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Surprise Municipal Court’s primary function is to fairly and impartially adjudicate all cases filed in the court and to effectively obtain compliance with the court’s orders. We also provide the best possible service to the public by courteously and promptly answering questions and assisting all persons having business at the court, and by ensuring proper and timely accounting for both the judicial and financial activities of the Court. We pledge to faithfully execute the judicial and administrative duties of the Municipal Court as prescribed by law.
What We Do
The Surprise City Court handles cases ranging from minor traffic violations to Class 1 misdemeanors that carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine, plus surcharges.
The Court is a separate branch of city government and a part of the statewide court system, subject to the authority of the Arizona Supreme Court.
To learn more about the Arizona Supreme Court, visit: http://www.azcourts.gov
Find out when you have to appear in court. The current court calendar is available for download. Please select your search option:
To search a calendar document by Last Name:
Please Note: The Surprise City Court has adopted a case management policy (AO 09-11) that establishes a total number of case settings for each case filing as follows:
If you have been cited for a criminal misdemeanor offense, you must appear at the Surprise City Court on the designated court date and time. At a criminal arraignment, you are advised of the charges pending against you. If you plead guilty or are found guilty, all fines assessed are due on the same day (please refer to the Fines & Restitution page for more information).
If you choose to plead not guilty, the Court will set a pretrial conference where you will have the opportunity to talk with a City Prosecutor to discuss possible plea negotiations. Be aware that the City Prosecutor is not your attorney and he/she is prohibited from providing you legal advice on how your case should be handled.
An arraignment is a court appearance in which you are formally notified of the charges that have been filed against you. There are basically three options:
There is a $34 fee for the Superior Court record, and $51 administrative fee for the Surprise City Court. Total due is $85. This fee covers the cost of making a CD of the proceedings and must be paid the same day that the notice of appeal is filed. If more than one CD is required (if the hearing is longer than 60 minutes), you will be required to obtain the services of a court reporter to prepare a written transcript. You will be charged for the preparation of the transcript. In the event that you must hire a court reporter, you may set up a payment arrangement with the court reporter directly.
An appeal bond may not be required to stay the conviction and sentence on a criminal case. This means that during the appeal process, the conviction and sentence that was entered against you is placed on hold until the Superior Court makes a decision on the case.
You may have an attorney represent you during the appeal process. You may also proceed pro-per (acting as your own attorney).
The Court may appoint an attorney for certain criminal appeals. You must first be deemed indigent. To attain this status, you must submit a written request for a public defender and provide a sworn financial statement for the Surprise City Court to rule on.
If you cannot afford the costs associated with the appeal process, you may ask the Court to consider you indigent. In order to attain this status, you must provide a sworn financial statement for the Surprise City Court to rule on.
Upon receipt of your notice of appeal and your written memorandum, the Surprise City Court will forward a complete copy of your case to you and the state.
A memorandum is a written statement that you send to the Surprise City Court setting forth the legal issues and legal reasons why you are appealing the judgment of the Surprise City Court.
Once the Surprise City Court has received both the appellate memorandum (from the party filing the appeal) and appellee memorandum (from the opposing party), the case will be forwarded to the Maricopa County Superior Court. Failure to pay any costs or fees, or to respond to any notices from the City Court or Superior Court may result in your appeal being dismissed. You should read and respond to all notices received from either court.
When you receive a citation that contains a civil traffic offense only, you have several options:
An appeal is a request to a higher court to review the decision of a lower court. On appeal, no new evidence is introduced. The higher court is limited to considering whether the lower court erred on a question of law or gave a decision plainly contrary to the evidence presented during trial.
How do I file an appeal?
If you decide to appeal a decision made against you for a criminal violation, or a citation with both criminal and civil traffic violations, you must file a NOTICE OF APPEAL with the Surprise City Court within 14 calendar days from date of judgment. If you fail to file an appeal before this time period expires, you will lose your right to appeal.
What costs are involved?
Can I have an attorney represent me for my appeal?
You may have an attorney represent you during the appeal process. You may also proceed proper (acting as your own attorney).
Will the Court appoint me an attorney?
What if I cannot afford the costs of an appeal?
What is a memorandum and when does it need to be filed?
A juvenile is considered to be any individual who is under the age of 18 years. All juvenile civil traffic violations are treated in the same manner with the same penalties as an adult civil traffic violation. A parent or legal guardian must be present at all court appearances.
If a juvenile fails to appear, or fails to comply with any court order, the Court will direct the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department to suspend the juvenile’s driver’s license.
Juvenile Criminal Offenses are filed by the Police Department in the Juvenile Division of the Superior Court.
If you were cited with a charge and the accompanying fine can be reduced, suspended, or dismissed with proper proof of correction, it will be necessary for you to mail or bring in the proof along with any reduced fine that will be imposed. Contact the Court for assistance with determining the amount of the reduced fine.
Driver's License Violations
If the charge is for failure to provide or carry a valid driver's license, the fine can be suspended by providing a valid driver's license. Refer to the bond schedule for more information.
Proof of correction of an equipment or mechanical violation may reduce the fine if receipts of repair or purchase are provided to the court.
If you provide proof to the Court showing that the vehicle involved was insured on the date and time the complaint was issued, the charge will be dismissed.
If you are found in violation of A.R.S. § 28-4135(A), (B) and (C), the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) will administratively suspend your driving privileges and the registration of the vehicle being driven at the time of the violation. The monetary penalties associated with violations of the above referenced statute remain the same and are:
The statute also allows the court to reduce or waive the penalty imposed for a violation of A.R.S. § 28-4135 B&C if the person provides proof of both the following items:
The statute allows the court to:
Upon receipt of the record of judgment, MVD is responsible for entering a suspension of the defendant’s driver license and/or registration/plates in their system. In order to ensure that the defendant is in compliance with the suspension and to receive timely notification from MVD, the defendant must ensure that MVD has their most current address.
The suspension of the defendant’s driver license/registration/plates is not effective until MVD mails the Corrective Action Notice to the address of record. Service of notice is considered complete upon the mailing of the Corrective Action Notice. The Corrective Action Notice will provide information of the effective date for the suspension and reinstatement requirements (e.g., fees, SR22, proof of insurance, etc).
Defendants may be eligible for a MVD issued restricted license if they obtain a SR22, proof of insurance and they comply with the additional criteria established by the MVD.
To determine eligibility and for any other questions regarding suspension, defendants should contact MVD at:
The CAPP program is a partnership between Sun Health Del E. Webb Hospital, the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, police departments, and municipal/justice courts designed to educate families about:
Class is taught by certified child passenger safety technicians. The classes are open to the public and cited drivers with the opportunity to receive a child safety seat upon completion of class. Proof of successful completion of the CAPP program will result in suspension of any fines resulting from a citation for not using a child safety seat. Also refer to the bond schedule for more information.
For more information about CAPP including class locations and schedules visit the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety website or call 602-255-3216.
The Surprise City Court allows Defensive Driving Classes for persons who receive tickets for specific moving traffic violations. There are several requirements that must be met before you are deemed eligible to attend.
To be eligible:
If you have received more than one violation, and were granted an extension of the court date by this Court, the extension covers only the violation for which you plan to attend school. All other violations must be handled with the Court by the original court date as written on the ticket by the officer.
If you meet the eligibility requirements listed above, you may enroll in the Defensive Driving Program. Some classes are available in Spanish. To enroll, you must call the toll-free number or visit the website listed below.
On the day of the class, you must bring your driver’s license, your copy of the citation, pencil and paper for instructions, and a money order in the required amount. If you lost your citation, you must return to the Court to get a copy. If you fail to bring a copy of your citation to class, you will not be permitted to attend.
NOTE: Cash or Personal Checks will not be accepted at the defensive driving class.
You must complete the program at least 7 days before your assigned court date. Upon completion of the program, the traffic school will notify the Court. If the citation had only one charge, your case will be deemed complete. However, if other charges remain, you are responsible for them and may need to visit the Court to settle the case.
The information below will assist you with calculating and paying the amount due for your civil traffic and/or criminal violations. If you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the Court.
If you are financially unable to meet your court ordered obligation on the day of sentencing, you may request a payment plan. This can only be considered once you have completed the detailed financial application and make a required down payment.
Payments are accepted in person at the front counter located in the lobby of the Court during business hours.
Court Address / Map:
The Court accepts the following payment types:
THIRD PARTY Check are NOT accepted
Note: Personal checks NOT accepted on cases with an active warrant.
You can drop off violation payments to the Court in a specially designated payment drop box located in front of the Court near the mailboxes. The payment drop box is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No cash payments please.
Mail your payment to:
Please include your citation or case number on the envelope.
Please do not send cash.
For Civil Traffic Charges, the Court will:
Suspend driving privileges and Administrative Fees totaling $100 will be added to your total obligation.
For Criminal Traffic Charges, the Court will issue:
A warrant for your arrest, your driving privileges will be suspended, and Administrative Fees totaling $250 will be added to your total obligation.
For Criminal Charges, the Court will issue:
A warrant for your arrest and Administrative Fees totaling $200 will be added to your total obligation.
The Court expects that fines will be paid in full and as quickly as possible. These expectations are expressed in notices from the Court, or on behalf of the Court emphasizing payment due on the date of sentencing.
A.R.S. 28-645A3A and 28-647.1- State law requires all persons to attend and successfully complete Traffic Survival School (TSS) for those found responsible for a red light or flashing red light violation, unless they are eligible and attend Defensive Driving School. If you are required to attend TSS, you will receive notice from Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) that will provide additional information.
A.R.S. 28-907A-CHILD PASSENGER RESTRAINT- To reduce the fine to $0, please mail a purchase receipt for a child passenger restraint system after date and time complaint was issued OR complete a CAPP class and charge shall be dismissed upon proof of completion. For more information about CAPP, visit the Traffic Court page.
A.R.S. 28-2153A- NO PROOF OF REGISTRATION- To reduce the fine to $140, mail or fax proof of current AZ registration. Send check/money order or provide credit/debit card information before your court date unless other arrangements have been made. Click here for the Court address.
A.R.S. 28-3169A- NO DRIVER LICENSE IN POSSESSION- Mail or present valid proof of current driver license to have the sanction reduced to zero. Click here for the Court address.
The Surprise City Court may have received payment on your behalf through the Arizona State Income Tax Inception Program. Please note that although a refund intercept satisfies fines due at this court, driving privileges will remain suspended through MVD until reinstatement fees are paid. Reinstatement fees may be paid at any MVD office.
MVD General Public Phone Numbers
Drivers License Reinstatement
Please look for your group number to determine the status of your jury duty. The Jury Duty call line is 623 222-4810.
Jury duty at the Surprise City Court usually lasts the length of one trial, normally 1-2 days. The evening before your jury service date, please call 623.222.4810. A pre-recorded message will tell you if you are to report, if you have been placed on stand-by, excused, or if you have been reassigned. For your convenience the recording is in operation between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 a.m.
If you must report for jury duty, please plan to arrive by 7:45a.m. and no later than 8:00a.m. Late arrivals are subject to rescheduling with or without pay. Failure to appear or to reschedule your appearance will subject you to a possible fine of $100.00 for contempt of court, pursuant to A.R.S. 21-334. Further, please do not bring children, relatives, or friends with you on the day you report for jury duty.
The Court realizes prospective jurors may have been summoned at an inconvenient time and is willing to defer service to a more convenient time in most instances. If you are unable to report for jury duty on the date you were summoned, you may request ONE postponement.
Please call the Office of the Jury Commissioner at 602.372.JURY (602.372.5879) or on the Internet through the Jury Services website. If you appear but are not selected, your term of service will conclude and you will not be summoned again by this Court for at least 18 months.
Upon arrival at the court prospective jurors will be directed to a jury assembly room for processing. Although we attempt to make jury service as convenient and efficient as possible, jurors should be advised that there can be extended waiting periods. Please feel free to bring a book, magazine, laptop computer, or something else to occupy your time quietly.
There are several court buildings in the vicinity which can be confusing for our visitors. Hopefully, the directions below will help you locate the Surprise City Court. Please call us at 623.222.4800 if you have trouble finding the City Court.
The Surprise City Court is located at the far west end of the Public Safety Building, at the corner of Paradise Lane and Civic Center Plaza.
View online map and directions
The Surprise City Court has full-time security personnel who are stationed at the main entrance to the court. Everyone who visits the court must pass through a metal detector. In addition, your personal belongings may be subject to search. The following is a list of items that are not allowed into the courthouse under any circumstances:
If you require special ADA accommodations inside the Court building, please call 623-222-4800 (TTY 623.222.4802) at least three (3) days prior to Court appearance.
The mission of the Surprise City Court is to provide excellent customer service. In return the Court expects all visitors to respect the Court and its staff. Here are some important tips you should know before visiting the Court:
Language Access Plan: English
Limited English (LEP) Complaint Form: English | Spanish
Surprise City Court records are available to the public. Record requests will be accepted at the Court in person, by mail, or by facsimile. You may fax your request to 623.222.4801, Attention Records. Telephone requests will not be accepted and responses will not be returned by facsimile.
Upon receipt of a request for court records, the Surprise City Court will assess the following fees:
Any and all requests to complete a name search in order to obtain case information will be subject to a Research Request Fee (A.R.S. 22-404). A research request fee may include up to three (3) names per request or three (3) cases per name. The fee for the Research Request is $17 plus a 50-cent per page fee if copies are requested on a case. There is an additional $17 Clerk Fee per request. Additional fee(s) will be assessed for certification of case information and digital records. Fees will not be waived.
All copy requests are subject to a 50-cent per page fee (A.R.S. 12-115). This is addition to all other fees.
A request may be made for a copy of matters that have been digitally recorded. All copies are made on compact disks. A $17 record duplication fee will be assessed per copy. This is addition to all other fees.
A request may be made for a certification of case information. The cost for certification of case information is $17 per certification in addition to all other fees.
Forms of Payment
Payment may be made in the form of money order, bank certified check, Visa or MasterCard. No personal checks will be accepted for these services. Payment is due in full at time of filing request.
Any court in the State of Arizona can issue Protection Orders. The purpose of a Protection Order is to restrain a person from committing an act of harassment or domestic violence. These types of cases are given high priority. After regular Court business hours, and during weekends and holidays, any police officer can assist you in obtaining an emergency order of protection. It is best to obtain a protection order from the court in your community; however, if the situation involves minor children common to the adult parties, please contact Maricopa County Superior Court.
The Court will provide you with the proper forms to file a petition for a protection order. Please come prepared to provide sworn testimony to support your petition. Have specific dates, time, and places for events, which you feel constitute the issuance of the protection order. There is no Court Fee for filing a petition for a protection order. If the protection order is granted, it must be served within one year and is valid for one year after service of the original Order. Violation of the Order may result in arrest and prosecution. Violations are prosecuted in the jurisdiction where the violation occurred, under A.R.S. 13-2810, Interference with Judicial Proceedings, a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
When seeking relief from harassment or domestic violence, the relationship test determines if you need an Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment. To obtain an Order of Protection, the abusive party (the defendant) MUST be one of the following:
An Order of Protection will not be ordered if the petition reveals that an action for maternity, paternity, annulment, and dissolution of marriage or legal separation is pending. If, after issuance of an Order, the Court determines that a domestic relations action is pending, all documents relating to the Order will be transferred to the Superior Court.
An Injunction Against Harassment is similar procedurally to the Order of Protection but is governed by a different statute and is different in scope. An Injunction is not limited to domestic violence cases. An Injunction often is sought in connection with disputes between neighbors or landlords and tenants.
Unlike Orders of Protection, there is no “relationship test” for issuance of an Injunction. Therefore, the Injunction is frequently used as a protection mechanism for persons not eligible for an Order of Protection, such as unrelated persons.
If you are the victim of a crime with a case pending before this court, you are advised that you have rights to justice and due process under Arizona law that, among others, include
If you have not already been provided with a written statement of all victims’ rights, please contact the victim advocate in the prosecutor’s office at (623) 222-1177.
Si Usted es la víctima de un crimen con un caso pendiente ante este tribunal, por la presente se le informa que Usted tiene determinados derechos de acuerdo a las leyes de Arizona, que incluyen, entre otros:
Si usted no ha sido proporcionado con una declaración por escrito de todos los derechos de víctima, por favor comuníquese con defensor de victimas al (623) 222-1177.
Helpful questions and answers related to court dates, jury duty, changes of address, warrants, license suspensions and more are listed below. Contact us if you don't find the answer to your question below.
If you have been cited for a civil traffic violation, you may pay your fine through the mail or over the phone with a credit card prior to your court date.
If you have been cited for a criminal violation, you may file for an extension. Court date extensions must be requested in writing prior to your court date. Extensions are not automatically granted. If good cause cannot be shown, the extension will not be granted and you will have to appear on your original court date.
There are various courts in the City of Surprise. The address of the court in which you are to appear is written at the bottom of your citation. The Surprise City Court is located at 16081 N. Civic Center Plaza 623.222.4800, and handles cases ranging from minor traffic violations to Class I, II, and III misdemeanors, as well as Protection Orders.
Superior Court: The Northwest Regional Superior Court is located at 14264 W. Tierra Buena Lane in Surprise 602.372.9400 and handles civil and contract disputes, small claims, marriage licenses, some landlord/tenant matters, Protection Orders, family court, and probate matters.
Justice of the Peace Courts: The Northwest Regional Court Center is comprised of four justice courts -- Hassayampa, Lake Pleasant, Manistee, and North Valley Justice Courts. The courts are located at 14264 W. Tierra Buena Lane in Surprise 602.372.2000. The justice courts hear traffic cases and certain criminal and civil cases, including domestic violence and harassment cases. They can issue search warrants. Their civil jurisdiction is limited to cases involving claims less than $10,000.
If you do not pay your financial obligation to the Court, notification may be sent to MVD to place a suspension on your driving privileges (if you are not licensed in Arizona, it may extend to the state in which you are licensed), a hold may be placed on your vehicle registration that will not allow you to renew it, you may be referred to FARE, a collection agency (resulting in additional fees), or a warrant may be issued for your arrest.
Online payment options are now available for cases referred to a collections agency under the FARE Enforcement Program.
Click here to make a FARE payment online.
Click here to learn more about FARE
Teen Court is part of the Maricopa County Diversion Program. We are a restorative justice program. This means we are not trying to punish the defendant. Instead, we: increase their awareness of the consequences and effects of their actions; assign consequences to ensure they won’t repeat this offense; and restore what was taken from the victim as well as the community.
The Teen Court experience works because cases are heard before a “jury of their peers.” Teens are more likely to ask and have answered the tough questions as to why a crime was committed. All teen volunteers are trained in how to participate in the court hearing so that sufficient information is gathered to assign appropriate consequences. The referral for the violation can come from the school administration, Juvenile Court, or Limited Jurisdiction Court. The Teen Court does not determine “guilt” in these matters because admission of responsibility is one of the criteria for a Teen Court referral. Teen Court hears the matter and determines an appropriate, constructive consequence using established guidelines and a process called restorative justice. Teen Court hearings take place in a courtroom with a judge and attorneys or as a peer jury. There are two communities of students influenced by Teen Court: the juvenile offenders and the students who participate in Teen Court clubs through their school or community-based organization. For the offender, they get a second chance and potentially a clean record. For the teen volunteers, their positive behavior is reinforced through participation in Teen Court.
Most teen defendants who appear in Teen Court are good kids who have made a poor choice. For a defendant to be eligible to participate in Teen Court it must be a lesser offense, they must admit to the crime and volunteer to have their case heard by a peer jury. They must also tell the truth. In exchange for their cooperation and the truth, they are given another chance not to be adjudicated for the crime.
Volunteers are not required to attend a training prior to participation. We give a brief orientation before each court to allow first-time volunteers the opportunity to learn the procedures. We strongly recommend these trainings for anyone wishing to participate in a scripted role. Training is required for anyone wishing to be an attorney.
For more information, or to get started, contact:
Juvenile Probation Officer
Early Intervention Division
3125 W. Durango St
Phoenix, AZ 85009
Juvenile Probation Officer Supervisor
Early Intervention Division
3125 W. Durango St
Phoenix, AZ 85009