Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or somebody you care about has been charged with a criminal offense in Phoenix from drug crimes to disorderly conduct, then your number one priority must be seeking legal assistance. For a person arrested and charged with a crime, this can be a confusing experience.
At the Ciccarelli Law Offices, our team is here to help if you need a Phoenix criminal lawyer by your side. We have extensive experience handling complex criminal cases such as aggravated assault and personal injury throughout Arizona. Our criminal lawyers have convictions and know what it takes to ensure that our clients receive fair treatment throughout this entire process and how to handle the courts. Contact us or call today for a free initial consultation on your misdemeanor or felony charges in Arizona.
Phoenix Criminal Defense Resources:
- Why Choose a Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer From Ciccarelli Law Offices?
- How Will A Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Your Case?
- What Is The Arizona Criminal Process?
- How Are Crimes Classified In Arizona?
- Types Of Criminal Defense Charges We Help With
- The Importance Of A Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer
- How Our Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorneys Are Different
Why Choose A Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney From Our Law Firm?
- At the Ciccarelli Law Offices, our Arizona lawyers focus on providing a personalized approach to every client that comes through our door. We make sure to focus on each client’s goals and needs and help them navigate the criminal justice system.
- Our law firm approaches cases as ensuring the rights of our clients. to guarantee they have fair legal representation. We will not back down from an aggressive prosecutor or police officer, and we have no problem taking the case to the Maricopa County, Arizona courts for the best outcome.
- Lee Ciccarelli is a criminal lawyer recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer in the United States by The National Trial Lawyers Association and received the Ten Best client satisfaction award by the American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys. He was recognized as one of the top 100 litigation attorneys by the American Society of Legal Advocates.
What Will A Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer Do to Help Your Case?
When a person is facing felony or misdemeanor criminal charges in Phoenix or the surrounding areas, they need to seek immediate assistance from a skilled attorney. Criminal lawyers, such as our aggravated assault or Phoenix sex crimes lawyers, can handle every aspect of a criminal law case. Our Arizona criminal defense lawyers will make sure that their clients do not get overwhelmed by the entire process. Importantly, a Phoenix criminal defense legal team can:
- Gather any evidence used by prosecutors or law enforcement officials in the Arizona criminal law case.
- Conduct an independent investigation into a case to obtain any additional evidence that could help their client in court or lead to a dismissal.
- Communicate directly with a prosecutor to ensure that the charges match the evidence and also handle any negotiations regarding possible plea deals to avoid jail time.
The Criminal Process In Arizona
Principally-important information anyone struggling with a criminal charge should know about is the steps and stages of the criminal process in Arizona. As is with most topics concerning the law in the United States, each state has its own way of “doing things,” yet is still influenced to some degree by the federal government. Getting a better idea of how the criminal process plays out could play a critical role in keeping someone out of prison or reducing their sentencing.
Police Investigation and Engagement
As in all suspicions of criminal acts, the police begin investigating when they deem fit. This may come from a 911 call, an anonymous tip, or even from personally witnessing an event. Police investigations can greatly vary in the amount of time they take. In the case of drug suspicion, for example, an investigation may take all of ten minutes as someone is patted down and their car searched. In other cases, such as a white-collar crime case, investigations can take years.
Once a police officer has reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, they are able to arrest and book the suspect. This means that someone will be placed in detainment until they are sent to court in an effort to keep them from escaping or fleeing from the justice system. This usually means a trip to the police station in a cruiser, fingerprinting, a mug shot, and filling out official forms and documents.
Pre-Trial and Court Proceedings
Shortly after detainment, a court hearing will be called and, on the date of the arraignment, a judge will inform the accused of the charges against them, the terms and conditions of a pre-trial release, and a set a date for a preliminary hearing if the case requires one. During this time, someone will be given a choice between a private defense attorney and a public defender, alongside a “guilty” or “not guilty” plea. Certain felony charges, however, do require preliminary hearings where the state has to show probable cause for the crime that the defendant is accused of.
Following the arraignment, there is an opportunity for a plea bargain. During this time, each party will gather evidence in the case for their respective side. A plea bargain could be reached if someone pleads guilty to a crime based on the amount of evidence and takes a lesser sentencing as a result. This is an extremely common outcome in Arizona.
If no agreement is reached and the trial date comes, the prosecution and defense will proceed to trial with presentations from both sides. This is, of course, when a jury will decide whether the accused will be convicted of the crime or not guilty.
Sentencing and Post-Trial
If found guilty, the trial session will adjourn with the judge deciding what the sentencing will be. This is where the judge is able to exercise a lot of personal autonomy as they consider the severity of the crime, the potential of the convicted of carrying crimes out again in the future, suggestions from both prosecution and defense, and sometimes recommendations from the jury. Although this may seem like the end of the road, a skilled Arizona criminal defense attorney is the key to ensuring someone is issued a lighter sentence and carries out a successful appeal to the ruling down the road.
How Are Crimes Classified in Arizona?
The convoluted nature of criminal law in Arizona is enough to greatly confuse people. Between felonies, misdemeanors, minor offenses, and a slew of other types of crime categories, many are left lost and in need of additional resources to understand the implications of crimes they may have been accused of committing, for example. This is where Phoenix criminal defense attorneys step in.
According to the Arizona Criminal Code, there are three different tiers that crimes are grouped into depending on their predetermined degree of severity. Everything from where someone will be incarcerated, for how long they will be incarcerated, if their permanent record will be impacted, and much more is dependent on the tier in which someone is convicted of a crime.
“Minor Offenses” classify the least-severe types of crime that someone can be convicted for in the state of Arizona. While different states have different terminologies and types of crime that fall into this category, minor offenses usually consist of violations, infractions, and petty offenses. Financial penalties are often the most common form of punishment for those convicted of minor offenses, although in some rarer scenarios, someone can be sent to jail for a short period of time.
Misdemeanors are the second-most severe classification of crime in Arizona. Although, it is worth noting that not all states have the same misdemeanor classification system, as some states classify misdemeanors under other categories, such as “petty offenses” and the like. In any case, the maximum incarceration sentence for someone who has committed a misdemeanor in the state of Arizona is six months. In most cases of a misdemeanor, financial penalties will also be assessed to the convicted.
The law explicitly lays the groundwork for three different classes of misdemeanor offenses:
- Class 3 – Imprisonment of 30 days or less
- Class 2 – Imprisonment of 4 months or less
- Class 1 – Imprisonment of 6 months or less
Finally, the most egregious offenses across the board are given the status of “Felony.” Felonies are among the most serious crimes that someone can commit, meaning their punishments are usually equally as harsh. It is usually presumed that felonies in Arizona carry a minimum sentence of one year. Despite this, some skilled criminal defense attorneys are able to diplomatically advocate for lesser sentences. In any case, the most serious felony cases can land someone life in prison or even the death penalty.
Felonies are of critical concern to many – not only for their harsh sentences – but also for their impact on someone’s life after serving out their sentence. Whether it be applying for a job, opening a bank account, or buying insurance, a felony charge may make different institutions and organizations wary of engaging. There is an unfortunate amount of social taboo that comes with felonies, and it is legally mandated that someone provide this information. This all comes after the harsh sentences that someone may have to endure beforehand.
- Class 6 felony – Presumptive sentencing of 1 year
- Class 5 felony – Presumptive sentencing of 1.5 years
- Class 4 felony – Presumptive sentencing of 2.5 years
- Class 3 felony – Presumptive sentencing of 3.5 years
- Class 2 felony – Presumptive sentencing of 5 years
- Class 1 felony – Presumptive sentencing of 16 years
Of course, further financial penalties are wrapped into felony charges. Felony charges are typically those committed with dangerous weapons or, in some way, create a great deal of damage to property or financial standings. The most serious classes are reserved for capital offenses such as murder.
Types of Arizona Criminal Defense Charges We Help With
At the Ciccarelli Law Offices, our felony Phoenix criminal defense attorneys have extensive combined experience providing legal help to clients who are facing a range of charges in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. Our best and brightest counsel are ready to step in and help any person facing charges related to the following:
Drug and Alcohol-Related Charges
Drug and alcohol-related charges are some of the most common types of criminal charges that the Ciccarelli Law Offices sees. Many drug possession charges are filed every day, especially in a state like Arizona. Methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and other types of drugs are all subject to intense scrutiny by the state. Similar charges include the delivery and trafficking of drugs within or over state lines. If you are charged with possession of drugs, speak to our Phonix drug possession lawyers immediately.
Another common drug and alcohol-related crime are driving under the influence (DUI). People are charged with DUIs when they are found to be driving over the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of .08%. Impaired driving carries a strict enough offense to suspend someone’s license for up to a year – even on their first offense. This and other penalties have the capability to drastically impact someone’s life indefinitely.
Arizona has pretty high crime rates, especially when it comes to theft. Despite being able to prove that one was not involved in a burglary, wrongful convocations are not an uncommon occurrence. Misunderstandings and ill-harbored vendettas are enough to put someone behind bars for a significant amount of time in many cases. In most scenarios, burglary charges are difficult to fight against without an experienced Phoenix theft attorney.
Another incredibly common crime seen by criminal defense attorneys, charges related to violent crime are abundant – the most common of which is “simple assault”. Someone’s charges are generally categorized as simple assault if they put someone else in fear of bodily harm, touch, or contact with them in a way that intends to cause injuries or cause actual injuries to the alleged victim.
A step up from simple assault, aggravated assault usually carries more serious consequences as it is classified as a felony. Causing serious bodily harm, using a deadly weapon to commit said assault, causing disfigurement or impairment, assaulting someone in their own place of residence, and more is enough to charge someone with aggravated assault.
Murder and manslaughter are usually charged when someone ends the life of another human being. Like other violent crime charges, the facts of a situation may be misconstrued and twisted to pin someone for a crime they did not commit. This is a scenario in which someone may need the assistance of a qualified criminal defense attorney – especially for a crime such as murder that carries penalties as severe as the life sentence or death penalty.
Domestic Violence is another violent crime covered by Ciccarelli. While many domestic violence cases are legitimate and tell the whole story, others do not. Oftentimes, it is necessary to present an array of evidence corroborating someone’s claims of not partaking in domestic abuse. Speak to a Phoenix domestic violence lawyer to learn more.
In all cases, the penalties for being convicted of a violent crime are quite serious, especially in an area of the state where violent crime is pretty common. As Phoenix County was declared the most dangerous county in the state for violent crime, it takes a tried and trusted team of attorneys to help clear your name and defend you in a court of law.
Weapons-related criminal charges can be just as serious as violent crimes. According to ARS § 13-3102, there are a slew of different actions involving weapons and explosives that can result in arrest and detainment. Possessing a prohibited weapon, failing to declare a prohibited weapon during a confrontation with an officer, the illegal sale of a weapon by any means, and the negligent discharge of a firearm are all examples of prohibited actions under the Arizona code.
Juvenile Crime Cases
Criminal cases involving minors may not seem very rare, but they have long-lasting impacts on the lives of convicted children and their families. It is a common myth that juveniles have it easier because they are not always tried as adults. The reality of juvenile crime cases is that the nature of their crimes may be misrepresented or misunderstood altogether – the consequences being years of personal growth and development away from their families. Families experiencing unjust cases should take their concerns to a Phoenix juvenile defense attorney to better learn how their child’s charges could be eased and their records expunged or sealed.
Traffic-related criminal charges are very complicated as it is not always very easy to collect all of the relevant information and context related to the crash. Certain incidents, such as traffic lights going out, faulty or failing brakes, recalled and malfunctioning airbags, and reckless third parties, are all examples of how a very serious automobile-related accident could have more to the story than initially meets the eye. Without a thorough or proper investigation into the details and hard evidence of such a case, someone could find themself wrongfully convicted of a charge such as vehicular manslaughter.
Mail fraud is a less commonly addressed criminal charge, uniquely handled by Ciccarelli Law Offices. Although sometimes done unknowingly, it is possible for Arizona residents to accidentally receive criminal charges for doing something as simple as sending a letter.
While seemingly harmless, mail fraud has the potential to carry strong penalties for offenders – sometimes ones that follow people around for the rest of their lives. This white-collar crime is a federal offense and is defined by the use of wire communications or mail in an effort to commission schemes that aim to cheat people out of their money. Fake employment offers, pyramid schemes, and much more have the potential to land someone in trouble.
Mail fraud must generally meet two criteria to qualify as a federal criminal offense:
- Having devised or intending to devise a scheme to defraud (or to perform specified fraudulent acts); AND
- Use of the mail for the purpose of executing, or attempting to execute, the scheme (or specified fraudulent acts)
Although treated harshly, someone may be unknowingly partaking in a scheme – especially vulnerable individuals such as the elderly. Being convicted of this federal offense can land someone in prison for decades, additionally costing them up to $250,000 in fines. Although there are people out there committing real mail fraud, criminal defense attorneys will be able to corroborate your innocence with their knowledge of the law and local court system.
Why You Should Get an Attorney Before Charges Are Even Filed Against You
Yet, in certain cases, it is imperative that you hire an attorney before there are any charges against you at all. In many cases, police will investigate for an extended period of time before actually charging you with a crime. Consulting an attorney during this period of time may prove to be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful court case.
Police investigations often mean that crime scenes are evaluated and suspects interrogated. With an attorney by your side, it will be easier for them to coach you as the police use certain tactics in order to incriminate or otherwise influence you. As these may include an admission of guilt for something you never did, for example, an attorney’s power to speak for you could never be more critical.
Lawyers have a great amount of experience with law enforcement and cases similar to your own meaning that they are able to explicitly explain your rights to you in certain circumstances. United States law clearly states that someone is able to request the presence of a lawyer in order to protect their rights.
- Attorneys can keep you in the loop on your case status as officials may withhold information from you.
- A criminal defense lawyer can help inform you of the reality of your charges: how your county or state has handled these types of cases previously, how a conviction will impact you and your family in the future, bond specifics, and likely penalties if you were to be convicted.
- Representation can help influence the prosecution into reconsidering their charges, informing them of a weak case or potential backlash from the case.
- Lawyers may be able to begin negotiating for you before charges have been filed, potentially reducing the severity of the crimes charged against you.
- You and your legal team will be able to craft a more robust defense as you collect critical details that could be overlooked or less relevant at a later date.
What Sets Our Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyers Apart from the Rest
An important thing to remember when searching for an attorney is the culture of the firm. Ciccarelli is unique in our approach to criminal charges. Our lawyers make it a point to learn as much as possible about you and your case in order to establish a solid baseline as we build a defense. Working as a team, Ciccarelli and his attorneys aggressively construct a defense that will leave you confident as your case moves forward in the court system.
Our advocates put together decades of experience to get done what needs to be done. Our experience in the Arizona court system with local clients has taught us what we need to know in order to achieve success with your case. Reaching out to our offices is the first step in ensuring individual attention from a fiery team of advocates.
Additionally, the felony Phoenix criminal attorney team is here to help if you need help getting a charge expunged, or sealed from your criminal record. When looking at the list above, if you do not see the exact criminal charges you are facing, please reach out to one of our honest Phoenix criminal defense lawyers as soon as possible. Our criminal attorneys and other members of our team want to discuss your case with you and help determine the best steps forward for your situation.
Call a Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you or somebody you love is facing any type of drug crime or other criminal charges in or around the Phoenix, Arizona area, you can count on the criminal defense firm of Ciccarelli Law Offices to have your back. Our criminal defense team in Chandler and across the state have significant resources at their disposal that can be used to conduct a full investigation into the charges you are facing.
We will not back down from aggressive prosecutors or law enforcement officials, and we are not afraid to take a criminal defense case to a courtroom if necessary. If you received a felony or misdemeanor charge in Maricopa County, Arizona and you need the best Phoenix criminal defense lawyer, reach out to our team so we can get to work today.
Reach out to a Phoenix criminal defense attorney today by calling us at (610) 692-8700 or requesting a free consultation through our website.