Court; the second stage takes place in the Superior Court. All steps must be completed at both stages to avoid possible dismissal of the appeal.
The person who files the appeal is the Appellant. The opposing party is the Appellee. The Justice/Municipal Court is the trial court.