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  FAQ Legal Representaion - Jay F. Brown  

Being accused of having committed a crime can be a very stressful experience and more so for those with little or no experience with the criminal justice process which naturally leads to many questions. Please find below some general answers to regular questions concerning a criminal case.

Q. Can An Experienced Defense Attorney Make A Difference?

Yes, as in most situations in life, experience and knowledge can make the difference. Just like if you have concerns with a medical problem, you would go to a doctor. All cases are different and each must be evaluated on its own merits because the statutes and case law are constantly changing and there are many new areas to challenge and fight all the time. Only an experienced criminal defense attorney familiar with criminal law, the courts can provide you with meaningful advice and answers to assist you with your case in your best interest.

Whatever you do, please do not plead guilty without having your case reviewed by an experienced attorney as Jay F. Brown is an experienced attorney and can help you understand all of the issues involved.

Q. What should I expect from the attorney - client relationship?

The attorney - client relationship is a team effort to help you resolve your legal problem. The attorney sometimes consults with experts in different fields of expertise who each have certain responsibilities to handle your case as smoothly and successfully as possible. The lawyer will use their legal knowledge and experience to advise you on the law as they apply to the facts of your case and the alternatives available with the possible consequences of each available course of action so that you can make intelligent and informed decisions about how your case should proceed.

Q. Will the court hold it against me if I hire an attorney and plead not guilty?

No. You have an absolute right under the Constitution to challenge the charges and most judges and prosecutors are more comfortable dealing with clients who are represented by a lawyer familiar with the court system.

Q. I have been arrested, what should I do?

The first thing you should do is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand the law, investigate your case, determine your options, formulate a defense, and help you navigate the criminal justice process.

Q. Can I get the charges against me reduced, or dropped?

This is possible in many cases with the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable defense attorney. This is why before you make any decisions about any type of plea offer by the prosecution; you should have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side for the particular facts of your case to give you the best chance for success for either a reduction or dismissal of the charges against you.

Q. In a domestic violence case, can the "victim" drop the charges?

In Arizona, it is always up to the prosecution on how to proceed with charges with victims who have the right to discuss and to make their wishes known. However, it is always up to the prosecution whether or not to drop charges. Of course, an experienced defense attorney can sometimes discuss your side with the prosecutor to possibly reduce or dismiss the charges.

Q. Are there alternatives to jail or prison if convicted of a crime?

An experienced attorney is invaluable to properly determine the most viable options for your given fact in your case. Alternatives include probation, counseling, electronic monitoring, house arrest, work release, community service, and many more which are pros and cons to each. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can help discuss with the prosecution these alternatives to your specific needs.

Q. What is probation?

Probation allows the courts to monitor a person in the community toward rehabilitation instead of jail. This person has strict requirements where they must obey the law, be employed or enrolled in school, pay fine and fees, as well as a number of other requirements and failure to comply can lead to jail being imposed. A.R.S. §13-901 et seq.

Q. Is there anything I can do to clean up my criminal record?

Yes, a criminal record can hold a person back. Once a person pays their debt to society it is time to clean up their criminal record.

  • Automatic Restoration of Rights - A.R.S. §13-912 - First-time felony offender's civil rights, with the exception of the right to possess firearms, are automatically restored upon completion of probation or absolute discharge from imprisonment, payment of all fines and restitution.

  • Restoration of Rights - A.R.S. §13-905 - Generally, upon completion of probation or absolute discharge from imprisonment, payment of all fines and restitution, a person with two or more felony convictions may have his civil rights restored by a judge upon proper application. There may be further restrictions on the right to possess or carry a gun or firearm where a petition to the court to restore your civil rights is needed so that you can again vote and carry a gun.

  • Setting Aside Convictions - A.R.S. §13-907 - This statute allows a court to set aside a judgment of a convicted person on discharge. Every person convicted of a criminal offense may, upon fulfillment of the conditions of probation or sentence and discharge by the court, apply to the judge, justice of the peace or magistrate who pronounced sentence or imposed probation or such judge's successor, to have the judgment set aside. Application must be made in writing by an attorney, probation officer or the defendant. If the judge grants the application, the court shall set aside the judgment of guilt, dismiss the accusations, except for penalties imposed by §28-3304, §28-3306, §28-3307, and §28-3308.

The following criminal offenses may not be set aside:

  1. Involving serious physical injury;
  2. Involving use or exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
  3. Sexual offense;
  4. If the victim is a minor under age 15;
  5. A violation of §28-3473, any local ordinance related to operation of a vehicle, except §28-693.

Note: A conviction for DUI and certain other criminal traffic offenses under state law, can be set aside because they are not "local ordinances" pertaining to the operation of a vehicle.

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