My Case was “Scratched”: Now What?

SCRATCH

Scratch is not a legal term. However, it’s used in the Courts to identify when a complaint was not filed. It is not to be confused with the word dismissed. If you case is “scratched,” it means the County Attorney has not filed a complaint against you within the time set forth by law (48 hours) from the time you saw the jail court commissioner.

The County Attorney’s office has 7 years in which to file a felony complaint (although generally within 12 months) there is no way of knowing if or when the County Attorney will or won’t file a complaint. If a complaint is filed they will decide if a criminal summons will be issued and served to your last known address, or whether to have a warrant issued for your arrest. There is no way of knowing whether the County Attorney’s office will request a warrant or criminal summons.

Having defended thousands of felony matters over the past 20 years, I have developed ways of obtaining the information about the charging process in most cases. If retained, I can usually discover the charging attorney and try to convince them to not file charges. Alternatively, if you are to be charged, then I can normally prevent a warrant from issuing.

If you desire my assistance to continue working with the prosecutor and/or law enforcement, please let me know.

VACATED

When your case is vacated, it means the matter has been removed from the calendar and will likely be rescheduled. Although there are many reasons that happens, in most cases it means that the matter proceeded to the Grand Jury and an indictment was issued.

When an indictment issues, you will normally be notified by mail (if out of custody). Please make sure the Court has your current mailing address. If you move from the physical address between the time of your arrest and any pending court date, you can go to the Maricopa County Superior Court and under the tab labeled “filing,”select the “court form” option, then select “eforms on demand” and select form #108-New Address/name change and information.

You can also complete the form personally by going to the court at 201 West Jefferson, the Central Court Building during normal business hours. Check with the information desk as to where you can go to complete the form.

You may also be able to telephone the Criminal Court Administrator (602.506.8575) after 2 pm on the following day to determine if they have received the update.

One final Note: BOND MONEY IS NOT EXONERATED OR RELEASED AT THAT TIME. As far as the court is concerned, the case is still open and court date pending.

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