Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested or accused of a crime, you are likely experiencing significant anxiety and fear. Police officers and prosecutors can use your confusion and inexperience with the law to steer you into situations that work against your interests. Any statement you provide to the police can be manipulated and then used against you while in court. It is important that you exercise your rights and remain silent until you can speak with an attorney. A defense attorney will ensure your rights are upheld and you are not taken advantage of throughout the legal process.

If you are facing a criminal charge, it is crucial that you seek out skilled legal counsel. At Ryan Garvey Attorneys, we have been helping clients defend themselves against criminal charges throughout Arizona since 1997. Together, our team of attorneys has half a century of combined experience that is used to ensure our clients reach better outcomes in their cases. Known for being professional and knowledgeable, we will work tirelessly to create a unique and tailored defense strategy. When your future is on the line, you need a dependable lawyer who will treat your situation with compassion and competence.

Arizona Criminal Law

The system of legal rules that outline what conduct is considered a crime, as well as how state and federal governments prosecute those who commit these crimes, is known as criminal law. Navigating criminal law can be difficult, but it begins with understanding words that you may hear frequently as you work through this complex process:

  • The person accused of the crime(s)
  • The team that tries a criminal case on behalf of the state or federal government
  • Due process. The constitutional promise that a defendant will receive an impartial and fair trial
  • The term for when a jury has found the defendant not guilty or a judge has determined the evidence is not sufficient to support a conviction
  • Evidence that can be used during trial and considered by a judge or jury in a criminal case
  • Exclusionary rule. Doctrine that protects defendants from having evidence obtained in a way that violated their constitutional or statutory rights used against them
  • The court proceeding where the defendant is brought to the court, informed of the charges, and asked to state their plea
  • Case law. The legal precedent that has been set during previous court decisions

Though these terms will help, a full comprehension of how your case will proceed through the legal system requires an attorney who can effectively communicate in terms that you will understand.

Criminal Offenses

Violating any state or federal law constitutes a criminal offense. Criminal offenses can range in severity from petty minor offenses to serious federal crimes. Generally, the most common criminal offenses for which you’ll need a criminal defense attorney are:

  • Driving under the influence. Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs is illegal and carries heavy penalties. As criminal defense lawyers, the team at Ryan Garvey Attorneys will work to discover whether the arresting officer had proper jurisdiction to stop you. If you were pulled over without cause, we can work to have your charges reduced.
  • Drug possession. Possessing any illegal drug or controlled substance constitutes a crime. Penalties will vary depending on the specific substance and the quantity possessed. Working tightly with our clients, we will work to develop a defense strategy that can reduce or remove criminal charges against those accused.
  • Assault and other violent crimes. Assault involves any act that intentionally causes harm or threatens harm against another. Even confrontations can constitute assault against someone. We defend those accused of violent crimes, even those accused of domestic abuse.
  • Sexual crimes. Some forms of assault are sexual in nature and carry their own penalties. Sexual assault, like other forms of assault, can include verbal sexual advances. Our team can defend cases in which the defendant is accused of forcing unwanted sexual acts, whether verbal or physical, onto another.
  • Property crimes. Theft, burglary, property damage, trespassing, and other related crimes are considered property crimes as they involve illegal possession or destruction of another person’s property. Our attorneys can work to reduce fines and avoid imprisonment for those accused of property crimes.
  • White collar crimes. Non-violent crimes committed with the intent of financial gain are known as “white collar” crimes. Bank fraud, insider trading, copyright infringement, and tax fraud are white collar crimes that constitute federal offenses. Ryan Garvey Attorneys understands the complexities of white collar crimes and can establish a strong defense to help clients avoid imprisonment and reduce fines.

Types of Violations and Their Penalties in Arizona

Local, state, and federal penal codes dictate the specific crimes that are prohibited and the respective punishments in the event of a conviction. There are several potential penalties- including probation, fines, and incarceration — with the severity of the crime dictating the severity of the penalties. There are two broad categories of criminal acts.


Misdemeanor charges are generally less severe than felony charges, but the penalties can still be life-altering. There are three classes of misdemeanors:

  • Class 3 misdemeanor. Penalties for this type of misdemeanor include fines of up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail. This class of misdemeanors is the least severe. Examples of crimes that would be charged as a class 3 misdemeanor are criminal speeding, criminal trespass in the third degree, and assaultive touching.
  • Class 2 misdemeanor. The penalties for this class of misdemeanors are up to $750 in fines and up to four months in jail. Examples of crimes that could be charged as a class 2 misdemeanor include reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, and failing to give your legal name when detained by law enforcement.
  • Class 1 misdemeanor. The most severe level of misdemeanor is class 1. The penalties for this type of misdemeanor are up to $2,500 in fines and up to six months in jail. Examples of crimes that could be charged as a class 1 misdemeanor include DUI, driving on a suspended license, shoplifting, and disorderly conduct.

Generally, first-time misdemeanors will carry less penalties than subsequent misdemeanor charges. Depending on the crime committed and the circumstances of your case, you may be able to participate in a diversion program or qualify for other court requirements that can lessen the penalties you face. The prosecution may also offer you a plea bargain, where you will generally have the option to plead guilty for a lower level of crime.


Felony charges are applied to crimes more serious than misdemeanors. In contrast to misdemeanors, felonies often involve prison time. Felony prison sentencing includes:

  • A presumptive prison sentence is the typical prison sentence for the level of felony and is used to ensure fair and just incarceration periods. This is generally the length of time judges use as a basis during sentencing.
  • A mitigated prison sentence can be given if there are mitigating circumstances that would lower the prison sentence given. Examples include the age of the defendant, if they only played a minor role in the crime, or if they were under substantial duress.
  • An aggravated prison sentence is the longest incarceration period for the felony class. There must be at least two aggravating factors present for an aggravated sentence to apply. Examples include the victim dying as a result of the defendant’s conduct, if the defendant was lying in wait for the victim, or if a deadly weapon was used.

There are six classes of felony charges, ranging from six to one in order of severity:

  • Class 6 felony. This is the least severe felony type. Some class 6 felony crimes can potentially be lowered in severity to a misdemeanor, called wobblers. If the charges are not reduced, however, penalties can reach six to 18 months in prison, with a one-year presumptive sentence. Examples of crimes in this category include witness tampering, firearm theft, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
  • Class 5 felony. The penalty for this level of crime is between nine months and two years in prison, with a 1.5-year presumptive sentence. Examples of class 5 felonies are credit card theft, aggravated domestic violence, and animal cruelty.
  • Class 4 felony. The penalty for class 4 felonies is between 18 months and three years in prison, with a 2.5-year presumptive sentence. Examples of this type of felony include forgery, misconduct involving weapons, and robbery.
  • Class 3 felony. The penalty for this level of crime is between two and a half and seven years in prison, with a 3.5-year presumptive sentence. Examples of class 3 felonies are burglary, auto theft, and assault with a deadly weapon.
  • Class 2 felony. The penalty for class 2 felonies is between four and 10 years in prison, with a five-year presumptive sentence. Examples of this type of felony include forgery, misconduct involving weapons, and robbery.
  • Class 1 felony. The most severe type of felony, class 1 felonies are punishable with between 10 years and life in prison. There are only two class 1 felonies in Arizona: first- and second-degree murder. There is a potential to be given a death sentence if you are convicted of first-degree murder.

There are also sentence enhancers that can increase the penalties if you are convicted of a felony. If you have any prior felony convictions, the alleged crime was a dangerous offense, or it was committed against a child, the number of years in prison you face might increase. The judge also has the right to order that you pay a fine of up to $150,000.

The Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney

The legal system is far too complex and involved for anyone without the proper experience to navigate. This is why legal professionals exist – to help guide clients through proceedings with comprehensive knowledge of complicated legal procedures and laws. Every individual case is unique and requires careful attention to detail. It is a criminal defense attorney’s job to provide a thorough defense of those accused of committing a crime. To accomplish this, they will:

  • Evaluate and analyze evidence. Your attorney can collect evidence, analyze it, evaluate its relevance, and present it to the prosecution and the court to aid in your defense. Additionally, any evidence used against you by the prosecution can be cross-examined for its legitimacy and legality.
  • Interview witnesses. Eyewitnesses play a crucial role in criminal cases, as they often provide the most authoritative account of the events. Witnesses from various related industries, such as medical professionals, can also be brought before the case to testify on issues related to the case. Their testimony can be used as evidence in your defense.
  • Negotiate pleas and deals. Depending on the details of your case, the most favorable outcome may involve negotiating a plea bargain with the state. Your attorney can work each angle to lessen your charges and penalties wherever possible.
  • Represent clients in court. Not all cases go to court, but for those that do, your attorney can represent you before both the prosecution and the judge. Criminal defense attorneys understand the system and know what to say and what not to say to protect your innocence and strengthen your defense.

Criminal defense attorneys play an essential role in ensuring your freedoms and protecting your rights. However, not all lawyers are equal in their skill or experience level. If you’ve been accused of committing a crime, it is vital that you choose a Phoenix criminal defense attorney who will work diligently and competently to fight your case.

Fighting Criminal Charges in Phoenix, AZ

Every moment is essential if you are charged with a crime in the Phoenix area. The police and prosecutors will begin work immediately gathering the evidence they believe will ensure a conviction. The burden to prove your guilt does rest on the prosecution, but their immense power and resources can make it feel like the legal system is against you. A skilled Phoenix criminal defense attorney can even out this imbalance and ensure your rights are protected throughout this complex process. When searching for an attorney to work with, there are a few important things to consider:

  • There are hundreds of different laws that can be broken in Arizona and potentially multiple ways for the same crime to be charged, meaning a lawyer with prior exposure to a case similar to yours can be invaluable. They will already have a working knowledge of the applicable statutes and be steps ahead in creating an effective defense.
  • Success rate. Exposure to similar cases is important, but it is also important to consider the outcome of those cases. You want an attorney who was able to achieve favorable results — such as having the charges dismissed or reduced before trial or reaching a finding of not guilty during a trial — for others who have been charged with a similar crime. A strong success rate can also mean a well-respected reputation in the legal community, setting you up for success that you may not find with an inexperienced attorney.
  • Skill and talent are useful traits for lawyers, but communication skills that mesh with your own are also vital. An attorney must be able to keep you informed throughout your case with updates and prompt replies that you understand. They must also be able to listen to your concerns and calm your fears by effectively communicating to you the realities of your case and the potential outcomes to expect.

Criminal Cases That We Handle in Phoenix, AZ

Our managing partner, Ryan Michael Garvey, is a former prosecutor. This means that he knows how the other side works and can anticipate its next move. This knowledge is crucial when it comes to your freedom. Our team works together to examine all areas of a case, talk with necessary experts and defend your rights. We have experience in the following practice areas:

If convicted, the ramifications you are facing could be severe. From hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines to life behind bars, these consequences are not something to take lightly. At Ryan Garvey Attorneys, we do not take our responsibility lightly. We offer straightforward, honest legal advice. We value your rights and will do everything we can to protect them.


Q: How Much Does a Criminal Lawyer Cost in Arizona?

A: The cost for a criminal lawyer in Arizona will vary depending on the experience of the attorney and the complexity of your case. On average, criminal lawyers will charge between $100 – $300 per hour. Minor assault cases can generally run between $2,000 – $4,000, while the fees for more severe cases, like domestic violence, will increase sharply. Contact a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer for a consultation to discuss the details of your case.

Q: How Long Does the DA Have to File Charges in Arizona?

A: In Arizona, the District Attorney has one year to file charges for a misdemeanor offense, while state prosecutors have seven years to file felony charges against a criminal offender. For petty offenses, the statute of limitation is only six months. If you’ve been arrested, the reviewing attorney has only 48 hours to decide whether to prosecute, or you will be released from custody. Future charges can still be made against you, however.

Q: What Is One Reason Prosecutors May Decide to Dismiss Cases?

A: Prosecutors may decide to dismiss a case if:

  • The state does not believe they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime.
  • It is discovered that no crime was actually committed.
  • The appropriate charge represents a misdemeanor and must be sent to the appropriate city for review jurisdiction.

A dismissed case does not preclude charges from being filed against the defendant later as long as it is within the statute of limitations.

Q: How Much Does a Traffic Lawyer Cost in Arizona?

A: A traffic lawyer in Arizona can charge between $1,000 – $2,000 if court representation is required; however, if all you need is a quick consultation, that can be had for around $100. Depending on the traffic violation, failure to successfully defend your case in court could cost you quite a bit in traffic violation fines, in addition to hundreds of dollars in increased insurance premiums per year for several years.

Contact Our Phoenix, AZ Criminal Defense Lawyers Today

Ryan Garvey Attorneys is deeply connected to the humanity of our clients and will not stand for anything less than your full constitutional rights being upheld. We offer compassionate, yet aggressive, service for this reason. During a complex criminal case, this attitude and dedication can make all the difference. Don’t wait any longer to find out more about how we can help. To schedule your free consultation, call our office in Phoenix at 855-809-6525 or fill out our contact form online today. We offer convenient, flexible payment plans.

Criminal Offenses


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