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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Criminal Defense Cases

Are Police Allowed To Lie To You When They Are Questioning You?

This is one of the things that surprise a lot of people, but yes, the police are absolutely allowed to lie. They very routinely do lie to people. This is what law enforcement calls a “ruse.” The justification behind a ruse is that if a guilty person believes that officers know more than they really do, the guilty person may be tricked into confessing the truth. The problem with a ruse, is that it has been shown that innocent people actually do confess to crimes they didn’t commit under certain circumstances.

Imagine the confusion you would feel if you were innocent and believed the officers HAD to tell the truth and they said things like “Your DNA was found at the crime scene,” even though you know you’ve never been to the crime scene. They then tell you that your friend was there and told them you were too. They hook you up to a lie detector test and then tell you that you failed, even if you passed. These are all examples from real cases where officers have used ruses. Even the innocent in those circumstances begin to come up with stories to explain how the evidence could possibly be what the officers claim it to be. It is this disorientation and confusion that causes people to make statements that hurt them, even when they are innocent. An even more common scenario is that a person may be guilty of some minor crime, but make statements that make them look guilty of a much more serious crime, due to the use of police interrogation tactics.

The fact that officers may legally use these tactics is perhaps the strongest reason that even innocent individuals should always request that an attorney be present. Nearly everyone believes that they would never confess to a crime they did not commit. Many clients we have had express that after being in an interrogation room long enough, they begin to feel as though they’ll say anything, just to make the interrogation stop.

People who hear stories like these may sometimes think that most police would never use such deception. It is important to remember that officers who engage in these type of behaviors aren’t evil and usually don’t have bad intent. Oftentimes, they have already made up their mind that the person they are interrogating is guilty and feel as though a guilty person may get off if a confession isn’t obtained. Officers feel a lot of pressure to solve crimes, to make arrests, and to make sure criminals don’t get away. Given these very normal human feelings, it becomes easy to justify using whatever tactics necessary to get a confession. Just because a police officer is a good person, doesn’t mean he or she isn’t subject to making major errors of judgment, simply by following the tactics he or she was trained to use.

What Does It Mean To Be Indicted?

In Arizona, when you are investigated and the police write a report on you, they submit the report to the prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor files a complaint if they think it is appropriate. That complaint is basically the prosecutor’s office saying these are the charges that we believe have occurred. From that point, there must be what is called a probable cause finding. In Arizona, the most common way that is done is by presenting a summary of the evidence to a grand jury. The state takes the lead investigator on the case in front of the grand jury and has that person testify as to what happened. They may say, “This is why we think they committed this crime.” If the grand jury thinks that it is more likely than not that the person they are charging did actually commit those crimes, then the grand jury proceedings will result in an indictment being issued against that person. The indictment tells you the name of the person and the crimes that have been charged. If the grand jury agrees with the prosecutor, the indictment will contain all the same charges that were contained in the complaint. That is the norm, although occasionally, the grand jury proceedings will result in different final charges than were contained in the complaint. If you have been indicted, it means that a grand jury agrees with the police and prosecution and that the charges are official.

What Happens After Someone Is Arrested? How Does Bail Work?

Once somebody is arrested, there are really two options: either you stay in jail or you get released with a promise to appear at your next hearing. If you are arrested and you get taken to jail, then you have to see a judge within twenty-four hours. The purpose of seeing the judge so quickly is so that judge can decide whether you are likely to return to your future court hearings. If the judge does not think that you are a flight risk, he or she can let you out without setting a bail. If the judge thinks that there is some risk that you won’t return to court, he or she can set a bail. The bail is a dollar amount that must be paid to the court for you to be released. If you fail to come to all your court hearings, the court keeps the bail money. If you come to all your hearings, the bail money gets returned at the end of the case. The bail can be anywhere from 0 to millions of dollars, depending on how concerned the judge is that you may flee. Some charges require that you stay in custody without any chance to receive bail, due to their serious nature. These charges include murder, sexual assault, and child molestation, to name a few.

If you are held in custody after your initial appearance, the state then has 48 hours to file charges. If they don’t file charges within that timeframe, you must be released. If they do file charges, you will have a series of hearings that take place rather quickly. If you are let out of custody or released on bail, the state can take much longer to file charges. It can take years to file charges, although typically charges are filed within 30 days of the arrest. Once the charges are filed, a summons is sent to your last known address to notify you of your court date, or if the court is concerned that you can’t be reached, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. Typically, a summons will be sent first and a court will only issue a warrant if the summons is returned as being a bad address or you don’t show up to your first hearing.

Get Answers To Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Criminal Defense Cases. For information, 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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