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  • Legal Defender

    The Pima County Legal Defender’s Office represents indigent individuals upon court appointment in all felony cases, direct appeal and Rule 32 post-conviction matters, and extradition hearings. Individuals charged with criminal offenses which occur within the boundaries of Pima County may also be assigned to either the Pima County Public Defender's Office or to the Office of Court Appointed Counsel.

    About Us

    The Legal Defender's Office was established in 1987 by the Pima County Board of Supervisors to defend those accused of felony criminal offenses that, for reason of conflict of interest, prior representation, or overload, the Pima County Public Defender’s Office cannot handle. Like the Public Defender’s Office, we represent adult individuals who are entitled to court-appointed counsel for felony offenses (or juveniles whose cases are transferred to adult court), criminal appeals, and other types of post-conviction relief matters. In representing its clients, the Legal Defender’s Office provides full-range legal representation that includes client visitation if the client is in-custody and appointments if the client is out-of-custody; pre-trial work (for example: preparation of various legal motions depending on the client’s and the case’s particular situation, follow-up court appearances to argue those motions, witness interviews, and case investigation); negotiation of plea agreements; trials; sentencing hearings; fugitive warrant proceedings; direct appeals and other post-conviction relief; and assistance with other aspects of felony case representation (modifications to probation conditions, reinstatement of civil rights, and other proceedings).


    Our mission is to provide highly competent and effective legal representation for individuals accused of criminal offenses in cases brought before the Pima County Superior Court or Arizona Appeals Courts, to insure the protection of our clients’ state and federal constitutional rights, including the right to liberty, effective representation, and due process throughout the criminal proceedings.

    To fulfill our mission, we not only have well-trained and experienced attorneys, but also well-trained and experienced investigators, paralegals, mitigation specialists, secretaries, office support specialists, legal research clerks, transcribers, and interns.

    Our Attorneys

    James Fullin

    James L. Fullin - Legal Defender

    Fullin has been practicing law in Tucson since 1997, defending clients in the federal District Court for Arizona as well as tribal, state and municipal courts. He serves as Chair of the Tucson City Magistrate Merit Selection Panel as a Pima County Bar Association representative. Fullin has been interviewed by local news reporters on criminal law issues and appeared in an episode of A&E’s After the First 48 Hours. He graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Fullin was appointed as the Legal Defender in March 2018.

    Felony Trial Team 1

    Darlene Edminson - Felony Trial Team 1 Supervisor

    Darlene began her professional life as an American Sign Language interpreter working primarily in medical, mental health, and educational settings.  Later, she became a program coordinator at the University of Arizona with a focus on providing accommodations for Deaf students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors.   While working at the University, Darlene utilized the tuition waivers offered to university employees.  She completed her undergraduate degree in the College of Education in 1990.  In 1993 Darlene enrolled in the University of Arizona College of law where she obtained her Juris Doctorate in 1996.  Upon graduation Darlene accepted a one-year appointment as Law Clerk/ Bailiff for the Honorable Michael J. Cruikshank who served on the Pima County Superior Court criminal bench.  In 1997 Darlene joined the Office of the Public Defender where she practiced until 2011 at which time she opened a private practice with a focus on criminal defense litigation.  Darlene practiced in both State and Federal Courts.  Throughout her time in private practice Darlene maintained a strong interest in returning to an office that handles indigent criminal defense cases.  She joined The Office of the Legal Defender in May of 2019.

    Kristine Alger

    Kristine Alger

    Kristine Maria Alger received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and double-majored in Sociology at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA.  After working as an Applied Behavioral Analysis technician for a year, she left Virginia to attend law school at the University of Arizona.  During law school she participated in the National ABA Moot Court program, the Immigration Law Clinic and the Civil Rights Restoration Clinic.  She earned her Juris Doctor in 2014 and went on to clerk for the Honorable Joan L. Wagener at the Pima County Superior Court, Juvenile Division.  Kristine joined the Legal Defender’s Office in 2015 and considers it her privilege to represent members of the Pima County community who are indigent.

    Stephanie Ryan

    Stephanie graduated from the University of Arizona College of Law in 2013 and joined the Legal Defender’s Office in 2014.  She began her practice with Aggravated DUI cases and now represents clients with all types of felony charges.  Stephanie was born and raised in South Carolina, and proudly cheers for her Clemson Tigers every weekend.  She is also the secretary for the Pima County Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division and serves on the organizational team for the Superior Court’s annual Law Day for high school students.

    Molly Fox

    Molly graduated from the University of Arizona College of Law in 2015. During law school, she worked as a law clerk and 38(d) intern for the Pima County Public Defender’s Office, trying two cases to jury. After graduating with honors, Molly clerked for the Honorable Samuel A. Thumma in the Arizona Court of Appeals, Div. 1. She finished her clerkship in 2016 and immediately joined the Legal Defender’s Office.

    Dmitry Kashtelyan

    Private practice 2010-2012.  Attorney at the Legal Defender's Office from 2012 to present.  Practical experience as a court-certified law student in Oregon (similar to a 38(d) here) and also worked for the Public Defender's Office as a law clerk.  Educated at Lewis and Clark in Portland, OR.  

    Jeff Kautenburger

    Jeff graduated from the University of Arizona College of Law in 2009.  He then served as the law clerk and bailiff to the Honorable Stephen Villarreal at the Pima County Superior Court until 2011.  In May of 2011 he accepted his current attorney position with the Pima County Legal Defender’s Office.

    Ben Griem

    Ben graduated with a BA in Psychology from the University of Arizona in 2008, and obtained his JD from the University of Arizona College of Law in 2011.  He has been licensed as an attorney in Arizona since September 2012 and Colorado since September 2013.  Before working for the Legal Defender, Ben was a law clerk and bailiff for Judge Fell for several years. Ben teaches trial advocacy to various high school, college, and law school students.

    Kara Rooney

    Graduate of the University of Arizona James E. College of Law, 2013; Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Douglas Metcalf, Pima County Superior Court, 2014-2015; Defense attorney with the Law Offices of the Pima County Legal Defender since 2015.

    Matt Messmer

    Graduate of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers  College of Law, 2001, cum laude; University of Arizona, B.A. 1998, summa cum laude; admitted to the State Bar of Arizona, 2001; practical experience as a Law Clerk, Pima County Public Defender, 1999-2000; practical experience as a Rule 38(d) attorney in the University of Arizona Law College Child Advocacy Clinic, 2001; Defense Attorney in the Law Offices of the Pima County Public Defender, 2001-2020; Defense Attorney in the Law Offices of the Pima County Legal Defender since 2020.  

    Chris Kaplan

    Chris Kaplan

    Chris has called Arizona home since 2010 and graduated from the University of Arizona College of law in 2014. He began his career with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and moved on to private practice with Snell & Wilmer before joining the Legal Defender’s Office in 2016. Since 2016, his practice has focused on all aspects of felony criminal defense from arraignment to trial.

    Lynn Allan 

    Lynn graduated from Boston College Law School in 2019.  She spent two years in Alaska clerking for the Superior Court and practicing as a criminal defense attorney.  She was admitted to the Arizona State Bar in 2020 and joined the Legal Defender’s Office in 2021.  

    Christina Billhartz

    Christina graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU in 2018 with a B.A. in journalism and political science. She received her law degree from the University of Arizona in 2021. She was admitted to the Arizona State Bar and began working for the Legal Defender’s Office that same year. 

    Jessica Wakefield

    Jessica Wakefield graduated from Aurora University in 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology. After working as a paralegal, she left Illinois to attend law school at the University of Arizona. During law school she worked as a law clerk for the Legal Defender’s Office and participated in the Innocence Project Clinic. She received her law degree in 2022. She was admitted to the Arizona State Bar and began working as an attorney for the Legal Defender’s Office that same year. 

    Felony Trial Team 2

    Vince Frey - Felony Trial Team 2 Supervisor

    Vincent Frey graduated from Arizona State University in 1983 with a  Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.  He received his law degree from the University of Arizona in 1990. He began working as a public defender in Cochise County in 1991, and served as the Chief Public Defender for Cochise County from 1994 to 1997. Vince Joined the Pima County Legal Defender’s Office in 2010.

    Michelle Metzger

    Michelle Metzger

    Michelle Cohen Metzger received her Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Arizona in 2003. She spent the next two years working at the Hameroff Law Firm as a paralegal before entering law school in 2005. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona in 2008. Ms. Metzger began working as an attorney for the Pima County Legal Defender’s Office in 2009. She spent three years trying exclusively felony DUI cases, gaining a great amount of experience with jury trials. Since then, Ms. Metzger has tried many serious felony-level cases, including Armed Robbery, Drug Sales, Homicide and Home Invasion. Ms. Metzger has given presentations on a variety of legal issues and has been interviewed by local, national and international media. 

    Cynthia Yializis

    Yializis graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 2006, and earned a B.S. from the University of Arizona in 2001. She was admitted to the State Bar of Pennsylvania in 2006 and the State Bar of Arizona in 2014. Before joining the Legal Advocate’s Office at its creation in 2017, Yializis was a Defense Attorney at the Pima County Public Defender’s Office from 2014 to 2017. She also has been an Associate Attorney at Fox Rothschild (2006-2009), ran her own solo law practice (2010-2012), was an Immigration Specialist at the University of Pittsburgh (2011-2012), and was the Assistant Director of the Center of International and Comparative Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (2012-2013). In addition, she has performed pro-bono appellate work with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (2007-2014) and was a writer and editor for NOLO (2010-2013). 



    Suzanne Crawford Felony Trial Team 2

    Felony Appeals Team

    Robb Holmes - Felony Appeals Supervisor

    Robb HolmesRobb Holmes is the appellate section supervisor of the Pima County Legal Defender’s Office.  He has been an Assistant Legal Defender since 1992 and has been the appeals supervisor since 1995.  From 1982 to 1992, he was in private practice in Tucson, Arizona, and served part-time as a Tucson City Court special magistrate and as a Pima County Superior Court Judge Pro Tempore.  He is authorized to practice law in Arizona, California, Arizona Federal District Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.  He received his J.D. degree from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1982.   He received his B.A. degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan in 1977.

    Alex Heveri Felony Appeals

    Adult Dependency Unit

    Kasey Coughlin - Unit Supervisor

    Kasey received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Arizona in 1997.  She worked with juveniles released from the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections for almost two years before leaving to attend law school at the University of San Diego.  During law school she participated in the Child Advocacy Clinic, the Public Interest Law Foundation, and clerked for the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office.  She graduated from law school in 2002 and moved back to Arizona.  After over fifteen years in private practice focusing on family law, dependency and delinquency cases, she joined the Legal Defender’s Office in 2018.  

    Gabriel Munoz

    Gabriel Munoz is an Arizona native who graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Art degree in Journalism in 2005. He graduated from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law in 2012. While at UofA Gabriel participated in the Child and Family Law Clinic where he represented victims of domestic abuse and minors involved with the Department of Child Safety. It was during his work with the Child and Family Law Clinic that Gabriel decided to dedicate his career to working in the field of Juvenile Law. After law school Gabriel was a judicial clerk for the Honorable Catherine Woods, Pima County Superior Court, during her rotation at Pima County Juvenile Court. He then became a staff attorney in 2014 at the Pima County Office of Children’s Counsel where he represented minors in various types of court cases. Gabriel joined the Dependency Unit at the Pima County Legal Defender’s Office in 2018. 

    Erin Redmon

    Erin Redmon attended the University of Arizona, where she completed a master’s degree in public health and worked in pediatric asthma research before earning a law degree in 2015. Following law school, she served as a fellow at the James E. Rogers of Law in the Regulatory Science Program and as a law clerk to the Hon. Joan L. Wagener on the juvenile bench of Pima County Superior Court. She then worked in criminal defense as an assistant public defender for the City of Tucson before joining the Pima County Legal Defender’s Dependency Unit in 2021.

    Amy Chapman

    After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in French from Williams College, Amy worked as a mitigation specialist and paralegal concentrating in felony and capital defense. She then attended the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, where she practiced in the Child Advocacy Clinic. Following law school, Amy clerked for the Hon. Nanette Warner on the Pima County Superior Court bench before continuing in government and private practice. Amy joined the Legal Defender’s Office Dependency Unit with experience advocating in child dependency, criminal defense, and civil practice.

    Sybil Clarke

    Sybil Clarke is a Tucson native who graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 2002. After attending the University of Colorado Law School, she clerked for the Honorable Paul E. Tang on the Pima County Superior Court bench. She then represented Child Protective Services (now known as the Department of Child Safety) as an Assistant Attorney General in Cochise County, before joining the Pima County Office of Children’s Counsel in 2013. Sybil earned a master’s degree in social work from Arizona State University prior to joining the Pima County Legal Defender’s Office Dependency Unit in 2023.

    Katrina Duran

    Katrina Duran attended the University of Arizona, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History & Classics in 2015. She graduated from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law in 2020. During law school, she participated in the Domestic Violence Law Clinic where she represented victims of domestic violence. After law school, Katrina was a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Lisa Abrams, Pima County Superior Court, during her rotation at Pima County Juvenile Court. Katrina joined the Dependency Unit at the Pima County Legal Defender’s Office in 2022.

    Court appointed cases fall under the following categories:

    • Felony Offense:

      A serious criminal charge that is potentially punishable by a sentence that may range from a year in the state department of corrections up to the imposition of the death penalty, and involve fines up to $150,000 plus surcharges.

    • Appeals/Post-Conviction Relief Proceedings:

      If a jury finds that the defendant is guilty of an offense, the defendant is entitled to a direct appeal, which is brought before the Court of Appeals to review for error. A defendant who had a direct appeal is also entitled to appointed counsel for a Post-Conviction Relief proceeding. A defendant who accepts a plea is only entitled to appointed counsel for two Post-Conviction Relief proceedings.

    • Extradition Proceedings:

      When another state seeks the custody of a person currently in Arizona, the other state must obtain that custody through the Extradition process in which the person is entitled to appointed counsel. The Legal Defender’s Office handles nearly all Extradition proceedings in Pima County. If the person is being supervised under the Interstate Compact, he or she is not entitled to appointed counsel.

    • Probation Revocations:

      If a judge has given the defendant probation instead of prison as punishment for committing an offense, and if the probation officer files a paper in court alleging that the defendant has violated a probation condition, the defendant is entitled to appointed counsel at all proceedings seeking to take away probation, change a condition of that probation, or at a re-sentencing (called a disposition) if the judge finds, or the defendant admits, a violation of probation.

    Does the Legal Defender’s Office handle matters other than criminal cases?

    By statute, the Legal Defender's Office may only handle criminal felony cases and extraditions. For civil matters, please contact Southern Arizona Legal Aid (520) 623-9465 or (800) 248-6789, or Lawyer's Referral Service (520) 623-4625.

    How do I retain the services of an Assistant Legal Defender?

    If the judge determines that a person is financially unable to retain a private attorney, then the judge will appoint the Pima County Legal Defender's Office as the person’s legal representative. This appointment usually happens at the first court appearance, which is called an initial appearance. In the case of a conflict of interest, or where the Legal Defender's Office has reached its maximum caseload, the judge may appoint the Pima County Public Defender's Office or an attorney from the Office of Court Appointed Counsel to represent the defendant rather than the Pima County Legal Defender. The Court also typically orders Legal Defender and Public Defender clients to pay "attorney's fees," usually $400. This money is a token fee and goes into the General Fund and not to the Legal or Public Defender Offices or attorneys.

    What if I am not a resident of Pima County, or not a U.S. citizen?

    We represent individuals whom the court assigns us to represent, including non-Pima County residents and non-U.S. citizens.

    What is the difference between an Assistant Legal Defender and an attorney in the private sector?

    Assistant Legal Defenders are dedicated professionals and are passionate about justice. This is not to say that private attorneys are not also passionate about justice. Private attorneys are paid by the client, whereas Pima County Government pays for the salaries and resources of the Legal Defender's Office. Assistant Legal Defenders specialize in the defense of the criminally accused.

    What kind of value do your clients receive?

    Listed below are the estimated costs to defend a client accused of certain crimes by private attorneys (most private attorneys require a retention fee):
    • Death Penalty-eligible offense - $100,000 and up
    • Class 1 and 2 felony offenses (Fraud-Schemes, Manslaughter, 1st degree murder (non-death penalty), 2nd degree murder, arson of an occupied structure, armed robbery) - $50,000 - $100,000
    • Class 3 and 4 felony offenses (theft of means of transportation (Class 3), robbery without accomplice or weapon (Class 4), forgery (usually a Class 4), prohibited possessor (Class 4) - $12,500 - $25,000
    • Class 5 and 6 felony offenses and DUIs (DUIs can be misdemeanors (which we handle only if they are connected to a felony, like criminal damage) or felonies depending on how many a person has had; if a felony, they are Class 4), harassment (Class 5), and witness tampering (Class 6) and possessing or using marijuana under 2 pounds (Class 6) - $7,500 - $12,000

    Can we answer "quick" legal questions?

    Unless you are a client, we cannot give legal advice or answer legal questions. (But see our Court Process and Your Legal Rights tabs for general information.) If you plan to proceed with your case without an attorney, a law library has the reference material to assist you. There is a Law Library at Pima County Superior Court, 110 W. Congress, 2nd floor, (520) 740-8456, as well as at the University of Arizona College of Law, 1201 E. Speedway, (520) 621-5455.

    Can we recommend an attorney?

    We cannot recommend an attorney. However, if you would like assistance in obtaining an attorney, the Lawyer's Referral Service provides referral assistance. Call (520) 623-4625.

    What happens in the court process?

    For information about the court process, please click on the links below.


    Probation is not a reward.  Probation is an opportunity.  Your time (and your life) is not your own. 

    The only people who usually get probation are people who have never been convicted of a felony.   If you are on probation and you had prior convictions, be glad that you now have the opportunity to avoid prison.

    The idea behind probation is to give you structure so you can stay out of trouble and learn how to stay out of trouble after you get off probation.  That is why people on probation, for example, are not allowed to hang out with other people on probation, are not allowed to drink alcohol, and need to check in with their Probation Officers (POs) regularly.

    You must follow probation rules because while you are on probation, your time (and your life) is not your own.  When you are on probation, it may seem like your life is back to normal because you can eat at your favorite fast-food place or hang-out with your family, but the Pima County Adult Probation Department and the Pima County Superior Court judge who imposed your probation keep track of your time and what you do “on the outside.”

    Probation is a shock, and it’s hard.

    For most people, being on probation is a shock.  Every time you fail to follow the rules, that means you have violated a probation condition.  We’ll get to that later. 

    Not only are the rules a shock, but you may not get along with your PO because every PO is different.  Some POs approach their job in an easy-going manner.  Other POs are strict.  Both types of POs and every type in-between are truly and really trying to help you even when it seems that they are “against” you.  

    Probation is hard.  It is punishment.  It’s not as harsh as going to prison or jail, but it is designed to help you “work on getting better,” whatever that may mean in your particular situation, such as getting a job, getting your high school diploma or GED, or simply showing your PO that you can follow the rules. 

    You can succeed, you can make it.

    You can succeed on probation.  You can succeed on probation even when you have a probation officer you don’t like (you just have to try harder).  

    You can succeed by following through with all probation rules and conditions:  report on time and in person; make sure to give your probation officer notice when there’s an emergency; report law enforcement contacts; follow all other lawful rules and orders given by your PO.  If you show your PO that you are serious about making the effort to follow the rules, even if those rules seem stupid to you, you will gain some respect from PO.

    Prison is the only other option.

    Probation is the one alternative to prison that is available in Superior Court.  There is no house arrest, there is no ankle monitoring (at least for now), and there is no community service substitute (although community service is usually a part of probation).  In other words, if you don’t want to do probation, you go to prison.  Keep that in mind the next time you are struggling to do what your PO is telling you to do, because your PO is certainly thinking about preparing what's called a "petition to revoke probation"  (see more about this below) if you don’t do what they say.  No matter how bad things seem on probation, probation is probably way better than prison.

    Getting along with your PO.

    Think of your PO as the most important boss you have ever had.  If you’ve never had a boss, then now you do.  

    If your PO is not happy with your attitude or your compliance (following the rules), they have the authority to make more rules that you must follow. You, of course, hold the power to follow those rules. 

    Remember, the POs are trying to help you.  You need to help them help you.  They can't do it all--they need you to partner with them in your success. 

    POs do not owe their probationers any favors or slack.  In fact, some POs from the probationer's perspective, appear to give their probationers a really hard time—sort of like a military drill sergeant might. POs have the authority to do this (give you more rules you must follow), but no authority to ask you to do anything illegal. If you think that is happening, you should contact your lawyer immediately.

    Here is an example: Outside of the PO-probationer relationship, it would be completely inappropriate for anyone to show up to someone’s house at 2 a.m., come inside, and look through the person’s dresser drawers and kitchen cabinets to see if the person is hiding drugs or alcohol.  And yet, that is exactly what POs and SOs (Surveillance Officers) are expected to do with their probationers.  Don’t make the mistake of looking at your relationship with your PO through the same lens or by the same standards as the rest of your relationships.  

    Repeat the following to yourself whenever you feel your PO is just not giving you respect: “I will earn my PO’s respect!”  If you show your PO that you do what you are told and stay out of trouble, eventually your PO will back off and you will be stepped down to a lower supervision level until eventually you can finish off probation on unsupervised probation.  If you are determined to stay out of prison, do what your PO requires of you and they will respect you for it. 

    Seek help from your attorney before problems with your PO end up with you sitting in jail.

    You are not alone on probation; your lawyer can help when things just seem completely unfair.  

    Although by the time you are on probation the case is officially over, your lawyer still can play a role to counsel you about things that relate directly to the case.  How probation is going is something that relates directly to the case. 

    If you are having trouble with probation or you feel that the PO is requiring things of you that are not appropriate or too extreme, contact your lawyer.  Your lawyer can discuss the details with you and figure out what the right thing to do is.  You and your lawyer might figure out either that (1) what you are feeling is simply the stress and anxiety that probationers are expected to experience while on probation, or (2) there are actually places where you need to step up your performance, or in rare circumstances, (3) your PO is doing inappropriate things with your supervision that need to be brought to the Court’s attention. 

    Don’t make decisions about your probation without speaking with your lawyer first! Just disappearing and falling out of touch with your PO is a sure-fire way to end up in jail and on your way to prison.  Most people can’t tell on their own why they are having a hard time with  probation, but your lawyer may be able to give you ideas about how to succeed—whether it’s a letter or phone call to the PO, a motion to the Court, or just some insight into the situation, your lawyer can help you. 

    Getting off probation.

    In Pima County, a probationer can usually only qualify for early termination of probation if he or she has paid off all fines and fees.  Until all fines and fees have been paid off, it will be difficult to end your probation supervision.  In fact, probation can be extended if you have fines, fees, restitution, and other court-ordered financial obligations that haven’t been paid. 

    In contrast, if you have paid off all of your fines and fees, call your lawyer and ask them to file a motion to terminate probation for you.  The first step is to contact your lawyer and he or she will then tell you what to do next. 

    Undesignated offenses.

    In Arizona, class 6 felonies are undesignated until a Court designates them as felonies or if the conviction is the result of a plea agreement that requires that the offense be designated as a felony.  What this means is that an undesignated class 6 felony conviction can be turned into a misdemeanor conviction.  Until that happens, however, the conviction is treated as a felony conviction.  

    Designation as a misdemeanor is NOT automatic.  

    If you never ask the Court to designate an undesignated offense as a misdemeanor, it will never stop being a felony.  Most judges will not designate a class 6 offense as a misdemeanor until the person has completed probation; however, there may be reasons a judge would be willing to do an earlier designation.  If you have questions about that, call your lawyer.  

    Picking up a new offense while you have an undesignated class 6 felony on your record means that it will likely be a felony forever.  Don’t delay asking the Court for the misdemeanor. 

    You can ask the Court for the designation as a misdemeanor yourself (there are forms available in the Pima County Superior Court Clerk’s office for people to use) or you can ask your lawyer to help you.  Your lawyer will be able to tell you some of the factors that will determine whether the Court is likely or not likely to designate your offense a misdemeanor. 

    Petitions to revoke probation.

    If you mess-up on probation, your PO will file a “petition to revoke” your probation.  Petitions to revoke are pleadings filed in Court before the judge who sentenced you.  The petition will contain various allegations, such as you drank alcohol, or you didn't get permission before you moved, or you weren't where you were supposed to be on your pre-arranged schedule.  99% of the time, you will be arrested and taken into custody on the petition to revoke probation.  At your initial appearance on the petition to revoke probation, you have three choices:  Admit, Deny, Decide What to Do Later. 

    If you admit one or more “allegations” (such as:  you were not where you were supposed to be on your Intensive Probation Supervision schedule, you failed to show-up in person to the PO’s office, or you failed to go to counseling), then the judge will set a disposition hearing (like a second sentencing hearing) in approximately 20 days.  The judge will usually have every sentencing option open, including putting you back on probation.  You will likely remain in custody while waiting for your disposition.

    Option 2, Deny, means that you deny that you violated the alleged probation conditions the PO is saying you violated in the petition to revoke.  The judge will then set a Violation Hearing where the state must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that you committed one of more of the alleged probation violations.  “By a preponderance of the evidence” means that it is more likely than not that you violated your probation.  It is a much lower standard than “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”  If the judge finds that you violated one or more of the probation conditions, the judge will set a Disposition hearing within 20 days after the Violation Hearing.  If the judge finds that you did not violate any probation condition, then the judge will put you back on probation. 

    Option 3, Delay, means that the judge will set another hearing for you in several days at which you can then decide whether you want to Admit or Deny. 

    Under all three options, you will almost always remain in custody. 

    Understand Your Legal Rights

    What to do if you are stopped by the police:

    • Be calm. Don't Panic. Don't run.
    • Don't hit or resist the police.
    • Be courteous. Getting smart just makes things worse.
    • Show the police your identification, when asked, or give your name, age, and address. Never lie about these facts.
    • You need not say anything else. Anything else you do or say can be used against you in court.

    When stopped in your car by the police:

    • Show your identification or give your name, age, address, car registration, and insurance documentation when asked.
    • You do not need to answer any other questions.
    • If the police want to search the vehicle you have the right to refuse the search. If they begin to search without your permission, do not attempt to stop them.

    What to do when you are arrested:

    • The police can use force if you resist arrest even if you are innocent of any crime. Don't fight being arrested!
    • If the police ask to search you, tell them you are not consenting to a search. You have a right to request not to be searched, but do not try to stop the search.
    • Advise the police that you want to remain silent until you have spoken to a lawyer (and/or your parents if you are a minor). Do not make any verbal and/or sign any written statements to the police before speaking to an attorney.
    • If you cannot afford to pay for a lawyer, you may have the right to a free lawyer.

    What to do when you are taken to the police station:

    • If you are not free to leave, ask to call a lawyer or your parents if you are a minor. You have the right to make a telephone call.
    • Remember at all these times, except when asked to identify yourself, you have the right:
      1. To remain silent.
      2. To have a lawyer and or your parents (if you are a minor) present.

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    Legal Defender

    33 N. Stone Ave., 9th Flr
    Tucson, AZ 85701

    Phone: (520) 724-5775
    Fax: (520) 770-4169

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