Criminal Defense: Flagstaff Municipal Court

This article is part of our “Criminal Defense in Northern Arizona Courts” series.

Because we travel to nearly every court across Northern Arizona, we know the different jurisdictions, courts, judges, and prosecutors. Here in Flagstaff, our local city-operated court is the Flagstaff Municipal Court. We handle all types of cases, ranging from DUI to shoplifting, to trespass, to minor in consumption (MIC) underage drinking, and to every other criminal case in Flagstaff Municipal Court – even dog bite cases.

What is a municipal court in Arizona?

The term “municipal court” includes “city or town magistrates’ courts and all other courts established by law in incorporated cities and towns.” See Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 22-401. Flagstaff Municipal Court has what is called “concurrent jurisdiction” with the Flagstaff Justice Court over all criminal cases that arise out of events occurring within the limits of the City of Flagstaff. The Flagstaff Justice Court is a county court, under the authority of Coconino County.

What is concurrent jurisdiction?

Concurrent jurisdiction, put simply, means that both the Flagstaff Municipal Court and the Flagstaff Justice Court have jurisdiction over the criminal case. That means you can be prosecuted in either court system – county or municipal. However, generally speaking, all misdemeanor crimes that are charged inside of the city limits of Flagstaff will be filed and prosecuted in the Flagstaff Municipal Court. And, again generally speaking, all felony cases occurring in Flagstaff city limits will be filed in the Flagstaff Justice Court or the Coconino County Superior Court.

Does the Flagstaff Municipal Court collect fines on criminal cases?

Another purpose of the Flagstaff Municipal Court is to make money for the City of Flagstaff. All money collected as a “fine” gets paid to the Flagstaff city treasurer! See Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 22-404. If you are convicted of a crime, there will be a fine. Rarely does the Court waive a fine. According to Arizona law, a municipal court may enforce the collection of monies owed to the municipal court for “delinquent fines, fees, sanctions, penalties and restitution” through execution or another appropriate process. See Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 22-405.

What rules apply to the Flagstaff Municipal Court?

All municipal courts must operate under the same rules of procedure as the Superior Courts (e.g., the Coconino County Superior Court), which is the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure. See Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 22-423.

If I get arrested in Flagstaff, Arizona, will I get a bond?

The Flagstaff Municipal Court has the power and authority to order a bond, or hold a person in custody. This is a very important power. The Flagstaff Municipal Court can determine whether someone should have a high, low, or no bond. The Court can release a person on his or her own recognizance. Or, the Court can issue a high bond, making it harder for the person’s family to bond them out. For the purpose of bond, the Court is required to put together a bond schedule. See Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 22-424.

Can there be a jury trial in Flagstaff Municipal Court?

Yes. Most misdemeanor cases do not allow for a jury trial. “In the trial of offenses for violation of ordinances of cities or towns of such a nature as by the common law were not triable before a jury, no jury trial shall be granted.” See Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 22-425. The one unusual misdemeanor is Driving Under the Influence (DUI, Extreme DUI, etc.). A person charged with DUI has a right to demand a jury trial, even in Flagstaff Municipal Court. Therefore, DUI cases do allow for a jury trial in a municipal court. Flagstaff Municipal Court cases are prosecuted by the Flagstaff City Attorney.

At the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC, we defend all criminal charges in Flagstaff Municipal Court. We appear before the local judges and magistrates every week. We fight cases through trial, when appropriate, and in many cases we can obtain a fair resolution through negotiation. We know the system; we know the players. Call us for a free consultation on any criminal or personal injury case in Flagstaff, Arizona. Our phone number and free consultation form are at the top of the screen.