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What to do if You Are Arrested for a Felony in Arizona

If you have been arrested in Arizona for a felony charge, it is vital that you understand your rights. A felony conviction can have significant consequences and may result in revocation of certain rights. Rights such as the right to vote and to possess a firearm. Because of this, you should be mindful of your rights and should contact an Arizona defense attorney as soon as possible.

What are some of Your Rights after you are Arrested for a Felony?

After you are placed under arrest for a felony offense, you have certain constitutional rights that are intended to protect your interests. These rights include the following:

The right to remain silent

  • The right to remain silent: After you are arrested, you are under no obligation to speak with law enforcement about the event. Police officers are often well-trained in interrogation tactics and will seek to obtain information that could be used against you in court. The prosecution frequently relies upon admissions made by defendants or inferences that can be drawn from statements that are made. To protect yourself and to limit disclosure of information, you should exercise your right to remain silent, at least until such time that you have legal representation present.

The right against unreasonable searches and seizures

  • The right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Under the fourth amendment of the United States Constitution, persons have a right against unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that the police must have a warrant to conduct a search or the search must fall under one of the exceptions to the warrant requirement. After you have been arrested for a felony, the police may attempt to search your person or property. If the police ask for your consent to conduct a search, then you should to decline and request that they present you with a search warrant. If the police fail to obtain a search warrant and the search does not fall within one of the warrant exceptions, then evidence obtained in violation of this right may be excluded from consideration during your case. 

The right to have legal representation via your Miranda Rights

  • The right to have legal representation. After you have been arrested for a felony, you should invoke your sixth amendment right to have legal representation. According to the US Supreme Court, if you invoke your right to have legal representation during questioning, police cannot question you without an attorney present. If the police do not respect this right, then statements obtained in the absence of your lawyer cannot be considered in court. You also have the right to be represented by a lawyer during all stages of the case, including the arraignment, preliminary hearing, pre-trial conferences, trial, and appeal.

This video is an example of the Miranda rights and Denial of Right to Counsel:


The right to receive and review discovery

  • The right to receive and review discovery: After you are charged with a felony, you have the right to review and received the information and evidence that the prosecution intends to use against you. If the prosecution fails to disclose any evidence, then there could be consequences to the state, including the potential for dismissal of the charges. Receiving this information is essential to help you build a defense. The prosecution is required to disclose everything about your case, including evidence that suggests that you are innocent.


The right to confront and cross-examine witnesses

  • The right to confront and cross-examine witnesses. After you are charged with a felony, you have the right to confront witnesses about your case and to question them about the events. This means that persons who are witnesses to the event may be required to appear in court and testify. A lawyer will be able to question them about the events to establish your defense or to establish doubt about the prosecution’s case.


The right to have a trial

  • The right to have a trial. After formal charges are filed, you have the right to have a trial. A trial can be conducted either in front of a jury or by a judge. At trial, the prosecution is required to prove the elements of the felony offense beyond a reasonable doubt. In the event prosecution cannot prove each of the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, then the case should be dismissed and a not guilty verdict rendered.


What happens after you are arrested for a felony?

After you are arrested for a felony crime, the police may seek to conduct further investigation, including interrogation of you about the crime. After the arrest, a determination will be made by a judge as to whether you will be released from incarceration on bond or on your own recognizance. In making this determination, a court will consider several factors, including the nature of the offense, your criminal history, the risk of flight, and other factors related to your situation.

You will be advised of your rights by the court and have the opportunity to enter a plea of not guilty. You will also have the opportunity to request a preliminary hearing, where the prosecution will be required to show that there is at least probable cause to support the charges. If a court cannot make a finding of probable cause at a preliminary hearing, then the charge must be dismissed.

If a preliminary hearing is waived or the court makes a finding of probable cause, then the case proceeds to pretrial proceedings. At the pretrial phase, the parties discuss a potential resolution. The parties may also file motions to address issues that may arise at trial.


How can a Defense Attorney Help?

After a felony arrest, you should immediately contact an attorney. An attorney will help you understand the rights listed above and will advocate on your behalf. An attorney will help you understand the charges that have been filed against you. They will explain how the law applies to your particular situation and can help you make informed decisions. A law firm can work with the prosecution to negotiate a fair result. If negotiations fail, a lawyer can represent you at trial and present your defense.

Because felony charges are very serious, it is important that you work with a person considered the “best criminal lawyer in Arizona“, who understands the law, and will obtain the information about your case through discovery and review it with you.

If you have been charged with a felony, contact our office as soon as possible. We will help you understand the charges lodged against you and advise you of your options.

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