DUI & Criminal Defense

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Home Detention: Approved for Maricopa County in DUI Cases

Arizona has an incarceration problem. We incarcerate people at a higher rate than most other states and many other countries.

Incarcerating such a high rate of people comes with both a social and economic cost. To address these issues, several years ago the Arizona legislature passed a law that authorized a portion of a jail sentence to be served by house arrest.  In Arizona we call this “home detention“, “continuous alcohol monitoring” or “electronic monitoring.” However, home detention has not been available in all Arizona courts.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought a flaw in the program into public view and resulted in a remedy.

Arizona's Two Home Detention Statutes

Maricopa County Passes Home Detention

County Home Detention Law

The Arizona legislature passed A.R.S. § 11-251.15.  This law authorized the county Board of Supervisors to approve a home detention program as a sentencing option in misdemeanor DUI cases. A home detention program allows a DUI defendant, following an initial mandatory period in custody, to serve the remainder of the sentence on home detention.

Municipal Home Detention Law

The Arizona legislature also passed A.R.S. § 9-499.07. This statute is similar in almost every respect to its county counterpart – except as to what jurisdiction it pertains. It provides a city or town may establish a prisoner work, community restitution work and home detention program for eligible sentenced prisoners, which shall be treated the same as confinement in jail.

This statute required “[t]he presiding judge of the city or town municipal court shall approve the program before its implementation.”

Arizona Courts Home Detention

The Problem

DUI Penalties

Same Conviction Different Penalties

After the Arizona legislature passed both of these laws most courts implemented some form of a home detention program. However, there was one notable exception – Maricopa County. This created a system where people convicted of the same criminal offense (e.g. a DUI) receive dramatically different jail sentences.

Concurrent Jurisdiction

Maricopa County has numerous courts with overlapping jurisdiction.  The two kinds of courts with concurrent jurisdiction are called City Courts (municipal) and Justice Courts (county). For example, Desert Ridge Justice Court is within a sub-section the City of Phoenix. 

Overlapping Court Jurisiction Arizona

Arizona law permits an officer to submit citations to either the Desert Ridge Justice Court or the Phoenix Municipal Court. One court having home detention and the other does not. Thus, people prosecuted in city courts get home detention and people prosecuted in justice courts do not. 

The Different Jail Sentences

Let’s look at the jail math this system has created.

Phoenix Municipal Court:
Super-Extreme DUI Conviction

45 day mandatory minimum jail sentence

After all legally available sentencing reductions

  • 3 days initial jail
  • 11 home detention

Justice Court:
Super-Extreme DUI Conviction

45 day mandatory minimum jail sentence

After all legally available sentencing reductions

  • 14 days jail

Municipal Courts with Home Detention

Justice Courts Receiving Home Detention

  • Phoenix Municipal Court
  • Scottsdale City Court
  • Gilbert Municipal Court
  • Mesa Municipal Court
  • Tempe Municipal Court
  • Glendale Municipal Court
  • Fountain Hills Municipal Court
  • Chandler Municipal Court
  • Agua Fria Justice Court
  • Arcadia Biltmore Justice Court
  • Arrowhead Justice Court
  • Country Meadows Justice Court
  • Desert Ridge Justice Court
  • Dreamy Draw Justice Court
  • East Mesa Justice Court
  • Encanto Justice Court
  • Hassayampa Justice Court
  • Highland Justice Court
  • Ironwood Justice Court
  • Kyrene Justice Court
  • Manistee Justice Court
  • Maryvale Justice Court
  • McDowell Mountain Justice Court
  • Moon Valley Justice Court
  • North Mesa Justice Court
  • San Marcos Justice Court
  • San Tan Justice Court
  • South Mountain Justice Court
  • University Lakes Justice Court
  • West McDowell Justice Court
  • West Mesa Justice Court
  • White Tank Justice Court

The New Maricopa County Home Detention Program

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, on July 22, 2020, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted to implement a home detention program. Details of the program are still unavailable.  However, it is expected to be implemented at some point in August of this year.

Lawrence Koplow Signature


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