3 Criminal Defense Tips

Have you been charged with a crime? Check out these 3 criminal defense tips for guidance, then call our Phoenix lawyers to get started today.

Bailing Someone Out of Jail

3 Criminal Defense TipsThere’s nothing more daunting than watching a family member or a loved one be put in handcuffs, hauled off to jail, you getting that phone call from that blocked number, that strange number, and your loved one on the other side of the phone. The question always is: How do I bail my son or daughter out of jail? Bail is a process. There are some constitutional concerns as it relates to bail. There are some statutory concerns particularly here in Arizona as it relates to bail.

Most offenses are bailable as a matter of right in the state of Arizona. There are some charges that you can be faced with or charged with that are not bailable. At an arraignment or at some other hearing, the judge will normally set release conditions and bail. It could be a cash bond. It could be a bail amount or whatnot. After you get that amount, you can either post that amount in cash, you can contact a bails bondsman and work with them. Sometimes they require collateral or different things to where you can get that person out of jail while their charges are still pending against them.

One of the things that’s important to know about bail, though, is that that person has to show up to court. They have to make sure that they’re at all of their hearings because you don’t want to have a failure to appear because, of course, that doesn’t look good on your record, and the judge is not likely to let you out again if you have a certain number of failure to appears. Again, according to the federal law that bails and bonds and all of that stuff must be set based on two principles: are they a danger to the public and can it be ensured that the person’s going to return back to court for the hearings that will be after the bail hearing.

You make sure you contact an attorney. A lot of attorneys will work with you with the bails bondsman. We have a list of bails bondsman that work with clients, but it’s something that can be done if a bail has been set in the matter. If there’s been no bail set, there are some opportunities based under the controlling law to where a defense attorney can request a modification to a bond or bail amount or release conditions. We can go from whatever the bail amount is to release him to their own recognizance, and this is a decision that the judge will make. The judge will normally hear arguments about it and then go from there.

Speak with your attorney, or if you’re that person and you have that bail set and you think it’s too high and needs to be lowered, talk to competent counsel. There are things that can be done to help get you out of jail, to get you to a right bails bondsman while you’re facing these charges. A whole lot easier to defend charges when you’re out and able to work with your attorney and other witnesses than it is – than it will be if you’re sitting in jail, so talk to your lawyer. Call somebody and get to work on getting that bail adjusted.

Prosecution Turning Over Evidence

We get a number of questions regarding evidence in criminal cases, and naturally, there is a suspicion on behalf of defendants that the prosecutor is not dealing evenhandedly with them and that they’re possibly withholding evidence or not turning over everything or there’s some issue with evidence. We always get questions about what evidence a prosecutor has to turn over. There are some misconceptions out there. Both defense lawyers and prosecutors have misconceptions about what we call Brady obligations, which come from a 1963 case, Brady vs. Maryland, about what evidence the prosecutor has to turn over.

Here are a few misconceptions. There’s a misconception that prosecutors only have to turn over exonerating evidence, and that misconception is false. The prosecutor has to turn over all evidence that is in their possession. Another misconception is that only Brady evidence in the hands of a prosecutor has to be turned over to defense. That’s a misconception as well. It’s not only Brady evidence that they have. In fact, there’s several case laws out there that say prosecutor has to seek out all evidence. The prosecutor does not get to be the construct of a criminal proceeding. They have to pursue all leads, interview all witnesses that even may potentially have exculpatory evidence, especially if a defense counsel or a defendant says hey, I think there’s some exculpatory evidence over here. The prosecutor is \bound by case law to go and seek these things out.

Another misconception is that evidence that falls under Brady can be given to the defense on the day of trail. That’s false. They have to give you enough time to analyze the evidence so that you can craft a sustainable defense. Remember, in the United States of America, you enjoy the presumption of innocence until you are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Another misconception is that prosecutors do not have to look for Brady material. They must turn it over only if they come across it. Again, that’s simply not true. They have to look for evidence everywhere, even if it is exculpatory. They don’t have good evidence, so they write reports in such a way to where it’s slanted against defendants. It’s against the law. They have to go search out Brady material.

Then lastly, there’s a misconception that prosecutors are never required to turn over their handwritten notes because these notes are privileged and considered work product. That’s absolutely false. That is a part of Brady material. If any of these misconceptions are in your mind, you need to talk to your attorney very quickly. Get a competent attorney because there is evidence that could be being withheld whether knowledgeably or in bad faith or knowingly being withheld from you that you are entitled to have to prove your innocence in your criminal case. Call us. Let’s get all of the evidence because the effectiveness of your defense is going to rise and fall on the evidence that you submit. Call someone quickly so that you can raise a sustainable defense.

Indicted by the Grand Jury

There are a number of ways that a prosecutor can charge a person with a crime. Of course, they can file the charges on what we call a direct complaint, and then after that, there’s a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is a probable cause hearing in which evidence is presented before the judge, and the judge makes a determination whether there’s enough probable cause to allow the case to proceed toward trial. Another opportunity that the prosecutor has is grand jury proceedings.

Grand jury proceeding is when the prosecutor calls together these select folks. They’re called a grand jury not a trial jury, and the prosecutor presents the evidence before this grand jury. The prosecutor selects what evidence is presented, what evidence is not presented. No one goes in really but the prosecutor and their agent or some police officer testifying about the facts of the case. The defense attorney is not allowed to go in, in most cases. Then they come out and what happens is, if the grand jury thinks there’s enough evidence being presented to them to allow the case to go forward to trial, then they issue a true bill and indict them with a grand jury indictment. That is the same as what a judge would do virtually saying, yes, there’s enough probable cause here to let this case go forward and be tried in front of a trial jury.

You have to make sure that if you’ve been indicted via a grand jury, you talk to your attorney very early on because there are some opportunities where a competent defense attorney, if they have the evidence or maybe some exculpatory evidence, in Arizona we call it a Trebus letter, you can write a letter to the prosecutor saying hey, we got evidence that we want to submit at the grand jury here. We got some folks we want to testify, and you can actually even ask to show up and testify at the hearing yourself, and so there’s some opportunities there to affect the grand jury proceeding if you have evidence that is exculpatory.

Again, if you’ve got this grand jury indictment, it’s so important that you call a competent lawyer, somebody that can intervene in this criminal matter because, again, this is an opportunity to get these charges dismissed, and you don’t have to endure the tragedy and the difficult of going through a full criminal process in our court. Call a competent lawyer. Call us. Call somebody so that we can make sure that your rights are protected under the law.

Have you or a loved one been involved in a criminal defense case and have questions about these 3 criminal defense tips? Contact experienced Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorneys at Smith & Green today for a legal consultation.

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