Outline of a Criminal Law Case

From arrest to appeals, all criminal cases in Arizona follow the same series of steps. As a defendant, it is important that you understand all steps associated with your criminal charge so that you can be adequately prepared for each step along the way. This is especially important if you have chosen to navigate your criminal case without the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer. These steps are outlined below.

Criminal Flow Chart

  1. Arrest: An individual is arrested by a law enforcement officer who has witnessed a crime OR who has obtained an arrest warrant that concludes probably cause that the individual in question previously committed a crime. This individual will be brought before a judge within 24 hours of arrest.
  2. Initial Appearance: The initial appearance is when the judge first informs the defendant of charges faced and will set terms for release from jail. It is at this time that they judge will appoint a public defender if you cannot afford to hire a private attorney.
  3. Preliminary Hearing: This is the second hearing in front of the judge and is used to determine whether probable cause exists that the crime in question was committed by the defendant. Testimony and witnesses may be called by both the defense and prosecution.
  4. Arraignment: This is where the defendant will enter their plea of either guilty or not-guilty with regards to the charges against them. If the defendant enters a plea of guilty, the judge will set a time for sentencing. Alternatively, a plea of not-guilty will result in a trial date.
  5. Trial or Sentencing

Important Resources for Criminal Defendants:

Arizona Court Self Service Center: This link points to the Self Service Center for the Arizona court system. Of particular importance is the information on appeals.

Arizona Court Locator: This interactive map may help you locate your court location.

Criminal Code Sentencing Chart: Provided by the Arizona Judicial Branch, this document contains sentencing guidelines updated for 2013-2014.

Arizona Criminal Defense Lawyer: Contact a criminal defense lawyer in Arizona for a free consultation regarding your case.

BAC Blood Alcohol Content Calculator

It is common for our DUI clients to report that the did not believe they were impaired at the time of their DUI arrest. Unfortunately, this is not a defense against DUI in Arizona. More importantly, it does not change the potential sequelae of driving while impaired, including property damage and injury.

Below is free BAC calculator provided for entertainment purposes only to estimate your BAC after consuming a variety of alcoholic beverages. Our goal is not to provide you with a legal defense for your arrest, but to instead inform site visitors as to their potential impairment.