The timeline for a criminal case in Phoenix differs from case to case. Should you find yourself contending with criminal accusations, the trial process may last for several months or years.
The good news is that there are certain staples within the criminal system that you may encounter while undergoing a criminal case. Suzuki Law Offices can partner you with a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer who can prepare you for each step along the way.
If you’re ready to learn more about what the timeline of your Phoenix criminal case may look like, you can contact our team. We make it easy for you to schedule a free case evaluation with our experienced attorneys.
Different Stages of a Phoenix Criminal Case
The specific timelines for Phoenix’s criminal cases vary depending on the nature of the accusations brought against a defendant. You can expect the state and its prosecutors to take anywhere between a few months to a year to conclude their proceedings.
The state may vary this timeline depending on your age, the circumstances surrounding your charges, and your alleged criminal history.
As mentioned, there are stages of the trial process that you can expect to undergo regardless of the severity of the accusations brought against you. According to the state of Arizona, these steps can include the following:
The state cannot initiate a criminal case against you without evidence indicating that you, either independently or through an organization, engaged in unlawful conduct. As such, while the state may have its suspicions, it is obligated to investigate those beliefs.
The evidence that officers bring forward to accuse you of misconduct can range from character interviews to physical evidence to video footage of an alleged crime. Police officers must compile this evidence into a report that meets the state’s burden of proof before they can move to arrest you.
Investigation is not the same thing as discovery, although both stages can cover similar ground. If the state assumes a trial against you, the prosecution and your defense attorney will have to undergo discovery to establish the facts of your case. A comprehensive initial investigation can make that process simpler for all parties.
Arrest Upon the Finding of Sufficient Evidence
Should a police department indicate to the state that it has enough evidence to bring your community standing into question, the department may have the right to arrest you. You may find yourself brought into a local police station for booking. At this point, you should have the opportunity to reach out to an attorney for representation.
Our Phoenix criminal defense lawyers recommend that you do not speak to police officers about the nature of your accusations without a lawyer present. Police officers can misinterpret your attempts to defend yourself and later use your claims against you in court.
Officers should give you the right to seek out representation either courtesy of a public defender or through private defense. If your request for representation goes unattended, make a note of that negligence. Officers who fail to uphold the rights afforded to you upon your arrest may invalidate the case brought against you.
Declaration of a Formal Charge
Shortly after your arrest, Arizona’s criminal courts should declare the formal charge brought against you. You can then expect to attend pretrial court appearances. The court has an obligation to have you appear in court within 24 hours of your initial arrest.
These initial hearings will see you learn more about the charges brought against you as well as the consequences you may face should you fail to challenge those accusations. Courts can also use these pretrial hearings to set your bail, release you from custody, and establish the next date at which you must appear before a judge.
Whether you choose to work with a public defender or a private attorney, your representative may then schedule meetings with you as well as with the prosecution. These meetings can establish a baseline of facts regarding your case. Early meetings can also facilitate plea deal negotiations, if applicable, or otherwise benefit discovery.
Arraignment and Initiating a Criminal Trial
Your attorney has the opportunity to plead “guilty” or “not guilty” during your initial arraignment. Your decision as to how you should plead impacts your case’s next steps.
Upon pleading “not guilty,” you may initiate criminal trial proceedings. You can expect to undergo the following stages as your trial progresses:
- Opening statements
- Closing statements
- Jury deliberation
While opening and closing statements tend to take place over a set period, examination and cross-examination can vary significantly. Likewise, jury deliberation can resolve quickly or take several days. You can work with your representative to better understand what the specific hour commitment related to your case might look like.
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When to Contact a Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney
There are several different ways you can respond to accusations of criminal misconduct in Arizona. You always retain the right to represent your own best interests should you so choose. You can additionally wait for the state to assign you a public defender who can integrate your case into their existing caseload.
If you want individualized and private representation, it is in your best interest to reach out to a criminal defense attorney in Phoenix as soon as you can after an arrest. If you suspect the police department of looking into alleged criminal behavior involving you or your loved ones, you may secure representation ahead of time.
Suzuki Law Offices offers in-need parties the chance to schedule free criminal defense case evaluations. You can use these initial meetings to ask any questions you may have about our experience and criminal defense services. Scheduling an initial case evaluation does not obligate you to invest in our representation.
Suzuki Law Offices Can Represent Your Best Interests in Criminal Court
Criminal cases can prove notorious given the time commitment they demand of all parties involved in a case. Should you find yourself contending with unexpected and unwarranted criminal charges, the prospect of spending months or years in court may be as intimidating as the consequences of an unchallenged case.
Fortunately, you can work with the criminal defense attorneys in Phoenix to outline your case’s timeline. You can count on Suzuki Law Offices to keep you up to date as more information about your case comes into play. Contact us today to learn more about our services and secure the representation you need to protect your future