If you are experiencing an emergency, needing police or medical assistance, contact 9-1-1.

If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis or having thoughts of suicide, call or text 9-8-8. 

Investigations

How do I report a crime?

If you are experiencing an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Otherwise, there are several ways you can report a crime. The first, and most common, is reporting to your local law enforcement by calling the department’s non-emergency number, or online reporting in some jurisdictions.

Non-emergency offenses can be reported to the AZ Attorney General’s Office in the form of a non-emergency criminal complaint.

To make a non-emergency criminal complaint to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, visit https://gateway-sis.azag.gov/PublicComplaint/begin.aspx.

How do I report an offense that is NOT criminal?

The AZ Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Section investigates consumer complaints, including complaints against business practices or business legitimacy. To make a consumer complaint against a business, visit https://www.azag.gov/complaints/consumer. 

The AZ Attorney General’s Office, Civil Rights Section investigates violations of civil rights, such as discriminatory actions in housing or employment. To make a civil rights complaint, visit https://www.azag.gov/complaints/civil-rights.

What kinds of cases does the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) investigate?

The AZ Attorney General’s Office, Special Investigations Section investigates a range of crimes, including: elder abuse, AHCCCS fraud, financial crimes, drug fraud, and Internet Crimes Against Children.

What are my rights during an investigation?

Victims’ rights during an investigation are outlined in the Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 13, Chapter 40, §§13-4405 and 13-4406 and Title 8, Chapter 3, Article 7. These rights include: the right to request or waive applicable rights; the right to designate a lawful representative; the right to be notified of an arrest and initial appearance; and the right to be notified of terms and conditions of the suspect’s release from custody.

I received a form called “Victim Request or Waiver of Victim Rights”. What does this mean?

This form is completed by law enforcement upon determination of a crime. This form contains information about the case (investigator, contact phone number, case number, etc.), the suspect (if identified), and the victim. This is also a place where the victim can designate a lawful representative. The form should come with a pamphlet of resources and other contact information that you may find helpful, specific to the county where the crime occurred.

By receiving this form, you are considered to be opted in for notice. To waive your rights, check the appropriate box, sign the form, and return to the agency that supplied you with the form.

How long does an investigation take?

Investigations can be as short as several months or as long as several years. The length of the investigation depends on the type of crime, the number of victims, and the amount of evidence the agent must compile. If you are not notified of an arrest/detention within 30 days, you have the right to obtain case status information by calling the law enforcement agency investigating your case.

Where can I get a copy of the police report?

You can request a copy of the police report through the agency with which the report was filed (local police or sheriff’s office). There is a small fee to request a report; however, if you are a victim of a part I crime (homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, or motor vehicle theft), you may obtain a copy of the report at no cost, pursuant to ARS §39-127. As of October 29, 2023, this also applies to a free copy of video recordings in part I crimes.

What happens when a suspect is arrested?

When a suspect is arrested, s/he will be transported to the custodial agency’s jail (typically a county jail). Within 24 hours, the suspect will be seen before a judge for their Initial Appearance. An Initial Appearance (IA) is a hearing after arrest when the suspect learns of the charges against him/her, his/her rights, and the possibility of bail or release.

At the earliest opportunity after the arrest, the victims will be notified by phone or email of the arrest, as well as the date, time and location of the IA and the right to be heard at the hearing. The victims will be referred to the custodial agency and, when possible, given information about how to attend the IA and/or provide a statement to be heard. If you have already received your Victims’ Rights Request/Waiver form from an agent or the advocate assigned to you, you may refer to that form for additional contact information.

Upon arrest, the victims’ information should be provided by the arresting agency to the jail, in order for the jail to provide notification to the victim upon release, escape or death of the suspect.

I lost money as a result of a crime. Can I get my money back while the case is being investigated?

If someone is found guilty of the crime committed against you, the court may order that person to re-pay certain financial costs to you. Restitution is not available to victims unless a case is prosecuted and a conviction is achieved. You should speak with your assigned advocate to discuss submitting a restitution claim. For more information about restitution, visit http://www.azcourts.gov/restitution.

Without a conviction, victim compensation is a financial resource that may be available to victims who meet very specific guidelines. For more information, visit https://www.azag.gov/victim-services/victim-compensation-restitution or contact your advocate for assistance completing the application.

Trial

Why am I not listed as a victim in the indictment?

If the investigation of a crime determines that there is not enough evidence to name you as a victim, you may not be included on the indictment. In some cases prosecuted by the AZ Attorney General’s Office, you may be named as an “uncharged victim”. This means that you could still be notified of the case status and, in some cases, depending on the evidence available, you may still be able to request restitution but you do not have victims’ rights.

Can I get an attorney from the Attorney General’s Office to review my case?

Assistant Attorneys General (AAG) are not available for private hire and cannot review cases submitted by citizens or victims. AAGs may only review cases that are submitted to our office by law enforcement. 

How do I get reimbursed for the financial costs of this crime?

If you suffered a financial loss as a result of the crime committed against you, the court may order the defendant to reimburse you; this is called restitution. You can submit your claim, including documentation, such as medical bills, to the prosecuting attorney. Restitution will only be ordered if the defendant is convicted. Ultimately, the final determination of any order of restitution rests with the court.

You may also apply to the Crime Victim Compensation Board in the county in which the crime happened to recover certain expenses. Victim Compensation dispenses funds to help victims and their families deal with the financial impacts of a crime. These monies can be used to cover lost wages, insurance deductibles, mental health counseling, medical expenses, funeral costs, and other expenses incurred as a result of a crime. Victim Compensation is only available to victims who fit very specific qualifications. For more information and to find contact information for your county’s Compensation program, visit https://www.azcjc.gov/Programs/Victim-Services/Compensation-Program and choose the “Compensation Program” tab.

What are the different types of hearings?

An Arraignment is a defendant’s first formal appearance in court before a judge. At arraignment, the judge will tell the defendant what the charge is and ask if the defendant pleads guilty or not guilty. At a pretrial conference (case management conference, status conference, etc.), the prosecutor and defense attorney will meet with a judge to focus on the issues of the case, obtain rulings on motions and deal with other matters that contribute to a fair and efficient settlement of the case, including plea negotiations. The judge may set a date for trial. At a Change of Plea Hearing, the defendant may plead guilty to the charges in a plea agreement. The judge will decide whether to accept or reject the plea agreement. As a victim of a crime, you have the right to speak with the prosecutor regarding the terms of this plea offer. You also have the right to be present and heard at the Change of Plea Hearing. At a Sentencing the court will impose a sentence such as probation or prison on the defendant for a set period of time.

Do I have to attend the hearings?

Victims have the right to be informed of and the right to be present at court proceedings when the defendant has the right to appear. Victims also have the right to be heard in court at several different points in the process. If you wish to exercise your rights at these hearings, please contact your advocate. Unless you receive a subpoena which requires attendance at a hearing or trial, or are requested to attend by the prosecutor, you are not required to attend. Hearings may proceed, included Change of Plea Hearings, if you are not present.

Will I have to testify?

As a victim of a crime, you may also be a witness. As a victim/witness you may be called to testify. Either the prosecutor or the defense attorney may subpoena you to testify at trial. The decision whether you will be subpoenaed (required) to testify is determined by the attorneys. Your advocate will keep you informed on the progress of your case and contact you if it is determined that your testimony will be needed.

Is the prosecutor my lawyer?

The prosecutor is not your lawyer and cannot act as your sole legal representative. The prosecutor is the lawyer for the State and is required to represent the interests of the State although in most instances, the State’s interest (prosecutor’s) and your interests will align. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the State, you do have the right to obtain private counsel at your own expense. Your advocate can refer you to various legal services but cannot provide a referral to a specific attorney. The prosecutor is responsible for ensuring your rights are enforced and you are able to participate in the Criminal Justice System to the extent you wish to do so. They are also required to inform the judge of your wishes concerning release of the defendant, the defendant’s sentence and your need for restitution when you have informed the prosecutor. The prosecutor must keep you informed of the progress of the case and afford you the opportunity to confer with you about any plea agreement that may be offered to the defendant.

I have been contacted by the defense attorney. What should I do?

Since 2022 defense attorneys have been permitted to contact victims directly without going through, or notifying, the prosecutor. This means that the defense attorney, or member of their team but not the defendant, may reach out to you. A request for an interview, however, must go through the prosecutor’s office and a prosecutor or advocate will contact you if this request is made. Arizona gives victims the right to refuse a defense interview (Arizona Constitution, Article 2, Section 2.1, Victims’ Bill of Rights (A)(4)) or, if you agree to an interview, to set certain parameters for the interview. Contact your advocate or the prosecutor if you have been asked about a defense interview and have questions specific to your case.

You have the right to make the decision to speak to someone if you are contacted by a member of the defense team. You do not have to speak with them if you do not want to. You are not obligated to inform the prosecutor’s office if you are contacted but you can. 

I want to drop the charges in this case. How do I do that?

In criminal cases the defendant is charged by the State of Arizona, not by the victim. Although a victim may have made the report, it is the State that is responsible for the prosecution of a crime. In Arizona, crime victims are entitled to certain rights such as the right to confer with a prosecutor; however, the victim cannot file or dismiss criminal charges.

Am I eligible for a lifetime injunction against the defendant?

A.R.S. §13-719 allows a superior court judge in a criminal case to issue an injunction that prevents the defendant from contacting the victim for the victim’s natural lifetime, when there is a conviction in certain cases. Not all crimes are eligible for a lifetime injunction and the victim must make sure the prosecutor in their case is aware of their wish for a lifetime injunction if they are eligible prior to sentencing. You may be provided an application at the sentencing hearing to complete for the court or you may ask your advocate for the form prior to the sentencing hearing to complete and bring with you. Prosecutorial offices may have different procedures so speak with your advocate as soon as possible if you believe a lifetime injunction may apply to the charges in your case. 

For more information and to see a list of eligible offenses please visit the AZcourt.gov Self-Service Center.

Why is the prosecutor offering a plea agreement? What if I don’t agree with the terms of the plea?

Prosecutors offer plea agreements in order to assure a conviction, even if it is for a lesser charge or crime and may use plea negotiations to further their case against a co-defendant or negotiate sentencing or restitution terms. In a plea agreement, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to one or more charges (often to a lesser charge than one for which the defendant could stand trial in exchange for a more lenient sentence and/or so that certain related charges are dismissed.) As a victim of a crime, you have the right to confer with the prosecutor on any plea negotiation and to be present and heard at any plea hearing. The victim does not, however, have the right to direct prosecution of the case. If you disagree with the terms of the plea as presented by the prosecutor, you have the right to address your concerns with the prosecutor or court.

How long until my case is resolved?

Cases can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to resolve depending on many case specific factors.

After sentencing: now what?

Arizona’s victims’ rights laws require victims to opt-in a second time after sentencing if they wish to receive their post-conviction rights. Victims will receive a Post-Conviction Notification Request (PCNR) form from the prosecuting attorney’s office with instructions on how to complete and return the form to the applicable agencies. By completing and returning the PCNR form to any or all of the agencies responsible for post-conviction notification – like the Attorney General’s Office, probation, or the Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry – victims will receive continued updates on their rights and the defendant. Failure to opt-in again may constitute a waiver of your victims’ rights. Click to watch After Sentencing: Now What? , a brief video explaining the PCNR form, your rights, and what you can expect from the agencies responsible for providing post-conviction notification.

Para español, haga clic aquí – Después del veredicto: ¿Ahora qué?

Appeals

What is an appeal?

An appeal is a request to a higher court to review a lower court’s proceedings and outcome. Defendants may seek post-conviction review of their case through a variety of methods and courts but these reviews are optional. Only appeals in death penalty cases are automatic. The appeals process is different from the trial process in several ways. First, the majority of arguments presented are made in writing, called briefs, rather than in open court. A panel of judges, rather than a judge and jury, consider and decide the case. Arguments relate to the defendant’s rights during the prosecution of the case rather than the actual crime. And lastly, few, if any, hearings are scheduled.

Why do appeals take so long?

The length of the appeals process varies depending on the type of appeal filed by the defendant.  Appeals are often quite lengthy and complex so it can take many years for a case to be fully resolved.

What are the different types of appeals?

There are three types of appeals available to convicted criminals in both the state and federal courts.

  1. A Direct Appeal is available only for defendants convicted by a jury. An Assistant Attorney General from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office is assigned to the case. A panel of judges from the Arizona Court of Appeals, or from the Arizona Supreme Court in death penalty cases, will issue a decision after reviewing written briefs from the State and defendant. The Court may schedule an Oral Argument before issuing a decision. The defendant is usually not present at an Oral Argument. Victims may attend oral arguments but are not allowed to participate in anyway. It can take anywhere from a month to a year a later for the Court to issue a decision.
  2. A Petition for Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) is available for defendants convicted by jury or plea agreement. The PCR petition is filed in the original trial court and the original prosecuting office represents the State during PCR proceedings. The arguments presented for post-conviction relief are made in writing. An Oral Argument or Evidentiary Hearing may be scheduled. It may take up to a year or more for the Court to issue its decision regarding a PCR petition. Typically, but not always, a PCR is filed after a direct appeal is completed.
  3. A federal appeal is initiated through a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (PWHC) and is available for defendants convicted by jury or plea agreement. The federal appellate system has three levels which include the US District Court, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the US Supreme Court. A habeas petition may not be filed until all avenues of appeal at the state level have been exhausted. The arguments are presented in writing by the defense and the state. An Oral Argument or Evidentiary Hearing may be scheduled. It may take the courts months or years to issue its decision.

What are my rights during the appeals process?

Victims of a crime have the right to be notified, upon request, of all appellate proceedings and their outcomes.

Why am I not receiving notification about the appeals?

You must opt-in to receive post-conviction notification from various agencies, including the prosecuting attorney’s office that represented the state at trial, the AZ Attorney General’s Office, the appropriate adult probation department, the appropriate county sheriff's department, the AZ Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry, and the AZ Board of Executive Clemency. You may contact your trial advocate to obtain the Post-Conviction Notification Request (PCNR) form in order to opt-in with the agencies responsible for providing post-conviction notification. Additionally, you must keep your contact information up-to-date with the appropriate agencies in order to receive notification; failure to do so may result in a waiver of your victims’ rights. Contact the advocate from the agency that prosecuted your case if you did not receive a PCNR form.

I received a Post-Conviction Notification Request (PCNR) Form. What does this mean?

The prosecution agency sent you the PCNR form because the defendant in your case was convicted and sentenced. According to Arizona law, you must opt-in again after sentencing if you want to continue receiving your rights from the agencies responsible for providing post-conviction notice. By sending copies of the PCNR form to the agencies listed on the form you will continue to receive victims’ rights notification and services. You can contact each of the agencies to learn more about the rights and services they provide if you opt-in with them by sending the PCNR form. You can watch this video to learn more about the post-conviction process, agencies responsible for providing notice and opting-in – After Sentencing: Now What? How to Ensure Your Victims’ Rights Continue Post-Conviction.

Para español, haga clic aquí – Después del veredicto: ¿Ahora qué?

I have been contacted by the defense attorney. What should I do?

Since 2022 defense attorneys have been permitted to contact victims directly without going through, or notifying, the prosecutor. This means that the defense attorney, or member of their team but not the defendant, may reach out to you. A request for an interview, however, must go through the prosecutor’s office and a prosecutor or advocate will contact you if this request is made. Arizona gives victims the right to refuse a defense interview (Arizona Constitution, Article 2, Section 2.1, Victims’ Bill of Rights (A)(4)) or, if you agree to an interview, to set certain parameters for the interview. Contact your advocate or the prosecutor if you have been asked about a defense interview and have questions specific to your case.

You have the right to make the decision to speak to someone if you are contacted by a member of the defense team. You do not have to speak with them if you do not want to. You are not obligated to inform the prosecutor’s office if you are contacted but you can.

The death penalty case in which I’m a victim was stayed pending the decision in State v. Cruz. What does this mean?

The defendant has requested the court stay (put on hold) their current appellate review citing a potential claim in the state court pending a decision by the Arizona Supreme Court in State v. Cruz. The issue in Cruz is that the defendant believes that federal case law entitled them to tell the jury that they were not eligible for parole if given a life sentence. The defendant believes that if the jury had known they were ineligible for parole and would, in fact, be incarcerated for their natural life the jury would not have imposed a death sentence. Because the Cruz decision could impact your case, in which the stay was issued, the court determined it was necessary to pause proceedings to await the outcome. You should speak with your case advocate with the AZ Attorney General’s Office of Victim Services – check your notification letters for contact details – or the advocate at the county attorney’s office if applicable, for more specific case information. 

Restitution

Where can I find more information on restitution?

You can contact your advocate from the agency that prosecuted your case to ask questions specific to your restitution issues. You may also visit the restitution webpage for the Arizona Judicial Branch for information, resources, forms and instructions, FAQs, and restitution laws.

What are the types of losses that are not allowable as restitution?

  • Punitive damages (damages assessed to punish a defendant)
  • Pain & suffering (assessed for physical or emotional injuries)
  • Consequential losses (not directly related to the offense)

When is restitution ordered?

Typically, restitution is ordered at the time of sentencing or at a separate restitution hearing.

How are restitution payments made and distributed?

It depends on the sentence. For defendants sentenced to prison or other correctional institutions, a percentage of the defendant's inmate banking account will be taken for restitution purposes, per A.R.S. § 31-230. For defendants sentenced to probation, the judge will typically order the defendant to make monthly payments.

What is a Criminal Restitution Order (CRO)?

A CRO is a financial judgment that is created by the court on all post-probation, post-prison and probation absconders that have remaining financial sanctions. A CRO is a type of restitution lien, but does not require the victim's information to be open to the public. It may also be entered by the court at the time that restitution is ordered.

What is a Restitution Lien?

A restitution lien is a document that protects a victim's interests in property in the defendant's name, which includes personal property, real estate, mobile homes, vehicles, boats, all-terrain vehicles, etc., within the State of Arizona. A restitution lien may be filed by the victim who is entitled to restitution, after restitution is determined and ordered by the court. Restitution liens are further discussed in the criminal code in victim restitution laws. A CRO is a type of restitution lien.

If the court has already issued a CRO then it is not necessary to obtain a restitution lien on your own. The CRO can act the same as a restitution lien to protect the victim's interests and information.

What is a Pre-Conviction Lien?

A pre-conviction restitution lien is the same as a restitution lien except that it must be requested from the court by a prosecutor or victim after the filing of a misdemeanor complaint, felony information, or indictment even before a defendant is convicted. Having the lien before conviction preserves the property covered by the lien and may prevent the defendant from disposing of or transferring assets. The court must release a pre-conviction restitution lien if the defendant is acquitted or the state does not proceed with the prosecution (dismissed the case). A pre-conviction lien is not appropriate in every case.

How can Restitution Liens and CROs be used?

  • To present transfer of ownership on current and future real property titled in the defender's name.
  • To prevent the sale or refinance of current or future real property titled in the defendant's name.
  • To prevent the sale of some personal property as outlined by the Secretary of State.
  • To intercept AZ State Tax Refunds and lottery winnings of the defendants.

Depending on the county where the CRO is filed, the CRO may automatically be recorded with the appropriate entities, or you may need to take steps to record it yourself.

Pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-806, CROs do not expire until paid in full and are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.

How can I get a CRO or a Restitution Lien filed?

The court may file a CRO at the time the restitution is ordered but must order it at the end of the probation and/or prison sentence if not already done. In some cases, a restitution lien could be filed prior to conviction. A victim may file for a restitution lien as soon as restitution is ordered. Contacting the Victims' Services Department where your case was heard may help with determining who files the orders in that court. A.R.S. § 13-806 allows the victims to file restitution liens on their own.

As a victim, how can I update my address with the court?

You will need to contact the clerk of the court where the case is filed. In most cases the clerk of court cannot change information over the phone and may require written notice. Contact the appropriate clerk of court for specific procedures. Visit the OVS Resources page for a list of County Clerk of Court offices.

Is the court-ordered restitution still due if the victim has died?

Yes, the restitution is still due. If the money is unclaimed then it would be sent to the State of Arizona as unclaimed property. You can contact the Arizona Department of Revenue for more information

If the original victim has died, how can I change who and where the money is sent?

You will need to contact the court and/or the clerk of the court where the case was heard. It will require a court order to change the victim information.

If the defendant has died, is the restitution still due?

Yes, the balance is still due. A victim, who is owed restitution by a defendant who has died, may seek to file a claim against the defendant's estate.

How can I find out if restitution payments have been made?

The clerk of the court receipts, allocates, and distributes the money that is collected. You should contact the clerk of the court where your case was heard.

General

How do I move on after my victimization? Is what I’m feeling normal?

Anyone can be a victim of crime and it can be a very stressful or traumatic experience that’s different for everyone. It’s important to remember that your experience is unique to you. You may rely on natural resiliency and find ways to cope and adjust. But you may also need to seek help from family, friends, or a professional to address the potential physical, emotional or mental effects of trauma. Click to review Coping After Victimization, speak to your advocate, review the resources page or consider a site like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for guidance and resources.

I think my victims’ rights were violated. What can I do?

Victims who believe their victims’ rights were violated can file a victims’ rights complaint with the Victims’ Rights Compliance Administrator. A sense of frustration at the criminal justice system or not liking the outcome of a prosecution is not a violation of victims’ rights. For more information on what a victims’ rights violation can be or to file a complaint visit the OVS’ Complaints and Compliance page. 

I’ve recently moved or changed my phone number. How do I update my contact information with the AZ Attorney General’s Office of Victim Services?

Contact your advocate and let them know you’d like to update your contact information. If your case is in the post-conviction phase, be sure to also update your contact information with all of the agencies on your PCNR form. Failure to keep your contact information current with the appropriate agencies may constitute a waiver of your victims’ rights.