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COMMON CRIMINAL LAW QUESTIONS

  • What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

  • Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors. The range of punishment for felonies can range from probation to time in prison. Many felony convictions carry mandatory prison sentences. In Arizona, a conviction for first degree murder (the most serious felony) can result in a death sentence. A felony conviction can also result in the loss of certain civil rights. For instance, convicted felons lose their rights to vote, to hold public office, to possess firearms, and to serve as jurors.

  • Misdemeanors, although not as serious as felonies, can also carry serious penalties. The maximum possible punishment for a class 1 misdemeanor is six months and jail and a $2,500 fine. Some misdemeanors (DUI, for example) carry mandatory jail sentences. Mr. Darby handles all types of misdemeanor and felony matters.

  • What should I do if I�m arrested or questioned by the police?

  • You should remain silent except to request to call your lawyer. Although the police may seem like they are on your side or somehow sympathetic to your case, they have most likely already made up their mind to arrest you. Do not give them additional ammunition by attempting to talk your way out of trouble. In the event you are arrested, you should immediately ask to call a lawyer. Mr. Darby  is available 24 hours a day.

  • If I am arrested, do the police have to read me my rights?

  • No. The police are only required to read you your Miranda rights if you are taken into custody and interrogated. In other words, the police don�t have to read you your rights if they don�t plan on asking you questions. Currently, the United States Supreme Court has recently upheld this valuable constitutional right.  See: Miranda, What is it anyway?

  • If I am arrested, can I take my case to trial?

  • Yes. In Arizona, a person charged with any felony has the right to a trial by jury. Some misdemeanors (e.g., DUI, theft, and others) carry with them the right to a jury trial. Other misdemeanors only carry with them the right to a bench trial. In a bench trial, the judge, not a jury, renders the verdict. In all trials, the prosecution has the burden of proof. The prosecution has the burden of proving a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  

  • If I am found guilty, will I go to jail?

  • It depends on the specific crime for which you are convicted. Arizona has some of the toughest sentencing laws in the country. Many crimes (e.g., DUI, some weapons charges, some sex offenses) carry mandatory prison sentences. If you are convicted of a crime that carries a mandatory prison sentence, the judge will have no choice but to sentence you to jail or prison. That is why any arrest is a very serious matter. Trust your freedom only to a highly qualified criminal defense practitioner.

  • How do I find the right lawyer?

  • Many lawyers advertise themselves as criminal defense lawyers. The yellow pages are flooded with their advertisements. When you�ve been arrested, or are facing criminal charges, don�t trust your freedom to a lawyer just because he has the big ad or the catchy slogan.

  • You must sit down and talk with several attorneys.  You must be comfortable with what they are telling you.  You must be able to communicate with your attorney.  You attorney must be able to communicate with you.  Beware of attorneys making promises regarding an outcome in your case.  Beware of attorneys telling what they think you want to hear.  You must trust your attorney and the advice he is giving you.  The decisions you make in this regard may affect the rest of your life.

  • What questions should I ask before hiring a lawyer?

  • Ask the lawyer what percentage of their practice is devoted to criminal defense. Ask the lawyer how long they�ve been practicing law, and what percentage of their legal career has been devoted to criminal defense. Ask the lawyer what type of cases they have successfully handled. Ask the attorney if they will personally handle your case. Ask the attorney how accessible they will be. Ask the attorney whether they are available to meet on evenings or weekends. Ask the attorney whether they offer payment plans.

  • David Alan Darby is a highly qualified criminal defense attorney. Nearly 100 percent of his practice is devoted to criminal defense. He has been a lawyer for over ten years. All of that time has been devoted to criminal defense. Mr. Darby has successfully handled cases ranging from misdemeanor DUI to capital murder. He personally handles every aspect of your case and is available 24 hours a day. He is available for consultations on evenings and weekends and offers payment plans on some cases. Mr. Darby prides himself on the personal and specialized service he gives to each of his clients.

Copyright �  2006 Darby Law Office

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