Prosecuting Criminals

"The first duty of society is justice." Carved above the entrance to the South Tower of the Maricopa County Superior Court, these words by Alexander Hamilton aptly describe the work our prosecutors carry out each and every day on behalf of the public to hold criminals accountable for their actions.

Separate divisions within the Maricopa County Attorney's Office are tasked with handling different types of cases.
Most cases are handled by attorneys in the Community-Based Prosecution Division while more serious offenses are assigned to one of ten specialized crime bureaus organized in the Major Offenders Division, Organized Crime Division, and Special Victims Division.

The Juvenile Crimes Division handles cases involving minors under the age of 18 accused of delinquent and incorrigible acts. "Delinquent" acts are misdemeanor or felony offenses while "incorrigible" acts are status offenses such as truancy or curfew violations.

The Investigations Division provides a range of services to support litigation and case management needs throughout the County Attorney's Office. Comprised of sworn law enforcement officers and civilian specialists, the Investigations Division also assists local law enforcement agencies and community members with a variety of activities to ensure the safety of county residents.

The Path to Prosecution

Each of the more than 30,000 criminal cases the County Attorney's Office prosecutes each year is unique. But most follow a similar path, beginning in the Pretrial Division, which oversees intake, charging and preliminary hearings, and then assigns the case to a prosecutor in the appropriate geographic bureau in the Community-Based Prosecution Division or one of the specialized crime bureaus in the Major Offenders, Organized Crime, or Special Victims Divisions. Probation violations and other post-conviction motions (other than Rule 32 Motions for Post-Conviction Relief) are handled by the Probation Violation Bureau.

See an overview of the adult criminal trial process or the adult criminal trial flowchart (PDF).
  1. Adult Criminal Trial Process

    Access a brief description of the process to prosecute an adult accused of committing a felony offense.

  2. Community-Based Prosecution Division

    The Community-Based Prosecution Division is organized into 4 separate bureaus to address these regional differences.

  3. Criminal Justice Links

    Find a variety of online criminal justice resources.

  4. Felony Pretrial Intervention Program

    The Felony Pretrial Intervention Program is an alternative to traditional court prosecution. The main goal of the program is to reduce recidivism by requiring defendants to complete treatment programs that are targeted to their individual needs.

  5. Investigations Division

    The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Investigations Division is comprised of sworn and civilian positions that support the prosecutorial efforts of the Maricopa County Attorney.

  6. Juvenile Crimes Division

    The Juvenile Crimes Division is responsible for the prosecution of delinquent and incorrigible children between ages 8 and 18.

  7. Major Offenders Division

    The bureaus of the Major Offenders Division handle cases involving dangerous, violent and repeat felony offenders as well as death penalty cases.

  8. Organized Crime Division

    The Organized Crime Division focuses on complex cases involving criminal syndicates, human and drug smuggling organizations, fraudulent schemes, white collar crimes and prostitution.

  9. Prosecutorial Ethics & Professional Standards

    Every new prosecutor in Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is personally sworn in by the Maricopa County Attorney.

  10. Special Victims Division

    Prosecutors in the Special Victims Division address crimes involving victims of domestic violence, sex offenses and auto theft.