Here are 4 things you should know if you are facing criminal charges in Arizona.
- Arizona is One of the Strictest States in the Nation for Criminal Prosecution
Arizona Law imposes some of the harshest jail and/or prison sentences anywhere in the US, with the 4th highest imprisonment rate in the nation. Arizona’s strict criminal laws and aggressive law enforcement mean that finding yourself charged or arrested for a crime can be bad news for Arizona residents or visitors from out of town.
Strict and aggressive law enforcement practices, along with the minimum sentencing laws, mean that facing criminal charges in Arizona could have serious repercussions. Minimum sentencing laws require convicted criminals to serve at least 85% of their sentence before the possibility of being released for good behavior or to serve the rest of the sentence under community supervision. If you are charged or facing a criminal conviction in Arizona, you will likely encounter much stricter penalties here in Arizona than in many other states.
- 4 Steps of the Criminal Justice System
The ins and outs of the Criminal Justice System can be frustrating and confusing to understand. There are 4 basic steps in the Criminal Justice System. While not every case will follow the same path, the basic steps surrounding criminal proceedings in Arizona can be applied to most criminal cases. The 4 steps include; the arrest, the preliminary hearing, arraignment, and the trial.
- The first step in criminal proceedings is arrest. This includes being taken to jail, and either posting bail, being released pretrial or remaining in custody. If remaining in custody, you will face a judge and be given the option of legal representation. When taken initially before the judge, your charges will be explained to you along with any conditions of release that have been imposed.
- The second step, the preliminary hearing, will be conducted by the session court judge. The preliminary hearing is essentially the “trial before the trial,” where the judge determines if there is enough evidence for the defendant to stand trial. This is not when a verdict is determined but rather when it is decided whether the trial will take place.
- During an arraignment, the judge will confirm whether you have legal representation and inform you of the charges you are facing. You will also be given the option of entering a plea of “guilty or not guilty,” and your case will be set on the court docket.
- The final step of the criminal justice process is the trial. Through cross-examination of the witnesses from both sides, the jury will hear your defense and come to a verdict.
- Know Your Constitutional Rights
Officers may inform you of your constitutional rights, but only after you have been arrested. When exercising your rights, you will have to specifically invoke your use of the rights. Courts have considered many cases where defendants believe they have evoked their right to counsel, but the courts have held otherwise. There is a big difference between stating, “I think now may be a good time to consult a lawyer” and “I’d like to speak to my lawyer.” While you have to identify yourself upon request, you do not have to answer the Officer’s questions, and you DO NOT need to incriminate yourself. Constitutional Rights were created to ensure that no person should be forced to be a witness against themselves.
If you are facing criminal charges in Arizona, know your rights! Understanding and exercising your rights can mean the difference between a conviction / and acquittal /or a plea bargain to a lesser charge and sentence.
- Choose a Criminal Defense Attorney Wisely
Criminal law is a very specific area of legal representation. A misdemeanor or felony conviction of any type on your record can have terrible consequences on all aspects of your life. Being accused of a crime can be a confusing and highly stressful time for you. An attorney who practices in criminal defense and handles their own cases (rather than passing them off to less experienced paralegals or others) is always your best bet for the most favorable outcome if you are facing criminal charges. Here Jeff GOULD Law, the Attorney in YOUR Corner, Jeff Gould has the resources and expertise required to provide a thorough defense of your freedoms and the time to handle cases personally.
Don’t wait to see if you can work it out on your own, there are severe penalties associated with any criminal charges and convictions. Jeff GOULD Law has what it takes to protect you from serious criminal repercussions.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this blog/site is NOT, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. It is for general informational use only. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Further, this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.