Flagstaff DUI Lawyer: How to Get Your Best Plea Offer in an Arizona Criminal Case

If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI in Flagstaff or elsewhere in Northern Arizona, or any criminal charge, now is the time to deal with it. And by “deal with it,” I mean work hard to “deal” the case, as in an Arizona plea deal, or plea offer, or plea bargain, or plea agreement (all the same thing).

As I’ve discussed in prior articles, when you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, a huge chain of events is set off. You’ll be arrested and potentially face an Admin Per Se / Implied Consent suspension (i.e., your drivers license will be suspended), depending on your BAC results if there are any. You can appeal that suspension, but must do so within 15 days in order to prevent the suspension from starting. Once you are under arrest, you’ll appear before a judge, magistrate, or justice of the peace within 24 hours. See Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 4.1(a).

At your Initial Appearance under Arizona law, the judge or magistrate will perform several functions relating to your Arizona constitutional rights, as I discussed in a recent article about criminal arraignments. Once you plead “Not Guilty” to each and every count of your Arizona DUI Ticket and Complaint, as I strongly advise you to do, the judge or magistrate will set your case for a “Case Management Conference” or a “Pre-Trial Conference.” They will decide on your release conditions and/or a bond. Arizona Case Management Conference / Pre-Trial Conference Now you’re getting into the meat of your case.

The procedural elements are out of the way: you’ve been advised of your rights, you’ve pled Not Guilty to the Complaint. It’s a very good time to have a lawyer working for you. Behind the scenes, while your case is pending, and a Case Management Conference (CMC) or a Pre-Trial Conference (PTC) is coming up, there are numerous things that a lawyer can be doing for you to help set up the plea negotiations with the prosecutor.

Things you and/or your Arizona DUI defense attorney should be doing, include: a substance abuse screening (you, not your lawyer); performing a detailed legal review of all of the State’s disclosure; requesting more disclosure from the State; formulating mitigation; researching potential constitutional violations; and handling case-specific needs. As your CMC or PTC approaches, your Arizona DUI lawyer should be contacting the prosecutor’s office to determine what the State’s approach to plea negotiations is going to be in your case. It will be different in every case because every case has unique facts unique defendants, and unique charges.

If, for example, you are charged with Super Extreme DUI – 0.20% BAC or more, you’re facing a mandatory 45 days in the county jail (e.g., Yavapai or Coconino County Jail). So if you just plead guilty, you’re hitting the slammer for 45 days minimum, plus somewhere around $3,000 in fines.

But if you work hard and prepare perfectly for your plea negotiations, you stand a real shot at a better plea, reduced jail time (if any at all), lower fines, and a softer conviction on your record. Plea negotiations in Arizona criminal cases require a hard working and knowledgeable criminal defense firm like Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC to get you the best possible resolution in your case. Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC has a special understanding of the criminal justice system and Arizona plea negotiation process because he has practiced law on both sides of cases. Call today.

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