Is Someone Ever Obligated To Speak With The Police?
People should possibly consult with an attorney before they go down and talk to law enforcement, maybe have the attorney with them. I think blowing it off totally is not necessarily a good idea because you're probably likely in store for a warrant coming out, having a warrant for your arrest but I don't think you need to necessarily talk and spill the beans. It really is a case by case situation.
How Is A Criminal Charge Determined To Be Either A Misdemeanor Or A Felony In Arizona?
Yes, I don't know of other states. In Arizona, a felony is something that could entail being locked up in prison where you could get one year or more of being locked up in the penitentiary, so in a prison. You could have a felony where in the end, you go to prison for less than a year, for example, there are some of the DUI charges where you would get 4 months in prison if you're convicted and you're not given probation. You could have to go away for 4 months to prison. So it doesn't mean you're going to be locked up for at least 1 year but that's what the exposure is that you could get one year or more. As part of a felony, you could also be sentenced to jail time as part of probation.
You might be in the county jail rather than going to prison for 4 months, you might be in the county jail for 4 months or you might be in the county jail for 6 months or you might be in the county jail up to just under 1 year, one day less than a year, at the county jail but it's still being a felony. That's a very severe circumstance, I don't want to scare everybody but that's very rare but that's going to happen. That's very rare, at least in the kind of cases that I am going to do, but that's going to happen. For misdemeanor, you could be subjected to jail from anywhere from 1 day up to 6 months depending on the type of offense. There are three different levels of misdemeanor, each one carries a different maximum amount of possible jail time.
However, I do want to point out that on the DUIs, which is mostly what I am handling, misdemeanor DUIs subject the person up to 6 months in jail, that is the maximum, it's 6 months in jail. Would somebody likely get that on a first offense DUI? No, they would not normally be looking at anywhere near that amount of time in jail but that's the maximum exposure on misdemeanor DUI in Arizona at this time.
How Does A Prior Arrest Or Conviction Impact A Criminal Case?
A lot of times, it will. For example, if it's a domestic violence case, the third or subsequent domestic violence offense can be charged as a felony in Arizona. I don't know about other states but it can be a felony. So it could be a very, very minimal – and when I say minimal, I mean any DV can be serious; a relatively minor infraction that would normally only be charged as a misdemeanor but because it's the third, it could be charged as a felony. So it could be a minor type, like throwing things around the house, throwing things at the other person which is never good. To use that kind of behavior, you need to learn to control your behavior.
Let's say you're just throwing pots and pans or plates or something but you're getting a little close to the other person, really scaring the other person even though you didn't even hit the person, that's still an assault; it could be disorderly conduct, it could be criminal damage, it could be threats and intimidation and it can even be assault and they could say, “No, this is going to be charged as a felony”. It doesn't mean that you have to cause great bodily injury to the other person. Also for example, with shoplifting, if you have your third or more shoplifting, it can be charged felony. The third time you could steal a pack of gum, do I think they would do that? No, but they could.
It's so serious and DUIs, so if you have a DUI and you have a prior DUI conviction, depending on how many you have, that have occurred within the 7 years proceedings, the date of the current offense, you're going to be charged; it could still be a misdemeanor with a prior or it could be a felony. If this is your third or subsequent DUI offense in 7 years we go by the date of the offense, not the date of the conviction, you're looking at a felony, a felony DUI. So that's a difference between possible prison and having some jail time. It can affect your license in different ways because for certain types of DUIs, ending up with certain types of a DUI conviction can lead to automatic revocation of your license because of the prior convictions.
That's opposed to a suspension of your rights. So it's very important to know what I call the baggage. Everyone comes with their own baggage. Some people have no baggage, relatively speaking, and some people have a lot of baggage and we need to know all that, I need to know all that in helping somebody.
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