Chandler Criminal Defense Lawyer

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CHANDLER CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

If you are arrested for any crime in the Chandler area, the first steps you take immediately following your arrest can influence the rest of your life in various unpredictable ways. While you are likely to be understandably concerned about the potential penalties you could face in sentencing, the reality is that a conviction can change your life beyond the scope of your penalties. A Chandler criminal defense lawyer is an invaluable asset in this situation.

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 contact a Chandler criminal defense lawyer 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. En Español.

CRIMINAL SENTENCING IN MARICOPA COUNTY

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.

WHAT TYPES OF CASES DO WE HANDLE?

When you are searching for a Chandler criminal defense lawyer to represent you, it is absolutely crucial that you choose a defense attorney who has proven experience handling cases like yours. 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.

  • Misdemeanors are considered “lesser” crimes than felonies. You generally won’t be sentenced to prison time if convicted of a misdemeanor, but you may be sentenced to serve time in jail, as well as forced to complete probation and pay hefty fines. There are three classes of misdemeanors, with Class 1 being the most serious.
  • Felonies are considered more serious crimes, and often involve the potential of a prison sentence, even for a first-time offender or a non-violent offense. Felonies include dangerous crimes, which cause or could potentially cause injury or death to another person, as well as many non-dangerous crimes. As with misdemeanors, felonies are classified according to seriousness, with Class 1 being the most serious; there are six classes of felony crimes.

Do not make the mistake of assuming that facing a misdemeanor charge means your penalties will be mild, and do not assume that if you are charged with a felony that you are definitely going to jail. The average person cannot make fully informed decisions about their defense in any criminal case. Our team is ready to leverage our experience and professional resources for you, answer your most important legal questions, and guide you to a positive outcome.

We have an extensive professional record of successful criminal defense cases in the Chandler area and throughout the surrounding communities of Arizona. 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 make it easier to get a job and increase the odds of qualifying for public housing.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS WHEN YOU ARE ARRESTED

It is very common for individuals charged with various crimes to make critical errors in the immediate stages following their arrests. Once you are placed under arrest, the arresting officer is legally required to read you your Miranda rights. This is a brief and concise explanation of the two constitutional rights you have that come into play in this situation. If they fail to read you your rights, notify your attorney immediately at your first opportunity.

The Fifth Amendment protects you from self-incrimination, so once you are placed under arrest, you have no obligation to answer any questions or provide any statements to the police, no matter what they may claim to the contrary. You should comply with their directions and not resist arrest, even if you know you have done nothing wrong. Stay silent until you are allowed to make your phone calls, and then contact a Chandler criminal defense lawyer.

The Sixth Amendment protects your right to legal counsel when you are charged with a crime. Securing experienced criminal defense representation immediately following your arrest provides the greatest chance of formulating an effective defense against the charges that have been filed against you. A good attorney can review the police report from your arrest, listen to your side of the story, and help you determine the most viable defenses you could employ.

People arrested for the first time are most likely to forget their constitutional rights. This is a very stressful and scary situation for anyone, and anyone in this position is likely to say something that could be later taken out of context and used against them. Remember that if you are ever arrested for any crime in Chandler, remain silent until you can speak with a Chandler criminal defense lawyer.

WHAT IS THE LEGAL PROCESS FOR A CRIMINAL TRIAL?

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.

  • Initial appearance. Following your arrest, you will appear in court, where the judge will set the conditions of your release and schedule your arraignment. If bail is an option, your Chandler criminal defense lawyer can help you understand bail and the bonding process as it applies to your situation. This could enable you to leave police custody until your arraignment.
  • The judge will read the crimes that you have been charged with and ensure that you understand the charges. You will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty at this time. Usually, defendants enter a not guilty plea, so that their attorney can start the process of discovery and begin negotiations with the prosecution.
  • Pre-trial conference. This is another opportunity for your lawyer to negotiate with the prosecution and work toward a resolution, which may include a change of plea, motion hearing, or trial. The court generally expects an update on the progress of the case during this hearing.
  • Most criminal cases are resolved before ever going to trial. However, if your case is one of the few that goes to trial, then this is the chance for your attorney to make your case before a judge or a jury of your peers. Criminal court litigation is time-consuming, stressful, and beholden to strict procedures. Your attorney can help you approach every courtroom session with confidence.
  • Post-trial proceedings. If you’re convicted following a trial, you should discuss the option of appeal with your attorney. Otherwise, you will await sentencing and being completing the conditions of that sentence, which may include a combination of incarceration, fines, probation, and more.

A good Chandler criminal defense lawyer can help you prepare for each phase of your case so you can approach your proceedings with confidence. If you did not commit the offense, your attorney’s goal will be to show that the prosecution cannot meet the burden of proof to convict you. If you broke the law, it is possible for the prosecution’s case to fall apart in various ways, but it is prudent not to expect this and to seek a lighter penalty if at all possible.

CRIMINAL OFFENSE SENTENCING GUIDELINES IN CHANDLER

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.

It is important for a defendant to remember that while many crimes in Arizona entail non-negotiable mandatory minimum sentences, judges have broad discretionary power to customize a defendant’s sentence as they see fit. Aggravating and mitigating factors come into play in these decisions, with aggravating factors increasing the likelihood of severe penalties while mitigating factors work in the defendant’s favor and may encourage leniency in sentencing.

An experienced Chandler criminal defense lawyer can help their client make a more compelling argument to disprove allegations of aggravating factors if possible and to highlight potentially mitigating factors whenever possible.

DEFENSE STRATEGIES AGAINST CRIMINAL PROSECUTION

There are many strategies in defending against criminal charges. A good lawyer will deploy a personalized strategy for each criminal defense case in Chandler to combat allegations and ensure that the defendant’s rights are protected throughout the investigation and prosecution.

Successfully defending against a criminal charge in Chandler may require proving a mistake of fact, highlighting a problem with the evidence the prosecution has compiled against you, or proving a mistake of law, meaning some type of procedural misstep has occurred, and either the police and/or prosecutor has compromised the integrity of the case against you. You may also need to prove a due process violation or a violation of your constitutional rights.

PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT

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.

Plea bargaining is not an option for every defendant, but if a defendant knows they have broken the law and the prosecution has more than enough evidence to secure their conviction, plea bargaining may not only lead to swifter court proceedings but also a favorable outcome for the defendant. The prosecutor may exchange an immediate guilty plea for reduced and/or dropped charges along with lighter sentencing. Your attorney can help you understand this process.

VIOLATION OF THE FOURTH AMENDMENT

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.

VIOLATION OF DETAINEE RIGHTS

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. If the police violated the defendant’s rights, this compromises the integrity of a criminal case against the defendant at the outset.

Your Chandler criminal defense lawyer can help you determine how you can leverage any such violation in your case. You may not only have grounds to seek a case dismissal but also a claim for damages against the police department and/or state, depending on the severity of the incident and the severity of the effects.

WHY YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY

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.

  • An attorney has the education and training to understand the complex legal process and to defend your rights, from the time that you are arrested until the case is concluded. Your situation is understandably stressful, and the mental and emotional strain of the situation may prevent you from making prudent decisions about your defense. Your attorney will also be familiar with case law, which could help you form more effective arguments in court.
  • An attorney is experienced in negotiating with the prosecution, which may mean getting charges dismissed or reduced, resulting in less jail time, reduced fines, and less potential damage to your reputation. Plea bargaining is a complex process and is not available to every defendant. If this is an option in your case, however, you will need a seasoned attorney to help you capitalize on this.
  • Even simple charges that seem like they can be successfully handled without an attorney may have a serious impact on your life if things go awry. Any criminal record has the potential to cause you to miss out on job opportunities, qualify for entrance into school or certification programs, and diminish your standing in your community.
  • If you represent yourself at trial, you will be held to the same standard as a licensed attorney. Don’t expect the judge or jury to help you present your case, and don’t expect the prosecution to go easy on you simply because you are unrepresented. Even if you think you can disprove the case against you or that the facts will show that you are innocent, many who attempt this quickly discover that this is not a realistic expectation.

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.

SPEAK WITH A CHANDLER CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

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 for you.

If you are charged with a crime in the Chandler, AZ 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.

Schedule A Consultation With The Grand Canyon Attorney Who Can Help