Arizona is well-known for its high penalties and prosecutorial nature, especially when it comes to traffic law. Despite this, there are a lot of common misconceptions about significant aspects of the criminal justice system. As such, having a legal advocate on your side that can help you understand your charges and the criminal process is invaluable. If you or someone you know, has been charged with a criminal offense and are looking for more information on these topics or a trusted Tucson Criminal Defense lawyer, reach out to our office today.
Common Misconceptions about the State Criminal Justice System
Victims of crimes are the ones who determine whether charges are filed: The victims of a crime can file a civil lawsuit if there are damages to the victim or the victim’s family, but state prosecutors are the ones who make decisions about whether criminal charges are filed. So, there’s no such thing as “pressing charges.” Our team of defense attorneys, made up of former prosecutors all led by a former state police officer, can attest that, in some ways, prosecutors have more discretion than judges, because they review all the evidence during an arrest and have the authority to choose what crime a defendant is charged with.
If you confess to a crime, you will be given a lighter sentence: Contrary to popular belief, confessing to a crime or cooperating with officers during an investigation against you will not guarantee a lesser sentence but will just make charging you with a harsher offense easier officers and prosecutors. With that in mind, however, being extremely uncooperative or resisting arrest is almost always going to make things worse.
Invoking your right to remain silent makes you look more guilty: People who are arrested often think that remaining silent when an officer questions you makes you look more guilty. After all, why would you stay silent if you have nothing to hide? However, it is important to remember that your rights exist for a reason: the entire purpose of an officer asking you questions is to gather information against you. It’s why officers need warrants to search as well!
Rigorous forensic evidence is used in every criminal case: Although shows and movies about criminal justice often show the use of advanced forensic techniques like DNA samples, the reality is that a lot of criminal cases rarely get that sort of attention. While DUI stops often employ blood and breath testing and speeding cases will use radar or other such technology, much of the evidence in a criminal matter relies on witness and officer statements.
All cases go to trial, and every defendant gets their “big day in court”: Here is a potentially jarring statistic – over 90% of criminal cases in Arizona are resolved by plea. The vast majority of state courts are extremely backlogged and slow, which makes giving every defendant a trial with complex charts and graphs practically impossible. Trials are intricate and complicated processes, filled with procedures like jury selection and hearings behind the scenes. Unfortunately, not everyone gets their opportunity to stand in front of a jury and tell their story.
Contact a Tucson Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona, home to Pima County Superior Court, Tucson Justice Court, South Tucson Municipal Court, Tucson La Placita Village Justice Court, and Tucson Municipal Court. However, regardless of which court handles your case, the dedicated and experienced Tucson criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Brandon White can help you navigate the legal process. Contact us today for a consultation, we’re here to help.