Information you need about the Criminal System
Don’t talk to the Police.
Don’t Talk to the Police. Ask for a lawyer. The lawyer is your legal expert that will make certain that you are not being lied to.
If someone has been arrested, calling from the jail to tell what happened it's as good as a confession; the police will record the call. Do Not Talk about the offense; get help by getting a lawyer.
Early Stages of the Prosecution
Things happen fast when a person is arrested. There is an initial appearance before a magistrate within 24 hours. This is a most important hearing, since the magistrate will set bail and release conditions and schedule the matter for a hearing of some kind: a preliminary hearing for a felony, a pretrial for a misdemeanor. A lawyer at these early stages is crucial for making legal arguments to the Court about release.
Forty Eight hours after the initial appearance for a felony, the state is required to file a complaint. If no complaint is filed, the hearings set and the release conditions are vacated. If the defendant is still in jail, release is required; if bond has been posted, it is exonerated. No further hearings are scheduled.
Waiting for the Bad News
If you are released, don’t just forget about it. You must prepare for the eventual bad news. Make detailed notes about what happened. Save these notes for your lawyer. Write down the names and address of witnesses, take photos of your injuries, do whatever you can to document what happened. If you were arrested for DUI or drug use, get your own blood test as soon as possible. The state has an officer that will document his version, you have to protect your evidence.
Don’t talk to any witnesses in the case. Calls from victims and police officers, or visits by the police or witnesses. The Police are allowed to lie to you to get you to talk to them, the police can tell you anything they want to get behind your right to remain silent. Protect yourself, tell them, “ I won’t talk to you without my lawyer.” If you don’t have a lawyer, you need one.
Driving under the Influence
Many Arizona citizens are caught in this web. Alcohol is legal, even encouraged here, and it is not illegal to drink and drive, provided it’s not too much or the driver is not “impaired” in any way. But the concept of “impaired” is different for the Police.
If you are arrested for a DUI, ask for a lawyer, the moment you get out of the car. Don’t take any roadside tests, don’t look at the officer’s pencil, don’t admit anything. Give the officer your paperwork, step out of the car and ask for a lawyer. If arrested, ask again, and again, until you can call one.
Call a lawyer before the breath or blood test.
If you are arrested and released, you will be given a court date and two forms, a yellow one and a pink one. You have 15 days to get that PINK form to MVD or your temporary license is no longer good. If the form arrives in time, you can drive on the temporary license until MVD gives you a hearing. But the MVD hearing has NOTHING to do with the Court date. You need a lawyer to help you decide what to put on the MVD form, and what you can expect at your next Court date.