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What You Should Know if You are Facing Charges in Arizona

Arizona Criminal Procedure Facing Charges

Being charged with a crime is a difficult and terrifying experience. There may be moments when law enforcement officers use intimidation or coercion to get you to act against your best interests. It is important that you have a Phoenix criminal defense attorney throughout the duration of your criminal case. Your defense attorney will inform you of what you should know if you are facing charges in Arizona.

If you find yourself in serious legal trouble, let a Snader Law Group criminal defense attorney in Arizona provide you with excellent and sound legal advice. Our defense attorneys are committed to protecting your rights as a defendant. You can trust on our track record of improving even the worst situations. There is no case we can’t handle, regardless of how complicated the circumstances or severe the crime. Call us now to schedule a free consultation!

What You Should Know If You Are Facing Charges: What It Means to Be Charged with a Crime

There is a significant distinction between being arrested and being charged with a crime. While you may be arrested if you are suspected of committing a crime, a criminal charge means that law enforcement has issued a formal criminal citation, thereby initiating a criminal case (misdemeanors only), or that a prosecutor has reviewed the evidence and believes it warrants the filing of a formal allegation against you in an Arizona court of law. It does not automatically mean that you are going to be convicted of a crime (take note, you are presumed innocent). But, it does signify that your arrest record or citation has been evaluated, and a case will be pursued against you.

What You Should Know If You Are Facing Charges: It is Possible to be Charged with a Crime Without Being Arrested

It is possible to face a criminal charge without being arrested or detained by a police officer. If you are accused of a misdemeanor or minor crime, a criminal charge may be filed without you being arrested or detained by law enforcement. Instead of being imprisoned, the suspect receives a citation. This written and signed citation requires the suspect to appear in court on a specific date. Minor infractions such as traffic violations or shoplifting may result in citations. A summons may also be issued to you at a later date.

What You Should Know If You Are Facing Charges: The Decision to File

Whenever a case reaches the prosecutor’s desk, the police record on the incident is often all that is available. The information conveyed by the usual police report is limited—at least in the preliminary report. Moreover, police reports regularly have some of the facts wrong, either due to witness misstatements or lying or to mistakes or biases of the police officers.

The report of the police may distort a potentially insignificant detail, like the precise words used by two parties involved in a quarrel that got violent. It might also be blatantly wrong, like when the aggressor in an event alleges the defendant assaulted him while the defendant behaved in self-defense. Purported victims also might lie or exaggerate their injuries.

If the allegations are false, the defendant may undoubtedly go to trial and hope for an acquittal. Criminal trials, however, are not only perilous and costly. They are also very stressful, just as the processes that lead to them are. Because of this, defense attorneys will try to stop some cases far before they get that far. 

What You Should Know If You Are Facing Charges: Intervention Prior to Charges

Communication during the pretrial stage is just one of the many reasons why you should hire a Phoenix criminal lawyer as early as possible. However, you should not rush the selection process, nor should you enable a criminal defense lawyer to rush you into choosing them. Furthermore, you can also usually hire an attorney for initial representation and then move to another if desired.

If the circumstances are appropriate, some attorneys may try to intervene before the prosecutor files charges. This could entail getting in touch with the officer who made the arrest or did the investigation before the case reaches the office of the prosecutor or reaching out to the prosecutor before the decision is made on whether or not to file. In less serious cases, the defense attorney may be able to describe the occurrence in such a way that the case is never taken to court. However, defendants should not get too excited about this line of action because it often fails.

What You Should Know If You Are Facing Charges: Pursuing a Dismissal

Innocent defendants sometimes have to wait until charges are filed before their attorneys can intervene. However, it does not always follow that a trial will take place. A client who is meeting with their criminal defense lawyer should provide a thorough overview of the details as well as anything that would be relevant to the case. For instance, the historical background of the relationship between the defendant and the supposed victim. The lawyer may then weigh the available options.

The criminal lawyer may decide that it is important to investigate the incident and collect evidence as soon as possible including witness declarations. Using this information, the lawyer may try to convince the prosecution to drop the charges. A prosecutor may listen to a defense attorney who can show that the facts could not have unfolded the way a supposed victim or witness says. Depending on the circumstances, many attorneys will decide that it is preferable not to go into too much detail with the prosecutors for the risk of disclosing information ahead of a potential trial.

What You Should Know If You Are Facing Charges: Allowing Everything to Play Out

Sometimes the best defensive strategy is to do nothing. It could take months for the prosecutor to realize there isn’t enough evidence for a criminal conviction, either because a witness recants a statement or it becomes clear that the witness isn’t trustworthy. For example, the witness may have a history of false claims, or the purported victim may be motivated by a family conflict, such as child custody.

A case may be dismissed when the defense wins a pretrial motion, such as one to suppress unlawfully obtained evidence. Or, in the instance of a crime, the defense may win the preliminary hearing and the prosecutor may opt not to re-file. There are numerous in-court proceedings that could bring a case to a close without a plea or trial. However, the defense’s prospects are entirely dependent on the situation.

Get a Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney

You should definitely hire an attorney for a number of reasons, with the pretrial stage being one of the most important ones. The steps described in this article should only be done by an attorney. Furthermore, you should trust your attorney’s judgment in these issues. Your attorney should choose the steps to take, even if it means patiently waiting for trial.

Our law firm, Snader Law Group, LLC, has defended clients facing a diverse range of criminal charges, and our extensive background in criminal law provides us and our clients a leg up on the prosecution.

Howard Snader, the founder of our law firm, is a Board Certified Expert in Criminal Law. What does BOARD CERTIFIED EXPERT IN CRIMINAL LAW mean? This certification is issued by the State Bar. Howard Snader got his in 1995, and he has to renew it every 5 years. From 1995 to today, there are only about 100 attorneys that are certified in Arizona as CERTIFIED BOARD EXPERT IN CRIMINAL LAW, and half of them work for the government. This means there is only a handful of them who are in private practice. 

Criminal law is terrifying. You are in a position where the government can take away your liberty, your reputation, and your family. You have all the power of the government going against you. At a scary time like this, you need the best legal representation available! Call the law office of Snader Law Group now and arrange for a FREE consultation with their team! In this free consultation, you will learn all that you should know if you are facing charges.

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