Scottsdale Criminal Lawyer
Scottsdale-area criminal courts are known for imposing harsh penalties for criminal convictions. If you’ve been charged with or accused of a crime, it’s important to have a lawyer represent you in court to protect your freedom as much as possible. Don’t try to handle a criminal case on your own. Instead, call the experienced defense attorneys at our firm to schedule your free consultation and to learn more about how you can work to mitigate any consequences associated with your case.
Why Choose Our Firm?
Our legal team includes former deputy county attorneys who have extensive experience prosecuting felony criminal cases and now uses that experience to help criminal defendants. Criminal charges are serious matters, and regardless of whether you are innocent or guilty, you want to know that you have a strong criminal defense team on your side. Our lawyers have represented people accused of crimes in a wide range of matters, and we work to ease the burden of criminal charges for our clients. In many cases, we’ve secured not guilty verdicts for our clients at trial, and in others we have been able to reduce the criminal penalties or have them dismissed entirely.
The Most Common Criminal Law Cases
We’re prepared to handle a wide range of criminal law cases. Below we discuss some of the most common criminal charges that we see.
- Assault, which involves attacking another individual with intent to cause harm. Assault charges may also include assault with a deadly weapon or aggravated assault.
- Criminal traffic violations, from extreme reckless driving to endangerment to leaving the scene of an accident to driving without a license.
- Domestic violence, which can include a wide range of actions, from throwing objects to striking a member of your immediate family or someone else living in your home.
- DUI, which includes driving under the influence of alcohol or a number of different drugs, including prescription drugs.
- Drug crimes, including both possession and distribution.
- Theft, whether from a person or a business.
- White collar crimes, including forgery and money laundering.
- Sex trafficking, which involves illegally selling sex.
Our firm is prepared to handle a wide range of cases, including many not listed above, and we take both misdemeanor and felony cases. No matter what type of crime you’ve been charged with, we’ll be on your side throughout the legal process.
What are the Potential Consequences of a Criminal Defense Conviction?
When you’re accused of a crime, it’s natural to feel nervous and uncertain about the future. What’s going to happen next? What are the potential consequences if you’re found guilty? If you are convicted of a crime, there are several penalties you can expect, including:
- Many crimes carry fines as part of the penalty. DUI, for example, can result in the need to pay a fine, as well as other fees and expenses associated with the court proceedings. Also, your monthly car insurance payments may increase. In some cases, property may be seized as part of a criminal conviction, including your vehicle.
- Prison time. Generally, the first penalty that comes to mind is jail time. Not only does imprisonment severely limit your freedom, but also it can seriously affect what you’re able to accomplish in your career and throughout the rest of your life, even decades after you’ve successfully completed all aspects of your sentence.
- When you’re put on probation, you must regularly check in with your probation officer to show them that you’re following all the conditions included in your probation. For example, you may be restricted from traveling to certain areas or to leave a certain geographic area. Furthermore, you may not be permitted to associate with certain individuals, especially those known to be engaged in criminal activities. Any future contact with law enforcement during your probationary period also may constitute a violation of your probation.
- A criminal record. In addition to all the other penalties associated with a criminal conviction, you may also gain a criminal record, which can make it more difficult to secure certain types of employment and negatively affect other areas of your life.
How Can I Defend Against Criminal Defense Accusations in the Scottsdale Area?
There are many defenses to criminal accusations. By working with an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can determine which type of defense will be most effective in your case.
- Claiming innocence is the most common defense for most crimes. In all criminal cases, the prosecution bears the burden of proof, which means that the prosecution must introduce adequate evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant actually committed the charged crime. In some cases, however, defendants may need to present their own evidence to establish their defense, like proof that you were not at a given location or that you were not otherwise capable of committing the charged crime.
- The defense of insanity is much less common than many people realize, and it may bring with it more consequences and penalties than the general public initially believes. If a defendant wants to use the defense of insanity, it’s important to consider the possibility that it can result in prolonged institutionalization or mandated mental health treatment before any freedom is restored. In some cases, the consequences associated with a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict may actually be more severe and last longer than those that come with a criminal conviction. For these reasons, the defense of insanity is usually reserved for defendants who face the death penalty.
- Self-defense. In the case of some violent crimes, you may be able to claim self-defense. Under this defense, defendants argue that they believed they would have been injured by the other party had they not taken action to defend themselves.
- Mistake of fact. If you use a mistake of fact defense, you must show that you were mistaken about a specific fact, which led to an accidental commission of a crime. For example, if you accidentally drove away with a car that looked exactly like yours, this might be a mistake of fact, rather than a true theft. It’s important not to confuse mistake of fact with mistake of law, also known as ignorance of the law, which is not a valid defense.
- In some cases, a defendant may have been forced into committing an unlawful act, in which case duress may be a valid defense.
Sentencing Guidelines for Various Convictions
While there are mandatory sentencing guidelines in Arizona, there are many factors the court will evaluate to determine the sentencing range for a person’s arrest and charges. The guidelines for criminal convictions are in place to keep sentencing consistent. The court will review the defendant’s previous criminal record as well as any aggravating or mitigating factors. After the court determines the sentencing range, the judge has the discretion to apply penalties under the most lenient or harsh guidelines that fall within that category.
Aggravated Assault Crimes
Assault is a dangerous crime, and the statute describes it as intentionally or recklessly causing physical harm or fear of inevitable bodily injury to another person. Per the Arizona Revised Statute 13-1204, an aggravated or felony assault charge must involve specific components. The elements of felony assault include:
- The incident involved severe physical injury
- The defendant used any form of a deadly weapon during the assault
- The defendant used restraint tactics
- The assault took place in the person’s residence
- The assault took place against a public servant
- An adult committed the crime against a minor under 15 years old
- There is already an order of protection in place against the defendant
In most cases, an aggravated assault conviction is a class three felony with penalties of up to 15 years in prison, or a class two felony with a prison sentence potential of up to 21 years. An individual facing aggravated assault with a previous felony conviction could face 35 years behind bars.
Felony Theft Charges
Theft is a non-dangerous crime, and a person will face felony charges in this state for stealing property worth over $1,000. There are five categories of felony charges depending on the monetary value. The lowest offense is a class six, and the most severe is a class two felony. A person facing first-time felony theft charges could serve a sentence from 0.33 to 12.5 years. A defendant with prior felony convictions could serve from 5.75 to 35 years in prison.
Felony Drug Crimes
Felony drug crime charges often involve multiple offenses. The felony class will depend on the type and amount of drugs involved, and the state will also consider whether the drugs in question are for personal use or the purpose of distribution. Potential sentencing for a felony drug charge ranges from 0.5 to 15 years in prison.
Aggravated DUI Sentencing
Aggravated driving under the influence or DUI is a felony offense in this state. The severity level will depend on many factors, including prior DUI or felony offenses, whether there was a minor under 15 years old in the car, and whether the driver has a suspended or revoked driver’s license at the time of the arrest. An aggravated DUI conviction could lead to a prison sentence between four months and 3.75 years.
Contact a Scottsdale Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you’ve been charged with a crime, you will likely face significant legal and financial penalties if convicted. The fines alone that are associated with many crimes can be crippling, particularly if they’re coupled with jail time, which may prevent you from being able to work and earn income necessary to pay them. Not only that, if you are convicted of a crime, your freedoms will be severely limited. These potential consequences make the cost of a lawyer well worth the peace of mind that having competent representation can provide. At our firm, we offer a free initial consultation to learn more about your criminal charges and whether we can take your case. We offer reasonable payment plans and an affordable legal defense that will help you maintain your freedoms and better understand the accusations against you.
If you’re unsure of what to do in your criminal case, don’t wait to get the legal support you need to properly defend yourself. Call us today, or contact us online, to schedule your consultation. We’ll come to your home, meet you at the office, or meet you in another location that works for you to help make your legal defense process as easy as possible.