Criminal Defense 101
Criminal defense attorneys in Phoenix stand as the first line of defense between citizens and the government. The monumental task of taking on the prosecution is intimately connected with protecting the rights Americans have been endowed with through both the Federal and State Constitutions. In reviewing a new case, a criminal defense attorney always reads police reports, interviews, and other discovery through the following lens: Have my client’s rights been violated?
Unfortunately, more often than not, the answer is a resounding yes. The government is all too happy to curtail the freedoms bestowed upon any citizen. What does this mean for our clients? The only way to hold the authorities in check is to mount an aggressive defense. Too often, the prosecution is held to a different standard than the defense. If you have been accused of a crime, you are already fighting an uphill battle. To level the playing field, a good criminal defense attorney will hold the State accountable at every step of a criminal case.
The first round necessitates an analysis of police activity. As a general principal, defense attorneys will look for Miranda violations. If a defendant has been placed in custody, a police officer must properly Mirandize them. They must advise you of your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. If you have not been properly Mirandized, any statements or actions made by a defendant may be inadmissible in court.
The second round is the beginning of court proceedings. A defendant will make an initial appearance before the court, where release conditions will be addressed. Following the initial appearance, the court will set an arraignment date. At the arraignment, the court will enter a plea of “not guilty.” It is considered the first “critical proceeding” at which the defendant must have counsel.
The third round is discovery. This is longest part of any criminal proceeding. Both the State and the Defense disclose various pieces of evidence in preparation for hearings or trial. The State files a 15.1 motion for their disclosures, while the Defense files a 15.2 motion for their disclosures. Interviews of prospective witnesses are also conducted during this phase. If the State refuses to conduct interviews at the bequest of the Defense, a defense attorney may file a motion for deposition. A motion for deposition requests that the court issue an order mandating the interview take place.
The fourth round is prospective settlement. Many cases fall short of trial due to resolution. The State will usually offer a plea agreement which is less than what the defendant is facing if convicted at trial. A good plea agreement requires both legal strategy and mitigation. Legal strategy refers to motion work, investigation, and evidentiary hearings. Mitigation, on the other hand, is not a legal defense or justification; it is those things about a person or their circumstances that cry out for moral leniency.
Mitigation can include trauma, illness, or accolades and awards. The prosecution does not see a defendant as a human. It is a defense attorney’s job to humanize their client in the eyes of the State and negotiate with the prosecution.
The fifth round is trial. Trial is an attorney’s Superbowl, so to speak. It requires 14 hours of work for every day of trial. An experienced criminal defense attorney will prepare for jury selection, direct examination of witnesses, cross examination of witnesses, opening statements, and closing arguments. The aim and goal of any trial is acquittal. Such a result requires an immense amount of preparation and experience; it cannot be handled by an amateur attorney, so find an experienced Houston, Texas Criminal Defense Attorney who can help you.
Blumberg & Associates – Bruce E. Blumberg
3600 North 19th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85015
Toll Free 800-652-1512