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 Trial 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 Trial 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).