What you need to know about the Cottonwood Municipal Court Compliance Assistance Program

The City of Cottonwood Municipal Court has recently enacted a Compliance Assistance Program (CAP).

This program has been started to assist defendants whose driver’s license privileges are suspended because they failed to make their fine payments in civil traffic cases, were placed in default, and had their licenses suspended as a result. Enrollment in and compliance with the Compliance Assistance Program will allow a person to make a down payment and go on a payment plan, and the Cottonwood Municipal Court will then lift the related suspension of driving privileges with MVD. The down payment and payment terms will be based on a review of the individual’s financial circumstances and facts of the case. Completing the motion, financial questionnaire and obtaining a new plan will usually take only 20-30 minutes, depending on the court schedule for that day.

Applications can be made at the Cottonwood Municipal Court from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for holidays. Those within Yavapai County need to appear in person at the Court to apply. Individuals who reside outside of Yavapai County may call 928-634-7537 or e-mail the Court at cottonwoodmuni@courts.az.gov.

The Compliance Assistance Program will also allow individuals with arrest warrants for failure to comply with sentencing requirements in criminal cases to get their warrant quashed and to get new Court Orders (for counseling, Victim Impact classes, community services, payments and other past due court orders) so that they are no longer subject to arrest and to allow them to complete their sentencing requirements in any criminal case. Individuals with warrants must see a Judge Monday through Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This program was influenced by Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales’ Task Force on Fair Justice for All, which recognizes the hardships license suspensions and warrants can have, especially on those who are poor, disabled or less fortunate financially.

What is the Compliance Assistance Program (CAP)?

The Compliance Assistance Program (CAP) is a new program offered by the Cottonwood Municipal Court to help individuals resolve past due court obligations (including financial obligations) for certain criminal violations, civil traffic, civil and parking fines and fees. CAP allows individuals to enter into a time payment contract on all cases that may be preventing the reinstatement of driving privileges without seeing a judge. The Court requires a specific down-payment and agreement to make affordable monthly payments. Once the required down-payment is received, the Court will provide an Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) release to CAP participants, so they can contact MVD to determine what must be done to reinstate driving privileges.

How does CAP work?

Individuals will be asked to complete a Check-In Sheet. It is important to include as much information as possible to assist the Court with locating all outstanding debt. A Court employee will review the provided information and calculate the down-payment required to quality for CAP. The initial down-payment amount may result in a waiver of default and/or remaining collection costs.

What if I have a Cottonwood Municipal Court Warrant?

If you have an outstanding warrant, you will need to see a Judge to resolve it. The purpose of CAP is to assist you in becoming compliant with all court orders and seeing a Judge for a warrant will help you achieve that goal. Although you have an outstanding warrant, you may still qualify for CAP to resolve past due court obligations. Warrants may be addressed by appearing during the walk-in docket times, Monday through Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

What if I don’t have the money to pay the “down-payment” amount immediately?

We encourage you to come to the Court to learn about CAP and confirm the amount you owe, the reduced initial amount (down payment) you would need to pay up front, the payment plan for the balance, and any other requirements to participate. You may begin CAP for monies owed as soon as you are able to pay the down-payment amount. Please note that the CAP requirements and/or amounts may change if you receive additional charges or if additional fees required by law are added during processing of pending charges.

How long will it take to sign-up for CAP and complete the process?

It generally will take less than one hour to complete the process. The time required will depend upon the number and complexity of pending financial obligations that you have with the Court and the number of customers the Court is assisting at any given time.

Do I have to appear in-person at the Cottonwood Municipal Court to participate in the program?

Yes, you must appear in-person at the Court to participate in the program if you live in Yavapai County. If you live outside the Yavapai County, you can contact the Court to learn how to participate in the program by calling 928-634-7537, or e-mail the court at cottonwoodmuni@courts.az.gov.

What do I have to do to get my driver license?

You must contact Arizona MVD. Participating in CAP will release the suspension on your driver’s license for fines/fees due to this Court. If MVD indicates there are other reasons for your license suspension, you will need to work with them to resolve those issues prior to having your driving privileges reinstated. MVD may require a reinstatement fee and the cost of a new Arizona Driver’s License – contact MVD to see if this requirement is still in effect.

What happens if I don’t make the payments on the Court’s payment agreement?

Failure to maintain a time payment contract can result in the charges defaulting and another suspension of your driver’s license. Your Arizona privileges to drive may be suspended even if you have an out-of-state or foreign driver’s license, or if you have never applied for and received a driver’s license. The Court encourages you to communicate and work with Court employees to avoid this. It is usually always best to come to Court and work with the Court anytime you are unable to make an upcoming payment or if you have missed one or more payments. It is also usually best to come to court to see a Magistrate if you failed to appear on a criminal case and you have a warrant for your arrest.

If my charges return to non-compliance may I apply for CAP a second time?

Yes, you may qualify for CAP by paying an updated down-payment amount and entering into a new time payment contract. It is, however, at the Court’s discretion to decline additional requests to participate in CAP for reasons of fraud, willful non-payment or other abuses.

What is I want to see a Judge instead of a clerk on my civil case?

At the Cottonwood Municipal Court, every employee is a judicial officer in addition to handling their normal duties. In addition to the Presiding Magistrate, the Court Administrator and one or more clerks are also Associate Magistrates and one or more clerks are also Civil Traffic Hearing Officers. They are thus able to make judicial decisions on almost any request in a civil case.

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