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Civil Traffic Case

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CoutroomThe Gilbert Municipal Court has jurisdiction over civil traffic violations committed within the Town of Gilbert. Many civil traffic violations result in a fine. No jail time or probation can be imposed for a civil traffic violation.

The following information is intended to provide a brief description of the options available to you when you receive a civil traffic citation, including your rights and duties.

If you receive a civil traffic citation, you have the following options:
  • Attend Defensive Driving School: If you have been charged with a moving violation and meet the eligibility requirements, you may attend Defensive Driving School before your arraignment date, and the charge will then be dismissed; or
  • Pay the fine in full: You may pay the amount of the fine listed on the bond card for your charge(s) before your arraignment date. If paid in full, the conviction will be reported to MVD and the case will be closed.
  • Appear on your arraignment date: If neither of the above options applies, you must appear in the Gilbert Municipal Court on the arraignment date indicated on your citation. If you fail to appear for your arraignment date, a default judgment may be entered against you in the amount of the fine and your driving privileges may be suspended until the judgment is paid in full.

At the civil traffic arraignment date: 
On your arraignment date, the Judge will

  • confirm your true name and address
  • advise you of the civil violation(s) that you are facing
  • tell you the fine amount you could face for the charge(s)
  • ask you how you would like to plead to the charge(s)

On the arraignment date, the Judge will not be able to hear testimony from you or your witnesses on this date. If you present proof of insurance or registration for the violation date, the Judge may dismiss such charges at this time, but the Judge will not have the authority to dismiss other types of violations at the arraignment date.

How should I plead at my arraignment date?

Not Responsible - This means that you are informing the court that you deny guilt and that the state must prove that you committed the civil traffic violation(s). If you enter a plea of not responsible on your arraignment date, the Judge will set your case for a Civil Traffic Hearing on a future court date.

Plea of Responsible - You admit that you committed the violation, that the act is prohibited by law and that you have no legal defense for your act. A plea of responsible will result in the civil traffic conviction being reported to MVD, where other consequences may be imposed. Once you plead responsible, the judge will determine your civil traffic sanction and due date. Fines that cannot be paid in full on the date they are imposed are subject to a statewide $20.00 time payment fee.

What happens at a Civil Traffic Hearing?
At a civil traffic hearing, the State’s witness(es), usually the officer who cited you, will attempt to prove that you committed the civil traffic violation on your citation. The State must prove a civil traffic violation by a preponderance of the evidence. The State may also present diagrams, photographs, or other evidence at the hearing.
At the hearing, you are entitled to hear all of the testimony the State presents against you. You have the right to question any of the witnesses who testify against you. You also have the right to testify on your own behalf if you want to, but if you choose not to testify, your refusal cannot be used against you in determining your guilt or innocence. You may call witnesses of your own to testify on your behalf. You may ask the Judge to issue subpoenae that require the witnesses to appear and testify on the trial date. You may also present diagrams, photographs and other forms of evidence if you wish. You do not have the right to have a public defender represent you at a civil traffic hearing, but you may be represented by a private attorney of your choice if you wish.

If you are found responsible after the hearing, the hearing Judge will then determine your civil traffic sanction.

You have the right to appeal your civil traffic hearing after a hearing. The Court will provide you with instructions on how to do so.

Civil Traffic Fines

Court Building

If you plead responsible to, or are found responsible for, a civil traffic violation, the Judge may impose a fine. In most cases, civil traffic fines may not exceed $250.00 plus surcharges. However, fines for certain offenses where there are prior convictions can be much higher than that. If you cannot pay your fine in full on the date it is imposed, the Judge will add a $20.00 time payment fee to the total and give you additional instructions in writing.

The current civil traffic violation fine schedule tells you the standard fine for most civil traffic offenses. If you wish to plead responsible and simply pay the fine, refer to this schedule for the amount to pay and send the payment in full by mail or our on-line payment system.

Civil Traffic Appeals
If you were found responsible at a civil traffic hearing, you have the right to appeal your conviction to a higher court. For a guidebook on how to appeal a civil traffic conviction, go to the Arizona Judicial Branch official site.The Judge will inform you after your hearing that you have fourteen days to file your Notice of Appeal with the Gilbert Municipal Court, otherwise you will lose the right to appeal. After your notice is filed, the Judge will mail you additional instructions and deadlines. Your fines, if any, will be collected and held as an appeal bond pending the outcome of the appeal.