Arizona DUI & Criminal Defense Attorney          (480) 413-1499

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Tempe Court
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Upon Receiving Your Tempe DUI Criminal Complaint
The Tempe DUI criminal complaint you received includes a Court date and time for you to appear at your Tempe DUI Arraignment. You must decide how you want to plea to the violation(s) you have been cited for by the time of your Court date. Remember, the Tempe DUI police usually gives multiple citations on your complaint. If you plea guilty at the first Tempe DUI court date, you will have multiple Tempe DUI criminal convictions on your record. Therefore be careful what you do because your decision at this early court could affect your job, your finances, and your freedom. For a FREE consultation with a Tempe attorney, call James Novak today at 480-413-1499.   

I. The Tempe DUI Arraignment
Under Arizona law including your Tempe DUI, you can be brought to trial only after a formal citation or complaint has been filed. The citation or complaint is a document that states the charge(s) against you and alleges that your actions were unlawful. If you were given a citation/complaint by a Tempe police officer, the arraignment date will be the appearance date on your citation/complaint. If you received a summons from the Tempe Court, your arraignment date will be the court date indicated on your summons. If you are released from jail your release order will have your Court date on it.

Before the Court can consider your case, you must enter a plea. There are three possible pleas to a criminal charge:
Your decision on what plea to enter is one of the most important decisions you will make. It is strongly suggested that you call James Novak, a Tempe DUI attorney for a FREE consultation on your options before entering your plea.
At the Tempe DUI court arraignment no witnesses are present including the Tempe DUI police officer that arrested you.  Also, and no testimony will be taken. The Tempe judge at arraignment will not grant a defendant's request to dismiss any charges. Instead, you must decide upon and enter a plea to the charge against you.

DUI Plea of Not Guilty
A plea of "Not Guilty" means that you are informing the Tempe Court that you deny guilt and the State (Tempe Prosecutor's Office) must prove the criminal charge(s) against you. Under our American system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. On a plea of "Not Guilty," a pre-trial conference will be scheduled, followed by a trial setting. At trial, the State will be required to present evidence to prove all charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt.

DUI Plea of Guilty
By a plea of "Guilty" for your Tempe DUI, you admit that you committed the act charged in the complaint(s), that the act is prohibited by law, and that you have no legal defense for your act.
If you were involved in an incident where someone was injured at the time of the alleged offense, your plea of "Guilty" could be used later in a civil suit for damages as an admission by you that you were at fault or were the party responsible for the injury.

Plea of No Contest
A plea of "No Contest", also known as "Nolo Contendere," simply means that you do not wish to contest the State's charge against you. Upon a plea of "No Contest", the Judge will enter a judgment of guilty.
If you enter a plea of "Guilty" or "No Contest", you may be sentenced immediately following the Judge's acceptance of your plea.

II. The Tempe DUI Pre-trial Conference
You and your attorney will be given an opportunity to meet with the Tempe Prosecutor to review the facts supporting the State's criminal charges against you. If you have not already been provided with a settlement offer by the Prosecutor's Office at arraignment, you may be provided with one at the pre- trial conference (PTC). You are not required to discuss the facts of your case with the Prosecutor, since anything you say to them could be used against you in further proceedings.
You have three options at PTC.

1.    You have the option of accepting the Prosecutor's settlement offer, which routinely contains the sentence you will receive (upon acceptance by the Judge).

2.    You can reject the Prosecutor's offer and change your plea of "Not Guilty" to "Guilty" or "No Contest" directly to the Judge without agreeing on a sentence with the Prosecutor. Following the acceptance of your plea, you will be sentenced by the Judge.

3.    You can maintain your plea of "Not Guilty" and have the case set to trial.

What you do may have unknown consequences in your future. This includes your job, housing, military an more. Do Not go into this very important matter lightly.
FREE Consultation With an Experienced DUI Attorney
CALL NOW (480) 413-1499

III. The Tempe DUI Trial
•    Depending on the alleged offense, you will be entitled to a jury trial or non- jury trial.
•    You are entitled to hear all testimony introduced against you.
•    You have a right to cross-examine any witness who testifies against you. You have a right to testify on your own behalf. You also have a Constitutional right not to testify. If you choose not to testify, your refusal cannot and will not be used against you in determining your guilt or innocence. However, if you do choose to testify, the Prosecutor will have the right to cross-examine you.
•    You may call witnesses to testify on your behalf.
•    You have the right to have the Court issue subpoenas for witnesses to ensure their appearance at trial. Requests for subpoenas to be issued should be made well in advance of your trial so that you have time to have the subpoenas properly served.

IV. Presenting the DUI Defense case
If you are represented by an attorney, you will be advised regarding the presentation of your case. If not, you need to be aware of the following:
The State will present its case first by calling witnesses to testify against you.
After each prosecution witness has finished giving testimony, you will have the right to cross-examine the witness. Your examination must be in the form of questions about their testimony. Do not argue with the witness. Do not attempt to tell your side of the story at this time. You will have an opportunity to tell your version of the facts later in the trial.
After the prosecution has presented its case, you may present your case. You have the right to call witnesses of your choosing.
It is at this point that you may testify on your own behalf if you desire.
Following the defense case, the State may, if it wishes, then present rebuttal evidence.
At the end of the trial, you will have an opportunity to summarize your case to the jury, or, in a non-jury case, to the Judge. At that time, you may present any arguments which are based on the evidence presented during the trial in order to show your innocence.
The State is required to prove the charge(s) against you beyond a reasonable doubt.
The judgment or verdict will be based on the facts and evidence presented during the trial. Only the evidence admitted by the Court and the testimony of witnesses who are under oath can be considered.
If you are found not guilty, the case ends. If you are found guilty, you will be sentenced. The sentencing can take place at the time you are found guilty, or on a later date.

V. Sentencing
The amount of any jail sentence, fine, fee, restitution, or probation assessed by the Court is affected by the facts and circumstances of the case and your prior criminal record. Mitigating circumstances may lower the amount of jail, fine, or probation. However, aggravating circumstances may increase the amount of jail, fine, or probation.

Additionally, an Arizona DUI has mandatory minimum sentence that must be imposed. This includes jail, fines, counseling, drivers’ license suspension, etc. ,   
For some offenses, there are statutory minimum sentences which the Judge must impose, such as a DUI. In no instance will sentences exceed the maximum levels of $2,500 fine plus surcharges and/or 6 months in jail and/or 5 years probation.

Law Office of James E. Novak
Former Prosecutor
FREE Consultation With an Experienced DUI Attorney
CALL NOW (480) 413-1499

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