Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do if I have a Bench Warrant?

When a judge issues a bench warrant it is forwarded to Isleta Police Department (IPD) for entry into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) which notifies law enforcement agencies across the country that the defendant has a bench warrant from Isleta Tribal Court. Judges will sometimes allow a defendant to be seen as a “walk-in” to address a bench warrant but it depends on whether the judge is available or if there have been previous bench warrants issued.

How do I request an extension to pay a fine or for community service?

Persons unable to complete community service hours or pay fines/fees by the deadline can file a Motion for an Extension. A judge reviews the request and a clerk notifies the person whether or not it was granted

How do I request a continuance?

Criminal Case
A defendant requesting a continuance in a criminal case must file a Motion to Continue (criminal) at least seven (7) days before the hearing or in the event of an emergency the party must contact the Court as soon as possible. In criminal cases the defendant must also add time to “the Rule,” which is the Tribe’s time-limit for prosecuting the case. According to the Isleta Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 4.3 the Prosecutor has (180) days from the date of arraignment to prosecute the case. The time varies depending on whether or not the defendant was arrested and/or incarcerated.

Civil Case
A party who cannot attend their court hearing must file a Motion to Continue (civil) at least seven (7) days prior to the hearing or as soon as possible in the event of an emergency. A judge will usually grant a continuance if it does not significantly delay the case or when the party has not filed previous continuances. The Court may not grant a continuance if there have been numerous delays or when important issues must be addressed.

Hearing Attendance 
Any party unable to attend a hearing may file a Motion to Continue (criminal). The motion must be filed at least seven (7) days before the hearing or in an emergency as soon as possible. The requesting party must contact the Court to find out whether the continuance was granted prior to the hearing. A continuance may be denied if requested too late, the opposing party objects or several continuances have been previously granted. If the Court denies the motion to continue and the party fails to appear a bench warrant or default judgment can be issued.

How I file a petition?

There are several peition forms. Select the correct petition for your situation and complete to the best of your ability.

There are additioal forms on the Tribal Court forms web page.

How much does it cost to file a petition?

At the time of filing a petition the filing fee must be paid by money order or cashier’s check to Isleta Tribal Court. Persons who cannot afford to pay the filing fee may complete a Request for Waiver of Filing Fee.

  • Civil Complaints: $25
  • Other Petitions: $15
  • Petitions for Protective Order or Restraining Order – filing fee waived
Will the Court waive the filing fee?

Persons who cannot afford to pay the filing fee may complete a Request for Waiver of Filing Fee.

How do I make a payment?

Traffic Citation

If the “Penalty Assessment” box is marked on the citation the penalty must be paid either by mail or in person within thirty (30) days of receiving the citation. Citations must be paid by money order or cashier’s check made payable to Isleta Tribal Court and must include a copy of the citation. Do not mail court appearance or traffic arraignment citations to the Santa Fe Motor Vehicle Department (MVD). If the Court does not receive payment within (30) days, a bench warrant is issued. Those who cannot pay the fine/fee can request to make payments or perform community service hours in lieu of payment. This request must be made using the Request to Convert Fines form.

Payments to the Court

Payments must be made by money order or cashier’s check the Case Number and Case Name must appear on payment form. The party must ensure they receive a receipt upon providing payment.

Fines, Fees & Court Costs:  Those who cannot pay the fine or fee can file a Request to Convert Fines to community service hours and receive $10 credit for every hour of community service performed.  Court costs must be paid and are not converted to community service hours.  Community service hours ordered to be completed cannot be converted to a fine. 

Restitution:  Payments must be submitted to the Court in the form of a money order or cashier’s check and made payable to the opposing party or victim. The Court will contact the opposing party or victim to pick up the payment.   

SCRAM, Soberlink or GPS:  payments must be made by the deadline or the defendant can request to perform community service hours in lieu of payment.

Traffic citation penalties:  the penalty must be paid within thirty (30) days of the citation date or a bench warrant is issued.  If the “Penalty Assessment” box is marked on the citation it cannot be contested in court.  Payment can be mailed or made in person at the customer service window and must be made payable to Isleta Tribal Court.

Unpaid fines, fees, restitution:  any unpaid payments or balances are reported to the Treasurer’s Office and deducted from enrolled members’ Per Capita Distribution.