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Tempe Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Tempe Criminal Defense Attorney

Criminal convictions can impact your life negatively now and well into the future. If you are a resident of Tempe or an out-of-state Arizona State University (ASU) student—and you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime—it is crucial to contact a Tempe criminal defense attorney immediately.

The legal team at Grand Canyon Law Group has years of experience protecting the rights of defendants, whether in court or during behind-the-scenes negotiations. As a former prosecutor, our lead attorney—Ryan McPhie—has handled thousands of criminal cases from the prosecution side and from the defense side. This experience working as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney is invaluable for our clients. Call us today for a free consultation at (928) 378-36004.


Grand Canyon Law Group has successfully represented numerous individuals charged with crimes in Tempe. Many of our clients have been so pleased with Grand Canyon Law Group’s representation that they have left testimonials lauding the firm’s work. Below we highlight some of our past results.

In the summer of 2017, Grand Canyon Law Group assisted a driver whom police pulled over for driving with his bright lights on. The officer smelled alcohol on the driver’s breath, took him to the police station, and charged him with DUI. Ryan McPhie was able get the criminal charges dismissed.

Grand Canyon Law Group has also managed to have DUI charges reduced to reckless driving in many past cases. In June 2017, a former client praised Ryan McPhie on his unwavering pursuit of justice, his forthrightness, and his knowledge of the law after achieving such a result and saving his career.

In 2018, Ryan McPhie assisted an Arizona client involved in a hit and run accident to secure a very beneficial plea agreement, allowing him to plead “responsible” to a civil traffic ticket instead of a criminal offense, according to the client. The client specifically applauded the high level of communication offered by Grand Canyon Law Group, which he said made the entire process less stressful than he imagined.


At Grand Canyon Law Group, our Tempe criminal defense attorneys represent individuals charged with many different types of crimes, including:

  • Drug crimes. The severity of a drug crime is determined by the type and amount of the substance involved. Drug crimes include the production, possession, sale, and transportation of an illegal substance.
  • Assault. In Arizona, sexual and physical assault are serious offenses, and aggravated assault—498 instances of which took place in Tempe in 2014— is charged as a felony.
  • Shoplifting. State courts can charge shoplifting as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the monetary value of the items allegedly stolen and how the items were removed from the business.
  • Domestic violence. Domestic violence involves the abuse of a spouse, roommate, child, family member, or romantic partner. These charges are aggressively charged, many times against the named victim’s wishes. Domestic Violence has devastating future effects. However, they are some of our most common types of cases and we have an exceptionally high success rate in achieving dismissals or reductions in charges.

A felony charge can result in imprisonment, potentially for decades. Felony charges in Arizona include, but are not limited to:

  • Arson
  • Most drug-related charges
  • Manslaughter
  • Tax evasion
  • Burglary
  • Aggravated DUI charges
  • Sexual offenses
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Domestic Violence

Misdemeanor charges can come with serious consequences as well, albeit less severe than those associated with felony charges. Misdemeanors in Arizona include, but are not limited to:

  • Petty theft and shoplifting
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Assault
  • Solicitation
  • Reckless driving
  • DUI
  • Domestic Violence

Additional types of criminal cases that we handle at Grand Canyon Law Group include:

  • White collar crimes
  • Sex crimes
  • Theft
  • Criminal traffic violations, and more


At Grand Canyon Law Group, we have had the pleasure of representing many ASU students. If a Sun Devil has any legal problems, we want them to know that we are nearby to assist them however we can. If you are an ASU student and you’re charged with a crime, call Grand Canyon Law Group as soon as possible. We will zealously advocate for you in court; we will also ensure that the judge and prosecutor are aware that you are an ASU student and of the additional consequences that a criminal conviction may have on your status with the university. Some of the most common crimes committed by ASU students are:

  • Drug possession
  • DUI
  • Domestic Violence
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Assault
  • Burglary
  • Underage liquor possession or consumption

Crimes occur on campuses nationwide, but false accusations and illegal arrests are also common. At Grand Canyon Law Group, we strive to protect the future of young students charged with crimes. We understand that people make mistakes, and we don’t want you facing criminal charges without an experienced lawyer by your side. If you find yourself confused and concerned about how a criminal conviction may impact the rest of your life, we can assist you in understanding your rights. If we represent you, we will aggressively work to protect your rights, reputation, and future.


Criminal cases and civil cases differ significantly in many respects. Criminal cases are brought by the government, rather than a private party like a person or company. Below we discuss some features of a criminal case.

  1. The burden of proof is on the prosecution to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the charged crimes.
  2. The first step involves a judge reviewing the case and advising the defendant of the charges.
  3. The judge also decides whether the complaint contains the requisite information and whether to keep the defendant in custody until trial, to impose a bail amount, or to release the defendant on his or her own recognizance.
  4. At arraignment, the defendant also enters a plea—almost always not guilty if represented by counsel.
  5. If the defendant pleads guilty and chooses to forgo a trial, the judge imposes a sentence.
  6. The defendant may enter into a plea agreement with the prosecution, which usually involves pleading guilty to some or all of the charges in exchange for a reduction in charges or lighter sentence than the defendant would otherwise face following a guilty verdict at trial.
  7. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the judge schedules a trial and any other necessary hearings.
  8. If a person is found not guilty at trial, he or she is released immediately.
  9. If trial results in a guilty verdict, the judge will determine the defendant’s sentence, usually at a later date and time.

Following a guilty plea or verdict, the criminal sentence may include:

  • Time in prison
  • A fine paid to the government
  • Restitution to victims
  • Supervision and specific probation conditions, like mandatory treatment programs, substance abuse testing, home confinement, electronic monitoring, and job counseling.


There are mandatory sentencing laws in the state of Arizona. However, every criminal case is unique, and the case’s specifics will determine which mandatory sentencing guidelines are applicable. The court will consider various elements when calculating the potential sentencing for a person’s charges.

While there are statute-imposed sentencing guidelines, the court could enforce more lenient or harsher penalties depending on the specifics of the individual and charges. Factors include the nature of the crime, whether it is a dangerous or non-dangerous offense, any aggravating or mitigating circumstances, and if the defendant has previous convictions on their criminal record.

Upon a felony conviction, the court will sentence a person depending on the classification of the offense. Indictment possibilities range from class one to a class six felony.


One critical factor the court will consider for sentencing guidelines is the person’s criminal history. Individuals facing non-dangerous charges with previous felony convictions are subject to harsher sentencing guidelines. Under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-703, the sentencing guidelines for a person with prior convictions and other aggravating factors are as follows:

  • Class six felony: up to a 5.25-year prison sentence
  • Class five felony: up to a 7.5-year prison sentence
  • Class four felony: up to a 15-year prison sentence
  • Class three felony: up to a 25-year prison sentence
  • Class two felony: up to a 35-year prison sentence


As per the Arizona Revised Statute 13-105, dangerous crimes involve discharging, using, or even displaying a deadly weapon. This category also includes offenses involving intentional physical harm to another person. Depending on the class of felony and other factors, a person could face from 1.5 to 35 years for a conviction. Again, the potential penalties increase for defendants with prior felony convictions.


Criminal cases don’t always end with a guilty or not guilty verdict. Attorneys with experience representing criminal defendants often work toward alternative resolutions, including:

  • Dismissal. A criminal case may result in dismissal either with or without prejudice. If a court dismisses a case with prejudice, the defendant cannot be charged again; whereas if a court dismisses a court without prejudice, the prosecution has the option to refile the case at a later date.
  • Plea agreement. The defendant pleads guilty to a crime, sometimes an altogether different crime than charged in the initial complaint, in exchange for some form of leniency.
  • Pretrial diversion. Under certain circumstances, often if a defendant has not been charged with a crime before or if other mitigating circumstances exist, a court will hold on to a case while the defendant undergoes a rehabilitative program, such as drug treatment, and make a final decision at a later date. Oftentimes, the court will dismiss the charges if the defendant successfully completes the terms of his or her diversion.


If you face criminal charges in this state, you must act quickly to prepare your defense strategy. A felony conviction will mean a prison sentence and other harsh penalties that can negatively impact your life for many years to come. It is never a good idea to try and handle the case on your own, regardless of the circumstances surrounding your charges.

The lack of a solid defense strategy could mean longer prison sentences, higher fees, and harsher penalties. At the Grand Canyon Law Group, a hardworking Tempe criminal lawyer has the experience to fight aggressively for your freedom and way of life. If you face criminal charges, call today to schedule a consultation. The sooner you reach out, the better chance you have at a positive outcome.

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