Being arrested or informed that criminal charges may be brought against you can be terrifying. The prospect of criminal proceedings, fines, or even incarceration is frightening, and it is difficult to know how best to proceed. The criminal system is complicated and stacked against the accused. The decisions you make will impact your life for a very long time, maybe the rest of your life. It is essential to pick the right attorney to represent you.
The law offers many protections for people accused of crimes, but you need an experienced attorney to protect your rights and freedom. David Lish and Ryan McPhie at Grand Canyon Law Group are former Deputy County Attorneys with decades of combined experience handling thousands of criminal cases on both sides of the courtroom. They have a unique insight into how criminal prosecution works in Arizona, as well as extensive knowledge of Maricopa County and Arizona courts. Our legal team knows the system and can empower you to be proactive in your defense and take full advantage of your rights. A Chandler criminal defense lawyer will provide the support you need during such an important time.
According to a report from the Arizona Judicial Branch, nearly 25,000 defendants were sentenced in the Maricopa County in 2017. Of those, 5,550 were committed to the Arizona Department of Corrections or Juvenile Corrections, and 18,528 received some type of probation, including both supervised and unsupervised probation.
The Arizona Judicial Branch also reported more than 220,000 criminal traffic cases on file in Maricopa County in 2017, including 94,692 DUI cases alone. A total of 765 criminal traffic cases went to trial during the year, as well as 1,407 misdemeanor cases. Bench trials constituted the vast majority of these trials, with jury trials being much less common.
Grand Canyon Law Group represents clients who have been charged with both misdemeanors and felonies. Below we provide a brief description of these two classifications.
We represent clients who have been accused of many different offenses, including:
We also help our clients restore their civil rights once they complete probation, including the right to vote, to serve on a jury, to run for public office, and to possess firearms. Additionally, we help eligible clients have past convictions set aside, which is the closest thing to expungement that Arizona offers. This can help restore civil rights, make it easier to get a job, and increase the odds of qualifying for public housing.
As stated, the legal process is complex and can vary based on individual circumstances. However, below we provide a brief description of the steps involved in most Arizona criminal proceedings.
Arizona’s sentencing guidelines establish mandatory jail sentences for many offenses, even when committed by people with no prior criminal record. Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 13 §702, outlines the suggested sentences for first-time offenders of various crimes.
The law uses a classification system that designates felonies as Class 1 through 6. Class 1 felonies are the most serious and include first and second-degree murder. First-degree murder is punishable by life imprisonment or death, and first-degree murder carries a sentence of 16 years to life imprisonment.
Class 6 includes the least serious felony offenses. Examples of Class 6 felonies include resisting arrest, aggravated DUI (more commonly charged as a higher, class 4 felony), and possession of marijuana. The typical sentence upon conviction of a Class 6 felony is between six months and two years in prison for first offenders, and between one year and two and three-quarter years for repeat offenders.
There are many strategies in defending against criminal charges. A good lawyer will deploy a personalized strategy for each criminal defense case to combat allegations and ensure that the defendant’s rights are protected throughout the investigation and prosecution.
Prosecutors have the burden of showing a defendant is guilty—the defendant does not need to prove their innocence. Furthermore, the prosecutor must present evidence that sufficiently proves guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt”. This means that a prosecutor must present powerful evidence of guilt that leaves every member of a jury or the judge firmly convinced that the defendant is guilty of committing every element of the crime.
The Grand Canyon Law Group criminal defense attorneys work on a defendant’s behalf to show that a prosecutor’s case is not strong enough to meet the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. When prosecutors believe they could have trouble meeting this burden, they often agree to a settlement on a lesser charge or may dismiss the charges entirely.
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens from unlawful or unreasonable search and seizure. Our criminal defense attorneys love to argue this issue. We always check to ensure that local law enforcement did not violate the defendant’s rights before, during, or after the arrest. This is often an area for argument and negotiation. Law enforcement officers must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop a person or search them and their belongings.
Probable cause means that the officers must have enough basis, based on fact, that a crime was committed and that the individual might be involved in it. Officers sometimes stop Chandler residents or conduct searches based on pre textual reasons rather than reasonable suspicion based on facts. Depending on the circumstances, this may be improper. If a defendant’s attorney can show that an arrest or a search happened without probable cause or improperly, any evidence that the arrest or search produced will not be admitted into testimony and can even lead to a dismissal of the case.
Once an arrest has occurred, law enforcement must honor the detainee’s right to legal counsel and right against self-incrimination. They also may not abuse or harm the detainee in any way. A failure to respect these rights can result in charges being dismissed, or never being filed in the first place.
Criminal defendants sometime choose to represent themselves in court rather than to hire an attorney. However, there are numerous reasons why it is in your best interest to hire an attorney with experience representing criminal defendants. Below we discuss some of the most significant reasons.
While we cannot guarantee any particular outcome in your case, Grand Canyon Law Group has a successful track record in its criminal defense cases. We focus on fighting for the best possible outcome in terms of your freedom and future, as well as helping reduce the stress of the situation by providing explanations and options throughout the case.
Too often, over-zealous law enforcement officers and prosecutors proceed as if a defendant is guilty rather than extending them the presumption of innocence. The right criminal defense lawyer will assert a client’s innocence when appropriate, always insist and ensure that proper procedures are followed, and seek dismissal or reduction of any charges that the prosecution is unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
Do not trust in luck or assume that law enforcement will be persuaded of your innocence. Some people feel that a prosecutor will see it their way and provide a fair outcome. However, they are not on your side. The criminal justice system is an “adversarial system” by nature, and the prosecutor’s job is to convict you. You need a Chandler criminal defense lawyer fighting on your behalf.
If you are charged with a crime in the Chandler, Arizona area, Grand Canyon Law Group will provide you with a free initial consultation, review the details of your case, and discuss your options. If we agree to represent you, you may be eligible for a payment plan. We are committed to providing our clients with aggressive and compassionate representation and strive to take all necessary steps to assist them. We understand how the prosecution works, and that provides us with a unique advantage. While we cannot guarantee a favorable result, we strive to protect our clients’ freedoms to the best of our ability. Allow our former prosecutors to press every advantage and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. You have a way of life worth saving.