We Get Results

  1. Home
  2.  | Criminal Defense

Knowledgeable And Strategic Criminal Defense Lawyers

Our team of defense attorneys at Matthew Lopez Law, PLLC, provides skilled legal representation for complex criminal charges. We understand the essential need to protect our client’s rights, and we use focused, strategic efforts to mitigate the charges. We understand the criminal justice system and know how to navigate the criminal courts to defend your rights.

With unique backgrounds in varied legal fields and highly awarded attorneys, we are confident we can provide the fierce legal defense that you need when you’re facing criminal charges.

Can An Attorney Help Before You Have Been Charged?

Many individuals wait until they have been formally charged before hiring a criminal defense attorney, but you don’t have to. The moment you are suspected of a criminal offense, an attorney can get to work on your case.

The more proactive you are in forming a criminal defense strategy, the more likely you are to achieve a successful outcome. Contacting an attorney before a potential arrest can make it easier for your attorney to:

  • Gain an understanding of your situation: It can help if an attorney gets to know a little bit about you, your prior history with the law (if any) and your situation before the authorities act. An attorney can help you understand the potential charges, the potential defenses and what may happen next.
  • Assessing the case pre-arrest: A criminal defense attorney can assess your case in detail pre-arrest. Despite being on opposing sides, criminal defense attorneys do communicate with law enforcement and the prosecution. If your defense attorney can convince the prosecution that their case is weak, then charges may not even be filed.
  • Ensure the police follow the correct procedures: One of the most important things your attorney can do is make certain that the authorities adhere to the law at every stage of the criminal investigative process before and after your arrest. Your attorney can make sure that the police do not act without proper authority, such as a search warrant. They can also make sure that you are not intimidated into making self-incriminating statements during interrogations.
  • Escort you through the arrest process: In some cases, charges may be inevitable. An attorney can help minimize the stress of turning yourself into the authorities when an arrest warrant is issued. They can also help facilitate a bail hearing and your release on bond.

The importance of seeking help from a professional attorney as soon as possible cannot be understated. At Matthew Lopez Law, we will fight for your rights and seek the best outcome in your circumstances.

Skilled Defense Of Criminal Charges Or Misdemeanors

We can help provide a defense for you if you are facing misdemeanor charges involving:

  • Assault by intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing physical injury to another person
  • Recklessly defacing or damaging property of another person or tampering with the property of another person
  • Knowingly disturbed the peace of a neighborhood, family, or person by engaging in fighting, violent or seriously disruptive behavior
  • Recklessly endangering another person with a substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury
  • Willfully failing or refusing to comply with any lawful order or direction of a police officer
  • Filing a false police report, reporting misinformation to the police or resisting arrest
  • Any person under 21 years old using or possessing a fake ID or identification of another person
  • Urinating in public (UIP), which is a criminal offense that will forever appear on your criminal background check
  • Shoplifting or trespassing charges
  • DUI/OUI, minor alcohol charges, open bottle charges, drug charges or public drunkenness
  • All fish and gaming violations in Arizona
  • Sexual harassment, threatening or intimidating behavior

Any of these charges can have a serious impact on careers, family life and reputation. Our team knows how to protect rights and reputations during criminal cases and fight for the best possible outcome for your specific situation.

Criminal Defense Attorneys For Felony Charges

Felony charges require special legal care and diligence when so much is on the line. Our team has experience successfully defending serious charges involving situations such as:

  • Armed robbery with a deadly weapon or a simulated deadly weapon
  • Using or threatening to use a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or simulated deadly weapon
  • Aggravated assault by causing serious physical harm to another person or using a deadly weapon
  • Any assault on a police officer or medical staff
  • A violent dispute between two persons who are related, in a sexual relationship, have been in a previous sexual relationship or are roommates
  • Indecent exposure charges, which can require a lifelong listing on the Arizona Sex Offender Registry
  • Soliciting a prostitute or engaging in prostitution
  • Serious felony crimes such as kidnapping, sexual abuse, sexual assault or manslaughter

When a client is facing a felony charge, we know just how much is at stake. We stand by their side and determine the unique strategy needed to gain the best outcome of the case – including taking the case to trial.

Criminal Defense FAQ

How can I get a felony reduced to a misdemeanor in Arizona?

A felony can be reduced to a misdemeanor in Arizona in two ways.

One way is to hire a skilled, experienced attorney who can negotiate a misdemeanor resolution to what could be a felony conviction on a felony charge(s).  Several factors go into analyzing this possibility. Among these factors are the nature of the felony charge (i.e. simple possession of illegal drugs vs. a serious violent offense), whether it is a first-time felony offense, the strength of the State’s case, and mitigating circumstances. In this instance, the felony charge is resolved by reducing the felony to a misdemeanor before the case is resolved.

Another way a felony may be reduced to a misdemeanor in Arizona is to receive a resolution known as a Class 6 felony Undesignated, or “open,” conviction. An undesignated conviction allows a Defendant the opportunity to fulfill required terms of the plea agreement after which the Defendant’s class 6 felony is later designated as a misdemeanor. However, during the time the Defendant is fulfilling the terms of the agreement, the conviction appears as a felony conviction on their record. In this instance, the conviction may also be permanently designated as a felony conviction if the Defendant fails to satisfy the requirements of the plea agreement. This allows Defendants the opportunity to “earn” a misdemeanor in a felony case and avoid a permanent felony conviction in a felony case.

Is jail time mandatory for a felony in Arizona?

No, neither jail time, nor prison time, is mandatory for a felony in Arizona. For many first-time felony offenses, the Defendant is eligible to receive probation at Sentencing. This does not mean that the Defendant will receive probation, only that they are eligible to. Probation in Arizona on a felony case may include up to 1 year jail as term of probation. Therefore, even when a Defendant is placed on probation, up to 1 year jail time is possible, but jail is not mandatory on a first-time felony conviction.

Do misdemeanors go away in Arizona?

No, misdemeanors do not go away in Arizona. The closest thing in Arizona to a misdemeanor is a “Set Aside” of the conviction. While a “Set Aside” designation of a misdemeanor has benefits, the misdemeanor does not “go away.”

What do classes mean for felony charges in Arizona?

Felonies in Arizona are rated in severity of punishment by classes.  The lowest level felony in Arizona is a Class 6 felony. For example, a person convicted of any first-time felony, with some exceptions, is probation eligible in Arizona. However, the chances of receiving probation on a first-time felony do decrease as the severity, or class, of felony increases. For example, a person convicted of a class 6 felony may be looking at anywhere between 4 months to 2 years in prison, but also has a higher chance of receiving probation at sentencing. In contrast, a person convicted of a class 2 felony in Arizona may be sentenced to prison anywhere from 3 years to 12.5 years and has a lesser chance of being placed on probation at sentencing.

How long does a felony stay in a background check?

Because there are so many different background check services, this is an extremely difficult question to answer. Some background checks only periodically update their records, so a felony conviction may appear on your record after being “Set Aside” or even after being expunged.

What crimes can be expunged in Arizona?

At this time, there are no crimes that can be expunged in Arizona. However, due to the recent passage of Proposition 207, marijuana/marijuana paraphernalia-related possession charges will be eligible for expungement starting in July 2021. An expungement, unlike a Set Aside, removes all records of the arrest, charges, and conviction.

Do Arizona first-time offenders go to prison?

Not necessarily. A person convicted of a misdemeanor offense will not serve prison time. However, a person convicted of a class 1 misdemeanor may serve up to 6 months in jail, but not prison. While it is possible that a person convicted of a first-time felony offense may receive probation with up to 1 year in jail, prison time is possible on a first-time felony conviction in Arizona. The amount of prison time one may serve after being convicted of a felony offense depends on the severity or “class” of the felony conviction.

Is Arizona a “three strikes rule” state for criminal charges?

No, it is not. However, the number and recency of prior felony convictions have a major effect on the harshness of sentencing one receives in any subsequent felony convictions. Those having a prior felony conviction will fall into sentencing “categories” from Category I, meaning they have a relatively non-recent single felony conviction to Category III meaning they may have several felony convictions or more than one recent prior felony conviction. While Arizona does not have a “three strikes rule,” Arizona does increase the sentencing severity based on the amount and recency of prior felony convictions.

What are the punishments for felony charges in Arizona?

The punishments for felony charges change drastically based on the class of felony, nature of the offense, and whether the person is a repeat offender, among other things. Punishments for being convicted of felony charges in Arizona can range anywhere between receiving probation and no jail time to over twenty years of mandatory prison. Felony sentencing can be nuanced and confusing, which is why you need to have an experienced, knowledgeable attorney to represent you.

Call 24/7 When Criminal Charges Are Involved

We take these matters as seriously as you do. We have a team available day and night for incoming calls at 602-960-1731 or clients can use the online form to set up their consultation.