As a trial lawyer, I have had the opportunity to see it all in the courtroom
over the years. Many times I have seen defendants just plead guilty during
their arraignments. In a 2011 report issued by the National Association
of Criminal Defense Lawyers entitled “Three Minute Justice: Haste
and Waste in Florida’s Misdemeanor Courts,” a number of problems
in that state’s misdemeanor courts were outlined. It was also found
that many defendants simply pled guilty during their three-minute arraignments.
I and my fellow attorneys, especially here in Arizona have observed the
same thing going on in the municipal courts.
The most common problems in misdemeanor courts appear to be that defendants
do not receive court-appointed counsel. Those defendants in a criminal
case are then encouraged to plead guilty without the advice of counsel.
Here is the problem: many judges do not believe counsel is needed in many
cases. Their dockets move quicker without court-appointed lawyers. A guilty
plea at arraignment also reduces the number of court appearances that
a defendant will make. That in turn moves the docket along. Here is the
real travesty: many judges, prosecutors, and unrepresented defendants
believe that because it is “only a misdemeanor,” defendants
do not need an attorney for sentences of time served, a fine payment or
Do not just plead guilty. In the State of Arizona, misdemeanors carry a
potential sentence of 6 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Even in those
cases where a jail sentence is unlikely, a criminal conviction can harm
a person’s ability to gain employment or attend certain schools.
Any misdemeanor conviction is a criminal conviction so please be careful
before you just plead guilty.
Have you or a loved one been charged with a misdemeanor, get proven and
dedicated defense counsel by your side. Call the skilled Scottsdale criminal
defense attorney at the
Law Offices of Randall J. Craig today.
Don’t wait to start developing your defense. Request a
free consultation now.