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How Coronavirus (COVID-19) is Affecting the Arizona Courts and Legal System

Cities and legal systems all over the country have modified their usual operating procedures in light of the pandemic now affecting all 50 states. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, all states have encouraged citizens to maintain safe distances from others–even during legal proceedings.

ATTENTION

THE SITUATION AND POLICIES ARE CHANGING RAPIDLY, so make sure to check in regularly for updates from the Court, but ideally, your attorney will keep you up to date.

Also, you can check the Arizona Supreme Court COVID-19 Information page for up-to-date administrative orders that controls all the State’s Courts. It has helpful information for people wondering how it is affecting the Court where they are charged.

Although courthouses across the country will remain open, they will be expected to follow the proper precautions for disease prevention. Those facing court proceedings in the State of Arizona are likely wondering what this situation will look like. Fortunately, courthouses across Phoenix Valley have posted their own sets of instructions and clarifications, which are as follows:

COVID-19 Updates by Arizona County

If you are looking for up-to-date information regarding specific Arizona counties, please visit the individual Justice Court websites below.

COVID-19 Updates by City (in Phoenix Metro Area)

Apache Junction

According to an announcement made on the Apache Junction Municipal Court’s website, the courthouse will still be open to the public, but staff will be limiting the number of people permitted inside. There will be screenings in the front of the courthouse and people who have had close contact with individuals positive for COVID-19 or those who are displaying symptoms will not be permitted entry.

For non-delinquent payments, 30-day extensions will be made automatically, through telephonic reminders will continue.

Many civil matters can be resolved telephonically or in-writing (traffic cases, parking cases, city code, etc). For serious civil or criminal cases, contact the courthouse directly or observe the court calendar to determine the status of your case.

Chandler

Since January, the city of Chandler has been preparing for COVID-19 by following recommendations provided by Maricopa County’s public health department, Arizona’s Department of Health Services, the CDC and the WHO.

While the courts are still open, Chandler is offering several telephonic methods to handle your case outside of the courthouse. Hearings have been limited to those that require in-person meetings, and only essential persons will be permitted to attend hearings.

If you’re feeling ill, do not enter the courthouse. Instead, notify the court or the court’s security officer so that you can be given remote instructions.

Gilbert

The Gilbert Municipal Court is still open to the public during regular business hours but has implemented several protective measures to encourage social distancing.

All out-of-custody criminal and civil traffic matters will be rescheduled to at least 60 days in the future. Should you have any questions about your case or the court in general, call Gilbert Municipal at (480) 635-7800 during regular business hours.

If you are feeling ill, do not come to the courthouse. Instead, call the number above and court personnel will instruct you further.

Mesa

Mesa Municipal Court advises anyone who is feeling ill to refrain from coming to the court building. Instead, call the courthouse directly at (480) 644-2255 for further instructions. Additionally, if you are a prospective juror, please call Jury Services directly at (480) 644-4632 to determine the status of your service.

The City of Mesa has increased cleaning efforts in public places, including the courthouse, targeting heavy traffic areas like elevator buttons, handrails, doors, fixtures, and bathroom handles. CDC signs have been placed throughout the court to offer additional illness prevention information.

Phoenix

Phoenix Municipal Court has taken the following steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure:

  • Continuing- all criminal jury trials scheduled for March 18-31
    Continuing- all civil hearings for eight weeks
    Continuing- all non-trial settings for defendants that are not in custody for eight weeks

  • Canceling- all criminal bench trials (non-jury) that are not in custody scheduled from March 18 to May 12 will have a status conference after May 12
    Canceling- all non-essential court functions

Additionally, any persons experiencing symptoms similar to those present in COVID-19 patients will be prohibited from appearing in court. To help mitigate the issues that arise from these measures, telephonic appearances will take place whenever possible.

Scottsdale

To reduce crowds in the Scottsdale City Court building, there are now several court matters that can be resolved online.

If you have an upcoming case and would like to plead Not Guilty, you may file a motion online at the court’s website. If you have a scheduled appearance, there are options to appear remotely with the use of FaceTime or Skype. Please call the courthouse at (480) 312-2442 or send them an email to arrange your appearance. If you would like to file a Protective Order, you may also appear through FaceTime or Skype after filing a petition and calling the court to schedule. Payment extensions for court fees can also be arranged via phone call.

All jury services will be canceled until March 27th.

Tempe

The Tempe Municipal Court advises that if you’re experiencing any symptoms common in COVID-19 patients, contact the court via phone or email, as some matters can now be resolved remotely.

Filing motions, making or extending payments, and some court appearances can be handled online. If you have a financial obligation to the court and are unable to pay, bring this issue to the court’s attention via remote contact to determine which overtimes or alternatives may be available to you.

Tempe Municipal Court asserts that it is taking appropriate measures to ensure accommodation of social distancing for individuals who must tend to in-person court business.

In Conclusion: Be Vigilant!

Arizona citizens must do their best to maintain social distancing, avoid public areas whenever possible, and practice frequent handwashing. If you have any legal questions or concerns, please contact your local courthouse directly either by phone or email to reduce the need for in-person courthouse visits.