Preparing for Trial

You should begin preparing for your trial as soon as possible. Use this checklist to help you.


The first step is to understand the charges the State has brought against you. Find a copy of the statute or ordinance (the "law") that you have been charged with violating.


Note: A "statute" is the legal term for laws passed by a legislative body, such as the Arizona State Legislature or the United States Congress. An "ordinance" is a rule made by a city, such as the Tucson City Council.


You can find the statute or city ordinance that applies in your case at one of the following locations:

Joel D. Valdez Main Library

101 N. Stone Ave.

Tucson, AZ 85701

Phone (520) 594-5500


Note: Most of the other public library branches in Tucson have copies of the City Code and the Arizona Revised Statutes. Call ahead to be sure.


University of Arizona College of Law Library

1201 E. Speedway

Tucson, AZ 85719

Phone (520) 621-1413


Pima County Superior Court Library

110 W. Congress, Room 256

Tucson, AZ 86701

Phone (520) 740-8456


Read the law carefully and determine what had to have happened for you to be found guilty of the charges.


Visit the Prosecutor’s Office on the 5th floor of Tucson City Court and get copies of all the evidence the State intends to use against you, especially the police report. Bring some money because they will charge per page copied.


Read through the evidence against you carefully to find out what the State’s case is against you.


Compare the law with the evidence the State has.


Write down your version of the facts and compare it with the State’s version.


Choose your witnesses and give their names and addresses to the prosecutor at the Pre-Trial Conference. Choose witnesses whose testimony helps the judge determine what happened. The best witnesses are those who were at the scene and saw or heard something important.


Subpoena your witnesses. If your witness does not agree to appear at your trial voluntarily, or if their employer requires proof of the trial, you should subpoena your witnesses. Subpoenas are available at no cost to you at City Court, first floor, near the main entrance of the City Court Building. You should request your subpoena at least twenty days before your trial date to make sure that the witnesses can be served.


Even if your witnesses volunteer to show up at trial, you may want to subpoena them anyway. If you do not subpoena the witnesses, and they do not show up, the judge will most likely have the trial go on without them, to your disadvantage. If you subpoena the witnesses and they do not show up to court, the judge will probably give you a new trial date.


Prepare for direct examinations by writing questions to ask each of your witnesses.


Prepare to cross-examine the State’s witnesses by preparing possible questions to ask them.


Prepare your closing argument and your opening statement.


Additional Information Can be Found at:


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