West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman PLLC is an experienced criminal defense law firm located in Tucson, Arizona. Our knowledgeable attorneys have over 180 years of combined education, knowledge, and experience in criminal law.
Our experienced Pima County criminal defense attorneys assist in a wide variety of cases, including:
- Burglary defense
- Domestic violence
- Drug crimes
- Drunk driving and DUI cases
- Sexual Offenses
- Violent crime
Facing criminal charges and a long jail sentence can be life changing and terrifying. Our team will be there with you every step of the way, to ensure that you are represented fairly and that all of your rights are protected.
While there are few one-size-fits all questions when it comes to criminal defense, below are some common myths and facts about hiring a criminal defense attorney. In a nutshell, if you are charged with a crime, you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Working with experienced attorneys can make a vast difference in the outcome of your case.
If you have further questions, contact our experienced attorneys today to discuss the particulars of your case.
Common Myths about Criminal Defense Attorneys
Myth #1: Representing myself in court will get me the result I want
Fact: Although you have a constitutional right to represent yourself, this is not always the best solution. Hiring a criminal defense attorney to represent you will ensure that your rights are protected. Our legal team keeps abreast of all the latest developments in Arizona. We know when and where to challenge the police, the prosecutor, and even the judge when they make a mistake.
If you represent yourself, you will be at a disadvantage. You will not know the procedures or the players. This may result in things being on the record that should not be there. Appealing criminal convictions can take months. It’s better to put the right team together at the beginning in order to maximize your chances of success.
Myth #2: If I am charged with a crime, I will go to jail
Fact: not every crime carries a jail sentence. Misdemeanors often do not carry a possibility of jail time at all. Even if you are charged with a felony, you may only receive probation, depending on the severity of the crime and your background.
You should also know that being charged with a crime is the first step of what can be a long road before conviction and sentencing. It may be several months after you have been charged with a crime before your trial date.
A lot can happen in that time – scientific evidence can be processed that may exonerate you. Additional witnesses or even suspects may appear and change the game. At the trial, the prosecution may not have the evidence necessary to convict you. Being arrested and charged with a crime is not a guilty verdict. Having experienced attorneys fighting for you each step of the way will help this process.
Myth #3: Defense attorneys just want their clients to take plea deals
Fact: This is not the case. We love to be aggressive, poking holes in police testimony and in the state’s case in order to find our clients not guilty on all charges.
However, there is nothing wrong with negotiating a plea bargain with the state. For example, pleading guilty could result in being charged with a lesser crime, having some charges dropped, or receiving a reduced or suspended jail sentence. Sometimes, they are the right answer, but this is not always the case.
Our criminal defense team will help weigh the evidence against you to know how strong of a case the prosecution can make. We will present the pros and cons of every option available to you, so you can make the best choice for you and your family.
Myth #4: You have to answer questions from the police
Fact: You do not have to answer any questions. You have the right to remain silent, even if you are in police custody and under arrest. Speaking with the police and answering their questions may result in you inadvertently admitting to committing a crime. Even if you are careful, you may say something that can damage your credibility.
Instead, you should remain silent and answer questions only with your attorney present.
Myth #5: Only guilty people need a lawyer
Fact: Crime TV shows make us think that only guilty people need lawyers. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Our criminal justice system has many flaws and we live in a country where many innocent people spend time in jail.
Speaking with the police or prosecution without an attorney present can lead to inadvertent admissions or inconsistencies that diminish your credibility. Instead of trying to show that you are honest and letting the chips fall where they may, you should call an attorney who specializes in criminal law as soon as you are charged with a crime. This can save you a significant amount of hassle down the road.
If you are facing criminal charges, contact the law office of West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman PLLC online or call us at 520-790-7337 for a free consultation. This article is for informational purposes only. It does not provide legal advice, nor does it form an attorney-client relationship.