"I understand that good people sometimes find themselves in bad situations."

Criminal Defense Attorney FAQs

When facing Criminal charges such as aggravated assault, burglary or a white collar crime such as fraud, the entire process can be complicated and confusing. Depending on the offense, you could be facing either a misdemeanor or a felony.

For that purpose we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you better understand the process. Although you may not find your answer below, rest assured that Aaron is always available to help. If after reviewing the FAQ and you don’t find an answer to your question, contact Aaron Black for a free legal consultation or call (480) 729-1683.

Please note that our frequently asked questions are provided for your reference and should not take the place of professional legal advice.

Attorney vs Lawyer vs Prosecutor

Legal Terms

Types of Cases & Courts

Attorney vs Lawyer vs Prosecutor

What’s the difference between a Criminal Defense Attorney vs. a Criminal Lawyer?
In general a Criminal Lawyer practices criminal law. A Criminal Lawyer may be either a government prosecutor or a defense attorney.

In specific terms, a Criminal Defense Attorney exclusively defends those accused of a crime.
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What’s the difference between a Prosecutor and a Defense Lawyer?
A prosecutor is a lawyer who works for a state or government organization and is responsible for starting legal proceedings and then proving in court beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect committed the crime they are accused of.
On the other hand, a Defense Attorney, defends individual and companies who have been charged with criminal activities.

In each case that I defend, no matter what charges my Client is facing, the goal is always to get the state to dismiss their case long before the trial or to negotiate a plea agreement that benefits the person who made a mistake.
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What are the signs that you need a criminal defense lawyer?
If you are facing criminal charges with serious penalties including spending time in jail or prison, you need to retain a criminal defense lawyer to represent you in court.
Depending on the offense, you could be facing either a misdemeanor or a felony. A Class 1 misdemeanor is the most serious of misdemeanor offenses and is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and 3 years of probation.
Depending on the offense, felony convictions can result in 2 years in prison up to 25 to life.
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Legal Terms

What does dismissed by the Grand Jury mean?
The language of the law can be confusing. “Dismissed to the grand jury,” for example, doesn’t mean your case is dropped and you can go on your merry way.

The phrase means the prosecution is presenting its case in secret to a grand jury, which will decide if enough evidence exists to charge you with a crime, instead of using the preliminary hearing procedure.

A Grand Jury is a secret hearing where a group of people decide if there is probable cause to hold your case over for trial. Consisting of 16 grand jurors, a prosecutor, and the government's witness. The governments' witness is typically the Police.
  • Maricopa County Grand Jury - The Maricopa County Grand Jury hears serious felony cases originating in Phoenix and the rest of the county, such as drug offenses, assaults and other crimes against individuals.
  • Arizona Grand Jury - The Arizona Grand Jury has jurisdiction in Phoenix and across the state for white-collar crimes such as fraud and forgery.
  • Federal Grand Jury - The Federal Grand Jury in Phoenix hears federal offenses occurring across Arizona such as bank robbery, kidnapping, and crimes crossing state borders.

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What is an Initial Pretrial Conference (IPTC)?
The Initial Pretrial Conference or IPTC is usually when the prosecutor makes the first plea offer.

At the hearing, the judge will check on the status of negotiations, investigations, and witness interviews.
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What constitutes Conspiracy?
Under A.R.S. §13-1003(A) a person who has the intent to promote or help a conspiracy no matter how small the role is just as guilty as the conspiracy’s ring leader. That’s because the small roll the person played is an overt act to further the criminal goal of the conspiracy. Only one member of the conspiracy needs to make an overt act.

The law specifies that an overt act isn’t required if the goal of the conspiracy was a first-degree felony burglary or arson of an occupied structure.

A conspiracy, by legal definition in Arizona, requires two or more participants conducting a secret plan to do something outside the law. The goal of the criminal conspiracy doesn’t need to be attempted or accomplished for the state to achieve a conspiracy conviction.

If the conspiracy’s objective is to commit several offenses the conspirators can be found guilty of only one count of conspiracy but for the most serious criminal penalty sought.
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What does Supervening Indictment Filed mean?
A supervening indictment is issued after the initial appearance, which will be held shortly after your arrest. At that appearance, you will be scheduled for a preliminary hearing.

A supervening indictment lists all the charges you are facing and will require you to appear in court to be arraigned on a specified date. Failing to appear at the arraignment will result in a bench warrant for your arrest, and you’ll be remanded to custody.

In the meantime, the prosecution may bypass the preliminary hearing stage by taking its evidence to a grand jury, which is the state’s prerogative to keep the investigation confidential. In that case, the previously scheduled preliminary hearing will be vacated.

If you’ve been served with a supervening indictment you are on your way to a trial based on the circumstances of your particular case on one or more serious felonies equipped with years of incarceration.
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How can I bond out of jail?
Bonding out of jail can occur a few different ways. If a judge orders a $1000 secured bond you could either
  • Post the $1000 yourself or
  • Hire a bond company
If you hire a bond company they will charge you 10% ($100) to post your bond. However, they will also require $1000 worth of collateral. For example, the title to your car.

If the bond is a cash bond ($1000 Cash) then the entire bond must be posted in cash.

For Bond Assistance or Questions contact Sanctuary Bail Bonds.
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If I fail to appear on my court date will a warrant for my arrest be issued?
Yes, if you failed to appear for court then a warrant was issued for your arrest.
In addition to the warrant, a notice was sent to the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) and your license will remain suspended until you appear in court and quash the warrant. 
If there is a bench warrant issued in your case a motion to quash the warrant must be filed.

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What’s a bench warrant?
A violation of the court, missing an appearance in Arizona’s criminal courts is a crime and a judge right then and there can issue an arrest warrant from the bench, the judge’s seat, which is how bench warrant gets its name.
The bench warrant is listed in the court system and remains there until you surrender or are arrested. A warrant arrest can occur at home, work, social gatherings, or during minor traffic violations which can be quite embarrassing.
When you’re arrested on a bench warrant you’ll usually be taken into court or held in jail until the judge issuing the warrant is available to hold a hearing in your case.
Some Arizona courts have a warrant review date to consider recalling the warrant and the prosecution can ask that the warrant be reaffirmed.
Typically, a bench warrant in Arizona doesn’t expire over time.

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What constitutes negligent homicide?
Most criminally negligent acts stem from alcohol or drug-related fatal crashes on Arizona’s roads, but it also can result from street racing or driving at an excessive speed.
Beyond the roadways, other actions or failures to act can lead to this crime, such as failing to install adequate safeguards to keep neighborhood children from getting into the pool and drowning.

ARS 13-105 Arizona law, §13-105(D), defines criminal negligence as committing an offense by failing to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk and the result of that risk also, that the risk must be a gross deviation from the standard of care toward someone else that a “reasonable” person would observe in the specific situation.

ARS 13-1102 Codified in Arizona Revised Statute §13-1102, negligent homicide is defined as someone causing death by acting with “criminal negligence,” which spans a vast spectrum of behaviors. A negligent homicide case hinges on the legal definition of criminal negligence.

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Types of Cases & Courts

What kind of criminal cases do you defend?
A staunch advocate for defending individuals accused of a DUI in Phoenix, AZ, and surrounding communities, I also represent those charged with a wide range of criminal offenses.

From sexual assault to white-collar crimes, you will never get fed a line of bull from me, just straightforward truth depending on the circumstances of your case, possible defenses, and potential outcomes. Criminal Defense cases I defend include the following.
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What courts do you practice in?
The Law Office of Aaron Black is conveniently located in Phoenix, AZ. Representing clients in all Arizona federal, state, county and city courts, I serve clients in the following cities.
  • Apache Junction
  • Avondale
  • Chandler
  • Gilbert
  • Glendale
  • Goodyear
  • Mesa
  • Peoria
  • Phoenix
  • Scottsdale
  • Surprise
  • Tempe, Arizona

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I’ve been falsely accused of a sex crime, will you represent me?
Absolutely! In addition to the severe penalties upon conviction, a sexual offense conviction comes with a life-long stigma.
To start building a defense, we will need to get you evaluated by a therapist right away.
Often times, these cases are based purely on “he said she said.”

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Available by phone, text and/or email

In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to inform clients and potential clients I am still available for consultations. I am always available by phone, text and/or email. We can also use Facetime for social distancing. The criminal justice system is not stopping due to COVID-19.

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Google Screened Attorney - Criminal Defense Lawyer
We've just been vetted by Google screening. This process provides peace of mind to consumers that the attorney they are choosing passes both business and personal background checks, has malpractice insurance, and has a current license to practice law in the state.

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Attorney Aaron Black was a gift!! He did the research, presented the evidence and I did NOT go to prison or jail. I am eternally grateful.

- Dr. Soki D.

He fought for me and treated me with great respect.

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