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A 2012 Centennial Town

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P.O. Box 308

39 North Ninth Street

Clarkdale, AZ 86324


(928) 639- 2400

Fax:  (928) 639-2409

TTY: 1-800-367-8939










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Civil Traffic Charges

1.   Cases are handled by the Court according to procedures set out by both statutes (ARS 28-1591 to 28-1601) and

        Rules of Procedure in Civil Traffic and Civil Boating Violation Cases (“Rules”).  Some of the key points of interest

        once you decide to not pay a ticket:

·         A ticket can be issued up to 60 days from the alleged traffic violation and then filed with the court within

            the next 10 days (ARS 28-1592).

·         You can either deny the allegations, admit them, or “admit the allegations with an explanation”) that

            the Court will consider in imposing the sanction( ARS 28-1596.C)

·         A request for a hearing in absentia must be in writing, and supported by a showing of substantial hardship. 

            It must be more than “mere inconvenience and must be based on extraordinary circumstances.”  You also

            have to submit the amount of the civil sanction listed in the bond schedule by cashier’s check. (Rule 10)

·         There is no right to change judges unless the civil traffic charges are consolidated with criminal charges

            arising out of the same conduct (Rule 7).  In a consolidated case, the civil charges are still tried to the

            judge, with the civil burden of proof (Rule 14).

·         There is no pre-hearing discovery.  Both parties must prior to the hearing produce any exhibits, and any

            written or recorded statements of any witnesses.  During a hearing, the citing officer shall produce any

            notes made in reference to the complaint (Rule 13).

·         A hearing is informal, without a jury, and without formal rules of evidence.  The State is required to prove

            the allegations by a preponderance of the evidence.  If you elect to be represented by counsel, you must

            notify the Court in writing at least 10 days in advance.  You may subpoena witnesses, but they are not

            entitled to fees (ARS 28-1597). All witnesses for the State’s case in chief testify prior to your case, except

            new witnesses may be called in rebuttal to testify to an issue raised by the defense (Rule18). 

·         If you fail to appear, either at a scheduled hearing or the date set on your citation, the allegations are

            deemed admitted, the Court will enter judgment for the State, impose the scheduled sanction (fine),

            and notify MVD (ARS 28-1596) (Rule 22). A default fee of $50 per charge may be imposed by the court. 

·         A traffic ticket can be amended to conform to the evidence at any time before judgment if no additional or

            different violation is charged and “substantial rights of the defendant are not prejudiced.”  Where there

            is a conflict between the written description of the violation and the statutory code, the descriptive text

            shall take precedence.  (Rule 9)

·         Civil penalties shall be paid within 30 days of entry of judgment, unless the Court determines it would be

            an economic burden, and then you can sign a payment plan (an additional one time $20 charge). If the civil

            penalty is not paid or an installment payment is not made when due, the court may declare the entire civil

            penalty due, notify MVD, and your license will be suspended (ARS 28-1601.A)

·         You will be provided written instructions on your right to an appeal at the conclusion of the hearing.  A Notice

            of Appeal must be filed within 14 calendar days of the entry of judgment (Rule 28).

2.   Your three options on receiving a civil citation are explained in the insert to the payment envelope you received, and are

        listed [link to 2-page form/bond schedule].  Remember to return the form in the envelope regardless of your choice since

        it will contain either a cashier’s check/money order for the fine amount, a request for a hearing, or a notification that

        you are attending Defensive Driving School (DDS) [http://www.azcourts.gov/driveschoolinfo/home.aspx]. 

3.   Note that DDS can only satisfy one charge, and any remaining counts will still have to be paid or set for a hearing.  Per

        ACJA 7-205, you have to complete the course at least 7 days prior to the court arraignment date.  It is your responsibility

        to contact a certified DDS by calling 1-888-334-5565 or going to the above web site for a list.

4.   If the citation also includes criminal charges, you must personally appear in court on the date and time to enter a plea.

5.   If you intend to enter a plea “with an explanation” per ARS 28-1596, you must also personally appear. 

6.   If you will not be able to pay a fine in full within 30 days, you may request a time payment plan. This will require that you

        complete a financial statement to determine the amount of monthly payments, and a one-time $20 charge will be added. 

        Payment plans generally will not extend beyond 6 months.  Fines not paid within 30 days without an approved time

        payment plan are deemed delinquent, and the Court will notify MVD for license suspension, and may turn over the case

        for collection under the FARE program [http://www.azcourts.gov/courtservices/ConsolidatedCollectionsUnit.aspx].

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