1. I just got contacted by the police concerning a criminal investigation; what do I do?
Ask for an attorney, then immediately call Rideout Law. If it’s after hours, leave us a message and we’ll get back to you the next day. Either way, do not talk to the police without representation. If you ask for an attorney, you should be provided a phone.
2. I have an arraignment date; what should I do? Should I just plead guilty?
You should talk to an attorney before your arraignment. You need to have someone look at the evidence and the law before you decide to plead, since you may not be guilty of a crime at all. Furthermore, it’s very hard under Arizona law to withdraw from a plea after you have already entered it. So, even if the judge or prosecutors make it seem like pleading guilty is your only option at your arraignment, do not plead guilty without representation or you are giving up an important Constitutional right.
3. I have an attorney and I don't like the way they are handling my case. Can I switch?
Yes, you are not handcuffed to your attorney, and shouldn’t be. You can almost always switch attorneys (with a few exceptions). It’s most important that you feel comfortable with your representation, and feel you are getting treated with respect and dignity. If you’d like to hire Rideout Law to replace your old attorney, we are happy to inform your prior firm about your intent to switch.
4. How do I pick an attorney for my criminal case?
First, pick an attorney with whom you feel comfortable. If you don't like your attorney in the first meeting, you risk being dissatisfied in the long run. Your criminal case is going to last at least a few months, more than likely, with multiple meetings and phone calls. You need to be comfortable enough to tell your attorney everything, so it will be hard for you to get important information to your attorney without interpersonal rapport. Second, you get what you pay for, so remember not to choose an attorney based on low cost alone. Third, pick someone who is involved with criminal cases on a regular basis. For example, Rideout Law does not do family law or contracts, but we do handle criminal cases every day! Fourth, look around, call or meet with at least a few attorneys before you make a decision. And ask friends or family members who have had a criminal case in the past who they used and if they were satisfied.
5. What questions should I ask a criminal attorney when hiring a firm?
There are nearly endless questions you can ask, but here are a few of the most important ones to get you started…
- How long have these attorneys practiced law ?
- Have they ever had any bar complaints? (you can check this on the Arizona State Bar website)
- Where did they go to school?
- How many trials have they done?
- Is there a consultation fee for coming in to talk?
- Does the firm bill an hourly fee or a flat rate? (If it is a flat fee, ask what types of activities the fee covers).
- If you have a DUI, ask if the flat fee covers the DMV administrative hearing too.
- If you are hiring a firm out of the area in which you received the criminal charge, ask whether the attorney appears in court him or herself and whether the attorney ever covers hearings telephonically, leaving a client in court by themselves (you want an attorney who will be there in person with you).
6. How do I pay for Rideout Law to represent me?
Rideout Law accepts payment by check and credit card. In certain cases, flexible payment plans can be arranged.
7. How much is it for a consultation at Rideout Law?
Our consultations for criminal cases are always free. For cases regarding family law, a fee may apply.