What to Look For in a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
What Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Do?
Criminal Defense Attorneys wear many hats, from a counselor on the law with clients to advocating in court with the prosecutor and judge. Being charged with a crime or getting arrested is a scary experience that no one should go through alone. With the help of seasoned attorneys, including a Criminal Law Specialist, the attorneys at Long & Simmons law will be able to calm your anxiety and provide step-by-step guidance through confusing and complex legal systems that can be overwhelming. As a law firm with over 40 years of experience handling criminal cases, we know what it takes to develop winning strategies and achieve results for our clients. If you’ve asked yourself, “where is a criminal attorney near me” we can help.
What Does a Criminal Defense Attorney Do?
A criminal defense attorney advocates by representing individuals charged with a crime in court. They are trained to collect and analyze facts, evidence, discovery, and anything related to the case of the accused to prepare a winning defense to all allegations. When you work with a criminal defense attorney from our law firm, you will get a multifaceted individual with the following experience:
- Former prosecutors
- DNA analysis
- Forensic pathology
- Sexual assault examinations
- Injury and medical trauma
- Mental health
- Financial records
- Computer forensics
- Cell phone analysis
- Crime scene reconstruction
- Accident reconstruction
- Firearms and ballistics
- DUI laws & science
- Blood and Breath Testing
We not only have trial experience but are strong advocates with extensive backgrounds in criminal investigations. For this reason, we understand that each case is unique and work to meet each individual client’s needs. We’ve worked in almost every court in Arizona and have a thorough understanding of how the legal system works.
How to Choose a Criminal Defense Lawyer
When your life and future are on the line, having an experienced team in your corner can make a huge impact on your life. Depending on the circumstances, a criminal defense lawyer can help you and your family move on with your lives in peace. If you or a loved one need a criminal defense attorney, here are some things to keep in mind during your search:
- Needs – It’s important to assess your legal needs, no matter how small the charges may seem. Long & Simmons Law offers free initial consultations. By speaking with a criminal defense lawyer, they can determine the best course of action after assessing your case.
- Federal or State – Your case will determine whether you need a criminal defense lawyer with federal or state experience. Since laws vary and the court system can be complex, the best lawyer should have a good understanding of local state or federal laws that pertain to your case. This is especially important when dealing with drug-related offenses or sex crimes. Federal cases differ in that they relate to violations of federal laws. State cases typically deal with violations of local laws. The seasoned criminal defense attorneys at Long & Simmons handle cases at both the state and federal levels.
- Responsiveness – No matter which criminal defense lawyer you choose, they should be responsive to your needs and provide you with adequate information regarding your case. Building trusting relationships is a key part of what to look for in a criminal defense lawyer. The best way to build trust is through clear and open communication, and we take pride in making this a point of emphasis in our representation. At Long & Simmons, we are unique because our clients get our cell phone numbers. You will have direct access to your attorneys.
- Specialty – The attorneys at Long & Simmons Law are recognized by the State Bar of Arizona as Criminal Law Specialists and Death Penalty Certified that handle everything from DUIs to Homicide cases. You want a professional who focuses on solving your specific problem and winning your type of case.
- Experience – When it comes to criminal law, you want a criminal defense attorney who has significant experience handling cases like yours. The attorneys at Long & Simmons Law are former prosecutors who have an established reputation in the criminal law community. Our attorneys have worked on complex and nationally known cases and have the expertise necessary to obtain great results for clients.
- Sources – Simply asking friends and family, “Do you know a criminal lawyer near me?” can help start a word of mouth referral process that will help you gain traction on finding the criminal defense lawyer in the area. It also helps when you can obtain positive feedback from individuals who have worked with them before. Check reputable sources like the State Bar of Arizona to see if your attorney is a Criminal Law Specialist. A quick Google or Facebook search will reveal reviews from prior clients and business partners. This will give you a good idea of the kind of service you can expect.
- Knowledge – Asking simple questions about your case is a good starting point for how to find a criminal defense attorney. They should be able to quickly assess your case with the knowledge of basic criminal law. You should get a sense of their familiarity with the criminal justice system right away.
- Fees – How much does a criminal defense attorney cost? This is always one of the most challenging hurdles for hiring an attorney since they all have their own fee structures. In the case of a criminal defense lawyer, they should simply and clearly explain the fee structure upfront and provide an idea of what you can expect to pay. When they are finished, you should know your total costs and how they will bill you. The attorneys at Long & Simmons law will set up payment plans as we know that criminal charges often come unexpectedly.
- Gut – If you’re still wondering, “where is a criminal lawyer near me” after taking all these steps, it’s time to trust your gut instinct. You’ll have a pretty good idea of who would be the right fit for your criminal case. After following all of these steps, you will have assessed whether they have the desired qualities of courtroom confidence, applicable expertise, and the service mentality needed to take direction from you. Their enthusiasm for your case will determine whether they have enough interest in your case to conduct thorough investigations and fight for your best interests. They must be willing to dive headfirst into your case when providing guidance.
- Consultation – When you’ve decided on who you’d like to speak to, we recommend scheduling a consultation. Most attorneys provide a free consultation or assessment of your case. You’ll want to schedule a timely meeting depending on your case and when you are scheduled to appear in court. Having an attorney involved early allows for the foundation of a successful defense to be built.
Where is a Criminal Lawyer Near Me?
For Arizona criminal cases, you’ll want to know how to choose a dedicated criminal defense lawyer with a proven criminal case and trial experience with a track record of getting results for their clients. Wondering how much a criminal defense attorney costs shouldn’t hold you back from seeking legal counsel. We offer flexible and affordable payment options.
Our established firm is prepared to handle your criminal case with proven strategies, techniques, and a thorough understanding of the criminal justice system. We have distinguished ourselves as some of the most qualified and seasoned attorneys in Arizona. We have a State bar recognized criminal law specialist and an attorney authorized by the Supreme Court to lead death penalty cases on our team.
We are passionate criminal law professionals who take a personal and hands-on approach to achieve positive outcomes for our clients. Let us help you too.
Give us a call today for a free criminal case assessment to get started!
What Is the Difference Between Rape and Statutory Rape?
When it comes to criminal sexual activity, statutory rape is one of the most disturbing. As passionate and committed advocates, we understand the confusion and fear of being charged with statutory rape, or sexual conduct with a minor under Arizona law. The significant emotional, psychological, physical, and financial trauma should not be navigated alone. If you’ve been accused of statutory rape or sexual conduct with a minor, it’s essential to take these allegations seriously regardless of their merit.
What is Statutory Rape?
What is statutory rape, and what does it mean to be accused of it? Statutory rape is a common or layman’s term for sexual conduct with a minor who is under 18 but older than 15 years old. Sexual conduct with a minor refers to unlawful sexual contact with a minor that includes oral sexual contact, digital penetration, sexual intercourse, or masturbatory conduct with anyone under 18. In Arizona, “rape” is identified as sexual assault, and “statutory rape” is identified as sexual conduct with a minor. The significant difference between sexual conduct with a minor (statutory rape) and sexual assault (rape) is that consent has no bearing when it includes minors. The victim is not considered the legal age to consent to any sexual activity regardless of whether they were willing participants. There is also a significant difference in sexual conduct with a minor who is under 15 years old and sexual conduct with a minor over 15 years old. If the minor is under the age of 15, there is no defense even if a person believed the individual was over 18. If, however, the minor is over 15 years old, then it is a defense if a person believed the minor was over 18.
Sexual Assault (Rape) refers to non-consensual oral sexual contact, digital penetration, or sexual intercourse that is achieved by force, threats, incapacitation, or fraud. During prosecution, consent plays a vital role in the direction of these cases. It’s important to note that sexual conduct with a minor (statutory rape) and sexual assault (rape) are very different and separate crimes with specific evidentiary and sentencing rules associated with each. There are many actions considered unlawful sexual conduct with a minor that is related to statutory rape, including:
- Attempted sexual assault – This occurs when an individual attempts to engage in sexual conduct, including oral contact or any penetration with someone else without that person’s consent. When it includes minors, it is considered attempted statutory rape and still considered a grave crime. You do not need to engage in intercourse to be convicted. When steps are taken to engage in intercourse using force, threats, or coercion with a minor or an adult, it is referred to as attempted rape. An individual can be convicted of attempted rape when it can be proven that steps taken to engage in sexual conduct were taken when the person could not legally consent due to levels of intoxication.
- Amongst minors, oral sexual contact, digital penetration, sexual intercourse, or masturbatory conduct is still considered statutory rape between minors. Other determining factors of statutory rape include:
- Mental disability
- Physical incapacity
Even if sex is initiated by minors, mentally disabled, or physically incapable individuals, it is considered statutory rape under the law. There is only one exception to this rule called the Romeo and Juliet Law. This litigation refers to minors that engage in sexual intercourse and are less than two years apart in age. It only applies to minors that are 15, 16, and 17. If minors engage in consensual sexual intercourse at this age, they are protected under the Romeo and Juliet Law. This law also applies to individuals who are 18 but are still in high school and engage in consensual sex with partners within two years of the same age.
False Statutory Rape Accusations and Actions to Take
If you’ve been falsely accused of statutory rape, you must take the allegations very seriously and contact our office immediately. In the meantime, you must refuse to speak to anyone from law enforcement about the facts of the case. As attorneys, we can have those discussions with the police, but everything you say can and will be held against you if you disclose details. Other essential actions to take include:
- Define the nature of your relationship with the alleged victim to our law firm
- Define why you think you are falsely accused
- If you are guilty, it’s essential to disclose this information upfront so we can determine the best course of action for the best case results
Defenses Against Statutory Rape
When you’ve been falsely accused of statutory rape or any sexual conduct with a minor, it must be addressed critically and quickly with experienced professionals and experts accustomed to handling these kinds of cases. Our law firm has over 40 years of experience negotiating, analyzing, investigating, and trial litigation in sexual crime cases, including statutory rape Arizona crimes for adults and minors.
As former criminal prosecutors and current sex crimes educators, our sex crimes expertise and background set us apart from other attorneys. When you’ve been accused of sexual crimes regardless of age, we believe you deserve the same defense and respect. Here are possible defenses against statutory rape:
- The accuser told you they were 18
- The accuser told you they were in college
- The accuser presented physical evidence like a drivers license or student ID indicating an age of 18 or older
- Met accuser on a website that showed an age of 18 or older
- The website stated that all persons were 18 years or older
- No sexual intercourse took place
For a defense of no sexual intercourse to be effective, the credibility of the alleged victim and the accused will be front and center, along with all evidence presented. It is also essential to make a list of character witnesses that can attest to your honesty and trustworthiness and the construction of a social history that depicts the positive aspects of your background. This will be valuable in establishing your credibility and positive patterns of behavior.
Sexual Battery and Statutory Rape
Sexual crimes can often get lumped together and confused as being similar when they are not. For example, sexual battery is another crime that is often considered rape or statutory rape. However, it is regarded as a separate crime under the law regarding the activity required for a conviction.
To be convicted of a sexual battery charge, any contact with the accuser against their will motivated by sexual interest can be considered a felony or misdemeanor. No sexual intercourse is needed to be accused or convicted of sexual battery. When the alleged victim is a minor, it is considered the sexual battery of a minor. The punishment is different as well:
- Rape – A rape conviction will come with a felony conviction. It also carries a prison sentence with registration as a sex offender.
- Statutory rape – A statutory rape conviction is a felony with a prison sentence and registration as a sex offender.
- Sexual battery – A sexual battery conviction can be classified as a felony or misdemeanor with differing prison sentences and registration as a sex offender.
The Best Statutory Rape Arizona Attorneys
What is statutory rape considered in a court of law? In Arizona, all types of rape are considered felonies. If you or a loved one have been the victim of statutory rape or any unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, we recommend you contact our offices immediately.
As statutory rape Arizona law experts, we can provide the necessary information and tools you need as victim advocacy experts to ensure that you are treated with dignity, fairness, and respect. We also ensure that you can live your life free of harassment, intimidation, and abuse throughout the criminal justice process. As sexual crimes experts, we have experience with the following cases:
- Child molestation / unlawful sexual conduct with a minor
- Sexual assault
- Solicitation of prostitution
- Child pornography
- Sexual abuse
Suppose you, your child, or a loved one is accused of engaging in unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. In that case, you need an attorney with the skills and background on your side who understands how to hold the police accountable to rules of evidence and due process.
Contact us today for a free case assessment and reclaim your life today!
How to Fight DUI Charge for Prescription Drugs
Are you or a loved one facing charges of DUI drugs? Arizona has some of the firmest penalties for driving under the influence of prescription drugs in the United States. First offenses have mandatory jail time, hefty fines, driving suspensions, and more. For this reason and many others, you’ll want an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who understands how to fight a DUI charge for prescription drugs. With over 40 years of experience with many DUI cases, we can help you navigate the confusion of the legal system and put you at ease.
What is Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs?
Most people are familiar with a DUI related to alcohol consumption but may not be familiar with its applications for prescription medications and other drugs. An emerging area in DUI cases and enforcement relate to DUI drugs. Many drivers make honest mistakes and are arrested on DUI drugs charges while taking legal prescription drugs. Most people are unaware that driving under the influence of prescription drugs can be grounds for an arrest and conviction similar to illegal substances or alcohol. You’ll likely be subjected to a DUI drugs blood test during the process. Here are a few definitions to be aware of when discussing DUI drugs:
- Prescription-only – It refers to a drug that is prescription only. It must also be prescribed under the direct supervision of a doctor or other authorized medical professional. This excludes dangerous or uncontrolled substances like narcotics. The drugs that can result in a DUI drug charge include:
- OTC – Also known as over-the-counter drugs, these are easily accessible to the general public and can be found in your local grocery or convenience store. These drugs may not be considered prescription but can harm the mind, motor skills, and reaction times due to drowsiness or dizziness. Some OTC drugs to be aware of include:
- Nighttime cough medicine
How to Fight DUI Charge for Prescription Drugs
DUI arrests for alcohol are the most common cases because they are the easiest to prove in court as there is a universal level of impairment at a .08 or higher. In contrast, prescription controlled substance cases are challenging to prove because the drugs must be subjectively shown to cause impairment. Unlike alcohol, there are no easy benchmarks or measuring systems in place for driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Even DUI drug cases that involve operating a vehicle with marijuana can be defended because it is difficult to prove impairment if it is not outwardly visible.
A positive DUI drug blood test is not a guarantee for a conviction as there are no universal levels for impairment. For cases like this, the point is to present reasonable doubt through careful analysis of the arrest details. Here are a few defenses your attorney may use to fight a DUI charge for prescription drugs:
- Other causes -Our seasoned and skilled DUI drugs attorneys will effectively argue that a wide range of reasons could be responsible for perceived impairment, such as sickness, prior injuries, drowsiness, or any other natural or common issues.
- No probable cause – Our lawyers may prove that the police arrested you without probable cause or reasonable suspicion.
- Violation of constitutional rights – You have the right to speak with an attorney as the “evidence” is being metabolized in your body. A timely and affirmative request to speak with an attorney that isn’t granted could mean suppression of the blood results and/or dismissal of your case. We know how to present Right to Counsel issues and other constitutional violations to a judge and successfully do so at our firm.
- No Universal Level of Impairment – Drugs do not have the same effect on everyone. Individuals can build up a tolerance over time or, based on the composition of their body, the same amount of a particular drug has a variety of effects on different people. Understanding the nuances in presenting these defenses is important to communicate the lack of impairment based on historical and physiological issues to a jury.
How a Prescription Controlled Substance is Considered a DUI
As the world resumes its routine, there will be more drivers on the road in the coming months, and everyone needs to understand how using legal drugs while driving can result in a DUI charge. Although the most common DUI cases include alcohol, you don’t want to be caught driving under the influence of prescription drugs. You place yourself at risk when you choose to get behind the wheel after prescription medications or marijuana. Many people take these medications and resume normal daily functions because they have built up a tolerance over time and don’t feel impaired. The risk you run is that a blood result shows levels that a police department and prosecutors office subjectively feels are impairing and moves forward with a DUI prosecution.
Even when taken the night before, many prescription medications have side effects that can linger the next day during your regular morning commute to work. Any traffic violation where you are stopped gives the police grounds to stop you and ask questions. The police may question why you missed the red light, and if you answer by indicating that you have taken prescription medicine, they may have grounds to charge you with a DUI drug offense. You will also be subject to hefty fines and other penalties. You have the right to remain silent and should exercise that right and not offer information to police about medications you have consumed.
The Best Attorneys for DUI Drugs
Knowing how to fight DUI charges for prescription drugs should be left in the hands of a Criminal law and DUI specialist, but it’s essential to be empowered with the information should these circumstances arise. First-time offenders will not be spared in DUI drug charges and are subject to harsh consequences. We understand that losing driving privileges and the impact on your record can place your job in jeopardy. However, you don’t want to risk a guilty plea that can result in possible jail time by fighting these charges on your own.
We are committed and passionate about ensuring that you receive fair treatment throughout the litigation process. Regardless of whether you’re guilty or not, we fight for your constitutional rights of innocence until proven guilty. No two cases are the same, and we take a personalized approach to every client we meet. We work with a wide variety of DUI drugs cases, including:
- Aggravated DUI
- Extreme DUI
- DUI – impairment
- DUI – drugs
- Juvenile DUI
- Aggravated Assaults
- Manslaughter (DUI)
- OUI’s (boating under the influence)
You need the experience and advocacy of a skilled DUI attorney to fight these charges. Often, the consequences you face will be dramatically different than they would be if you chose to fight these charges on your own. We have the knowledge and expertise to protect you from these life-altering penalties and provide you with peace of mind. Our compassionate approach to keeping the lines of communication open has resulted in numerous successful cases and satisfied clients.
Contact us today for a detailed and thorough assessment of your case!