What would you prefer? Go to trial and win or have the case dismissed before trial, or even before you have to appear in Court? Is there a choice? Of course, you want the case over as soon as possible.
Dismissal of a case before trial is a triumphant win–avoiding the anxiety, sleepless nights and constant worry that come with a trial to say nothing of the cost of a good defense. If we can, we go for the dismissal before trial first. We might make less in fees, but we do the right thing–protect your interests and get you back on your feet as soon as possible.
Sometimes we can’t get a case dismissed right away, there’s evidence something happened, but is there enough evidence to convict you of a serious felony? Perhaps, there’s evidence to support a misdemeanor charge–a misdemeanor is the least serious criminal offense on the books.
A felony stays with you for life–you lose your right to vote, to carry firearms, often you lose government benefits, the opportunity to live in many areas, or a license to practice some profession or to enter a profession. A felony is like a brand on your forehead. It never goes away. In Arizona, your conviction will always stay on the books.
A misdemeanor, by contrast, has almost no impact on the rest of your life. Another option is to get a plea offer taking a serious Class 2 felony down to a misdemeanor, which has
almost no impact later on, although it will be on your record. Some professional licensing problems could surface. Each misdemeanor has to be evaluated on its own in relation to your particular circumstances. But you do not lose your right to vote or to have a firearm. A misdemeanor plea can make a significant difference in your life.
Once you’re indicted, if you decide not to take a plea offer from the State, investigation begins. This is the stage when hard work, long hours, creative thinking pay off.
We pull out all the stops when a case comes into the office–investigate, question, look over the State’s evidence for lies, misrepresentations, bad logic and reasoning. People lie all of the time. It’s our job to find those lies if they exist. Our clients deserve nothing less and when we do, we try to secure the best possible outcome for our clients.
It is unethical for any lawyer to guarantee an outcome in your case. If you’ve talked to a lawyer who says he or she can get you a good plea or so many years in prison or jail, you are being misled in my opinion. No one knows what a Judge will do in any case. There are no guarantees in life–none. Continue to talk to other lawyers until you find one who is willing to give you an opinion of the case, but makes no promises whatsoever. It’s your life, guard it carefully and don’t be misled.
This is your life, your future. Guard it carefully and think about what you’re doing. You always have time to consider the options available.
We never make promises about the outcome of any case. We will do our best for you, to keep you informed and work with you every step of the way.
The Class of Felony charged is important. The State takes evidence before a Grand Jury which is a group of ordinary citizens, who hear only the State’s evidence against you. Your evidence is not presented in all but very exceptional circumstances.
The prosecutor suggests possible crimes for which you could be indicted, including the Class of felony, decides which class of felony you may be indicted for, while a police officer decides the charges when someone is arrested. The Grand Jurors can ask questions and then they vote whether they find sufficient evidence. This is called a True Bill, which later becomes a formal indictment.
The most serious crimes are Class 1 Felonies, homicide cases fall into this category. On conviction, a person could be sentenced to death, life imprisonment or decades in prison.
Class 2 Felonies include a whole host of serious crimes, such as attempted murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault, kidnapping, sexual assault, possession of large amounts of illegal drugs, for example.
Class 3, 4, and 5 Felonies can include drug possession, burglary, assaults, fraud schemes, domestic violence, repeated DUI offenses, driving on a suspended license, reckless conduct, theft, trafficking in stolen goods and many others. Prison sentences for these cases, if it is a first offense, are less than in Class 1 and Class 2 crimes. .
Class 6 Felonies–there are 2 types of Class 6 Felonies.
These crimes are generally much less serious and the sentencing range is the lowest of all classes of felonies.
The best result for a plea to a Class 6 Felony is called an open-ended plea.
This means the client accepts a plea and is placed on probation. If the client successfully completes probation, then the Court can enter an order that the charge is reduced to a misdemeanor. This is an excellent plea because it gives you a chance to avoid a damaging felony conviction.
The other type of Class 6 Felony does not allow the Court to later enter an order reducing the conviction to a misdemeanor, although in many cases probation is available, depending on the client’s criminal record.