By: C.D. Owens, Esq.
If you are arrested and charged with a misdemeanor or felony, you could be facing anywhere from 30 days in jail, or even upward to 15 to 25 years in the State Penitentiary or even life imprisonment. I recommend that you consult with an attorney whenever you have been arrested or charged for a criminal offense. Regarding a DUI or other misdemeanors like a domestic spat with a boyfriend or girlfriend, you are usually in a City Court and those things will, in most cases, work out for $5,000 to $6,000, or even less, in attorney’s fees.
It is in Class 2 to Class 5 felonies that the big problems and consequences exist. They are magnified by criminal records in prior convictions and by the use of weapons and the simple fact that there are thousands of fact situations with different crimes involving violence, alcohol, drugs, etc. At this level and depending on the seriousness of the crime; e.g., assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, attorney retainers may jump from $5,000 in an extreme DUI to $75,000 or more in Class 3 or Class 2 felonies.
The actual arrest may take place near or at the scene or you may be picked up by police officers at home or at work at a later date. You will likely be transported to a location convenient to the arresting officers where officers may try to interrogate you raising the issue of your right to remain silent and your right to counsel. I wrote a prior blog on that particular topic on September 2, 2015. From there you will probably be transported to the Maricopa County Jail at Fourth Avenue in Phoenix for booking into the system. Initial appearances and probable cause issues are handled there at the Jail Court. Appearances are scheduled throughout the day and night, but will usually take place the same day as the arrest and booking. Initial not-guilty pleas and bail (if available) are entered. I will discuss bail issues in my blog next week.
After the initial appearance, the process and procedure may vary. The case can go to an outlying Superior Court Branch, such as Mesa, where it would be set for arraignment and entry into the Superior Court system, then proceeding to a plea agreement or trial and sentencing. Or, the County Attorney may vacate the foregoing procedure and take the case to a Grand Jury for indictment. Following a Grand Jury indictment, it would ordinarily go to the South Court Towers for arraignment and subsequent pre-trial conference. Disclosure documents are then exchanged by the Prosecutor and Defense counsel. The Prosecutor may make a plea offer, and arrangements can be sought for a settlement conference with a Judge agreed upon by both sides. After all of that, if the case is still not resolved, then it will be set for trial.
If you would like to meet with one of our experienced Attorneys, please call OWENS & PERKINS at 480.630.2464 to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.