Have you received a ticket or been arrested for a crime in Phoenix? If you have, you should reach out and speak to an experienced Phoenix criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Brandon White. Our well-practiced attorneys could provide you with the guidance and help that you need in order to successfully navigate the confusing criminal justice system.

There are three tiers of violations/charges you can receive in Arizona: civil violations, misdemeanor offenses, felony offenses. Each type of offense takes a different route through the courts.

What are Civil Violations?

Civil violations in Phoenix are relatively simple. Some common civil violations are speeding tickets (1-19mph over speed limit), running red lights, and drifting and out of your lane while driving. These are handled in one of two ways. One option is that you can pay the associated fine and accept whatever penalties (points) that may be assessed to your license. The second option is to request a hearing to fight the citation. It could be beneficial to speak with a local defense attorney about what approach is more viable for your situation.

Misdemeanor Charges in Phoenix

Misdemeanor offenses are the lowest level of criminal offenses in the state of Arizona. There are three classes of misdemeanor offenses, Class 3 being the lease severe and Class 1 being the most severe. However, the way these offenses travel through the court is basically the same regardless of the classification. Penalties for a misdemeanor charge can range anywhere from simple fines to six months in jail.

Your first appearance in court for a misdemeanor offense will be an arraignment. That is where a defendant would plead guilty or not-guilty to the charged offenses. If a plea of not-guilty is entered, the case will move into the pre-trial phase. This is the period where you can discuss your case with the prosecutor, review all relevant case documents, and attempt to reach a non-trial resolution to your case. Eventually the case will conclude with either the entering of a plea agreement or a trial. It is recommended that you hire a Phoenix criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the process and ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your misdemeanor charge.

Felony Criminal Offenses

Felony offenses are more severe than misdemeanor offenses and have six different levels called “classes.” Like misdemeanors, Class 6 is the least severe and Class 1 is the most severe level of felony. Penalties for felony convictions can range from probation and fines to significant prison time. Felony convictions can also have longer lasting impacts on a person such as loss of the right to vote and the right to own or possess firearms. Felonies can also affect your future employment opportunities as many employers ask applicants if they have ever been convicted of a felony.

The litigation process for felony charges is similar to that of a misdemeanor. There are several different types of court appearances for felony charges as the penalties are significantly more severe. It is recommended that you hire a local criminal attorney to help you minimize the potential penalties and defend you against the long-lasting effects that a felony conviction could have.

If you are facing any sort of criminal charges in Arizona, call to schedule a complimentary consult with one of our Phoenix criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Brandon White. We’re here to help.