Arizona Court Records

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What Are Arizona Criminal Court Records?

Arizona criminal court records refer to the materials related to a criminal proceeding received and maintained by the clerk of court’s office. These records may include papers, documents, index, minute entry, order, judgment, calendar, docket, tapes, maps, sound recording, photographs, films and more.

Note: A criminal case is when an individual commits an act prohibited by the law and punishable through fines, probation, imprisonment, or death.

Understanding the Arizona Criminal Court System

The court system of Arizona is divided into three levels, namely:

  • Court of Limited Jurisdiction
  • Court of General Jurisdiction
  • Court of Appellate Jurisdiction

The Justice of the Peace Courts and the Municipal Courts are called limited jurisdiction. They have restricted authority to decide on criminal or civil cases in the state. The court of general jurisdiction is the Superior Court, which has the right to hear a wide range of cases in the state.

The appellate jurisdiction courts are the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. They both have the authority to hear appeal cases from the superior court.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court which is the highest court in Arizona is responsible for hearing appeal cases of all the courts in the state as well as laying down rules to guide their procedures. It is the court of last resort. The Supreme Court also handles matters relating to the State and administration of all the courts in Arizona, including the State Bar of Arizona. The court has seven justices with one Justice elected by the rest to be a Chief Justice.

Court of Appeals

The Court of Appeals in Arizona is an appellate court like the Supreme Court. It hears appeal cases brought from the superior court and makes the appropriate decisions.

Superior Court

The state's trial court, the Superior Court has the authority to hear a variety of cases (general jurisdiction) in the state, including criminal cases except when other courts have exclusive jurisdiction. The court handles felony cases as well as misdemeanor cases, which have no specific classification.

The court also handles other civil cases such as divorce, naturalization, the legality of the tax, and other exceptional cases not provided for by the law. It has appellate jurisdiction over cases brought from the justice and municipal courts. Every county in Arizona has at least one superior court and judge, which helps in settling disputes and keeping the stability of the land.

Juvenile Court

Not all county in the state has a juvenile court. But counties with more than one superior court judge has a special juvenile court which hears every minor case that has to do with delinquency, dependency, and unruly behaviors.

What’s included in an Online Criminal Court Record?

The contents of a criminal court record found online might include:

  • A list of filed documents
  • Party names
  • Month and year of birth
  • Case number
  • Dates
  • Calendars
  • Fines
  • Minute entries
  • Notices
  • Judicial assignment
  • Charges filed
  • Attorneys

Note: The content of an online criminal court record often varies from what is obtainable in the physical location of the court where the case was heard or filed. Generally, online records do not include anything that may identify a protected party to the case, such as filed petitions, registration information, and so on.

Obtaining Criminal Court Records

The state of Arizona allows the public to access adult criminal case files “unless prohibited by law or sealed by court order” Rule 123 (d)(2)(C). Members of the public are free to inspect or make copies of the desired record at the court office where the case was heard, albeit during office hours.

How Do I Access Arizona Criminal Court Records in Person?

Individuals looking to inspect or make copies of the criminal court record should make an oral or written request to the clerk of the court’s office where the case was heard. Requesters should also include adequate information that will help in identifying the records. The clerk will immediately provide the records as long as the case information was sufficient, and the requested documents are within close range.

How to Find Arizona Criminal Court Records Online?

Individuals who do not want to visit the court’s facility can obtain records via the court's official electronic access platform. For instance, the Superior court maintains an eAccess portal for records. However, not all courts have electronic records. If records are unavailable online, interested parties will need to request the file in person or writing.

Publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:

  • The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
  • The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name

Third party sites are not government sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.

Are all Arizona Criminal Court Records Public?

Some criminal court records in Arizona are confidential, which means the public cannot inspect or make copies of them. The court will always give reasons for restricting access to these records, including a reference to any rule or statute. Confidential court records are identified and separated by the court personnel from the rest of the records. Records that are excluded from public view include juvenile delinquency and incorrigible cases, as well as records prohibited or sealed by court order. Discovery materials are not disclosed to the public except when necessary, and the court has the right to decide. Wiretaps, search warrants, pre-sentence reports, and other related materials are open to public inspection except kept under seal by court order.

Can I Access Sealed Criminal Court Records?

Individuals who can prove to the court that accessing a criminal court record will aid the fair trial of a case or “the public’s interest in disclosure outweighs the witness’s or victim’s right to privacy” might be able to access the records, in compliance with state laws {Ariz. Rev. Stat. 39-121.04(A)}.

Are Juvenile Criminal Records Open to the Public?

The Superior Court in Arizona will not display juvenile delinquent or incorrigible case information to the public. But they can show juvenile traffic cases. Juveniles with traffic records and other records obtainable by particular individuals or agencies can request to have their records destroyed, only if they have completed their sentences, reached 18 years of age, along with other eligibility requirements. They can also ask to “set aside adjudications” if they are not eligible for the destruction of records.

How Do I Obtain Federal Criminal Court Records Online?

Individuals can obtain federal criminal court records, District of Arizona, through the PACER case locator where most cases are filed. It is only available to subscribers. Those interested in registering an account can send an email to pacer@psc.uscourts.gov. Information necessary for a successful search includes case number, case title, court region, etc. The following case files are available using PACER:

  • Names of all participants in the court case (defendant, prosecutor, attorneys, trustees, and judges)
  • Registry for claims
  • New cases listing
  • Document images
  • Opinions from appellate courts
  • Dockets
  • Case information such as the nature of the suit
  • Types of document
  • Judgment or case status

It costs $.10 to download a page and $2.40 per document. Those who will need copies can contact the Clerk’s office but should be ready to pay $.50 in advance.

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