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Arrested in Arizona But Live Out of State

It is very common for people to travel throughout the United States, especially for work, to see family, or for vacations. And sometimes when someone is travelling in a different state, they end up being arrested and facing criminal charges.

We typically see out-of-towners get arrested in Arizona for driving under the influence (DUI), drug possession, assault, sexual assault, shoplifting, etc. If you were visiting Arizona and you were arrested, booked down at the station and ultimately charged, you may be wondering, “Do I have to travel to Arizona for court dates or can I somehow do it by phone?” This question comes up all the time.

Can You Plead By Phone?

Here’s the deal: If you were charged with a misdemeanor in Arizona and you live out-of-state or 100 or more miles away from the court overseeing your case, it is possible for the court to authorize a telephonic plea.

But for a telephonic plea to be authorized by the court, the plea has to be in writing, and a law enforcement officer must be able to certify that you signed a no contest or guilty form applying to a petty offense or a misdemeanor. Additionally, the law enforcement officer must have attached your fingerprint to that form.

“Can I make a plea in writing?” If you wish to make a written plea of no contest or guilty for a misdemeanor offense, the court may accept a written plea if it is convinced that a personal appearance by you would create undue hardship because of:

  • Illness,
  • Incarceration (someplace else),
  • Physical incapacity, or
  • It would be too far to travel.

If an out-of-state defendant submits a written plea to an Arizona court, he or she must comply with the requirements set forth in Rule 17. The defendant must sign the written plea and have it acknowledged by a notary public.

If you notice, the above information applies strictly to misdemeanors and guilty or no contest pleas. If you are facing criminal charges stemming from an Arizona arrest and need information about pleading not guilty to your charge or defending a felony case, we urge you to contact our Phoenix criminal defense firm to get the help you need.

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