Located on the outskirts of Tempe, Arizona, Arizona Lawyers represents clients facing criminal charges throughout Maricopa County. Tempe, Arizona is a metropolis of over 100,000 located just east of Phoenix. More than just a bedroom community, Tempe has a thriving economy and is home to Arizona State University, Tempe’s largest employer. Despite being home to Arizona State, Tempe has more to offer than the typical college town. Boasting industry of its own as well as proximity to Phoenix, Tempe appeals to professionals and its mild climate is enticing to many. When you or someone you love is accused of a crime in Tempe, the criminal defense attorneys at Arizona Lawyers are there for you in your time of need.
Tempe is a mix of urban downtown and residential suburbs and like many cities of its size, is burdened with a criminal element. Because of its university setting, party-related crimes such as underage drinking, driving under the influence, and drug offenses are frequently prosecuted. Other common crimes include property crimes such as theft or auto theft and violent crimes such as assault or battery. Whether you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, the attorneys at Arizona Lawyers have experience representing clients accused of both serious and minor criminal offenses and can be trusted in your time of need.
Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Arizona Lawyers represents clients throughout Maricopa County and will meet with you to discuss your criminal case. If you are accused of assault, battery, theft, or drug or alcohol offenses, you need a strong defense attorney at your side. Arizona Lawyers’s attorneys understand how stressful being accused of a crime can be and will work with you to address your concerns every step of the way. But most importantly, when you become a client of Arizona Lawyers, our number one goal is to protect your rights.
Tempe, Arizona Criminal Defense Attorneys
The attorneys at Arizona Lawyers have over 40 years of combined legal experience representing defendants in both federal and state courts for every type of criminal charge, including:
- Drug offenses
- Underage drinking
- Property crimes such as theft and auto theft
- Sex crimes
- Violent crimes such as assault with a deadly weapon and murder
- White-collar crimes
- Federal crimes
The Criminal Process in Tempe, Arizona
The first time you are charged with a crime can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you have never set foot in a courtroom before. Although it may not seem like it at the time, the Arizona criminal justice system has a set of rules and procedures the police and criminal prosecutors must abide by when they investigate and bring criminal charges against individuals. The attorneys at Arizona Lawyers have worked as prosecutors trying many types of criminal cases prior to fighting for the rights of criminal defendants. The experience prosecuting crimes provides our attorneys with superior knowledge of the ins and outs of Arizona’s criminal justice system.
What to Expect if Charged with a Crime in Arizona
Generally, criminal cases include at least six stages: (1) investigation, (2) arrest, (3) arraignment, (4) the preliminary hearing, (5) plea bargaining or trial and (6) sentencing.
The investigation is a critical stage in which the police or law enforcement gather facts and evidence by interviewing witnesses, collecting physical evidence, and interviewing suspects. Many times, if you are the subject of a criminal investigation, you may not be aware that you are being targeted. In other cases, law enforcement may ask you to submit to a voluntary interview. If you believe you are the subject of a criminal investigation, it is essential that you have legal representation to protect your rights and make sure you do not admit anything that may put you in jeopardy.
Once law enforcement has gathered sufficient evidence against a suspect to suggest he or she committed a crime, the suspect is usually put under arrest. This means the suspect is placed in police custody and can not leave. If you are arrested, you have some basic rights, such as the right to remain silent and the right to speak to an attorney. It is important that you exercise these rights.
If you are arrested, you must appear before a judge within a set period of time for a bail hearing. Bail is money offered as security for returning to court on a future date. If the suspect, now a defendant once formally charged, returns to court as required, the bail money will be returned. Otherwise, the bail money is forfeited and a warrant will be issued for the defendant’s arrest. If the judge denies a defendant bail, the defendant will remain in police custody until his or her trial date.
The first official court appearance is known as the arraignment where several things happen. First, the judge informs the defendant of the charges filed against him or her. The judge then determines whether the defendant has an attorney or would like a court-appointed attorney. Additionally, the defendant enters a plea of either guilty or not guilty. The judge will consider whether the initial bail is appropriate under the circumstances. Finally, the judge will set future court dates.
In felony cases, the court holds a preliminary hearing where the prosecutor bears the burden of showing there is enough evidence to suggest there is probable cause that the defendant committed the crime. The preliminary hearing is an important stage because the defense may cross examine witnesses and attempt to undermine the prosecution’s evidence. If the defense can show the prosecution’s charges are not supported by the evidence, the charges may be dropped. An experienced attorney is experienced at poking holes in the prosecution’s case at this stage.
The plea bargaining stage is a period when the prosecution may present evidence to the defendant and try to negotiate an agreement to avoid taking the case to trial. In many cases, the prosecution may accept a plea deal that saves both parties the burden of a trial but still results in sufficient punishment for the crime. In all cases, the judge must approve any plea deal entered into by the prosecution and the defense. It is critical to have an attorney with superior negotiating skills at this stage in order to have the upper hand in plea discussions.
Trial and Sentencing
All other stages lead up to the trial. In many cases, it can take a year or more for a case to get to trial. At trial, the prosecution bears the burden of proving the charges against the defendant. Technically, the defense does not have to present any evidence. However, a solid criminal defense will discredit the prosecution’s case by cross-examining witnesses, offering alternative-fact scenarios, or offering an alibi for the defendant. If the defendant is found guilty at trial, the judge will issue a sentence based on guidelines set out in the Arizona Criminal Code. No one accused of a crime should face trial without an attorney experienced in litigation to present defense to the court and jury, the most important aspect of a trial.
Contact a Tempe Criminal Defense Attorney
No criminal defense attorney can guarantee the outcome of a criminal case, however, defendants with experienced criminal representation fare far better off than those without. At Arizona Lawyers, our attorneys know the Arizona criminal justice system inside and out. If you need a criminal defense attorney in Tempe, Arizona, contact Arizona Lawyers and consult with us about your case.