Have you been charged with a felony-level DUI offense in Graham County, Arizona? Are you wondering what your legal rights are, and how to defend yourself against the charge?
Having an idea of what to expect in the coming days and weeks can help you to decide on what you need to do next. Here is an outline of how your DUI case might proceed in Graham County Superior Court.
The Graham County Superior Court is located at the following address:
800 W Main Street, Safford, AZ 85546
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Graham County Superior Court is a court of general jurisdiction, meaning it hears hears all types of cases including criminal juvenile matters, family law, and felony criminal charges (including felony-level DUIs).
If you were arrested for DUI and ordered to appear before the Superior Court in Graham County, then we suggest you first call the Rosenstein Law Group to arrange a free consultation. Our experienced DUI attorneys will speak with you directly and confidentially regarding your case and your defense options. Contact our firm online or by calling (480) 248-7666.
The general structure and process of a felony DUI charge heard in Graham County Superior Court is as follows:
Your initial appearance is one of the first hearings that happens in a criminal proceeding. This hearing takes place within 24 hours after you have been taken into custody. During the initial appearance stage, the judge must advise you of your right to counsel and your right to remain silent.
Although most defendants do not have an attorney at this stage, it is a promising idea to have one present with you. This is because the release conditions and how much the bond is going to be set will be determined at this stage.
Depending on the severity of your case, the bail bond process may be decided with or without having you stand before a judge. In a felony DUI case, you will more likely need to stand before a judge for your bail bond than you would for a misdemeanor-level charge.
This process ensures your constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. It allows you to stay out of jail until you are proven guilty after a trial. It is also in place to ensure that you will appear in court for your hearing.
The status conference is where your attorney will meet with the judge presiding over the case and with the prosecutor. Your attorney also may be able to obtain the police report in your case and discuss possible plea deals or dismissal of the case against you.
This is the stage where the prosecution side must show that probable cause exists to believe that you committed the DUI. If the prosecutor cannot establish probable cause, then the case will be dismissed.
Scratching or temporarily dismissing the case against you at this point does not mean that the case has been dismissed entirely. There are many instances where the county prosecutor will seek a temporary dismissal when the prosecution needs more time to prepare its case. Then it will re-file the same case a few months after the scratch.
A prefile investigation would take police when the police suspect that you have committed a crime. The police will act towards either proving or dispelling this suspicion.
In Arizona, a grand jury is made up of 9 to 15 people. A grand jury reviews potential criminal charges that the prosecution would like to file. The grand jury weighs the prosecution’s evidence against a probable cause standard. A grand jury can become involved in your DUI case if, for example, the prosecution is considering adding additional criminal charges against you.
The judge will confirm that you know what action the grand jury has taken with respect to your case. This is also where the judge will confirm that you have legal representation. The judge will then set your trial date on the Superior Court’s docket.
If the case against you does not settle out of court beforehand, your trial will be where you have an opportunity to confront the evidence and witnesses against you and to present your defense against the DUI charges. After the prosecution and you have presented your arguments before the jury and the judge, the jury will decide whether you are innocent or guilty of the DUI charge and of any other charges you may be faced with in the same case.
If the jury finds you guilty of DUI, then this is the point when the judge imposes any penalties against you. This stage is preceded by the pre-sentencing hearing, during which the judge would hear evidence about potential sentences.
The punishments you could receive for a felony DUI conviction in Graham County depend in part on the level of the felony. Arizona DUI Law has two felony levels for DUI: Class 4, and Class 6. Both are aggravated felonies, meaning that in addition to the Felony-level DUI you were accused of doing something more that made the offense worse than ordinary. Aggravated felonies carry additional penalties.
Class 4 Felony DUI Charges:
The types of aggravated DUI charges that fall under Class 4 are:
A Class 4 felony carries the following possible minimum penalties:
This type of Aggravated DUI charge is reserved for a DUI with a child under 15 years old in the car.
A Class 6 felony would result in the following possible minimum penalties:
If the DUI also resulted in an accident, you can be charged with the following:
Given how serious a felony DUI charge is, and its possible immediate penalties and long-term consequences, it is important that if you have been charged with a DUI you retain a DUI defense attorney as soon as you can. Defending a felony DUI trial in Graham County Superior Court is a high-stakes environment that you do not want to enter without having a lawyer with you.
Our experienced DUI attorneys know how to build the best defense for our clients, starting with knowing how to negotiate with Graham County prosecutors. Often, we can reduce the charges brought against you or, if you are convicted, we can negotiate down the penalties you may face.
If you find yourself facing a felony DUI charge, please give us a call at (480) 248-7666 to schedule a free consultation.
Remember: time is not your ally in a DUI defense. You will be subject to legal deadlines that will start coming quickly, let us make sure you do not miss any of them or in other ways lose out on your legal rights.
Call us. Today.