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How to Do Online Legal Research on Arizona Statutes and Laws
Use the Arizona Revised Statutes on the Internet
The Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) contain all the Arizona statutes passed by the Arizona legislature. As the legal body of representatives elected to make laws for Arizona, the legislature revises current Arizona laws and passes new laws on a regular basis. Those who would like to do research on Arizona statutes can use an online copy of the ARS. Keep in mind that this is not as good as a paid-for service like Westlaw or Lexis-Nexis. However, it is free to search for statutes. Use this for free legal research at the preliminary stage. Then ask a lawyer for assistance if you need additional information.
Access the online copy of the Arizona Revised Statutes. You will see the list of Titles on the main page. Like other state codes of statutes, the ARS is divided into large categories of law by Titles. The Titles are then separated into Chapters and Articles.
There are a couple of ways you can approach research for Arizona state law found in the ARS. First of all, you can try to categorize the information you are looking for into one of the Titles. This is easy for some subjects. Let's say that you are looking for the law related to incorporating a business in Arizona. Title 10 of the ARS is called "Corporations and Associations." You are likely to find your information somewhere in this Title. However, you may need to look in Taxation, Taxation of Income for Arizona business tax laws.
Use the search feature for a shortcut to statute research. Put a checkmark on the Titles you want to search and enter a search phrase at the top. Then go through and read the results to try to find whatever laws you are researching. However, keep in mind that this is just a shortcut. You still need to go back to those titles and do more reading to get the kind of detail you will probably need to find your answer.
Statutes form an essential part of Arizona law or the law of any state. However, you may need to research additional law. For example, you can find the Arizona Constitution online. As a general rule, the Constitution trumps statutes. If a statute conflicts with the Arizona Constitution, you may have an unconstitutional statute. However, you will generally need to do research on Arizona case law to determine if a statute is unconstitutional. Case law is usually available through expensive research services like Westlaw. So you may need a lawyer to do this research.
Also remember that the Arizona Administrative Code has important law. Administrative codes are comprised of rules and regulations promulgated by adminstrative agencies. Arizona residents are also bound by these rules and regulations just like they are subject to statutes.
Use these resources for basic research. However, consult with an Arizona attorney if you need help for a specific legal problem or issue.