Tempe Criminal Defense Lawyer

If someone has accused you of a crime in Tempe, Arizona, your future is at stake. You could be at risk of losing your job, home, relationships, and freedom. Arizona’s criminal laws are some of the toughest in the nation. Unfortunately, the structure of the criminal justice system does not favor the accused. The best way to protect your rights and reduce the penalties you might face is by hiring an aggressive Tempe criminal defense lawyer. AZ Defenders is a premier criminal defense firm in the State of Arizona. If you are facing criminal charges in Tempe, please contact us for a free consultation.

Why Trust AZ Defenders With Your Criminal Defense Case?

  • We are smart, driven, and effective. Our lawyers work around the clock to provide the highest quality of counsel and legal representation in Arizona.
  • We have achieved important victories for our past criminal defense clients. Our defense lawyers use proven and effective strategies to benefit their clients.
  • We take calls 24/7 from clients. If you think you need a defense lawyer’s help, call (480) 456-6400 any time to speak with our attorneys about your case.

Client Review: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Great lawyers. They have been helping me with a case for a little bit of time now. Holly, Lesley, and Craig are a wonderful team. I would and have recommended them to friends.

– Abigail D.

Tempe Criminal Defense Attorney

What to Do After an Arrest in Arizona

It is critical to protect your rights after an arrest in Arizona. The most important thing to remember is to use your Miranda Rights. This includes the right to protect yourself by remaining silent. The arresting officers can use anything you say against you during your criminal trial. Do not answer any questions or give information away that could be incriminating. Legally, the only question you must answer is your name. After that, politely decline to answer any questions – even during one-on-one police interviews – until you have a Tempe criminal defense lawyer present. Cooperate with the arrest to avoid further charges. Then, call AZ Defenders as soon as possible for representation.

What Does a Tempe Criminal Defense Attorney Do?

Hiring a criminal defense lawyer puts a professional on your side during the court process. When it feels like the world is against you, your lawyer will be in your corner. A defense attorney will act as your counselor, guide, protector and trusted advocate. A lawyer can give you much-needed peace of mind if you face threats to your future such as criminal charges and severe penalties. A lawyer can also take care of important legal tasks on your behalf.

  • Research the facts of your case
  • Gather evidence to help your case
  • Find out what information or evidence the prosecution has
  • Negotiate deals with the prosecutors
  • Attend hearings for you
  • Examine and question witnesses
  • Go to trial as your representative

You do not have to worry about incriminating yourself or failing to protect your rights after you hire an attorney to stand up for you. Your lawyer will ensure the total protection of your rights as a defendant through every step of the criminal justice process. You can focus on creating a brighter future while your Tempe criminal defense lawyer fights for the best possible results for your criminal case on your behalf.

Types of Criminal Offenses We Handle

It is important to find an attorney with experience handling cases in your practice area. You do not want to be your defense attorney’s first driving under the influence (DUI) client if you are facing a drunk driving charge, for example. At AZ Defenders, our Tempe criminal defense attorneys can take many types of cases:

  • DUI and DUI accidents
  • Drug crimes
  • Sex crimes
  • Violent crimes
  • Domestic violence crimes
  • Endangerment
  • Homicide
  • Firearm crimes
  • Theft crimes
  • White-collar crimes
  • Juvenile crimes
  • Property offenses
  • Expungements and appeals

This is not a full list of the criminal cases we take at AZ Defenders. Our attorneys have experience with many types of criminal defense cases. Whether you are facing an infraction, misdemeanor or felony charge, we can help. Find out if we can take your particular case during a free initial consultation with a qualified Tempe criminal defense lawyer.

Classifications of Crimes

It is important to understand the classification of the crime for which the prosecution is charging you. The classification of the crime is what will determine the severity of your punishment if convicted. If the courts convict you of a more serious classification of crime, such as a felony, the consequences can change your life. In Arizona, the criminal justice system places crimes into three distinct categories:

  1. A felony is the most serious classification of crime in Arizona. It refers to crimes that cause severe injuries or damages, such as assault with a deadly weapon. The odds of a jail sentence over one year long are high with felony convictions. Depending on the alleged crime, a felony conviction could lead to life in prison or the death sentence.
  2. A crime that is less serious than a felony is a misdemeanor in Arizona. Most misdemeanors come with a maximum of one year in jail in Arizona. Other punishments for a misdemeanor conviction can include fines, community service, probation, and house arrest.
  3. An infraction in Arizona is a minor offense that is even less serious than a misdemeanor. It may not refer to a criminal charge at all, but something such as a moving violation or traffic ticket. Infractions have minimal criminal consequences; they are typically punishable by fines only, not jail time.

Any type of crime classification is serious if you are the person facing charges. Even an infraction could lead to a fine you cannot afford and a mark on your permanent record. It is especially important, however, to hire a defense attorney if someone is accusing you of a felony. Examples of felonies in Arizona include aggravated assault, robbery, child abuse, fraud and sexual assault. The right Tempe criminal attorney may be able to craft a defense that helps you avoid a serious criminal conviction.

What Is the Criminal Trial Process?

Knowing more about the criminal trial process can help give you some peace of mind as a defendant. You will be ready for the next stage of your case and understand how certain procedures work. Our criminal defense lawyers in Tempe can walk you through the process from start to finish, answering your questions along the way.

  1. Initial appearance and hearing. Your first appearance before a judge will occur shortly after your arrest. The judge will arrange the conditions of your imprisonment and release. Then, at a later date, you will attend your arraignment hearing, where you will receive your official charges and enter a plea.
  2. Pre-trial negotiations. Before your case goes to trial in Tempe, you and your lawyer will have the chance to negotiate with the prosecution to achieve a settlement. If your lawyer recommends taking a plea deal, this could be the last step of your case. If yours is one of the few cases that go to trial, however, you will go on to jury selection.
  3. Trial. Every criminal trial starts with jury selection, then each side’s opening statements. Next, it will move to evidence, where both sides will present evidence and/or witnesses to prove the case. Both sides will also have the chance to cross-examine witnesses. The trial will end with closing statements, then the jury will move to deliberation.
  4. Verdict. The jurors will take what they learned during the case and deliberate about whether or not the prosecutor proved the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If so, the jury will submit a guilty verdict to the court. If not, it will submit a not-guilty verdict. If all jurors cannot agree, it will be a hung jury and the judge will either dismiss the case or declare a mistrial.
  5. Sentencing hearing. If a jury finds you guilty of the crime charged during a criminal trial, you will return to jail to await your sentencing hearing. At this final hearing, a judge will give deliver the sentence for the convicted crimes. After this, your lawyer may initiate an appeal, if applicable.

Your Tempe criminal defense attorney can make sure you properly prepare for each phase of the criminal trial process. From filing motions for dismissal to appearing in court on your behalf, your lawyer can make all the steps of a case much easier on you.

What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Lawyer

The person you choose to advocate for you as your defense attorney can make an enormous difference to your case. Your lawyer will be all that stands between you and the prosecution. Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer in Tempe takes researching your options carefully and selecting the defender that offers everything you need. Search for several key traits before choosing your lawyer:

  • Experience with your type of charge
  • Positive case results for past clients
  • Top-level legal resources and personnel
  • Good reviews and testimonials
  • Local experience in Tempe, Arizona
  • Open communication with clients
  • Personal touch

Arrange a free confidential consultation with our criminal defense lawyers at AZ Defenders in Tempe. Bring a list of questions to your meeting, such as how we can help, whether we have taken cases like yours, and what you should do next. We are here for clients throughout Arizona when they need us the most. Our criminal attorneys will listen, answer your questions honestly and treat you with respect.

Criminal Defense Attorney Tempe

Arizona Criminal Statute of Limitations

In criminal law, a statute of limitations restricts the amount of time a prosecutor has to bring charges against a suspect. If too much time has passed from the date of the alleged crime, the prosecutor may no longer have the right to charge the suspect. Different types of crimes come with different statutes of limitations in Arizona:

  • No statutes of limitations: murder and violent sexual assault
  • Seven years: most other felonies
  • One year: misdemeanors
  • Six months: petty offenses

Keep in mind that if you are facing federal charges, the statutes of limitations will be different. These are the time limits for crimes charged by state prosecutors. If the prosecution has filed charges against you after the statute of limitations, your criminal defense lawyer can use this as a reason to file a motion to dismiss the case.

Defenses to Criminal Charges in Arizona

Working with a local Tempe defense attorney can ensure you choose the path that is best for you based on the facts of your case. If your attorney believes a defense strategy against the criminal charges is the right move for you, he or she can create a strategy that suits your situation. The defense available for you to use – if any – will depend on the nature of your case and various other factors.

  • Affirmative defenses. An affirmative defense aims to prove that the facts of the case as presented by the prosecution are not true. It could involve presenting an eyewitness that gives you an alibi or showing other facts that prove the unlawful conduct in question did not happen or was committed by someone other than you.
  • Lack of intent. Most cases require the prosecution to prove that you intentionally, knowingly or consciously committed the crime. If your lawyer can prove lack of intent, this could lead to a dismissal of the charges. If you were unaware that someone else brought drugs into your car, for example, you were not knowingly in possession of those drugs and may not be guilty of the crime.
  • Duress or coercion. This type of defense asserts that you are not culpable for the crime committed because you did so under duress or coercion. Duress describes a fear of imminent bodily harm to you or someone you know. Coercion means someone forced you to commit the crime using threats or intimidation.
  • Police misconduct/lack of evidence. Your lawyer may be able to get the courts to throw out evidence against you if the police obtained it unlawfully, such as an illegal search and seizure. This could lead to lack of sufficient evidence against you and case dismissal.

Other possible defenses include self-defense, defense of others, consent, intoxication, insanity and an expired statute of limitations. The right criminal defense lawyer can make it easy for you to choose the best defense for you. Your attorney will tailor your defense strategy for the best possible results. The right defense will be based on facts such as the type of charges brought, the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime, the evidence against you and your criminal history. Work with AZ Defenders for the strongest possible defense to any type of criminal charge in Tempe.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

The cost of a criminal defense lawyer is often what leads to people choosing court-appointed representation (public defenders) instead. The personal attention, experience and power you could get with a private attorney, however, can be well worth the extra expense. A private lawyer will either charge a flat fee or per hour. Lawyers can charge different amounts depending on the type of case and how much work it requires. Contact us to discuss our rates for your specific case.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Criminal Lawyer in Tempe, AZ

At AZ Defenders, you can schedule a free consultation with our Tempe criminal defense attorneys at your convenience. You can tell us your story, ask questions, and get answers you can trust from a licensed attorney in Arizona 24/7. Call (480) 456-6400 or submit our online contact form today for a free and confidential case review.

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