Why is Hiring an Attorney Important?
There are a couple of reasons why having an attorney early on in a case helps. Many times if police contact is made but there is no arrest, there are issues that arise that need to be followed through with the proper procedures. What happens then is that the police are hoping you make an admission about what happened or if they are trying to use something against you, they want to talk to you at some point. It has always been our belief that if they want to talk to you, it is not so that you can talk yourself out of getting a charge; it is most likely because they are there to do follow ups and gather evidence.
Having an attorney helps before the filing decisions are made because if the county attorney or prosecutor’s office does not have enough evidence, and an attorney has been retained, the police are not going to be talking to that individual at this point. They are not going to get that extra bit of evidence in order to make the case for the county attorney, or the prosecutor. There are certain times where the officers will come back later, and try to contact the client. If they arrest that client, and that client has already hired us, and working with our firm, then our firm can handle the initial arraignment when you are first arrested. It is always important to have an attorney at that stage of every case.
Is It Possible For An Attorney To Intervene And Prevent Charges From Actually Being Filed?
Certainly, an attorney can intervene often to prevent charges from being filed. When the police are involved, they go in, and they have a much narrowed set of circumstances in which they get a couple of facts from some witnesses, or the complaining party. Either they make it their decision to arrest, or not to arrest, or cite somebody, or long form the case which means the charges will come later. If we are able to get involved and investigate, then we are able to shed light as to what the situation was at hand. It is possible to keep charges from being filed, or at the very least, it is possible to have severe charges not filed.
If somebody is arrested on aggravated assault charges but it was later learned that additional information came out that would take away some of those aggravating factors, they may file it as a simple assault rather than an aggravated assault. The client is in a better position than if they were facing those felony charges.
What Does A Defense Attorney Look For Prior To The filing Of Charges To Mitigate Their Client’s Case?
The first thing to do is to obtain the police report on our clients prior to the filing of the case, because we want to know what the police have been saying what happened, and we want our clients to be able to go through those police reports as well to tell us their side of the story. Most times police officers were not on the scene when they alleged something happened. We want to get the police report first, and then depending upon what we find about the charges, that will dictate what our next steps are.
Usually, it involves reaching out to the prosecutor’s or the county attorney’s office. In a case with felonies, there is a process which allows us to present what is called a Trebus letter. That is from a case that says that if the county attorney goes to a grand jury, they have to present certain facts. If we are able to present to the county attorney exculpatory information, exculpatory, meaning evidence of innocence, then that information must be presented to the grand jury, otherwise it just gives us another avenue to fight if the case is on file.
That is an aggressive way of keeping a case from being filed. If the county attorney looks at something, and says there is enough exculpatory information here, we are not even sure if the grand jury is going to find enough information that they may not even file in the beginning.
What Do Plea Offers Generally Look Like For First Time Offenders Or Second Time Offenders?
Plea offers can range substantially for first and second offenders. DUIs in Arizona have mandatory jail time. There are certain sentences that are imposed by a judge. However, for misdemeanors that do not involve a mandate of jail, sometimes it is probation, a deferred judgement, or a diversion program. It is a very common resolution that we are able to obtain for our clients. Once you start revisiting the system a few times, that is when your penalties become worse.
When we talk about felonies, obviously on a first time offense, the goal is to ensure that no jail time happens and if you are able to get it reduced to a misdemeanor, which is something that we always strive for. Once you have a second and third offense with felonies due to our statutory sentencing requirements, your penalties will increase substantially.
For more information on Hiring An Attorney Early, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (602) 883-2523 today.