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Rule 17.1. The Defendant's Plea

Arizona Revised Statutes AnnotatedRules of Criminal ProcedureEffective: January 1, 2021

Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated
Rules of Criminal Procedure (Refs & Annos)
V. Pleas of Guilty and NO Contest
Rule 17. Pleas of Guilty and NO Contest; Submitting a Case on the Record (Refs & Annos)
Effective: January 1, 2021
16A A.R.S. Rules Crim.Proc., Rule 17.1
Rule 17.1. The Defendant's Plea
(a) Jurisdiction; Personal Appearance.
(1) Jurisdiction. Only a court having jurisdiction to try the offense may accept a plea of guilty or no contest.
(2) Personal Appearance. Except as provided in these rules, a court may accept a plea only if the defendant makes it personally in open court. If the defendant is a corporation, defense counsel or a corporate officer may enter a plea for the corporation. For purposes of this rule, a defendant who makes an appearance under Rule 1.5 is deemed to personally appear.
(b) Voluntary and Intelligent Plea. A court may accept a plea of guilty or no contest only if the defendant enters the plea voluntarily and intelligently. Courts must use the procedures in Rules 17.2, 17.3, and 17.4 to assure compliance with this rule.
(c) No Contest Plea. A plea of no contest may be accepted only after the court gives due consideration to the parties' views and to the interest of the public in the effective administration of justice.
(d) Record of a Plea. The court must make a complete record of all plea proceedings.
(e) Waiver of Appeal. A defendant who pleads guilty or no contest in a noncapital case waives the right to file a notice of appeal and to have an appellate court review the proceedings on a direct appeal under Rule 31. A defendant who pleads guilty or no contest may seek relief under Rule 33 by filing a Notice Requesting Post-Conviction Relief and a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief in the trial court.
(f) Limited Jurisdiction Court Alternatives for Entering a Plea and Sentencing. The parts of Rule 17 and Rule 26.9 requiring a defendant to be present are met by the defendant complying with this rule's requirements.
(1) Telephonic Pleas. “Telephonic” includes voice only and audio-video communications between the court and the parties. This rule's provisions concerning telephonic pleas also apply to pleas submitted through an online dispute resolution (“ODR”) system approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
(A) Discretionary. A limited jurisdiction court has discretion to accept a telephonic plea of guilty or no contest to any misdemeanor offense.
(B) Procedure. The defendant must submit the plea in writing to the court, and the writing must be substantially in the form set forth in Rule 41, Form 28. If the court authorizes it, the defendant may submit plea documents through an ODR system, and Form 28 may be used for that process. The documents the defendant submits for a telephonic plea must include the following:
(i) a statement by the defendant that the defendant has read and understands the information in the form, waives applicable constitutional rights for a plea, and enters a plea of guilty or no contest to each of the offense(s) in the complaint, or to the offense(s) described in a written plea agreement
(ii) a legible photocopy of the defendant's driver's license or other government-issued photo identification that contains the defendant's name and birth date; and
(iii) any other forms the prosecutor provides that are deemed necessary by the parties for completing a plea under the circumstances of the case.
(C) Fingerprint.
(i) If the defendant is entering a plea to an offense described in A.R.S. § 13-607(A), Form 28 also must contain a signed certification from a law enforcement officer in the state in which the defendant resides that the defendant personally appeared before the officer and signed Form 28, and that the officer affixed the defendant's fingerprint to the form.
(ii) If the defendant is entering a plea to an offense described in A.R.S. § 13-607(A) and the defendant's plea form does not include the defendant's fingerprint and the law enforcement officer's certification as this rule requires, the court may defer the plea's acceptance until the defendant has submitted the required fingerprint and certification, or until the defendant appears in open court for sentencing and provides a fingerprint at that time.
(iii) In extraordinary circumstances, instead of requiring a certification and fingerprint, the court may permit another method of proving the defendant's identification on Form 28, including allowing the defendant to use a notary public to witness the defendant's signature on the form.
(D) Judicial Findings. Before accepting a plea, the court must hold an in-person or telephonic hearing with the parties, advise the defendant of the items set forth in Form 28, inform the defendant that the offense(s) may be used as a prior conviction, and find:
(i) a factual basis exists for believing the defendant is guilty of the offense(s); and
(ii) the defendant's plea is knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently entered.
(E) Sentencing. After entry and acceptance of a telephonic plea, the court may sentence the defendant, either on the same day or later, in-person or telephonically.
(F) Victim's Rights. In a telephonic plea proceeding, a victim has the same rights under Rule 39 to notice and participation as if the defendant physically appeared in the courtroom.
(2) Plea by Mail.
(A) Eligibility. A limited jurisdiction court has discretion to accept by mail a written plea of guilty or no contest to a misdemeanor or petty offense if the court finds that a personal appearance by the defendant would constitute an undue hardship such as illness, physical incapacity, substantial travel distance, or incarceration. The presiding judge of each court must establish a policy for the State's participation in pleas submitted by mail.
(B) When a Plea May Not Be Accepted by Mail. A court may not accept a plea by mail in a case:
(i) involving a victim;
(ii) in which the court may impose a jail term, unless the defendant is sentenced to time served or the defendant is currently incarcerated and the proposed term of incarceration would be served concurrently and not extend the period of incarceration;
(iii) in which the court may sentence the defendant to a term of probation;
(iv) involving an offense for which A.R.S. § 13-607 requires the taking of a fingerprint upon sentencing; or
(v) in which this method of entering a plea would not be in the interests of justice.
(C) Procedure. The defendant must submit the plea in writing substantially in the form set forth in Rule 41, Form 28(a). The defendant must sign the plea form, which must include the following:
(i) a statement that the defendant has read and understands the information on the form, waives applicable constitutional rights for a plea, and enters a plea of guilty or no contest to each of the offenses in the complaint and consents to the entry of judgment; and
(ii) a statement for the court to consider when determining the sentence.
(D) Mailing. The court must mail a copy of the judgment to the defendant.

Credits

Added Aug. 31, 2017, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Amended Aug. 29, 2019, effective Jan. 1, 2020; Aug. 27, 2020, effective Jan. 1, 2021.
16A A. R. S. Rules Crim. Proc., Rule 17.1, AZ ST RCRP Rule 17.1
State Court Rules are current with amendments received through 8/1/21. The Code of Judicial Administration is current with amendments received through 8/1/21.
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