What it Means When Your Criminal Case is “Scratched”

Phoenix DUI Lawyer | Criminal Rights Phoenix AZ

Article by: James Novak, Phoenix DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney
If were arrested for a Phoenix DUI or Criminal Charges in Phoenix, or other cities within Maricopa County, sometimes you will learn your Initial Appearance Hearing was “scratched” from the docket. People often want to know if the charges are gone for good or if they can be brought later.

After a person is arrested, the County Attorney reviews the police report and evidence and decides of formal charges should be filed in Phoenix Court. If the Maricopa County Attorney does not file a complaint or charges with the court within 48 hours of your arrest and initial appearance hearing, then the hearing is “scratched”. It can mean a number of things have occurred including but not limited to the following:

1) The Phoenix Criminal Charges will not be filed.

2) If the charges are filed, the Maricopa County Attorney will ask for a summons to be delivered to the address you provided at the time you were arrested.

3) A warrant may be issued for your arrest.

4) The County Attorney may decide further investigation or evidence is needed to justify the filing of formal charges. They have 7 hears to file felony charges and one year to file misdemeanor charges.

If your case was scratched, for an unknown reason, and you move from the address you gave the police at the time of your arrest in the meantime, the County Attorney’s Office asks that you notify them of your address change and provide them with your police report number (also called “DR number”).


If you have been arrested in Maricopa County for AZ DUI other criminal charges contact the Law Office of James Novak, for your Free Consultation at (480) 413-1499. Speak directly with experienced Arizona criminal Defense and DUI Defense Attorney and James Novak (Former Prosecutor). The Law Office of James Novak is devoted 100% to defending DUI, Drug & criminal charges in valley wide within Maricopa County including Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert Arizona and surrounding cities.

This article is intended to provide general information only, to generate discussion, and increase awareness of a particular topic. It is not intended as specific legal advice. You should not rely upon this information alone, but should consult legal counsel regarding the application of the laws and regulations discussed and as applied to your specific case or circumstances.

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