Recently in Criminal Court Process Category

November 13, 2012

Criminal Rights and Exceptions of Right to Counsel

A person's rights to counsel can be found in the State's Rules of Criminal Procedures; The US Constitution 5th and 14th Amendment; the Arizona Constitution; and Under Arizona Criminal Code A.R.S. 13-114. This segment focuses on the Rules of Criminal Procedure in Maricopa County.


Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure - Right to Counsel

Rules 6.1 (a.) & (c.) entitle a defendant to be represented by counsel in DUI and criminal proceedings. However, they are not entitled to counsel if the offense has no possibility of resulting in jail or prison if they are found guilty.

A defendant may waive their right to counsel at any time.

Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure - Withdrawal of Waiver of Right to Counsel

Rule 6.1 (e.) allows for a person who previously waived their right to counsel, to also withdraw their waiver of right to counsel, at any time.

There is one exception to withdrawing a waiver of right to counsel at any time: A person is not entitled repeat a proceeding, they previously waived their right to an attorney, on the sole ground that they were unrepresented.


When Legal Counsel is Necessary

Defense services of qualified legal counsel are needed in all stages of criminal proceedings, that expose a person to jail or prison, if they are found guilty of the charges. These stages include:

• Pre-trial Services;
• Trial Representation;
• Sentencing

A person should also consider hiring a lawyer to represent them in pre-indictment cases, when a suspect is being investigated for serious charges, but has not yet formally been charged.


Legal Representation for DUI and Criminal Charges in Mesa AZ

It is unwise for a person to waive their right to legal counsel for DUI or criminal charges in which a person may be exposed to incarceration in jail or prison if found guilty. If a person moves forward with criminal proceedings unrepresented, irreversible harm can result in their case, and their defense may be compromised.

A defendant should always retain an attorney as early as possible in order to preserve all rights and defenses that may be used in the future to challenge or defend the charges.

If a defendant has jeopardized use of defenses, waived rights, or provided self-incriminating testimony, an attorney generally can't undo the damage that has been done. They can't go back and abolish the proceeding on the sole basis that the defense was compromised as a result of the defendant's waiver of right to representation by an attorney.

In general, defendants usually do not secure favorable resolutions to their charges when they go unrepresented. A person who represents themselves if expected to adhere to all Rules of Criminal Procedure; understand their rights and laws; and consequences of their decision in the event they are found guilty of the charges. Early retention of a criminal defense attorney is a key factor in obtaining any favorable outcome in criminal cases.

Additional Resources:


AZ Supreme Court - Rules of Criminal Procedure

Maricopa County Superior Court

Right to Counsel under Criminal Code

US Constitutional Amendments


Continue reading " Right to Legal Counsel in Criminal Proceedings " »

November 16, 2011

James Novak, an experienced Tempe Arizona DUI and criminal defense lawyer explains important reasons why you need an attorney to fight for your criminal defense.


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September 9, 2011

Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to represent you at your Preliminary Hearing in Tempe AZ

Preliminary Hearing
A Preliminary Hearing is the second phase of the AZ criminal justice system (with the exception of felony indictments which has a different process). It follows your Initial Court Appearance and was the court date, time and location given to you on your Tempe AZ complaint or citation for your Tempe arrest. You should in consult and retain an experienced criminal defense or DUI defense attorney who defends charges in Tempe AZ Court to represent you for this hearing. They will make sure your rights and defenses are protected. The preliminary Hearing is held before a court commissioner in the Regional Court Center (RCC). It is a critical point in time for your case, and too important to go legally unrepresented.

The Purpose of the Preliminary Hearing
The purpose of the Preliminary Hearing is for the Court Commissioner to decide if there is enough evidence to show that a violation of the law most likely occurred, and that you were probably the one who committed that crime.

The Importance of being represented by a Private Criminal Defense Attorney
At the Preliminary Hearing the prosecution is allowed to present witnesses and evidence against you. However, your Attorney can present exculpatory evidence (evidence in your favor); as well as challenge the prosecution's evidence against you if there is a legal and justifiable basis for it.

Less evidence is needed at this proceeding than an actual trial. However, understand that the prosecution may possess enough evidence for the commissioner to find "probable cause". If the commissioner finds "probable cause", your case will be assigned to the Superior Court and Superior Court Judge for further proceedings and setting a date for trial.

If Your Tempe criminal defense attorney successfully challenges the evidence, gets it suppressed and can educate the prosecution and court on flaws and weaknesses in their case, then the commissioner may find and rule on "no probable cause" and your case will be dismissed.

How to Get a Preliminary Hearing Waived
A preliminary hearing can be waived completely if the Prosecution, your criminal defense Attorney and You all reach a plea agreement before that time. In the case of a plea agreement, your attorney works hard on your behalf to get you an alternative offer that is better than taking a chance, going to trial, and losing. In almost all cases the plea agreement terms are far better, then sentencing for a guilty verdict conviction. And the preliminary hearing, trial and possibility sentencing for a "guilty verdict" by a judge or are all avoided. The decision to go to trial or take a plea bargain is always yours. But it is important that you discuss and understand the ramifications of both choices. The Arizona Jurors have proved to be less lenient in Arizona DUI cases, than other States around the country. In any event, your chances of getting the case dismissed, charges reduced or a better outcome in your case increase drastically with the retention of a private practice criminal defense or DUI attorney who defends Chandler DUI and Chandler criminal charges.

Continue reading ""What is a Preliminary Hearing?"" »

June 15, 2011

Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to represent you at your Preliminary Hearing in Arizona

Preliminary Hearing
A Preliminary Hearing is the second phase of the Arizona criminal justice system (with the exception of felony indictments which has a different process). It follows your Initial Court Appearance and was the court date, time and location given to you on your Arizona complaint or citation for your Arizona arrest. You should in consult and retain an experienced Arizona criminal defense or DUI defense attorney to represent you for this hearing. They will make sure your rights and defenses are protected. The preliminary Hearing is held before a court commissioner in the Regional Court Center (RCC). It is a critical point in time for your case, and too important to go legally unrepresented.

The Purpose of the Preliminary Hearing
The purpose of the Arizona Preliminary Hearing is for the Court Commissioner to decide if there is enough evidence to show that a violation of the law most likely occurred, and that you were probably the one who committed that crime.

The Importance of being Represented by a Private Criminal Defense Attorney
At the Preliminary Hearing the prosecution is allowed to present witnesses and evidence against you. However, your Attorney can present exculpatory evidence (evidence in your favor); as well as challenge the prosecution's evidence against you if there is a legal and justifiable basis for it.

Less evidence is needed at this proceeding than an actual trial. However, understand that the prosecution may possess enough evidence for the commissioner to find "probable cause". If the commissioner finds "probable cause", your case will be assigned to the Arizona Superior Court Judge for further proceedings and setting a date for trial.

If Your Arizona criminal defense attorney successfully challenges the evidence, gets it suppressed and can educate the prosecution and court on flaws and weaknesses in their case, then the commissioner may find and rule on "no probable cause" and your case will be dismissed.

How to Get a Preliminary Hearing Waived
A preliminary hearing can be waived completely if the Prosecution, your criminal defense Attorney and You all reach a plea agreement before that time. In the case of a plea agreement, your attorney works hard on your behalf to get you an alternative offer that is better than taking a chance, going to trial, and losing. In almost all cases the plea agreement terms are far better, then sentencing for a guilty verdict conviction. And the preliminary hearing, trial and possibility sentencing for a "guilty verdict" by a judge or are all avoided. The decision to go to trial or take a plea bargain is always yours. But it is important that you discuss and understand the ramifications of both choices. The Arizona Jurors have proved to be less lenient in Arizona DUI cases, than other States around the country. In any event, your chances of getting the case dismissed, charges reduced or a better outcome in your case increase drastically with the retention of a private practice Arizona criminal defense or DUI attorney.

Continue reading ""What is a Preliminary Hearing?"" »

April 15, 2011

Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to represent you at your Preliminary Hearing in Phoenix Metro AZ

Preliminary Hearing
A Preliminary Hearing is the second phase of the Arizona criminal justice system (with the exception of felony indictments which has a different process). It follows your Initial Court Appearance and was the court date, time and location given to you on your Phoenix Metro AZ complaint or citation for your Phoenix Metro AZ arrest. You should in consult and retain an experienced criminal defense or DUI defense attorney who defends charges in Phoenix Metro AZ Court to represent you for this hearing. They will make sure your rights and defenses are protected. The preliminary Hearing is held before a court commissioner in the Regional Court Center (RCC). It is a critical point in time for your case, and too important to go legally unrepresented.

The Purpose of the Preliminary Hearing
The purpose of the Preliminary Hearing is for the Court Commissioner to decide if there is enough evidence to show that a violation of the law most likely occurred, and that you were probably the one who committed that crime.

The Importance of being represented by a Private Criminal Defense Attorney
At the Preliminary Hearing the prosecution is allowed to present witnesses and evidence against you. However, your Attorney can present exculpatory evidence (evidence in your favor); as well as challenge the prosecution's evidence against you if there is a legal and justifiable basis for it.

Less evidence is needed at this proceeding than an actual trial. However, understand that the prosecution may possess enough evidence for the commissioner to find "probable cause". If the commissioner finds "probable cause", your case will be assigned to the Superior Court and Superior Court Judge for further proceedings and setting a date for trial.

If Your Phoenix Metro AZ criminal defense attorney successfully challenges the evidence, gets it suppressed and can educate the prosecution and court on flaws and weaknesses in their case, then the commissioner may find and rule on "no probable cause" and your case will be dismissed.

How to Get a Preliminary Hearing Waived
A preliminary hearing can be waived completely if the Prosecution, your criminal defense Attorney and You all reach a plea agreement before that time. In the case of a plea agreement, your attorney works hard on your behalf to get you an alternative offer that is better than taking a chance, going to trial, and losing. In almost all cases the plea agreement terms are far better, then sentencing for a guilty verdict conviction. And the preliminary hearing, trial and possibility sentencing for a "guilty verdict" by a judge or are all avoided. The decision to go to trial or take a plea bargain is always yours. But it is important that you discuss and understand the ramifications of both choices. The Arizona Jurors have proved to be less lenient in Arizona DUI cases, than other States around the country. In any event, your chances of getting the case dismissed, charges reduced or a better outcome in your case increase drastically with the retention of a private practice criminal defense or DUI attorney who defends Phoenix Metro AZ DUI and Chandler criminal charges.

Continue reading "The purpose of a Preliminary Hearing for DUI or criminal charges" »

March 17, 2011

Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to represent you at your Preliminary Hearing in Maricopa County

Preliminary Hearing
A Preliminary Hearing is the second phase of the Arizona criminal justice system (with the exception of felony indictments which has a different process). It follows your Initial Court Appearance and was the court date, time and location given to you on your Maricopa County complaint or citation for your Maricopa County arrest. You should in consult and retain an experienced criminal defense or DUI defense attorney who defends charges in Maricopa County Court to represent you for this hearing. They will make sure your rights and defenses are protected. The preliminary Hearing is held before a court commissioner in the Regional Court Center (RCC). It is a critical point in time for your case, and too important to go legally unrepresented.

The Purpose of the Preliminary Hearing
The purpose of the Preliminary Hearing is for the Court Commissioner to decide if there is enough evidence to show that a violation of the law most likely occurred, and that you were probably the one who committed that crime.

The Importance of being represented by a Private Criminal Defense Attorney
At the Preliminary Hearing the prosecution is allowed to present witnesses and evidence against you. However, your Attorney can present exculpatory evidence (evidence in your favor); as well as challenge the prosecution's evidence against you if there is a legal and justifiable basis for it.

Less evidence is needed at this proceeding than an actual trial. However, understand that the prosecution may possess enough evidence for the commissioner to find "probable cause". If the commissioner finds "probable cause", your case will be assigned to the Superior Court and Superior Court Judge for further proceedings and setting a date for trial.
If Your Maricopa County criminal defense attorney successfully challenges the evidence, gets it suppressed and can educate the prosecution and court on flaws and weaknesses in their case, then the commissioner may find and rule on "no probable cause" and your case will be dismissed.

How to Get a Preliminary Hearing Waived
A preliminary hearing can be waived completely if the Prosecution, your criminal defense Attorney and You all reach a plea agreement before that time. In the case of a plea agreement, your attorney works hard on your behalf to get you an alternative offer that is better than taking a chance, going to trial, and losing. In almost all cases the plea agreement terms are far better, then sentencing for a guilty verdict conviction. And the preliminary hearing, trial and possibility sentencing for a "guilty verdict" by a judge or are all avoided. The decision to go to trial or take a plea bargain is always yours. But it is important that you discuss and understand the ramifications of both choices. The Arizona Jurors have proved to be less lenient in Arizona DUI cases, than other States around the country. In any event, your chances of getting the case dismissed, charges reduced or a better outcome in your case increase drastically with the retention of a private practice criminal defense or DUI attorney who defends Maricopa County DUI and Chandler criminal charges.

Continue reading "Criminal Charges: "What is a Preliminary Hearing?"" »

May 7, 2010

State Court Arizona - Criminal Law

What to expect at an Arizona Evidentiary Hearing

An Evidentiary Hearing can be requested by your Arizona DUI Attorney on your behalf. In this event your Arizona DUI Defense Attorney will ask that the State suppress some or all evidence against you. This may be warranted in situations if your constitutional rights were violated, if police protocol, DUI or drug testing procedures were mishandled or if any other evidence surrounding your case warrants suppression of the evidence.

Your Arizona Criminal Defense attorney will file motions to the court requesting to suppress or dismiss a portion of all evidence, if the circumstances warrant in addition to requesting an Evidentiary Hearing. This usually occurs after the first pre-trial conference. The Judge then rules on written legal arguments filed by your Arizona Criminal Attorney, if appropriate. The hearing can consist of testimony from witnesses and oral arguments from your or Arizona DUI Lawyer as well as the State's Attorney.

"Arizona Revised Statutes §13-4238 Evidentiary hearing:

A. The defendant is entitled to a hearing to determine issues of material fact, with the right to be present and to subpoena witnesses. If facilities are available, the court may, in its discretion, order the hearing to be held at the place of confinement, giving at least fifteen days' notice to the officer in charge of the confinement facility. A verbatim record of the hearing shall be made.

B. The rules of evidence applicable in criminal proceedings shall apply, except that the defendant may be called to testify at the hearing.

C. The defendant has the burden of proving the allegations of fact by a preponderance of the evidence. If a constitutional defect is proven, the state has the burden of proving that the defect was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

D. The court shall rule within ten days after the hearing ends. If the court finds in favor of the defendant, it shall enter an appropriate order with respect to the conviction, sentence or detention, any further proceedings, including a new trial and conditions of release, and other matters that may be necessary and proper. The court shall make specific findings of fact and state expressly its conclusions of law relating to each issue presented."

Continue reading "Criminal Defense - Evidentiary Hearing " »

May 4, 2010

What to Expect at a Pre-trial Conference (PTC)

Criminal Law- Arizona Criminal Defense Attorneys

At aPre-trial Conference, your Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney will discuss your case with the prosecution. During the Pre-trial Conference he or she will attempt to negotiate the best possible plea bargain for your Arizona DUI or Arizona Criminal Defense Case. The Pre-trial Conference usually takes place about 6 weeks after your arraignment. The date is agreed upon by your AZ Criminal Defense Attorney and the Arizona Court's calendar. There are typically 2-3 pre-trial hearings.

If a plea bargain is offered and outlined, your attorney should discuss the deal with you and explain the consequences, the benefits or drawbacks of the plea bargain. A plea bargain may also be referred to as "plea negotiations". They may include bargaining for such outcomes:

(1) Alternative available to the prosecution such as certain alcohol, drug diversion,
or participation in anger management programs
(2) A reduction in the severity of the charges or sentencing
(3) Dismissal of some or all of the charges pending against the defendant
(4) Sentencing alternatives such as probation, home arrest, or other less severe
alternatives in an effort to avoid incarceration

Note, at the Pre-trial Conference, witnesses do not attend, and no testimony is taken. You are not required to discuss the facts of your case with the Prosecutor. Since anything you say to them could be used against you in further proceedings, it is best not to discuss you case at all. That is why it is extremely important that you consult and retain an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney or Arizona DUI Lawyer. If it is acceptable and you agree, a trial is avoided. However, if a trial date is set, that does not necessarily mean there will be a trial. Your Arizona Criminal Attorney should continue to work your case, investigate, and examine the evidence, along with other options toward getting you the best outcome of your case before your set trial date. In most cases it is best to make every effort to avoid trial due to the labor intensive cost of a trial, but most of all because of the uncertainties of involved in jury decisions. You want to avoid
the possibility of a worse outcome from a jury verdict if possible.

Continue reading "Arizona Pre-trial Conference - PTC" »