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Criminal Law

Best Phoenix Criminal Defense

What Do I Do

What do I do if the police stop me while driving?

If the police stop you remain calm and try to remember they are just doing their job. The officer has dealt with violent people before so they will approach you with caution, but don’t take this personally. By doing things such as keeping your hands in plain sight when the officer approaches your vehicle can make the interaction less tense and run more smoothly.

You are required to show the officer your driver’s license, registration, proof of insurance, and to step out of the vehicle if the officer asks you to. Everything else depends on the situation.

What if I have been drinking or using drugs?

The officer may try to see if you are impaired by asking you to do a sobriety test. You do not have to do any of these tests even if he says you don’t have the right to refuse (you don’t, but there is a fine legal distinction that is too complex to explain here). Try to do what is only legally required of you and don’t be pressured into doing any tests. If the officer asks why you won’t, try not to be combative and simply explain that you do not want to because you do not have to. You are innocent until proven guilty so don’t let the police force you into doing anything you do not want to. Do not surrender any evidence they ask you to give them, they must obtain it legally.

I’ve been arrested, what are my options?

If you have been arrested the first thing you should do is to find out if you have actually been arrested. Even if you have been taken to jail that does not mean you have been arrested only detained. Police are allowed to detain you for around 48 hours (depending on the jurisdiction) with only probable cause and do not have to provide you with an attorney. During this time it is best not to say anything to the police.
While you are being detained the police may try to offer you an “easy way out” if you agree to tell them information. Do not listen to what they have to offer. Police are allowed to lie to you unless it forces you to admit something you did not do. The best thing for you to do is to wait until you are provided an attorney or released and obtain one yourself, at which point they can help you decide what to do. All the offers the police made to you will still be available even if they say they won’t be.

A close friend/relative just got arrested, what do I do?

Find out how much their bail is and get them out as soon as possible. If you can afford it and you trust the person, use cash to get them out. You will get all of your money back when the case is over.
If you do not have the money you can call a bail bondsman. The bail bondsman will typically charge 10% of the bail, but will have to pay the entire bail should you relative not show up. Be careful of who you bail out because if they do not show up to court you will lose the bail money you paid or have to give the bail bondsman collateral you offered earlier.

I’m out of jail, now what?

The first thing you should do is to get a lawyer. The law is very complicated and the police have a lot more experience than you which gives them an unfair advantage. By hiring a lawyer you will even the playing field and give yourself an equal chance at justice. A good lawyer will listen to your story and acquire all the evidence he can from the other side before he does anything else. After that, you and your attorney can make the decision about how to pursue the case further. The lawyer will give you recommendations on what he thinks you should do, but ultimately the decision is yours.