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Frequently Asked Questions by Someone Facing a Criminal Charge

How Public Is Someone’s Arrest And Prosecution Going To Be? Are You Putting Your Career In Jeopardy By Simply Going Through The Arrest Or The Prosecution Process?

Yes, most crimes are public. Juvenile crimes are not public. But if you are an adult and you are charged with a crime, people that are looking for that information are going to be able to find it if they know how. It is not necessarily going to be blasted out into the public sphere though, unless it is a high profile case. Sometimes, the news media gets involved, but in most cases, there is no news media coverage. Most cases can be relatively private, but if someone is looking and they know where to look, they are going to be able to find a case. It isn’t always easy to find this information, however. Many cases are kept on public databases that don’t show up in search engine results. The searcher usually has to be a little more sophisticated than just plugging your name into Google, though some court websites do show up there.

In any event, someone who knows what they’re doing and is actively looking will find the case. The good news is that most of us don’t have friends, families, and employers who are constantly checking to see if we’ve done something illegal! Tait & Hall have represented a significant number of clients who have successfully kept their criminal matter private from family, friends, employers, and others. Additionally, in some cases, the records of your criminal case can be sealed after the case is concluded.

How Much Does It Matter If You Are a Good Person, You Have a Good Family. and you have not been in Trouble Before? Does That Come Into Play When It Comes To Sentencing?

Some of those things matter a lot and some of them matter very little or not at all. The one thing that will affect you at sentencing more than just about anything else in Arizona is if you have been in trouble before. If you have felony convictions on your record or even misdemeanor convictions, those things can create sentencing enhancements that allow the court to give you more time in prison or a longer probation term. It can actually require the judge in some cases to give you prison rather than probation. It can also force a judge to give you a longer prison sentence if you are going to prison.

Things like your family background, good things that you have done, and volunteer work in the community can all play a role. However, they are called discretionary factors for the court to consider. The judge can completely ignore those or they could say, “Well, I like those facts and I am going to give this girl/guy a break.” That is completely up to the court, but if you have had prior criminal convictions, you tie the hands of the judge in a lot of ways because then he must give you a harsher sentence unless your attorney can convince the prosecution to dismiss the allegation that you have those prior convictions.

How Does Someone Know If They Are Under A Criminal Investigation?

The most common way people find out that they are under a criminal investigation is if they get arrested or the detective shows up at their house and says, “I want to talk to you about this crime.” Unfortunately, most of the time, people do not know they are being investigated until they have contact with a law enforcement officer. There are exceptions. Sometimes, people get wind of the fact that they are being investigated because someone they know finds out and tells them so.

In some crimes, the police will actually contact the victim or an associate of the victim. They will do a “confrontation call” where they have that person call you in an attempt to elicit a confession over the phone. Unbeknownst to the person being investigated, police are coaching the person what to say and listening in and recording the call. Many times, the police have nothing but an allegation of wrongdoing, but can build a stronger case against someone because they made admissions or statements on a confrontation call that make them sound guilty.

If you are guilty of some kind of crime and the person that you committed the crime against or someone they know calls you out of the blue and you have not talked to them for a long time, then they are trying to get you to admit to some crime over the phone. There is a pretty decent chance that the police are behind it and they are directing that person on what to say, they are listening in, and they are recording the conversation. Apart from that circumstance, this does not apply to a lot of crimes. In most crimes, you are just going to find out by luck or the police officer comes and tries to interview you. It is important to remember that even if you are guilty, there is a proper time to admit to the crime and accept responsibility for it if that is what you choose to do, but that decision should always be made with the assistance of an attorney, not during the investigation stage when you have no attorney to protect your rights.

Are You Ever Obligated To Meet With Police Officers?

You are never obligated to meet with police officers. You are obligated to go with them if they put you under arrest, but you are never obligated to make statements to the police. This doesn’t mean you are allowed to lie to police. Lying to police can harm you in several ways. First, some false statements to police may constitute a misdemeanor offense. Second, if you lie, and the State can later prove that you lied, it makes it much more difficult to defend your case. It is always better to exercise your constitutional right to remain silent.

Get Answers to Frequently Asked Questions by Someone Facing a Criminal Charge or call the office of Tait & Hall for a FREE Initial Consultation at (480) 405-6767 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

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