What To Do If You Are Arrested in Arizona

At Montano Arentz & Associates, PLLC, their criminal defense attorneys in Phoenix and surrounding areas of Arizona can help you with any criminal case. If you are arrested, you have a right to speak to an attorney and our criminal defense attorneys are available 24 hours a day to help you. If you have been arrested or are under criminal investigation, please call us at (602) 258-8888 immediately.

Arrest and Detainment laws in Arizona

Because you can be arrested or detained at anytime, the criminal defense attorneys at the Phoenix firm of Montano Arentz & Associates, PLLC are available round the clock to help you. When you are arrested, you may be taken into custody. This means that you are not free to leave the scene. Without being arrested, you can be detained or held for questioning for a short time if a police officer or other person believes you may be involved in a crime. For example, an officer may detain you if you are carrying a large box near a burglary site. You can also be detained by storekeepers if they suspect you have stolen something.

Regardless of whether you are arrested or detained, you do not have to answer any questions except to give your name and address and show some identification if requested. You can ask to speak to an attorney, then call the criminal defense attorneys for help.

If you have been arrested or detained, contact the criminal defense attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona at Montano Arentz & Associates, PLLC. They can help protect your legal rights and your freedom.

Frequently Asked Question Regarding Arrest

What Rights Do I Have?

Whether you are an adult citizen or non-citizen, you have certain rights if you are arrested and these rights are called Miranda Rights. Before the law enforcement officer questions you, he or she should tell you that:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say may be used against you.
  • You have a right to have a lawyer present while you are questioned.
  • If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.

These Miranda rights are guaranteed by the United States Constitution. If you are not given these warnings, our criminal defense attorneys can ask the court to suppress any statements you made to the police after your arrest. If the court grants your our suppression request, your statement cannot be used against you in court. Having your statements suppressed does not necessarily mean that your case will be dismissed. Any evidence the prosecution has that is independent from your statements may still be used against you.

If you volunteer information before being questioned by the police, the Miranda Rule does not apply and your statements will in all likelihood be admissible against you in court. You can also waive your Miranda rights and answer law enforcements questions without one of our criminal defense attorneys present, although this is usually not a wise decision. Remember, law enforcement is trying to gather evidence against you, and this evidence includes any statements you make.

If you are arrested, ask for a lawyer then call a criminal defense attorneys serving the Phoenix and Tempe areas immediately. They can help you.

Learn more about your rights

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Once I Am Told My Rights, Can I be Questioned?

After law enforcement reads you your Miranda rights, you can be questioned without criminal defense attorneys present only if you voluntarily give up your rights and if you understand the rights you are giving up. If you agree to the questioning, then change your mind, questioning must stop as soon as you say that you want a lawyer. If the questioning continues after you request a lawyer and you continue to talk, your will be deemed to have changed your mind about wanting a lawyer and your answers can be used against you.

Depending on the criminal case, you may be required to give certain physical evidence. For example, if you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol you may be requested to take a test to measure the amount of alcohol in your system. If you refuse to take the test, your driver's license will be suspended and the refusal will be used against you in court.

Once you are booked, meaning your arrest is written into official police records and you are fingerprinted and photographed, you have a right to make and complete a telephone call within the local dialing area. Call a criminal defense attorney in Phoenix.

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When Should I Seek the Advice of Criminal Defense Attorneys?

If you are arrested for a crime, particularly a serious one, you should contact experience criminal defense attorneys such as ours with the Phoenix firm of Montano Arentz & Associates, PLLC as soon as possible. Criminal defense attorneys have a better sense of what you should and should not say to law enforcement officers to avoid being misinterpreted or misunderstood. Criminal defense attorneys can advise you or your family or friends on the bail process.

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Who Can Arrest Me?

All law enforcement officers, including police officers, county sheriff officers, investigators in a county attorney's or an attorney general's offices and highway patrol officers, can arrest you whether they are on or off duty, in most cases. A probation or parole officer also can arrest you.

Law enforcement can arrest you without an arrest warrant if they have probable cause or good reason to believe you committed a felony, such as armed robbery. The law distinguishes between felonies and misdemeanors in arrest situations because a felony is a crime of a more serious nature than a misdemeanor, usually punishable by imprisonment for more than a year. Felonies are presumed to put the public at risk, so an arrest warrant is not needed for law enforcement to arrest you when they suspect you have committed a felony. Law enforcement does not have to see you commit a felony in order to arrest you; they only need to have a reasonable suspicion that you committed the felony. They do, however, have to see you commit a misdemeanor in order to arrest you.

If you commit an infraction, law enforcement may ask you to sign a citation or notice instead of taking you into custody. These types of infractions are considered to be minor offenses, such as a moving violations, and the punishment is usually a fine. If you sign the citation, you are not admitting guilt; you are only promising to appear in court. If you have no identification or refuse to sign, however, an officer may take you into custody.

Regardless of whether you are charged with a felony, misdemeanor, or minor infraction, contact our criminal defense attorneys. At the Phoenix, Arizona office of Montano Arentz & Associates, PLLC, their lawyers are available to help you and your family 24 hours a day.

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Can Someone Other Than a Police Officer Arrest Me?

Any person, such as a private security guard, can make a citizen's arrest if they see a misdemeanor being attempted or committed. (A misdemeanor is a criminal offense, usually punishable with a fine or short jail term.) They also can make a legal arrest for a felony as long as it actually was committed and they have good reason to believe you did it. They must take you to a police officer or judge who is required by law to take you into custody.

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When Is an Arrest Warrant Used?

If law enforcement arrests you with or without an arrest warrant, contact the criminal defense attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona at Montano Arentz & Associates, PLLC immediately. They can help you.

Usually an arrest warrant is required before you can be taken into custody in your home. You can be arrested at home without an arrest warrant if fast action is needed to prevent you from escaping, destroying evidence, endangering someone's life or seriously damaging property. If given the opportunity by law enforcement, contact our criminal defense attorneys immediately. We can meet you at your home or at the police station.

Before entering your home, a law enforcement officer must knock and identify himself or herself and tell you that you are going to be arrested. The officer can break into your home through a door or window if you refuse to open the door or if there is another good reason that justifies the use of forced entry.

Try to remember the conduct of the law enforcement officers involved in your arrest. If they do anything that affects your rights, our criminal defense attorneys may use their actions to help you. If the police have an arrest warrant, ask to see it. They should allow you to read it and check for errors. If they don't have the warrant with them, you should be allowed to see it as soon as practical. Presuming the arresting officers do not have a search warrant, they are allowed to search the area within your immediate reach only. If you are arrested outdoors, they may not search your home or car but may search your person. These searches are allowed to check for evidence, illegal or stolen substances and goods, and weapons, to ensure the safety of the arresting officers and anyone else who may be present at the time of the arrest.

Once an arrest warrant is issued, any law enforcement officer in the state can arrest you, even if the officer does not have a copy of the warrant. Generally, there is no time limit on using a warrant to make an arrest.

The criminal defense attorneys at the Phoenix law firm of Montano Arentz & Associates, PLLC will inspect the arrest warrant to ensure that it is legal, valid, and enforceable. The arrest warrant must be signed by a magistrate or judge, who must have good reason to believe that you, whom the warrant names, committed a crime. If your name is unknown, "John Doe" can be used on the warrant along with your description.

If you are arrested, do not resist, but do contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. In Phoenix and throughout Arizona, resisting an arrest or detention is a crime. If you resist arrest, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony in addition to the crime for which you are being arrested. If you resist, an officer can use force to overcome your resistance or prevent your escape. The officer can even use deadly force to prevent great bodily injury.

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When Can I Be Released?

If, during the questioning and before a charge is filed, the police are convinced that you have not committed a crime, they will give you a written release. Your arrest then will be considered a detention and not recorded as an arrest.

Remember, after arrest you are entitled to your Miranda rights which include having an attorney present while you are interrogated. Having our criminal defense attorneys present with you during questioning may aid in your release.

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What Is Bail and How Is Bail Set?

Bail is the money or other security (such as real property) deposited with the court to insure that you will appear at your court hearings. The bail amount for each case is set by a schedule that is specific to each county. Involving our criminal defense attorneys with the Phoenix law firm of Montano Arentz & Associates, PLLC in your bail hearing may improve your chances for release pending resolution of your criminal case. Contact us as soon as you are arrested.

After your arrest, you will be taken to court for bail setting. At the bail setting, either bail will be set or you will be released on your own recognizance, also known as O.R.. The law presumes you are guilty of the charges for purposes of setting bail or release. If you are released on O.R. this means you do not have to pay bail because the judge believes that you will show up for court appearances without bail. If you contact us in time, our criminal defense attorneys will appear at the bail setting with you and argue strenuously for O.R. release if you are a good candidate.

At the bail setting, a criminal defense attorney will argue for O.R. release and/or minimum bail when appropriate. The judge will consider the seriousness of the offense you are charged with, any prior failures to appear (even for traffic tickets), any previous criminal record you have, your connections to the community, and the probability that you will appear in court. If you are a low flight risk and the charges are not serious, you may be granted O.R. release. If the charges are serious and/or the court presumes you to be a flight risk, bail will be set. The amount of bail is set according to a written schedule based on your charges.

If your violation is a traffic citation, you may be notified that you can forfeit or give up bail instead of appearing in court. However, if you have any doubt, go to court so a warrant is not issued for your arrest for failing to appear. Forfeiting bail does not mean that the charges are dropped and usually works as a conviction for a traffic offense. Bail forfeiture does not apply to misdemeanors or felonies.

Officers at the jail may be able to accept bail. If you cannot post or put up the bail, you will be kept in custody. Depending on where you are arrested, you may have the opportunity to request a bail reduction through a bail commissioner.

Because of the nuances involved in bail setting and the arguments that must be made to the court on your behalf to provide you with the best possible outcome, it is best to have experienced criminal defense attorneys with you at your bail setting.

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Who Maintains Arrest Records and What Do They Include?

One of the reasons why it is important to have representation from experienced criminal defense attorneys is because arrest and conviction records can follow you for life. Local police departments, the State Department of Public Safety and the F.B.I. in Washington keep arrest records. According to law, they cannot show them to anyone except law enforcement officers and may only show records of your convictions to certain licensing agencies, which have a right by state law to investigate your criminal background.

The arrest record includes when and why you were arrested, whether the charges against you were dropped or whether you were convicted of the charges, and the subsequent sentence imposed. Both pleading guilty and being found guilty after a trial count as convictions.

If you are convicted of certain crimes and stay out of trouble, you are able to have the conviction set aside. If you are convicted of certain felonies and you successfully complete probation, you can have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor on your record.

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What Happens at My First Hearing?

You have a right to have an initial hearing without unnecessary delay - usually within 24 hours after being arrested. The criminal defense attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona with the law firm of Montano Arentz & Associates, PLLC can discuss what will happen at this hearing with you and help you develop a strategy to make this first hearing as advantageous to you as possible. Contact them today.

You will appear before a hearing officer who will tell you officially of the charges against you. If you have not retained an attorney because you cannot afford one, an attorney may be appointed for you. At this hearing, bail can be raised or lowered. You also can ask to be released on O.R., even if bail was previously set.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor, criminal defense attorneys will discuss with you pleading guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere at this initial hearing. A plea of nolo contendere means that you will not contest to the charges, and is legally the same as a guilty plea. The court must approve a plea of nolo contendere.

Before pleading guilty to some first-time offenses, such as drug use or possession in small amounts for personal use, criminal defense attorneys will advise you as to the availability of county drug diversion programs. Under these programs, instead of fining you or sending you to jail, the court may order you to get counseling which can result in dismissal of the charges if you complete the counseling.

If misdemeanor charges are not dropped, a trial will be held later in a municipal or justice court. If you are charged with a felony, however, and the charges are not dropped, the next step is a preliminary hearing.

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What Happens at the Preliminary Hearing?

At a preliminary hearing, the prosecutor must show that there was probably cause to believe a crime had been committed and that you committed that crime. The standard of proof at a preliminary hearing is probable cause, which is much lower than the standard of proof needed at trial (beyond a reasonable doubt). This lower standard of proof is generally much easier for a prosecutor to make. If probably cause is found, you will be bound over (held to answer) at a future trial.

The preliminary hearing can be waived and often is as a part of legal strategy. The criminal defense attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona with Montano Arentz & Associates, PLLC can help you decide whether or not it is in your best interest to waive the preliminary hearing. Contact us to discuss your case.

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When Can an Officer Conduct a Search?

An officer always may only make a search with either your consent or a search warrant. You have a right, however, to see the warrant before the search begins. It may be in your best interest to contact a criminal defense attorney regarding the search warrant also.

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When Can an Officer Search Me, My Home, or My Car Without a Warrant?

By involving the criminal defense attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona with the law firm of Montano Arentz & Associates, PLLC, they can help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the search warrant process. If your rights are violated, we may be able to get the search declared illegal and have any evidenced obtained as a result of the illegal search thrown out. If you or a loved one has been or will be the subject of a search warrant, contact us.

Body Searches - If you are arrested, an officer can search you, without a warrant, for weapons, evidence or illegal or stolen goods. Strip searches should not be conducted for offenses that do not involve weapons, drugs or violence unless the police reasonably suspect you are concealing a weapon or illegal goods and they have authorization from the supervising officer on duty. If you are booked and jailed, you may undergo a full body search, including body cavities.

Home Searches - In emergencies, such as when an officer may be trying to prevent someone from destroying evidence, your home can be searched without your consent and without a warrant. If you are taken into custody in your home, an officer without a warrant can search only the limited area in which you are arrested. Other rooms - and even other parts of the same room - are off limits, unless the officer believes that other suspects are hiding in other rooms. While searching your home, an officer can seize evidence of any crime, such as stolen property or drugs, that is in plain sight.

Car Searches - Your car and trunk can be searched without your consent or a warrant if an officer has good reason to believe it contains illegal or stolen goods or evidence. If the police stop your car for any legal reason, such as a broken taillight, they can take any illegal goods in plain sight.

If you, your home or your car are searched illegally, a judge might say that any evidence found during the search cannot be used against you in court. It is important to retain competent, experienced criminal defense attorneys because if you or your lawyer do not object to the evidence before trial, the court might allow the evidence to be used even if it was seized illegally. If the judge does decide that the evidence cannot be used against you, that does not always mean that your case will be dismissed.

The purpose of this section is to provide general information on the law, which is subject to change.

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