Frequently Asked Questions
If you or someone close to you has been charged with a crime, you may a lot of questions about the criminal justice process. As a knowledgeable and skilled Tucson Criminal Defense Lawyer, Sherick & Bleier can answer your questions about specific offenses in Arizona and the criminal justice process in general. Here you will find answers to many common legal questions, but we urge you to contact our law office directly to have your specific questions answered.
1. What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
Typically, a felony is a crime that carries a maximum punishment of one year or more. In Arizona, after indictment felonies are prosecuted in the superior courts, though a felony complaint may be initiated in the justice court. Under Arizona law, a misdemeanor has a maximum punishment of 6 months and in some cases less than that. In federal court, the maximum punishment for a misdemeanor offense is generally one year. If you have a case pending in the Pima County Justice, Tucson City Court, or any other municipal court, your charge is likely a misdemeanor. Sherick and Bleier frequently represents clients in misdemeanor cases such as DUI, Domestic Violence Assault and Disorderly Conduct, Theft, Misdemeanor Sexual Offenses and Criminal Damage. Contact us for a consultation regarding your case.
2. I am under investigation and the police want to speak with me. Should I speak with the police?
You should not speak with the police, or answer any questions they may direct towards you, without an attorney. If you are under investigation and the police are contacting you, they likely believe that you are guilty. They are not impartial arbiters of the truth. Some police officers and investigators use deceptive tactics and lie to people who are under investigation in order to get them to confess. It is natural for you to want to explain your side of the story. However, in our experience, a police interrogation without an attorney present is not the forum for you to explain yourself because officers frequently manipulate the situation to obtain information they want to hear or to undermine your credibility. The attorneys at Sherick and Bleier frequently represent clients who are under investigation but who have not yet been charged. The investigation stage of a case is very important and, in many cases, invaluable work can be done during this period to confront and combat untruthful allegations. Please contact Tucson Criminal Defense Lawyers Sherick and Bleier to discuss your case if you are under investigation but have not yet been charged.
3. I live out of state but am charged in Arizona. Do I have to appear for my case?
The short answer is that if you do not appear a warrant can issue for your arrest. Frequently, however, an attorney may appear on your behalf and your presence may be waived for routine non-trial hearings. This is especially true in misdemeanor cases. Our Tucson Criminal Defense Firm has represented clients from many states throughout the country. Most cases of this nature seem to involve an individual visiting or passing through Arizona who has received a citation for DUI, some other misdemeanor, or low level felony offense. As a practical matter, it can be very expensive and inconvenient for the client to return to Arizona to attend court. Under these circumstances, many courts will allow us to appear on behalf of the client. However, there are some hearings where a client is required to personally appear. Generally, a client must appear to plead guilty to an offense, for trial, or to be sentenced after a guilty plea or a trial. Most of these types of hearings happened towards the end of the case. In some misdemeanor cases, the courts allow the defendant to enter a guilty plea via Skype or phone call while the judge and the attorney are in court. It simply depends on the case.
4. What is Diversion? If I take Diversion will my case get dismissed?
Diversion is frequently offered by the State in misdemeanor criminal cases for first time offenders. At its most basic level, diversion is an agreement between the prosecutor and the client whereby the State agrees to dismiss the charge(s) upon completion of a consequence by the client. The consequence could involve a class, counseling, or community service. Diversion is not offered in DUI cases. Diversion is typically not available for felony cases, either. Diversion in domestic violence cases and more serious misdemeanor cases is sometimes available though it may be supervised and/or consist of numerous hours of counseling and classes. At Sherick & Bleier, we frequently assist clients in negotiating the best diversion terms possible and we make sure that the diversion process proceeds smoothly.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor offense and are seeking representation, please contact Tucson Criminal Lawyers Sherick and Bleier to discuss a possible diversion disposition of your case.