Did you know that a felony conviction prevents you from carrying a gun, can severely impact your ability to get a job, and can prevent you from getting a loan or renting a residence? Did you know that you could face a prison term if you are caught driving intoxicated with a suspended driver’s license? Did you know that children can go to prison until the age of eighteen for a crime, or that they can go to adult prisons despite being under the age of eighteen? Did you know you can lose your driver’s license for a period of years for such crimes as graffiti or marijuana possession? Irrespective of the level of crime, a criminal prosecution can have long lasting and severe consequences even after probation or incarceration is over.
Felonies & Misdemeanors
Generally, crimes are divided into felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are worse than misdemeanors and range from a class one felony for crimes such as homicide/murder, down to the lowest felony, a class six felony, for crimes such as marijuana possession. Misdemeanors range from a class one to a class three, which is the lowest crime which exists. Certain matters for juveniles are status offenses and are treated as quasi-criminal, for such issues as smoking, curfew, or truancy.
A conviction is a term used for a finding of guilt for an adult after either a trial is lost or a plea bargain is entered. For juveniles, the term is a delinquency irrespective of whether the crime is a misdemeanor or felony. The age of eighteen usually distinguishes the two groups, but people under the age of eighteen can under certain circumstances be transferred into adult court, be held in adult jails, and ultimately can be sent to adult prisons.
The Law Office of Jeff Zurbriggen also represents victims. Did you know that Victims have statutorily provided rights in criminal cases? Although the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will present victim information to the court, they do not represent the victim and are not legally required to advocate for them.
Criminal prosecutions can severely affect your rights and your future. For example, possible punishments in Arizona include anything from the death penalty to simply closing the case with no punishment. Arizona prosecutors have become more aggressive about not dismissing a case and not providing more lenient plea offers. Mandatory sentencing requirements for certain crimes often prevent judges from using their discretion.
It is very important to know your rights and options. You should contact a lawyer before even speaking with a police officer, witness, principal, parent, or other state actor. Statements you make to any of these people can, and likely would, be used against you – even if made informally, prior to you being notified you might be a target of an investigation, and prior to being notified of your Miranda rights.
At the Law Office of Jeff Zurbriggen, we determine whether the State has a solid case against you. We will find any inadequacies or defects in the case. Many times simply presenting the prosecutor with contrary evidence will allow them to dismiss the case before it even gets to the trial stage. Sometimes, a motion to suppress is needed due to illegal searches or seizures. We also explore if there are diversion programs or dismissal agreements available. We interview witnesses, create and explore an effective defense, and hire expert witnesses if needed. We try to negotiate the best possible plea offer, and if one is not provided to your satisfaction, the case is taken to trial. If you are ultimately found guilty either after a trial or a guilty plea, our Office presents your case in the best light for sentencing purposes.
The Law Office of Jeff Zurbriggen has extensive experience handling an array of criminal law matters. Do not risk your future with a lawyer you did not personally choose, or attempt to navigate your case yourself. If you are involved in a criminal matter, let us help you. We will evaluate the circumstances of your case, determine the most effective course of action, and work aggressively to maximize your legal rights and interests. Please contact us today for a FREE consultation.