Desert Ridge Justice Court

The Desert Ridge Justice Court is a limited jurisdiction court that handles small offenses such as misdemeanor crimes and traffic violations. This justice court only handles offenses that occurred within the boundaries of the Desert Ridge Justice Precinct (a map of the precinct is below). The Desert Ridge Justice Court’s jurisdiction is marked by Union Hills to the South, East Desert Mountain Way to the East and New River Road to the West. The Desert Ridge Justice Court precinct covers areas of Phoenix, Anthem, New River, Cave Creek, and Carefree.

Basic Information

Court Address

18380 N. 40th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85201

Court Information

  • Judge: Cathy Riggs
  • Phone: (602) 372-7100
  • Fax: (602) 372-7912
  • Email Form: Form

Parking and Security Information

  • Park in the front lot of the courthouse
  • Parking is free and convenient
  • Visitors are required to pass through metal detectors
  • Items brought into the courthouse go through xray machines

Payment Link for Court:  Link


The Desert Ridge Justice Court is located at 18380 N. 40th Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85032. It is located inside the Northeast Regional Court Center, which houses other justice courts and the Superior Court.

Map of Desert Ridge Justice Court
Map of Desert Ridge Justice Court

Desert Ridge Justice Precinct

Every court has a specific jurisdiction that it is responsible for overseeing. For the Desert Ridge Justice Court to have jurisdiction over a misdemeanor crime, then it must occur within the set precinct boundaries. A map of the court’s boundaries is below:

Map of Desert Ridge Justice Court Precinct
Map of Desert Ridge Justice Court Precinct

If you are ordered to appear in the Desert Ridge Justice Court, but the offense for which you are charged did not occur within the court’s boundaries, then the court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case and the charges must be dismissed. The charges may be refiled if the statute of limitations for the crime has not yet run out, but it must be filed in the appropriate court that has jurisdiction over the case. Call the Salwin Law Group immediately to make sure you have been charged in the right court. We will provide you with a free evaluation of your case.

What is a Justice Court?

Arizona is unique in that the state has justice courts that handle certain matters. A justice court is a limited jurisdiction court, which means that it only can deal with misdemeanor crimes. If a case is charged as a felony, a justice court does not have jurisdiction to handle the case and it must be sent to the Maricopa County Superior Court (or the county in which the offense occurred).

All justice courts can hear any type of crime that is a misdemeanor. They also hear every type of civil and criminal traffic violation, as well as civil lawsuits (private lawsuits between individuals) where the amount in dispute is less than $10,000.

An interesting aspect of a justice court is that the judge is called a justice of the peace and is an elected official. Justices of the peace are voted into their office, where they serve four-year terms. Oftentimes, the justice of the peace is re-elected and will serve multiple terms. Importantly, justices of the peace do not have to be a lawyer to be elected. Many justices of the peace in Arizona are not lawyers and do not receive the training that a lawyer receives before becoming a licensed attorney. Despite this, the justices of the peace have the same powers as any other judge for a limited jurisdiction court in Arizona.

If you do not have legal counsel, you could be faced with having the prosecutor, the person trying to get the largest punishment against you, have more training than the judge deciding your case. The Salwin Law Group has extensive experience handling cases occurring in the Desert Ridge Justice Court. If you have been charged in Desert Ridge Justice Court, give us a call for a free valuation. Your future is too important to go it alone.

Justice of the Peace

The justice of the peace for Desert Ridge is Cathy Riggs. Judge Riggs was elected the Justice of the Peace as a Republican in 2016. She was re-elected and her current term ends in 2025.

Judge Riggs has an extensive background in law enforcement, having begun her career as a police officer in Santa Rosa, California. She was eventually promoted to a detective and became a recognized expert on sexual assault and child abuse cases. She graduated from law school with her juris doctor and became the Manager of Investigations with the Arizona Medical Board. She is not a licensed attorney, however.

She tends to favor a rehabilitative approach rather than taking a punitive approach when issuing punishments, which makes having a lawyer so important. The Salwin Law Group can evaluate your case and provide a solid plan of action in moving forward. Call right away for a free evaluation.

Picture of Justice of the Peace Cathy Riggs

How Did My Case End up in the Desert Ridge Justice Court?

If you have a case that is assigned to the Desert Ridge Justice Court, that means that you have likely been charged with a misdemeanor criminal offense. This is as opposed to a felony offense. If you have been charged with a felony offense, you will be assigned to a Superior Court.

Whether you are sent to a justice court or one of the city courts also depends on which police agency arrested you. If you were arrested by a city police, then you will likely have been charged in a city court. However, if you were arrested by the Arizona Department of Public Safety or the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department, then you will likely be charged in the Desert Ridge Justice Court if the crime you allegedly committed was within the Desert Ridge Precinct.

How Should I Dress to Attend Court?

If you are attending court, you want to always dress professionally. Men should wear at least a dress shirt and tie, preferably with a suit or jacket, with dress pants. Women should wear a nice dress or business suit, such as a conservative pants suit or conservative top and long slacks. Avoid leggings and jeans or shorts.

Also remember that if your hearing is virtual, such as via Zoom, you must still abide by the same rules. Dress professionally and remain in a quiet area for the duration of the hearing. Do not walk around or drive while the hearing is being conducted.

Common Offenses

Common offenses that we see charged in the Desert Ridge Justice Court involve criminal traffic violations. The court’s jurisdiction is large, and covers major freeways, resulting in a lot of traffic-related violations, such as DUIs.

The Salwin Law Group Handles Cases in the Desert Ridge Justice Court

Stewart Salwin was trained by the best criminal defense attorneys in the country. He was a skilled prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and now uses those skills as a criminal defense attorney. He has conducted over 75 trials and defended thousands of DUI cases. The Salwin Law Group is experienced at handling cases in the Desert Ridge Justice Court and is ready to defend you. Call now for a free evaluation of your case.

Stewart Salwin, Harvard Law School graduate, has successfully defended thousands of DUI cases. Call today for a free evaluation of your case.