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Phoenix Criminal Defense FAQ

Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime in Phoenix, AZ, you probably have a lot of questions. Speaking with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix is the best way to get the answers you need. 

Craig Orent is certified as a Criminal Law Specialist by the Arizona State Bar. He has more than 34 years of experience representing clients just like you against serious criminal charges like domestic violence, sex crimes, and more. He knows the challenges you face – and understands the most pressing questions you with your future at stake. That’s why he’s addressed some of the questions he’s asked most often.

Keep reading, and then don’t hesitate to reach out to our Phoenix criminal defense law firm to discuss your legal rights and options further. We offer free consultations to discuss your criminal case.

Table of Contents

What Should I Do If I Am Arrested in Phoenix, Arizona?

Invoke your rights. You should ask to call a Phoenix criminal defense attorney and then use your right to remain silent. Consider making Orent Law Offices your first call. We’ll cover communications with law enforcement and protect your rights throughout the process. Our role is to make the prosecution’s job as difficult as possible.

Why Should I Hire An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Phoenix?

Facing criminal charges is no walk in the park. The State of Arizona will use its substantial resources to convict you. At best, your reputation may be damaged. At worst, you may face considerable jail time and crippling monetary fines. You need a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer who can protect your rights and zealously defend your criminal matter.

Orent Law Offices founding attorney, Craig Orent, has nearly 35 years of experience defending individuals facing criminal charges in Phoenix and Maricopa County. He has defended people accused of homicide, violent crimes, theft crimes, sex crimes, and drug crimes — on both the state and federal levels. He also worked at the Federal Public Defender’s Office, giving him key insights into Arizona’s criminal justice system.

When you hire our law office in Phoenix, Arizona, you can count on us to:

  • Provide aggressive representation at every step of your case
  • Thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your criminal charge
  • Gather exculpatory evidence that strengthens your defense
  • Work with experts when necessary to poke holes in the prosecution’s case against you
  • Negotiate with the state to dismiss your case or get you the most lenient sentence possible
  • Argue a persuasive and compelling case to the jury if the prosecution won’t play fair

Misdemeanors and felonies come with steep penalties. If you were charged with a crime, you should make Orent Law Offices your first call for the following reasons.

An arrest can be traumatic even if it doesn’t result in criminal charges. However, if you are charged with a crime, the circumstances of your arrest may form the backbone of your defense. Police officers can’t handcuff you for any reason. They must observe your constitutional rights before and during your arrest.

A police officer must have probable cause to believe you committed a crime before searching your person or arresting you. They must also read your Miranda rights.

Craig Orent was recognized as a Top 100 Trial Attorney by the National Trial Lawyers because he leaves no stone unturned in building your defense. As a former public defender, he saw police officers make unlawful arrests time and time again. That’s why our legal team will work hard to identify any ways police officers violated your rights during your arrest. If your arrest violated your civil rights, we’ll insist that the judge dismisses your case.

How Will Orent Law Offices Help Me After an Arrest?

We’ll Conduct an Exhaustive Investigation Into Your Alleged Crime

Phoenix prosecutors will invest considerable time and resources into turning your criminal charge into a conviction. That will include conducting an extensive investigation into the underlying crime(s). However, this investigation aims to gather evidence to bolster the prosecution’s case – not yours. That’s why Craig Orent will make sure that you benefit from an investigation, too.

Once you enlist our law firm’s services, we will jump into action and begin to scrutinize every aspect of your alleged criminal offense. We’ll carefully review the charges against you, visit the scene, interview witnesses, and gather evidence on your behalf. Our goal will be to identify weaknesses in the government’s case against you, determine the best strategies for your particular situation, and begin to build a foundation for your defense.

Your Rights May Have Been Violated – And We’ll Work Hard to Determine If That’s True

Just because the police have a gut feeling that you might have been involved in criminal activity doesn’t mean that they can arrest you on the spot. Similarly, the police can’t just enter your home or demand that you let them search your vehicle or belongings. Before you’re taken into custody and questioned, officers must “Mirandize” you – or read you your rights. You have certain rights and protections extended to you by the United States Constitution. If those rights are violated  – if you’re arrested unlawfully, subjected to an illegal search and seizure, or if you aren’t read your rights (among other things) – the government cannot be allowed to benefit.

Our Phoenix criminal defense team will carefully review your encounter(s) with the police, investigators, and the prosecution. If we determine officers crossed a line or that your rights have been encroached upon in any way, we will immediately move to have the court intervene. That might mean getting tainted evidence excluded from the state’s case or having the charges against you dismissed entirely.

We’ll Consult Closely With Leading Investigators and Experts in the Greater Phoenix Area

Craig Orent has 34+ years of experience as a criminal defense attorney in Phoenix, Arizona. During that time, he has seen, first-hand, the impact that experts can have on a criminal case. The state almost always benefits from the input and testimony of individuals who specialize in forensics, ballistics, medicine, finance, and other highly-technical areas. The best defenses also incorporate the insight and support of experts.

At the Orent Law Offices, we never hesitate to work with leading experts and specialists in Arizona. This often includes:

  • Forensic specialists, including those who excel in accounting, medicine, psychiatry, toxicology, technology, and computers
  • Ballistic and firearms experts
  • Forensic pathologists
  • Accident reconstructionists
  • DNA experts
  • Breath test experts
  • And more

In some situations, we’ll rely on these individuals for support and information as we investigate and build a case. Other times, we will ask these professionals to testify in an “expert” capacity in support of your defense in a formal court proceeding.

We’ll Fight to Undermine the Government’s Case at Every Turn

When you hire our law firm, you will benefit from knowledgeable and experienced attorneys who know that, sometimes, going on the offensive and being aggressive is just as effective as raising every defense in the books. While we will work diligently to argue every legitimate defense that might benefit you, our Phoenix criminal defense attorneys will also challenge the prosecution every step of the way.

From the moment we begin to represent you, we will start to determine where mistakes may have been made and where the state’s case against you is weakest.

This might involve:

  • Challenging the validity of your arrest or a government search
  • Challenging the state’s evidence in court
  • Undermining the believability or credibility of witnesses offering testimony against you

Expect us to challenge the prosecution at every single turn at every stage of the criminal proceedings. The more we fight, the more difficult it will be for the state to meet the burden of proof required to convict.

We’ll Help You Make the Tough Decisions

When you’re arrested or charged with a crime in Phoenix, you can count on our defense attorneys to help you navigate the criminal process. We’ll explain your rights to you and offer insight into what you can expect as your criminal case unfolds.

And, when the time comes, our attorneys will be there to help you make the tough decisions that will affect you for the rest of your life. For instance, should you accept a plea bargain or have our skilled litigators argue your case at trial? We’ll help you understand your options, weigh the pros and cons, and offer candid advice that you can rely on.

What Types of Cases to Criminal Defense Lawyers Handle?

At Orent Law Offices, we’ve defended individuals in Phoenix and Maricopa County against all types of criminal charges, including:

Craig Orent has dedicated three decades of law practice to criminal defense. We have defended individuals accused of committing all kinds of crimes, from the simplest misdemeanors to the most serious felonies. Moreover, our Phoenix criminal defense lawyers have tried countless criminal defenses in state court and federal court. We will stand by your no matter the charge or where it’s brought.

If you’ve already been convicted of a crime, our legal team can help with your appeal. If you need help with your criminal matter, make us your first call. We offer free initial consultations. So, call today to schedule yours.

What Does a Defense Lawyer Do to Investigate a Criminal Case?

The police and prosecution typically investigate your actions before arresting and charging you with a crime. Sometimes, their investigations cut corners when they become greedy for a conviction, especially in felony cases. A strong defense is the only way to challenge their case and safeguard your future.

At Orent Law Offices, our experienced criminal defense attorneys conduct their own investigation into the circumstances of your criminal charges — and we don’t cut corners.

As part of our investigation, our team of attorneys, investigators, and legal staff will work tirelessly to:

  • Gather exculpatory evidence that casts doubt on your guilt, including items seized by the state or federal government.
  • Scrutinize the prosecution’s evidence, such as witness statements, DNA evidence, medical reports, and police reports
  • Use experts when necessary to challenge the state’s evidence against you
  • Identify witnesses whose testimony will support your case, including those who corroborate your alibi

The prosecution will undoubtedly have conducted an extensive investigation related to your charges. You need your own investigation — one that gathers and reviews all evidence concerning your case and strengthens your defense in the process.

What Experts Can Be Used to Help the Defense in a Criminal Case?

Prosecutors will hire experts to testify in court about your mental health, your presence at the scene of a crime, and more. Prosecutors try cases every day, and they know which experts a jury will find most compelling.

You may need your own expert witnesses to challenge the prosecution’s evidence and strengthen your defense. Orent Law Offices has worked with experts to build strong criminal defenses for over three decades. Our Certified Criminal Law Specialists knows the leading experts in Arizona and will consult them to defend your case, when necessary.

To build your case, we might work with experts such as:

  • Forensic and DNA Experts
  • Breathalyzer Test Experts
  • Handwriting Experts
  • Crime Scene Reconstructionist
  • Medical and Mental Health Professionals
  • Ballistics Specialist
  • Computer and Information Technology Experts
  • And more

Experts can help us understand the meaning of certain types of evidence, and they can provide crucial insight into the circumstances surrounding your charges. If there is a specialist who can help us with your criminal case, we will find them.

Will My Criminal Case Go to Trial?

Most criminal cases don’t go to trial; they are resolved well before they reach the courtroom. However, we prepare every case as if it’s going to trial. This strategy ensures we do not leave your defense to chance, and it gives us more leverage with the prosecution.

Phoenix prosecutors know Orent Law Offices. They know we are a Certified Criminal Law Specialist and Top 100 Trial Lawyers. They know they can’t offer an unfair plea deal because we’re prepared to take them before a jury.

Our experience and reputation encourage prosecutors to offer you a fair plea agreement or drop your charges. If they don’t, they know they’ll see our Phoenix criminal defense attorneys at trial.

What Will My Criminal Defense Strategy Look Like?

Your criminal defense strategy will depend on your criminal charges. While no two criminal cases are alike, our philosophy is the same for every charge: defend you like we would want to be defended. We take our cases personally because we know your freedom and reputation are in our hands.

In every case, we hold the prosecution to their standard of proof: beyond a reasonable doubt. Indeed, prosecutors have to prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Sometimes, your defense at trial will consist of showing the jury that the prosecution hasn’t met this high burden for your charge. For example, we may argue you did not have the required intent to commit the crime. In a drug charge, we may assert that you didn’t actually possess the drugs or didn’t have the requisite amount for a given charge.

In other cases, we may offer an affirmative defense to your conduct. For instance, in an assault charge, we may argue your behavior was self-defense.

We will also investigate if the police violated your rights during your arrest or questioning. If police lacked probable cause to search or arrest you or failed to read your Miranda rights, we will insist the court dismiss the prosecution’s tainted evidence.

Although our strategy will change depending on your charge, you can rest assured that we will build the strongest defense possible. Our goal is to protect your best interest. We will pressure the prosecution to reduce or dismiss your charges. If they don’t play fair, we’ll be ready to face them in court.

Can I Get Arrested If the Police Don’t Have an Arrest Warrant?

Yes, under some circumstances. A person can be arrested without a warrant if a police officer sees them commit a crime. An arrest can be made without a warrant if the police officer has probable cause that a felony crime has been committed. For certain misdemeanor crimes, a police officer can make an arrest without a warrant if there is probable cause.

Can the Police Conduct a Search Without a Warrant?

Police can sometimes conduct warrantless searches. If you give police permission to search your car or home, they do not need a warrant. Police do not need a search warrant for any items in plain view during a traffic stop or plain feel during a stop-and-frisk.

If the police have reason to believe that there is an urgent need to act immediately, they can conduct a warrantless search. They can also conduct warrantless searches at the US border and administrative searches.

The Police Didn’t Read My Miranda Rights – Will My Case Be Dismissed?

The police must read you your Miranda Rights if you are in police custody and will be questioned about a crime. You are in police custody if the police stop you, and you are not free to leave.

If the police question you without first reading your Miranda Rights, any statement you made to them may not be admissible in court. You will need an experienced attorney to work to have your statement excluded from evidence or the charges against you dismissed.

Do I Need a Lawyer If I’m Innocent?

Even if you are innocent, it is in your best interest to have a lawyer. From the arresting police officer to the district attorney, the criminal justice system works to move cases to a conviction.

It is designed to assign responsibility for a crime or guilt, not free innocent people. If you are innocent, you may need an experienced lawyer more than anyone.

Is It Worth it to Hire a Lawyer If I’m Guilty?

Absolutely! An experienced lawyer can challenge the state’s evidence against you. If your rights were violated, statements you made might be inadmissible in court. An attorney can fight to have charges against you reduced or dismissed. If you are ultimately convicted, an attorney can still help by fighting for a lesser sentence.

Should I Ask for a Public Defender or Hire a Private Attorney?

Public defenders are often experienced and passionate lawyers. They are also frequently overworked. Many public defenders’ caseloads far exceed the recommendations of the American Bar Association.

A private defense attorney will have the same experience, knowledge, and passion – if not more. When you hire a defense attorney, they also have the time and resources to devote to the details and facts of your case.

What is Bail?

Bail is an amount of money paid or pledged to the court in exchange for your release from jail after your arrest and before your trial. Bail secures your appearance in court for each hearing until your trial. Bail can be refunded if you appear at all of your hearings and trials.

What’s a Plea Deal? Should I Accept a Plea Agreement?

In a criminal case, a plea bargain is an agreement between a defendant and the district attorney. Whether you should accept an offer depends on the details of your case and the deal that’s on the table.

This is a decision that will affect you for the rest of your life – so it’s important that it’s an informed one. Get an experienced attorney to avoid jail time, large fines, or a conviction that will haunt you in the future.

What’s the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?

A misdemeanor is a less serious class of crime than a felony. The more seriously a crime is classified, the worse the sentencing penalty will be. A misdemeanor sentence is less than one year. There are multiple classes of felonies in Arizona, with sentences ranging from one year to life in prison.

Does Arizona Have a “Three Strikes” Law?

Under Arizona’s habitual offender laws, a defendant with prior felony convictions can face enhanced penalties. A person with one prior felony will face harsher penalties than someone who is guilty of the same crime but has no prior convictions.

Offenders who have two or more prior felonies will face even harsher penalties for the same crime than offenders who have one or none. Also, the penalties for a crime can be enhanced when serious or violent offenders commit dangerous felonies.

An experienced attorney can help you navigate Arizona’s enhanced penalty scheme.

Where Are Jails, Prisons, and Courts Located in Phoenix and Maricopa County?

Don’t go it alone if you’re facing criminal charges in Phoenix, AZ. You need the strongest criminal defense possible to protect your freedom and reputation. Contact Craig Orent at Orent Law Offices to discuss how our elite Phoenix criminal defense attorneys can build your defense.

We serve clients facing misdemeanors and felonies in state and federal courts in Phoenix and Maricopa County. Our office in Phoenix, Arizona, offers free initial consultations to those charged with criminal offenses. Call today to schedule yours.

Local Prisons

Arizona Juvenile Corrections- 2800 W Pinnacle Peak Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85027
Arizona State Prison Complex – 2500 E Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85008
Maricopa County Jail – 225 W Madison St, Phoenix, AZ 85003

Nearby Courts

Maricopa County Northeast Regional Court Center – 18380 N 40th St UNIT 130, Phoenix, AZ 85032
Scottsdale City Court – 3700 N 75th St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Superior Court – 175 W Madison St, Phoenix, AZ 85003

*Disclaimer – we do not endorse these companies or profit from having them listed on our website.

Phoenix Office – 11811 N Tatum Blvd UNIT 3031, Phoenix, AZ 85028

Our office is located at 11811 N Tatum Blvd UNIT 3031, Phoenix, AZ 85028. We an be reached 24/7 at (480) 656-7301.

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