Frequently Asked Questions

Q: After a person is arrested, what happens?

A: The procedure after an arrest generally involves bringing you to jail in handcuffs, taking your photograph and fingerprints, and asking some questions to confirm your identity. After you are booked, the next step is your arraignment, where you will be asked to enter a plea to the charge(s) against you, and bail will be set. You are entitled to be represented by an attorney at your arraignment.

Q:  When is it time to contact a criminal lawyer?

A:  The answer is that you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible in any pending or threatened criminal case.  If you have been charged with a crime, you need a lawyer immediately.  Even if you are simply being investigated by law enforcement, a lawyer can make a huge difference in the direction the case takes.  Hiring a criminal attorney as early as possible in the process will provide you with the best opportunity to minimize or avoid entirely the potential consequences.

Q: Do I need a lawyer even if I know I am innocent?

A: Although you are not legally required to have an attorney, trying to navigate the criminal justice system on your own is a mistake. Many innocent people are arrested for crimes they did not commit. Sadly, some of those people are convicted. Having an experienced Phoenix criminal attorney by your side is your best insurance against a wrongful conviction.

Q:  Do I need a lawyer if I am charged with a traffic offense?

A:  Even in the case of traffic offenses, there may be serious consequences if you are convicted.  Some traffic offenses may be minor, for example, failing to yield, running a red light, etc.  But vehicular crimes can also include more serious misdemeanors, such as exhibition of speed (drag racing), reckless driving, aggressive driving, hit-and-run, and others.  These may lead to jail time, significant fines, license revocation, and other consequences.  Moreover, in some cases a second or subsequent conviction could lead to mandatory jail time, and even cause the charge to become a felony.  Contact Feldman & Royle to find out what the potential penalties could be in your traffic case.

Q:  Do I need a lawyer if my only crime was shoplifting?

A:  Shoplifting is a class 1 misdemeanor, and the offense, therefore, carries the possibility of jail time.  There are also numerous additional factors, such as the value of the goods in question, removal of a theft detection device, and potential burglary charges, which could increase the charges and the potential penalties you are facing.  The attorneys at Feldman & Royle can explain the charges against you, as well as the consequences you may face in the event you are convicted.  We will also provide you with the best chance of a dismissal or reduction in the charges against you.

Q:  What are the penalties for a first time DUI in Arizona?

A:  If you are convicted of a first time DUI in Arizona, absent any aggravating factors, you will be sentenced to jail (minimum ten days, all but one of which may be suspended by the judge), and fines, assessments and surcharge totaling thousands of dollars.  Your driver’s license will be suspended, usually for 90 days, and community restitution may be required.  The level of the offense, and the associated penalties, can increase based upon a number of factors, including refusal to submit to a Blood or Breathalyzer test, a high blood alcohol content, DUI causing injury (or death), DUI with a minor passenger, and others.

Q:  What is aggravated DUI?

A:  Aggravated driving under the influence is a felony.  This offense can be based upon several different factors, including (a) being convicted of DUI while your driver’s license is suspended; (b) a conviction for your third or subsequent DUI within the “lookback” period (84 months); (c) DUI while a minor passenger under the age of 15 is in your vehicle; or (d) being convicted of DUI while an order is in place requiring you to equip your vehicle with an ignition interlock device.

Q:  If I get convicted on a drug charge, will I have to go to jail?

A:  Not all drug crimes are the same, and the penalties vary widely depending upon the amount of drug, the conduct you are accused of (possession, sale, etc.), the particular drug involved, and other issues.  The fact that you are convicted of a drug offense does not necessarily mean that you will be incarcerated.  You may, for example, be eligible for alternative sentencing or probation.

Q:  How is marijuana possession classified in Arizona?

A:  Although Arizona has a medical marijuana law, illegal possession of pot is still a crime, and possessing even a small amount can lead to a felony charge.  The good news is that depending upon the facts in your case, and your prior criminal history, you may still be eligible for probation or alternative sentencing.  We can advise you what the potential consequences are, and how to formulate the best defense strategy in your case.

Q:  Can you be charged with domestic violence even though you no longer have a relationship with the other party?

A:  Yes.  The relationships that will support a charge of domestic violence include present and former spouses, people who have children in common, those with a current or former romantic or sexual relationship, and others.  The offenses that fall within the definition of domestic violence include not only assault, but also harassment, crimes against children, and a host of other charges.

Q:  What is a “wiretap”?

A:  A wiretap is a method of intercepting, and in some cases recording, telephonic communications.  The issue of the legality of a wiretap arises in two distinct contexts.  First, the illegal interception of a telephone communication is a felony in Arizona.  But the law is a “one-party consent” law, meaning that if one party to a conversation, or one party present during a conversation, consents to the interception, there is no criminal offense.  Similarly, the law exempts law enforcement investigations from the criminal statute.  Second, if you are charged with a crime, and the case against you includes evidence obtained as the result of a wiretap by law enforcement, the use of that evidenced can be challenged in court.  The challenge could involve any one of many issues, including, among others, that a wiretap was requested before law enforcement properly exhausted alternative investigation avenues (exhaustion requirement), a wiretap that was initiated without a warrant (warrant requirement), one that exceeded the scope of the interception permitted under a warrant, or a wiretap that has expired.   If the wiretap is successfully challenged, it could provide a bar to the introduction of some or all the evidence against you.


Q: What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

A: An ignition interlock device, or IID (sometimes referred to as a breath alcohol IID), is installed on a motor vehicle dashboard. It is just a bit larger than a cell phone, and it is wired into the vehicle’s ignition. In order to start the engine, you are required to exhale into a tube connected to the device. If your breath (based upon exhaling into the IID) registers a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in excess of the programmed amount, the device will prevent you from successfully starting the vehicle. The IID will also sound alerts periodically while the engine is on that will require additional breath samples. If you do not again breathe into the tube, or if the machine registers a BAC in excess of that programmed into the device, a warning will be given, after which an alarm of one sort or another will go off (horn blaring, lights flashing, etc.) until a clean sample is provided, or until you turn off the engine. Interested in more information on Ignition Interlock Devices? Click here.


Q: What is a field sobriety test? 

A: A Field Sobriety Test, also known as an FST, can be anything from standing on one foot to reciting something (the alphabet, for example), to staring into a light. A request that you perform any act that purports to test whether or not you are sober or intoxicated falls within the general heading. But not all field sobriety tests are created equal. More information on FST’s.