While by far the greatest number of cases in Tucson City Court are resolved through a guilty plea, a defendant in a criminal matter has an absolute right to a trial. Trials take place every day and allow both the defendant and the State, as represented by the City Prosecutor, to present evidence to a judge or jury in order to allow the fact finder to render a verdict.
Trials may be as short as 10 minutes, or may continue a few days. Trials allow a judge or jury to determine what justice ought to be found from a criminal complaint.
Remember first impressions count
Dress appropriately and be courteous in all your interactions. Never display disinterest, disrespect, impatience or poor manners. Only address the judge when s/he first addresses you, and then address the judge as "Your Honor."
A subpoena is a court order requiring a person to appear in court to give testimony or to present documents and related articles.
Either the City or a criminal defendant may request a subpoena to order a witness to attend a trial. Not all witnesses are willing to appear in City Court to testify as to their knowledge about a matter. Both the City and the accused regularly ask the Court to issue subpoenas to witnesses.
Failure to respond to a subpoena is essentially violating a court order, and persons who refuse to obey a subpoena can be jailed, fined or otherwise punished by the court for failing to appear.
Victims and witnesses are issued subpoenas to appear at bench or jury trials and, on rare occasions, at evidentiary hearings. Trial dates or times may change. If you are subpoenaed, follow the instructions on your subpoena to call 791-4104 between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. one business day before the trial date to confirm the date and time of the trial.
I am listed as a witness on a case. I did not see anything – do I have to appear in court?
Witnesses are not limited to eye witnesses.
You may not have seen the crime occur but you may know something about it or about a piece of evidence. If you wonder why you are a witness in a case, you may call our main telephone number at 791-4104 and ask to speak with the prosecutor who is handling the case.
I received a subpoena. Do I have to testify in court?
Witnesses must go to court to testify about matters for which they have been subpoenaed. It is a civic duty imposed upon all citizens in order to ensure a just and fair judicial system. If you receive a subpoena and fail to appear for court, a warrant may be issued by the court.