Pinal County Diversion Program reports a 13% Increase in Participation in 2019

Last year, the Pinal County Diversion program served 529 people in 2019, giving those participants a chance to work through the program as a means to avoiding a costly trial and jail time. Under this program, a defendant enters a formal agreement that includes his/her admission to the crime and the defendant’s promise to abide by all the program requirements.

Diversion typically begins before formal legal proceedings commence. Diversion benefits the State and victims by resolving cases in a promp; and efficient manner, saving both time and public funds. Additionally, defendants are more likely to successfully complete diversion programs and have lower recidivism rates than those sentenced to probation or prison.

In the program, defendants are also encouraged to give back to their communities by participating in various service projects like school supply drives for elementary and highschool kids or hygiene kit donation drives benefiting local women’s shelters.

 

To learn more about the Pinal County Diversion Program go to https://pinalcountyattorney.org/criminal-justice/diversion/

Adult Criminal Justice System

Please note that if your case is in Early Disposition Court (EDC), due to the expedited process all of the rights listed below may apply at any hearing.


Grand Jury

A grand jury hearing is a closed hearing comprised of up to 16 randomly selected citizens of Pinal County that have been empaneled to serve as the jury.  The case is presented to the Grand Jury by the Deputy County Attorney.  It is the Deputy County Attorney who generally determines which witnesses will provide testimony at the Grand Jury, although the members of the Grand Jury could subpoena witnesses if requested.  After all testimony has been presented, everyone but the Grand Jury itself is excluded from the room.  The Grand Jury then votes and makes their determination as to probable cause. If there is sufficient evidence to proceed, a “True Bill”(indictment) is issued from the Grand Jury. The case is then forwarded to Superior Court for further proceedings.

Preliminary Hearings

A preliminary hearing is a hearing where a Judge determines if there is sufficient evidence to charge a person with a felony crime. The judge shall hear only evidence that is presented during the hearing by the Deputy County Attorney, who represents the State of Arizona. The defendant has the right to be present at the hearing and to cross-examine the witnesses testifying against him/her. At the close of the State’s presentation, including the defendant’s cross-examination of the witnesses, the judge will decide if the State has presented sufficient evidence that probable cause exists and to charge the defendant with the crime. The defendant may present evidence in order to rebut the State’s evidence. If the judge still believes there is probable cause he/she will “bound over” (indict) the defendant and start the criminal case.  The victim has the right to attend the preliminary hearing.

Sometimes charges against the defendant are dismissed because the judge believes that there is insufficient evidence OR probable cause to justify holding the suspect for trial.

Initial Appearance

If the suspect is taken into custody, the first hearing will be an initial appearance, held at the jail. The judge will inform the suspect of the charges against them, set release conditions, a date for a preliminary hearing, and appoint an attorney for the suspect if they cannot afford to hire one. The victim has a right to receive notification regarding the initial appearance hearing and to be present and heard. During this hearing the victim can provide input with regards to release conditions ARS 13-4406 (notification), 13-4420 (right to be present) & 13-4421 (right to be heard).

Arraignment

A.R.S. 13-4406

In most Superior Court cases, the first hearing where the defendant is ordered to appear is the arraignment hearing. At arraignment, the defendant is formally advised of the charge(s) against him/her and of their rights.  The court usually enters a “not guilty” plea on the defendant’s behalf. If the defendant does not have an attorney, or if they cannot afford an attorney, then the court will appoint an attorney to represent the defendant. A pre-trial conference hearing is scheduled approximately 4-6 weeks from the date of the arraignment.  If the defendant is released on their own recognizance, commonly referred to as “OR,” the court will affirm the conditions of release.

However, if the defendant is in custody at the time of the arraignment, the defense attorney may ask to discuss bond or may request a release hearing to change the conditions of release. The Deputy County Attorney will request that the court schedule the release hearing at least five working days in the future, to allow for proper victim notification. The primary objective of the bond is to ensure that the defendant will appear for future court hearings. If the defendant does not appear at the arraignment the judge may issue a warrant for their arrest. ARS 13-4405.01 & 8-386.01 (Issuance and execution of arrest warrants).

Pre-Trial Conference

A.R.S. 13-4408

There are several different things that may take place at a Pre-Trial Conference.  A defendant who has been offered a plea agreement may enter into a change of plea at the Pre-Trial Conference, or may advise the Court that the defense and prosecution have reached a plea agreement and request that the Court schedule a Change of Plea hearing to a later date and time. However, should the State and defense be unable to reach a plea negotiation, they may request the Court schedule a firm jury trial.  Additionally, a defendant may also request to have the Court modify the defendant’s release conditions. If this request is made, the victim has the right to address the Court regarding this issue. The Court may also hear and decide on other Pre-Trial matters or rule on pending motions.  Often times Pre-Trial Conferences are rescheduled due to on-going discovery and defense needing more time to prepare.

Trial

Only a small percentage of cases actually result in a trial.  At trial, the guilt of the defendant will be decided by a jury or a judge.  Prosecution, witnesses and defense witnesses will be subpoenaed (summoned) in advance to testify before a judge, or a judge and a jury. Once the jury is selected and sworn, the prosecution and the defense make opening statements to the jury to explain the case.

The Deputy County Attorney assigned to prosecute the case will begin by presenting the case against the defendant.  This is commonly referred to as the “State’s case in chief.”  It is the burden of the State to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant committed the crime(s) charged. The defense attorney will then have an opportunity to present its case in chief.

Most evidence will be in the form of testimony from witnesses. Witnesses will be called to testify under oath and may be cross-examined by the opposing side. Witnesses are excluded from the courtroom until they testify.  However, the victim, has the right to be present throughout the trial, regardless of whether they testify.

At the end of the case in chiefs, the judge will then instruct the jury on the law governing the case and their duty as jurors, attorneys for the prosecution and defense make final arguments to the judge or jury.  Finally, if need be alternates for the jury will be selected and the judge will order the jury to deliberate.

If the evidence convinces the judge or a unanimous jury that the defendant committed the crime(s) beyond a reasonable doubt, then a guilty verdict will return. The case will then be scheduled for sentencing.

If the jury or judge is not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, a verdict of “not guilty” is returned and the charges against the defendant are dismissed. If the jury is unable to reach a verdict the Judge will declare a mistrial. The State may then request the case be retried, and a new jury will be selected.

Sentencing

A.R.S. 13-4410

If the defendant is convicted at trial, or pleads guilty as a result of a plea agreement, a pre-sentence report could be ordered. The pre-sentence report is prepared by a probation officer. The pre-sentence report includes information about the defendant, the victim, the crime, previous criminal history, and a recommendation for a specific sentence.

The victim has a right to provide the probation officer with information regarding the impact the case has had on their life, which will be included in the pre-sentence report. The information in the report will be presented to the judge, prosecutor and defense attorney. Please note that the defendant also has a right to view the presentence report.

At the sentencing hearing, the defendant may be placed on probation, or ordered to serve time in the Arizona Department of Corrections or Pinal County Jail.

At this stage, the victim has a right to:

  • receive a copy the pre-sentence report ARS 13-4425 (Inspection of presentence report).
  • receive notice of the time, place and date of the sentencing proceeding ARS 13-4410 (Notice of conviction, acquittal or dismissal; impact statement).
  • provide a written or oral victim impact statement to the court ARS 13-4410 & 13-4428. For information on what to include in the statement refer to “Victim Services FAQ, What Should I Include In My Victim Impact Statement?
  • submit a written or oral impact statement to the probation officer for use in preparing a presentence report ARS 13-4424 (Impact statement; presentence report).
  • be present and heard at the time of any presentence or sentencing proceeding ARS 13-4426 (Sentencing) & ARS 13-4426.01  (Sentencing; victims’ right to be heard).
  • request the court order the defendant to pay restitution for economic losses that are a direct result of the crime ARS 13-804.
  • receive notice of an acquittal, dismissal or conviction ARS 13-4410.
  • receive notice of sentenced imposed and instructions for receiving post-conviction notification ARS 13-4411 (Notice of post-conviction relief proceedings and outcomes). For instructions on how to post opt in refer to THE DEFENDANT HAS BEEN SENTENCED, WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

If the court orders restitution, the right to file a restitution lien ARS 13-806 and request a copy of the defendant’s restitution payment history from the Clerk of the Court ARS 13-810 & ARS 31-412.

 

For more information regarding Pinal County Adult Probation refer to http://www.pinalcountyaz.gov/AdultProbation/Pages/Home.aspx, or contact their office at (520) 866-5600.

Specialty Courts

Specialized Courts differ from traditional courts in that they focus on one type of offense or probationer.  Specialty Courts are problem-solving court strategies designed to address the root causes of criminal activity by coordinating efforts of the judiciary, prosecution, defense bar, probation, law enforcement, treatment, mental health services, and social service agencies. Together, they maintain a critical balance of authority, supervision, support, and encouragement. Specialty Court programs are rigorous, requiring frequent drug testing and court appearances, along with tightly structured regimens of treatment and recovery services.

In Pinal County, specialized courts include Adult Drug Courts, Mental Health Court, Veterans Court, and Domestic Violence Court.



Juvenile Court System

Please note that if your case is in Early Disposition Court (EDC), due to the expedited process all of the rights listed below may apply at any hearing.


Detention Hearings

When a juvenile is arrested and taken into custody, he/she is taken to the Detention Center (jail for juveniles). An assessment is utilized, to determine if the juvenile will be held in detention or released. The assessment looks at the severity of the charges, the history of delinquent behavior, enrollment in school and other factors to determine if the juvenile should be detained. If the juvenile is detained, they are brought before the Court for a Detention Hearing within 24 hours. At the Detention Hearing, the court will determine whether the juvenile should remain in detention. Juveniles may be released at this hearing to their parent(s) or guardian with a promise to return for later court proceedings. The victim has right to be notified if the accused is in custody at the time of charging, the charges against the accused and to be present and heard at the detention hearing. ARS 8-389 & ARS 8-401. During this hearing the victim may also provide input regarding conditions of release.

Advisory Hearings

If the juvenile is not in custody, the juvenile and his/her parent(s) will be notified to appear before the court within 30 days for an Advisory Hearing (arraignment).  At the Advisory Hearing, the juvenile is informed of the charges against him/her and his/her rights.  The juvenile will be asked to enter a plea.  Usually, at this time, the juvenile will enter a plea of “Not Guilty” and a Non-Firm Adjudication/Pre-Trial Conference Hearing will be set.

Non Firm Adjudication/Pretrial Conference

During this stage in the juvenile justice system, the County Attorney’s Office reviews the juvenile’s history and the current crime(s) to determine if the juvenile may or must be transferred to adult court for prosecution.

If the juvenile is at least 15 years old and is a chronic felony offender (has at least 2 separate prior felony convictions) or has committed certain serious offenses, he or she may be automatically transferred to adult court for prosecution. When automatic transfer occurs, the juvenile is treated as an adult and all further court proceedings will take place in the adult criminal justice system. The Deputy County Attorney may also decide to file a motion with the Court to transfer the juvenile to adult court. If such a motion to transfer is filed, a transfer hearing may be held 30 days after filing.  If the Court denies or dismisses this motion, an adjudication hearing for the juvenile may occur within 30 days. If the Court grants the motion, the juvenile will be transferred to adult court for prosecution.

Negotiated Settlement

Prior to the Non-Firm Adjudication/Pre-trial Conference Hearing, the Deputy County Attorney may discuss with the defense attorney the settlement of the case by negotiated settlement.  A negotiated settlement is commonly referred to as a plea agreement. The negotiated settlement provides that the juvenile will enter an admission (plead guilty) or plead “no contest” to a crime or crimes without trial.

Even though ultimate control over the prosecution of a case rests solely with the County Attorney, the victim has a right to be heard regarding case resolution.

If a negotiated settlement is reached, the attorneys and the juvenile appear before the Judge for a Negotiated Settlement Hearing. The admission of guilt normally occurs at the Non-Firm Adjudication/Pre-Trial Conference Hearing.

A victim, has the right to be present and to make a statement expressing their opinion about the negotiated settlement.  The Judge may consider the opinion of the victim when deciding whether or not to accept the negotiated settlement. Once accepted, the Judge will enter a finding of delinquency against the juvenile.

Adjudication/Disposition Hearing

If a negotiated settlement is not reached, the case will proceed to an Adjudication Hearing. This hearing is the same as a trial in adult court with the exception that the evidence will be heard only by the Judge. If the juvenile pleads guilty to the delinquent act, or if the juvenile is adjudicated delinquent (found guilty), the Judge will set a date for the Disposition Hearing.  Prior to the Disposition Hearing, a Probation Officer will prepare a pre-disposition report on the juvenile. This report includes information about the juvenile, the victim, the crime, previous history of delinquency, and a recommendation for a specific disposition (sentence). The victim has a right to provide the probation officer with information regarding the impact the case has had on their life, which will be included in the pre-disposition report. Please note that the defense also has a right to view the pre-disposition report.

At the Disposition Hearing, the juvenile may be placed on probation or ordered to serve time in the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections or the Pinal County Juvenile Detention Center. If the juvenile is placed on probation and fails to meet the conditions set by the Judge, then the probation may be revoked, and the sentence modified by the court. If a juvenile is committed to the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections it will be for a specified time or until they reach the age of 18.

At this stage, the victim has a right to:

  • receive notification of the time, place and date of Adjudication and Disposition hearings ARS 8-391 (Notice of adjudication; impact statement). For information on what to include in the statement refer to “Victim Services FAQ, What Should I Include In My Victim Impact Statement?
  • provide a written or oral victim impact statement to the court ARS 8-407.
  • submit a written or oral victim impact statement to the probation officer for use in preparing a pre-disposition report ARS 8-404 (Impact statement; predisposition report).
  • receive portions of the pre-disposition report ARS 8-404 (Impact statement; predisposition report)
  • be present and heard at the time of any adjudication or disposition hearing ARS 8-391.
  • request the court order the defendant to pay restitution for economic losses that are a direct result of the crime ARS 8-391.
  • receive notice of sentenced imposed and instructions for receiving post-conviction notification ARS 8-392 (Notice of post-adjudication proceedings).  For instructions on how to post opt in refer to THE DEFENDANT HAS BEEN SENTENCED, WHAT HAPPENS NOW?For more information regarding Pinal County Juvenile Court Services refer to http://www.pinalcountyaz.gov/JuvenileCourtServices/Pages/home.aspx, or contact their office at (520) 866-7065.

Victim Services FAQ


How will I receive information on my case?

Once the case is charged, a victim advocate will be assigned to your case. You will be mailed an initial contact packet, which will include an introductory letter with the case number, charges, the defendant’s name and contact information for your assigned advocate. The initial contact packet will also contain the Victim Loss Statement and Victim Impact Statement forms for you to complete and return to the Victim Services Division. Returning these forms is very important if you wish to provide input regarding your case and/or restitution. You may also choose if you would like to receive notifications via physical mail or email, advise the assigned advocate of your preference.

If during the course of the case you should move, or change your telephone number please contact our office to provide your updated contact information. Failure to provide updated contact information could result in notifications regarding proceedings being ceased. However, as the victim you can re-opt in at any time simply by contacting the Pinal County Victim Services office at 1(800)208-6897 ext 6813 or (520) 866-6813.

Are all victims rights automatic?

Many of the rights afford to victims through legislation and rules of court are automatic, however there are some rights that are available only upon request. As the victim you can in at any time simply by contacting the Pinal County Victim Services office at 1(800)208-6897 ext 6813 or (520) 866-6813. For more information regarding the implementation of rights and the opt-in process refer to ARS 13-4402 & 8-383 (Implementation of rights), 13-4417 & 8-398 (Request for notice).  See below: The defendant has been sentenced, what happens next?

Why was my case continued?

There are many reasons processing of a case may be delayed. Although, the District County Attorney (DCA) does their best to reduce continuances they are sometimes unavoidable. There are many reasons for continuances that are out of the control of the assigned DCA, such as heavy court calendars, conflicts in schedules for all the parties involved and statues related to court processes and discovery.

How can I get a copy of the police report?

A victim of a crime that is a part I crime under the statewide uniform crime reporting program has the right to receive one copy of the police report from the investigating law enforcement agency at no charge ARS 39-127.

Can I drop the charges against the person who is being prosecuted?

Although, the victim may provide input as to the outcome of the case, it is the responsibility of the State to file charges against the defendant. The victim has the right to confer with the prosecutor, however the decision to file or dismiss charges is at the discretion of the District County Attorney.

How do I give input on a case?

There are several ways a victim can invoke their right to be heard during the case. A victim can provide input via an oral statement, written statement or digital or audio media 13-4428 & 8-407 (Victim’s discretion; form of statement). The victim can provide a written statement by completing the Victim Impact Statement and submitting a copy to the Victim Services Division. There are times when the victim can address the court, for example providing opinions on release conditions, plea agreements and sentencing. If you would like to make a statement to the court please inform your assigned advocate, so that they can make the District County Attorney aware. If you are uncomfortable, addressing the court you can submit a Victim Impact Statement or have your advocate read a statement on your behalf. To provide input on a case or opt-in contact the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, Victim Services Division at 1(800)208-6897, Ext. 6813 or (520) 866-6813 to speak with your assigned advocate.

What should my Victim Impact Statement Include?

The Victim Impact Statement should include information regarding psychological, emotional, economic or physical harm you have suffered that is directly related to the crime. You may also include sentencing recommendations and any additional information you believe the court should take into consideration. The victim impact statement may also include the following information:

  1. An explanation of the nature and extent of any physical, psychological or emotional harm or trauma suffered by the victim.
  2. An explanation of the extent of any economic loss or property damage suffered by the victim.
  3. An opinion of the need for and extent of restitution.
  4. Whether the victim has applied for or received any compensation for the loss or damage.

What can I do if the defendant is harrassing me?

There are several things that you can do if the defendant is continuing to harass you or violate no contact orders. First and foremost, if you are in immediate danger we suggest you call 911. If the Judge ordered no contact in the release conditions and the defendant is still continuing to contact you we suggest you notify your local law enforcement agency and your assigned victim advocate. You can notify your victim advocate simply by calling 1(800)208-6897, Ext 6813 or (520) 866-6813. If you have not already done so we encourage you to obtain an Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment. If the defendant continues to initiate contact with you after an Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment is served notify your local law enforcement agency and assigned advocate. If the defendant violates the release conditions, Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment the District County Attorney may file a motion to revoke the defendant’s conditions of release and the defendant may be taken into custody. If the prosecutor decides not to move to revoke the bond or personal recognizance of the defendant, the victim may petition the court to revoke the bond or personal recognizance based on the victim’s notarized statement asserting that harassment, threats, physical violence or intimidation against the victim or the victim’s immediate family by the defendant or on behalf of the defendant has occurred ARS 13-4432.

What is a declination?

A declination is when the District County Attorney decides not to charge the case. Should the Deputy County Attorney decide to decline the case, the listed victim(s) will be advised of their right to speak with the prosecutor prior to the decision becoming final ARS 13-4408 & 8-389 (Notice of rights), 13-4410 (Notice of conviction, acquittal or dismissal; impact statement) & 13-4419 & 8-399 (Victim conference with prosecuting attorney). Victims are informed of the decision to decline charges through written notification stipulating a deadline for the victim(s) to contact the prosecutor if they wish to discuss the case before the decision is final.

What is a dismissal?

AFTER the case has been charged the Deputy County Attorney may choose to dismiss the charges for many reasons. Should the Deputy County Attorney decide to dismiss the charges, the listed victim(s) will be advised of their right to speak with the prosecutor prior to the decision becoming final. With regards to dismissal, the victim will need to contact their assigned advocate if the wish to invoke their right to confer with the District County Attorney. If a criminal offense against a victim has been charged, but the prosecution on the count or counts involving the victim are dismissed as a result of a plea agreement, the victim of the offenses involved in the dismissed counts may upon request may exercises all applicable rights of a crime victim throughout the criminal justice process ARS 13-4402.01 & 8-383.01 (dismissed counts), 13-4408 & 8-389 (pretrial notice), 13-4419 & 8-399 (Victim conference with prosecuting attorney) 13-4410 & 8-391 (Notice of conviction, acquittal or dismissal/ Notice of adjudication; impact statement).

How do I invoke my right to confer with the prosecutor?

The victim has a right to confer with the prosecutor regarding any declination, dismissal, plea negotiation, or pretrial diversion referral ARS 13-4408 & 8-389 (Notice of Rights) & 13-4419 & 8-399 (Victim Conference). For cases involving declination the victim will need to contact the assigned District County Attorney. For all other charging decisions a victim can invoke their right to confer with the prosecutor by contacting the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, Victim Services Division at 1(800)208-6897 ext 6813 or (520) 866-6813 and speaking with their assigned advocate. While the victim has the right to confer with the District County Attorney regarding the case they cannot direct the prosecution of the case. Decisions regarding charging of the case, diversion and plea agreements are at the discretion of the assigned Deputy County Attorney. If you disagree with the decision, you are encouraged to discuss this with the assigned District County Attorney and attend court to express your opinion to the judge.

What is diversion?

The purpose of the diversion program is to hold the defendant accountable, identify contributing factors to criminal behaviors and refer the defendant to appropriate services that address individualized needs, while encouraging positive behavioral change. Under this program, the defendant will be required to sign a contract, whereby he/she admits to committing the crime and agrees to abide by certain conditions for a period of time, including paying restitution to the victim. Conditions can include, but are not limited to no contact with the victim, educational and treatment services, community service and monetary fees. The benefit to the State and the victim, is that in most cases there is a shorter period of time for case resolution, the program saves tax payers money spent on court processes and participants in diversion programs have higher successful completion and lower recidivism rates than offenders who are sentenced to Probation or the Arizona Department of Corrections. If the defendant successfully completes the program, the offense will not be further prosecuted further. However, should the defendant fail to abide by the conditions of diversion, the defendant could be removed from the program and the Deputy County Attorney will file a notice to resume prosecution with the court. For more information regarding adult diversion please refer to our Diversion page. For more information regarding Juvenile Diversion please refer to the Pinal County Juvenile Court Services Diversion page and ARS 8-388.

The defendant has been sentenced, what happens now?

Within fifteen days after the defendant has been sentenced, the Victims Services Division will send you notification of the sentence imposed and Post-Conviction Notification Request (adult) or Post-Adjudication Notification Request (juvenile). In order to continue receiving updates regarding modifications to probation, the defendant’s custody status, hearings and appeals processes you will need to complete these forms and return them to the appropriate agency(ies). The forms that need to be completed and which agency they need to be sent to vary depending on the outcome of the sentencing/disposition hearing and if the offender was sentenced as a juvenile or adult. You can access these forms along with instructions for completing them and which agency(ies) will need to receive copies on our Forms and Surveys page. It is the responsibility of the victim to keep their contact information updated with EACH agency they opt-in with ARS 13-4417. Failure of the victim to keep their contact information updated is considered a waiver of rights and could result in victim notifications being ceased. For more information regarding notification of sentencing and post-conviction notice refer to ARS 13-4410, 13-4411 & 8-392.

What are my rights if the defendant is sentenced to probation?

If a defendant is sentenced to probation they will be assigned to a probation officer. If the defendant was convicted as a juvenile they will be supervised by Juvenile Court Services and if they were convicted as an adult they will be supervised by the Adult Probation Department. The defendant will be required to report regularly to their probation officer. The frequency of reporting depends on many different factors including risk to the community, the defendant’s participation in services and probation status. If the defendant fails to comply with their terms and conditions their probation could be revoked. It is important that if you wish to continue receiving notifications regarding the defendant’s probation status, modifications to probation terms and custody information you will need to complete the Post-Conviction Notification Request (adult) or Post-Adjudication Notification Request (juvenile) form and return it to the probation department. It is the responsibility of the victim to keep their contact information updated with EACH agency they opt-in with ARS 13-4417. Failure of the victim to keep their contact information updated is considered a waiver of rights and could result in victim notifications being ceased. For more information regarding notification of sentencing and post-conviction/post-adjudication notice refer to ARS 13-4411 & 8-392. For more information regarding victims’ rights if the defendant is sentenced to probation refer to ARS 13-4410, 13-4415 & 8-396 (Notice of probation modification, termination or revocation disposition matters; notice of arrest) & 13-4427 & 8-406 (Probation modification, revocation disposition or termination proceedings).

What are my rights if the defendant is sentenced to the Arizona Department of Corrections?

It is important that if you wish to receive notifications regarding the defendant’s custody status and provide input on release decisions and appellate proceedings you will need to complete the Post-Conviction Notification Request (adult) or Post-Adjudication Notification Request (juvenile) forms and return them to the appropriate agency(ies). As a victim, you can also request not to receive mail from the inmate 13-4411.01 & 8-392.01 (right to request not to receive inmate mail). Instructions for initiating this request is included on the Post-Conviction Notification Request and Post-Conviction Adjudication Request forms. For more information regarding notification of sentencing and post-conviction notice refer to ARS 13-4411 & 8-392. It is the responsibility of the victim to keep their contact information updated with EACH agency they opt-in with ARS 13-4417. Failure of the victim to keep their contact information updated is considered a waiver of rights and could result in victim notifications being ceased. For more information regarding victims’ rights if the defendant is sentenced to the Arizona Department of Corrections or Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections refer to ARS 13-4410, 13-4411 & 8-392 (Notice of post-conviction/post-adjudication review and appellate proceedings), 13-4412 & 8-393 (Notice of release or escape), 13-4413 & 8-394 (Notice of status), 13-4414 & 8-395 (Notice of post-conviction release/post adjudication release; right to be heard; hearing; final decision) & 31-230 (Prisoner spendable accounts; fees).

How can I get restitution?

Pursuant to ARS 13-806, if you incurred expenses as a direct result of a crime that the defendant is convicted of, you may be eligible to receive restitution. A Pre-Conviction Restitution Lien may also be requested by the victim or prosecutor after the cases has been filed or indicted. A victim seeking restitution can request restitution for economic losses by completing the Victim Loss Statement (LINK to “FORMS & SURVEYS, VICTIM LOSS STATEMENT) and providing a copy of the completed form and supporting documentation i.e. receipts or estimations for repairs to the Victim Services Division. Victims’ Services will provide copies of the Victim Loss Statement and supplemental documentation to the court, District County Attorney and defense counsel. If you are seeking restitution it is important to provide the completed Victim Loss Statement and supporting documentation to the Victim Services Division early in the case. Submitting the forms and supporting documentation does not guarantee the victim will receive restitution. In most cases, a judge makes the determination regarding the amount of restitution that is ordered. If the defendant disagrees with the amount of restitution being requested by the victim, the defendant can request a hearing where the court may call the defendant and/or victim to testify and produce information or documentation as to their loss. At this hearing the state does not represent the victim, but will present the evidence or information relevant to the issue of restitution to the court.

For more information regarding restitution, please refer to our Restitution page, AZCOURTS; Restitution Laws & AZCOURTS; Restitution Lien Instructions and Forms.

Who tracks if a defendant makes restitution payments?

If a defendant is sentenced to serve a term of imprisonment in the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC), per the Arizona Constitution, Article 2, Section 2.1 Victims Bill of Rights & ARS § 31-230  ADC is required to withdraw 20% -50% of the monies available in an inmates spendable account each month to pay towards court ordered restitution. However, inmates are not required to work and if they do not work, then no monies will be taken.

If a defendant is sentenced to a term of probation, restitution is a condition of probation and if the defendant falls at least 60 days delinquent on paying restitution, the probation officer may request a hearing where the defendant will have to go before the court to show cause. If the defendant is found in contempt, the court could issue a summons or an arrest warrant, or require the defendant to serve some jail time. If the victim requested post-conviction notification, they are provided a copy of the notice of hearing. For information regarding opting in for post-conviction notice refer to the section, “The Defendant has been Sentenced, What Happens Next?”

For more information regarding restitution, please refer to our Restitution page and AZCourts; Restitution Laws.

Victim Compensation Board Meetings

The victim compensation program provides financial assistance to victims of crime or others who may have experienced a financial loss as a direct result of a crime. The program covers expenses of physical harm, mental distress, and economic loss resulting directly from victimization. Eligibility to receive benefits from the program does not require the apprehension or conviction of an offender, and the compensation program is always the payer of last resort. All other sources of economic recovery must be exhausted before compensation benefits can be paid. Compensation may cover medical costs, counseling, funeral expenses, limited expenses for crime scene clean up and lost wages.

The Pinal County Attorney’s Office (PCAO) holds Crime Victim Compensation board meetings every 4-6 weeks.  At these meetings, Crime Victim Compensation board members, who are volunteers from the community decide whether or not claims are eligible for Crime Victims Compensation Program and approve Crime Victim Compensation funds to be paid to victims of crime. The meetings are open to members of the public. At the end of the board meeting, members of the public have the opportunity to address the board. The meeting agenda is posted electronically on PCAO’s website and a physical copy is located in the lobby of the Pinal County Attorney’s Office and Victim Services Division at least 24 hours prior to the board meeting.

CRIME VICTIM COMPENSATION BOARD MEETING SCHEDULE ARS 41-2407

Victim Compensation Survey

The Pinal County Attorney’s Office has taken a very strong position on victims’ rights and is constantly seeking ways to improve the services we provide to crime victims. All victims of crime should be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity. The compensation survey is geared toward your experience with our Crime Victim Compensation Program. These responses are utilized to improve Crime Victim Compensation processes, the services we provide, and to recognize those employees who perform above and beyond expectations. We also use this information for grant reporting purposes and responses can determine whether we will receive future funding. If you have any additional comments regarding the Crime Victim Compensation Program, please provide those in the Comments section at the bottom of the survey.



Court Facility Dog

The Pinal County Attorney’s Office has one cuddly team member working in the Victim Services Division. Pilot, a Golden Labrador Retriever, is the facility dog trained to work with victims of crime.

As a victim of a crime, the trauma and intimidation of the criminal justice system are often hard for young victims.  Pilot can provide calming, comforting support for these victims throughout the often stressful criminal justice process. Pilot and his handler have special training that allows them to perform this important function in a variety of behavioral situations and to remain focused when working with outside noises including sirens, emergency workers and even gavels.

In addition to attending court hearings, a court facility dog like Pilot accompanies victims during interviews and meetings related to their case. They offer a reassuring presence for victims as they prepare testimony, give depositions and, in some instances, confront perpetrators.   The Arizona legislature provides that a victim under eighteen years of age shall be allowed to have a certified facility dog accompany them while testifying in court. The court may allow adult victims and witness to utilize a facility dog, however that is at the discretion of the judge. ARS 13-442.

Pilot spends many hours each week in the County Attorney’s Office and happily interacts with PCAO employees.



IN HER SHOES

In Her Shoes is a revolutionary community education tool, designed for learning about domestic violence. Based on experiences of real survivors, participants make choices through a simulation of characters in abusive relationships. This workshop will increase awareness of the additional day-to-day struggles women face when seeking out help, deepen compassion and compel participants to take action.

To request an In Her Shoes training contact PCA Victim Services.

Victim Rights At Court Proceedings

As a victim, you have the right to confer with the Deputy County Attorney prior to any offer being extended to the defendant 13-4419 & 8-399.  Prior to any “firm trial setting,” the Deputy County Attorney may contact you either by letter, telephone or e-mail to advise you of what plea agreement may be offered to the defendant 13-4423 & 8-403.  The victim has a right to be present and heard at any proceeding in which a plea agreement will be presented to the court. Plea agreements provide the State, as well as the victim, with a guaranteed conviction.  Plea agreements do require that the defendant enter a plea of guilty or “no contest” (meaning the defendant does not admit guilt, rather the defendant admits the truth of the facts alleged in the indictment) to a crime(s) without having to go through the process of a jury trial.  A plea agreement also limits the defendant’s ability to file an appeal.  However, in order to get a guaranteed conviction, lessen the appeal avenues, and get the case over in a much shorter length of time, this usually requires that the State agree to a reduction in charges, commitment not to pursue other charges against the defendant, and/or a guarantee of a lesser sentence.  The plea agreement provides that the defendant will plead guilty or “no contest” to a crime or crimes without a trial.  It is important to note that a victim’s right to confer with the Deputy County Attorney about the case does not, in any way, afford the victim of a crime the right or the power to direct the prosecution of a case.  Based on ethical and legal reasons, ultimate control over the prosecution of criminal cases lies exclusively with the County Attorney.  The DCA will take several factors into account such as victim’s input, likelihood of trial and strength of case.

Release conditions will be set at the initial appearance, but could be modified at any time. The victim has a right to be present and heard at any hearing in which conditions of release are being considered and to receive a copy of the terms and conditions of release. ARS 13-4407 & 8-387 & 13-4422 & 8-402.

There are 6 common types of pre-trial release:

  • Own Recognizance (OR): If the defendant is released on their own recognizance they are not required to post a bond.
  • Third Party: If the defendant is released to a third party custodian that person must inform the court if the defendant violates any of their release conditions. This includes committing a new crime, leaving the state, using drugs, missing court, contacting someone they are not allowed to contact, etc. If a third party custodian does not inform the court that the defendant violated their release conditions, he or she can be ordered to pay a fine or be required to serve jail time.
  • Pre-Trial Services: If the defendant is released to pre-trial services they must report to a probation officer regularly. The defendant may be tested for drugs or alcohol.
  • Secured Bond: The defendant must pay a designated amount of money or post security in the amount of bail to be released.
  • Cash–Only Bond: The defendant and/or co-signer must pay a designated amount of money to the court before being released.
  • No Bond: In certain situations, the defendant may be held without bond. If the defendant is held without bond, they will remain in the jail until their case is resolved.

The judge may place other conditions on the defendant’s release, such as no alcohol, no contact with the alleged victim, no weapons, etc. If the defendant does not follow the release conditions, or if they miss a court hearing, a warrant may be issued. The defendant may lose any bond that was posted.

A “no contact” order may include instructions the defendant have NO CONTACT with the victim in person, on the phone, or by written communication (including e-mail and text). This includes any contact through a third-party, such as a friend or family member or social media. If the prosecutor decides not to move to revoke the bond or personal recognizance of the defendant the victim may petition the court to revoke the bond or personal recognizance based on the victim’s notarized statement asserting that harassment, threats, physical violence or intimidation against the victim or the victim’s immediate family by the defendant or on behalf of the defendant has occurred ARS 13-4432.

VICTIM RIGHTS AT COURT
ARS 13-4409, 8-390, 13-4408, 8-389 & 13-4407

Cases that have charges approved, fall into one of two categories – felony or misdemeanor cases. Cases approved for felony charges will either proceed to grand jury or have a preliminary hearing. All felony charges are heard in Superior Court.  Approved misdemeanor charges are filed in the Justice Court. Victims have the right to be notified of any release hearings and to make a statement to the court regarding reduction or modification of current release conditions. The victim is not required to attend any court proceedings unless they receive a subpoena, but their attendance may be requested by the prosecutor or the Victim Advocate. Crime victims will be notified of hearings typically by e-mail or physical mail; however, last-minute hearings are sometimes set by the court.  If there is not enough time to notify the victim by mail the Victim Services Division will attempt to contact the victim. The advocate will review the victim’s rights for the hearing and ask the victim if they would like the advocate to attend the hearing with them.  If for some reason, the victim does not wish to attend, or is unable to attend, they may supply a statement to their advocate. The statement will then be delivered to the court for all parties to hear the victim’s concerns/wishes. The statement should include any concerns the victim has about their safety and any firsthand knowledge of the defendant not following the orders of the court should the judge decide to release the defendant from custody ARS 13-4409 & 8-390  (right to notification), 13-4408 & 8-389 (pretrial & preliminary notification) & 13-4407 (Right to make a statement regarding conditions of release).

Victims are granted specific rights during court proceedings.  They have the right to:

  • be present at any court proceeding that the defendant has a right to be present at ARS 13-4420 & 8-400.
  • be present and heard at any proceeding in which a person’s factual innocence is being considered ARS 13-440.
  • be accompanied to any judicial proceeding by a support person, unless that person is a witness in the case Rule 39, Rules of Criminal Procedure
  • make a statement to the court at any proceeding in which the court considers the release of the defendant, a change of plea or the sentencing ARS 13-4407 & 8-387 (notice of terms and conditions of release), 13-4428 & 8-407 (Victim’s discretion; form of statement) & 13-4426.01 & 13-4426 (Sentencing). Furthermore, the victim may exercise their right to be heard in the form of an oral statement, a written statement, audio tape or a video-taped statement A.R.S. 13-4428 (Victim’s discretion; form of statement).
  • have the court provide appropriate safeguards to minimize any contact that might occur between the defendant, the victim, their family and friends ARS 13-4431 & 8-410 (Minimizing victim contacts)
  • not testify regarding their address, telephone numbers, place of employment or other location information unless you consent or the court orders disclosure on finding that a compelling need for the information exists ARS 13-4434 & 8-413 (Victim’s right to privacy; exception)
  • request the prosecutor to have the court reconsider the defendant’s release from pre-trial custody. If the prosecutor decides not to do this, the victim may petition the court to have the defendant’s release revoked based upon the notarized statement that harassment, threats, physical violence or intimidation against the victim or immediate family has occurred by the defendant or on behalf of the defendant ARS 13-4432 & 8-411 (Motion to revoke bond or personal recognizance)
  • have the court, prosecutor and law enforcement officials take appropriate action to ensure a speedy trial ARS 13-4435 & 8-414 (speedy trial; continuance; notice).

Plea Agreements & Right to Confer
ARS 13-4407 & 8-38713-4423 & 8-403

As a victim, you have the right to confer with the Deputy County Attorney prior to any offer being extended to the defendant 13-4419 & 8-399.  Prior to any “firm trial setting,” the Deputy County Attorney may contact you either by letter, telephone or e-mail to advise you of what plea agreement may be offered to the defendant 13-4423 & 8-403.  The victim has a right to be present and heard at any proceeding in which a plea agreement will be presented to the court. Plea agreements provide the State, as well as the victim, with a guaranteed conviction.  Plea agreements do require that the defendant enter a plea of guilty or “no contest” (meaning the defendant does not admit guilt, rather the defendant admits the truth of the facts alleged in the indictment) to a crime(s) without having to go through the process of a jury trial.  A plea agreement also limits the defendant’s ability to file an appeal.  However, in order to get a guaranteed conviction, lessen the appeal avenues, and get the case over in a much shorter length of time, this usually requires that the State agree to a reduction in charges, commitment not to pursue other charges against the defendant, and/or a guarantee of a lesser sentence.  The plea agreement provides that the defendant will plead guilty or “no contest” to a crime or crimes without a trial.  It is important to note that a victim’s right to confer with the Deputy County Attorney about the case does not, in any way, afford the victim of a crime the right or the power to direct the prosecution of a case.  Based on ethical and legal reasons, ultimate control over the prosecution of criminal cases lies exclusively with the County Attorney.  The DCA will take several factors into account such as victim’s input, likelihood of trial and strength of case.

Release Conditions
ARS 13-4407 & 8-387 & 13-4422 & 8-402

Release conditions will be set at the initial appearance, but could be modified at any time. The victim has a right to be present and heard at any hearing in which conditions of release are being considered and to receive a copy of the terms and conditions of release. ARS 13-4407 & 8-387. (Notice of terms and conditions of release) & 13-4422 & 8-402 (post arrest custody decisions).

There are 6 common types of pre-trial release:

  • Own Recognizance (OR): If the defendant is released on their own recognizance they are not required to post a bond.
  • Third Party: If the defendant is released to a third party custodian that person must inform the court if the defendant violates any of their release conditions. This includes committing a new crime, leaving the state, using drugs, missing court, contacting someone they are not allowed to contact, etc. If a third party custodian does not inform the court that the defendant violated their release conditions, he or she can be ordered to pay a fine or be required to serve jail time.
  • Pre-Trial Services: If the defendant is released to pre-trial services they must report to a probation officer regularly. The defendant may be tested for drugs or alcohol.
  • Secured Bond: The defendant must pay a designated amount of money or post security in the amount of bail to be released.
  • Cash–Only Bond: The defendant and/or co-signer must pay a designated amount of money to the court before being released.
  • No Bond: In certain situations, the defendant may be held without bond. If the defendant is held without bond, they will remain in the jail until their case is resolved.

The judge may place other conditions on the defendant’s release, such as no alcohol, no contact with the alleged victim, no weapons, etc. If the defendant does not follow the release conditions, or if they miss a court hearing, a warrant may be issued. The defendant may lose any bond that was posted.

A “no contact” order may include instructions the defendant have NO CONTACT with the victim in person, on the phone, or by written communication (including e-mail and text). This includes any contact through a third-party, such as a friend or family member or social media. If the prosecutor decides not to move to revoke the bond or personal recognizance of the defendant, the victim may petition the court to revoke the bond or personal recognizance based on the victim’s notarized statement asserting that harassment, threats, physical violence or intimidation against the victim or the victim’s immediate family by the defendant or on behalf of the defendant has occurred ARS 13-4432.

INVESTIGATIONS ARS 13-4405 & 8-386 (Information provided to victims by law enforcement agencies)

When an incident happens and law enforcement becomes involved it is their job to document it and potentially investigate.  As part of the investigation the police interview witnesses, preserve evidence and prepare reports containing the results of their investigation.  The reports, along with other evidence, are then submitted to the Pinal County Attorney’s Office for charging review.

Additionally, the law enforcement agency has the responsibility of advising all crime victims of their right to be informed throughout the criminal justice process. The investigating law enforcement agency is required to:

  • Advise the victim whether the suspect is an adult or juvenile.
  • Advise the victim whether the suspect is in custody.
  • Notify the victim of the date, place, and time of the suspect’s initial appearance.
  • If the suspect is not in custody, law enforcement advises the victim at the earliest opportunity of the suspect’s arrest.
  • Provide the victim with an explanation of their rights and how to request them.
  • Provide a REQUEST/WAIVER form to the victim.
  • Tell the victim about emergency and support services that may be able to provide the victim with assistance.

SEIZURE OF PROPERTY ARS 13-4429 & 8-408

It is common during a police investigation for property to be seized and removed from the scene. The law enforcement agency will normally consult with the prosecuting attorney regarding the return of your property. In many cases, property is returned to victims in a timely manner, however, there are circumstances in which the release of property is not possible until after the conclusion of the case. In those cases, the police and/or prosecutor will advise you as to the reason the property may not be returned. ARS 13-4429 & 8-408 (Return of victim’s property; release of evidence).

Once the law enforcement agency submits the results of their investigation to the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, a Deputy County Attorney (DCA) will review the police report and evidence. The DCA then makes a decision as to whether the case meets the standard required by the “special responsibilities of a prosecutor” ethical rule, which is a “reasonable likelihood of conviction at trial.”

The DCA has several different options at this point.  The DCA can decline charges, but request that the law enforcement agency conduct further investigation.  This means the DCA submits a request for specific tasks to be completed by the law enforcement agency. Once the requests are completed, the law enforcement agency could resubmit the case to the DCA. How each law enforcement agency prioritizes and completes follow up is at their discretion.

The DCA could also elect to decline or dismiss charges due to their ethical rule. The victim has a right to confer with the DCA prior to any final charging decisions. Should the DCA decide not to prosecute the case, the listed victim(s) will be advised of their right to speak with the prosecutor prior to the decision becoming final ARS 13-4408 & 8-389 (Notice of rights) & 13-4419 & 8-399 (Victim conference with prosecuting attorney). For more information regarding declinations and dismissals please refer to “What is a dismissal? & What is a declination?” The victim also has the right to confer with the DCA if a plea agreement is offered. Although the victim has the right to confer with the DCA prior to any final charging decisions or plea agreements, they cannot direct the prosecution of the case 13-4419 & 8-399 (conference with DCA) & 13-4423 & 8-403 (plea agreement proceedings.)Decisions regarding dismissals, charging of the case, diversion and plea agreements are at the discretion of the assigned DCA. For more information regarding invoking the right to confer with the DCA refer to “How do I give input on a case?” and “How do I invoke my right to confer with the prosecutor?

Crime Victim Compensation Board

If you have specific questions as to issues in your case, please contact the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, Victim Services Division at 1(800)208-6897 ext 6813 or (520) 866-6813.

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The information and materials provided using this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the Pinal County Attorney’s Office and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, County Manager or other elected officials.