YAVAPAI COUNTY PUBLIC DEFENDER 595 WHITE SPAR ROAD PRESCOTT, ARIZONA PHONE: (928) FAX: (928) INFORMATION BOOKLET

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1 YAVAPAI COUNTY PUBLIC DEFENDER 595 WHITE SPAR ROAD PRESCOTT, ARIZONA PHONE: (928) FAX: (928) INFORMATION BOOKLET

2 Table of Contents CRIMINAL PROCEDURE Initial Appearance/Bond Preliminary Hearing/Grand Jury EDC (Early Disposition Court) Plea Agreements/Case Management Conference Trial by Jury Sentencing/Post-conviction Rights KNOW YOUR RIGHTS WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOUR CASE CONCLUSION Purpose The purpose of this booklet is to explain the procedures of a criminal case and to help guide you through the criminal justice system. If you are charged with a criminal offense, this booklet is intended to explain what you can do to help your case and what you should expect to happen as your case is prosecuted. Disclaimer This booklet is not legal advice. It is not a substitute for contact between you and an attorney to discuss the details of your case. If you are charged with a crime, you should meet with your attorney to discuss your rights and the details of your particular case. If you cannot afford an attorney the judge will appoint an attorney to represent you.

3 CRIMINAL PROCEDURE The following procedures will usually occur as your case moves through the criminal justice system. Read this carefully so that you will know what is ahead of you. It will help your case if you understand what is happening at each step of the procedure. I. Arrest/Initial Appearance Within 24 hours of your arrest, a defendant is brought before a judge for an Initial Appearance. The purpose of an Initial Appearance is to: advise you why you are in custody and tell you what your charges are; set conditions of release (unless the judge orders you be held without bond); own recognizance, bond, third party custody, secured bond, part-time custody, and/or Pretrial Services; determine if you qualify for an appointed lawyer; set a date and time for EDC (Early Disposition Court); or set a date and time for Preliminary Hearing, which must be set to occur within ten days of your IA, unless you are released. II. Preliminary Hearing/Grand Jury Preliminary hearings are rarely used in Yavapai County and since the commencement of Early Disposition Court (EDC), cases are far less frequently referred to the Grand Jury by the County Attorneys Office. If your case is one of the few that goes to either of these proceedings, your Public Defender will explain it to you. III. EDC (Early Disposition Court) Since May of 2004, all persons charged with a felony in Yavapai County must appear in EDC (Early Disposition Court). Early Disposition Court is held in Prescott on Tuesdays and Camp Verde on Thursdays. You will receive paperwork from the Justice Court that informs you where and when to appear. Even if your case arose in Prescott, you may be summoned to appear in Camp Verde or vice versa. Regardless, you must appear. You may have already been indicted by the Grand Jury, or your case may still be in the Justice Court from which it originated. Either way, you will receive notice to appear for EDC, and you must do so. If the Justice Court has found you indigent, there will be an attorney from the Public Defender s Office there to represent you. The purpose of Early Disposition Court is to see if there can be a non-trial resolution of your case. The Prosecutor may or may not offer an early resolution to your case. If there is a non-trial resolution offered, it will come in the form of a Plea Agreement, and an attorney from the Public Defender s Office will discuss it with you and advise you as to whether it would be in your best interests to accept the plea. If you decided to accept the plea, the judge would set your case for Sentencing at a later date. If there is not a non-

4 trial resolution offered, a not guilty plea will be entered on your behalf and your case will in all probability be set for a Case Management Conference in the Superior Court, or your EDC appearance may be continued for another week or two. You may be asked to sign a waiver of your Preliminary Hearing, (See Preliminary Hearing above). IV. PLEA AGREEMENTS Most criminal cases are resolved by way of a Plea Agreement. A Plea Agreement is a contract between a defendant and the State. Your attorney must convey any plea offer made by the prosecutor to you. It will then be your decision whether or not to agree to any plea offer that is made by the State. In many cases it is in a defendant s best interest to accept a plea offer rather than go to trial. V. CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE The Case Management Conference (CMC) is an informal court hearing, with the judge, prior to the setting of a trial date. Before the CMC you should discuss the plea offer and the evidence with your attorney. Make sure that your attorney is aware of all information concerning your version of the events leading to your arrest. This will help your attorney negotiate a better plea agreement with the State. VI. TRIAL BY JURY If no plea offer is made or you decline a plea offer, your case will be tried by a jury. At a jury trial, you are presumed innocent. The entire burden of proving you guilty is on the State. The State must prove each and every charge beyond a reasonable doubt. You have no duty to prove yourself innocent. You also have the right to have a speedy trial. A speedy trial is typically determined by the time parameter set out in the Rules of Criminal Procedure. Ask your attorney about the speedy trial time limits for your case. VII. SENTENCING If you are found guilty either by entering into a plea agreement or by a jury, you will be sentenced. The sentencing date is usually set thirty days from the entry of the plea agreement or from the jury verdict. Prior to the actual sentencing date, the judge may order a pre-sentence report prepared by a probation officer. The pre-sentence report contains information regarding you and your life that the judge will use in evaluating the appropriate sentence. Please review it carefully and discuss it with your attorney prior to sentencing. VIII. POST-CONVICTION RIGHTS If you go to trial, are found guilty and are sentenced, you have the right to appeal that result, by filing a Notice of Appeal within twenty days of your sentencing. If you take a plea agreement, you waive your right to a direct appeal and your only remedy to contest the result is a Post-Conviction Relief Petition.

5 KNOW YOUR RIGHTS It is important that you understand the rights of a criminal defendant. Once again, this booklet is not intended to cover all of your rights. Please discuss your rights with your attorney. Here are some of the rights you should be aware of: I. The Right to Remain Silent The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself. You have the right to remain silent. Please exercise this right. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone except your attorney. Friends, family members, roommates and loved ones may be called to testify against you. II. The Right to an Attorney An accused has the right to have the assistance of an attorney for his/her defense. If you can not afford an attorney the court will appoint an attorney. III. The Right to a Trial In all criminal prosecutions the accused has a right to a Public Trial. You do not have to plead guilty. The State has the burden of proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt. IV. The Right to Cross-Examine Witnesses Both parties have the right to cross-examine the opposing parties witnesses. Your attorney will be able to question any witnesses or police officers called by the State to testify against you. V. The Right to Call Witnesses on Your Own Behalf You may use the court s subpoena power to compel the attendance of witnesses at trial.

6 WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOUR CASE I. Do Not Talk to Anybody but Your Attorney about Your Case Your statements can and will be used against you in ways that you could not even imagine. If you are in jail, the jail house lawyers may give you advice. Do not discuss you case with inmates or guards they can be and probably will be called to testify against you. II. Stay in Contact with Your Attorney Contact your attorney and confirm your correct mailing address and any phone numbers where you can be reached. If,after you have attended EDC, you do not know who your attorney is you may call the Public Defender s Office at If you change addresses or telephone numbers, you must let your attorney know immediately. From time to time things happen that require your lawyer to contact you immediately. In some cases, failure to keep in touch with your attorney will result in your arrest or a trial without you being present. III. Be Involved in Your Case Write out a complete statement of everything that happened which caused your arrest on the charge(s) in this case and give it to your attorney. None of this information will be told to anyone else without your authorization. Please write as many exact details as you can, including names, places, and times. After you receive the police reports and various documents, read them carefully and make notes to yourself about any inaccuracies in those reports or documents. Ask your attorney questions about anything you don't understand. Help your attorney locate any witnesses that might be used in your defense. IV. Make a Good Impression on the Judge and Jury This seems like simple common sense, yet is often neglected. Nobody in the criminal justice system will get to know the "real" you. Just like other people, judges make determinations about you based on your appearance. Therefore, it will help your case if you make a good impression: 1. Any court hearing is a formal proceeding. 2. Dress in your best clothes. 3. Absolutely no: shorts, tank tops, dirty clothes, un-tucked shirts, sexually suggestive clothes, or drug oriented cloths. 4. Be on your best behavior in court. 5. Judges do not like shows of temper or verbal outbursts. When we are in court, your attorney will do the talking, unless you are specifically asked a question by the judge.

7 6. Your efforts to make a good impression are vitally important. People with similar cases may get different results because one made a good impression on the court but the other made a bad impression. This is within your control. Make a good impression. V. Do Not Write a Letter to the Judge or to the County Attorney Anything you write in a letter can be used against you. If you want to write a letter to the judge, give it to your attorney to review. If both of you decide that it would be appropriate to give it to the judge, your attorney will file it with the court. VI. Do Not Write a Letter to the Alleged Victim(s) (If Any) You may not contact the alleged victim. Do not call them, do not write to them, and do not have friends or family members contact them. Conclusion This booklet is intended to help acquaint you with some procedures involved with the Yavapai County Criminal Justice System. It is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. Please contact your attorney and discuss your individual rights.

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