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What happens if I am arrested for a Felony in Phoenix, Arizona?

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Many things will happen after your arrest that can affect whether or not you will be convicted, so it’s important to understand the process and get the best help that you can.

The first thing is your arraignment. This is when the court will:

  • Read your charges
  • Ensure you will have a lawyer,
  • Possibly set a bond for your release
  • Set a date for your preliminary hearing

If you haven’t already called a Phoenix criminal defense attorney to get help, now is the time to do so.

At the preliminary hearing, the state has to prove that a felony probably occurred and that you were probably the one who committed the crime. This is why it’s so important to have the right attorney by your side.

If you are convicted, you will be sent to the Circuit Court for further arraignment.

Here’s what happens if probable cause has been found at the Preliminary Hearing.  Many preliminary hearings will move to the superior court, because they have to prove so little.

During your superior court arraignment:

  • The court will read the charges against you
  • You will enter your plea
  • The court will make sure you have an attorney
  • The court may set bond
  • The court will set a trial date

It is important to remember that if you enter a plea of “guilty” or “no contest”, you forfeit your right to a trial.  Please consult your attorney before entering your plea.

Why You Should Always Plead Non-Guilty in Arizona

If you have been charged with a crime and choose to plead guilty, you forfeit your right to trial and will be sentenced by a judge instead. This sentencing usually takes place the same day that the plea is entered. A common misconception is that you will receive sentencing that is less severe if you plead “Guilty” or “No Contest”. This is not true.

A plea of “Not Guilty” means that you deny the charges against you, which puts the responsibility of proof in the hands of the court.

The best way that you can determine if you should plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest is to talk to your defense attorney.  They will be able to best understand how strong the case against you may be and they will be able to gauge how well they can defend you.  

It is likely that your attorney will be able to effectively argue your case during a trial and you don’t want to lose that opportunity with a guilty plea.

What to Wear to Court

If you are presenting yourself before a judge or a jury, it’s pivotal that you dress for the occasion and give the best possible first impression. Here are some tips to help you show the judge and jurors that you take your case seriously.

  • Check to see if your court has a dress code.
  • Wear a suit and tie or a nice blouse and skirt.
  • Make sure your clothes are clean and fit you well.
  • Have a nice, clean shave and haircut.
  • Do not overdo it with fragrance or jewelry.
  • Remove any piercings and cover your tattoos.

Consult your attorney for their advice as they will know what will work best with your defense.