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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 102584
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Before going to court this morning I thought my case could

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Before going to court this morning I thought my case could be over if I payed a fine of a few hundred dollars. Instead...the judge explained the general purpose (preliminary hearing) to the entire court room of why we were all there and our rights ect and that we will be asked for a plea. The prosecutor was pulling people outside the courtroom to talk to them privately. I ended up being the first one called by the judge before talking to the prosecutor personally. He informed me of the charges among other legal verbiage but what has me wondering is what he said about my plea and I quote "I will put down here a plea of not guilty" and then he proceeded to schedule the next court event. Now I believe he was actually trying to help because the person pressing charges against me was not there and may not show up for the next hearing either and then the charges will end up being dropped. All the while I was ready to pay a fine if it's only going to be a few hundred dollars just to get this whole thing over with. But... I am unsure of any of this. Maybe the fine could be thousands of dollars and then it would be worth fighting. So now my question. With the above scenario should I pursue a lawyer? How bad can this get? Can I and should I get a copy of the police report? I have many more questions but do not know where to begin to ask so here I am. I am hesitant about throwing info about the case out there so I hope I provided enough for now for at least a point in the right direction.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your situation. Can you please tell me, first of all, what exactly are you charged with?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Disorderly conduct/disturbing the peace.

Thank you, C.

Disorderly conduct is a class 1 misdemeanor in most cases. I am guessing yours is a MISDEMEANOR. They carry a potential of up to 6 months in prison and fines of $2,500.

However, relax, as in I doubt that this would happen. Allow me to explain.

You are right in that this is one of several settings. The first one was simple the arrangement where you plead GUILTY or NOT GUILTY (not guilty). Then the matter is reset.

It will be reset several times before you make a decision of whether or not to take a plea deal, or, to take your chances at trial.

Prosecutor's Leverage. If this case gets to trial, the prosecutor has to prosecute it, and they may win, and if so, then you may have a conviction and be open to sentencing by the Judge.

Your Leverage. The prosecutor is normally very backed up. They are handling literally dozens of cases at once. Setting a matter for trial - jury trial, more so - is a serious issue since they have little time to prepare, file the proper motions, and generally make room for the trial to happen.

Negotiation. Very often, individuals in your situation are given a "plea deal," if they have little/no criminal record and I am guessing you do not. Individuals in your situation are very likely to be offered two possibilities:

1. Deferment (which dismisses the charge if you simply are not charged/convicted of anything else in 6 months to a year, but, pay court costs); or
2. Please deal to a lesser conviction.

You have to allow your attorney to negotiate on your behalf. The Court reset so you can find one. If you cannot afford one, then someone in your situation may need to speak up next time and ask the Court to have one assigned when your matter is called, and then the Judge will consider your financial situation before assigning counsel.

VERY LIKELY, you will get deferment or some other plea deal with no jail time, since this is a relatively minor matter when all things are concerned. But it still should not be taXXXXX XXXXXghtly.

With the above scenario should I pursue a lawyer?

YES. Again, if one cannot be afforded, ask the Court for an appointed.

How bad can this get?

See above.

Can I and should I get a copy of the police report?

Your attorney can get this from the court's file.

I have many more questions..

Ask away if you need to.

Finally, if finances are an issue, I can recommend three resources. First, here is a list of all pro bono work in the state...

http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/probono/directory/asrizona.html

You may call your local law school and see if they have a legal clinic place available. The legal clinic is a free service the school(s) provide to the community. While they are often overbooked, they have openings sometimes. Here is the list law schools in your state:

http://www.hg.org/law-schools-arizona.asp

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck!

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. (You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.)
Ely and 3 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

This is very helpful so far...thank you very much but please...one more question? The judge informed me that "Jon Doe" is the person pressing charges and asked if he was in the court room. He was not. The next appearance is a case management conference. Will the charges be dropped if "Jon Doe" does not show to this case management conference?

C,

This is very helpful so far.

Excellent - thank you for your kind words.

thank you very much but please...one more question?

Ask five, or ten, or a hundred. This is why I am here. So no worries.

The judge informed me that "Jon Doe" is the person pressing charges and asked if he was in the court room. He was not. The next appearance is a case management conference.

John Doe is the complaining witness. What has happened is that they are the ones who filed the complaint, and they are the prosecutor's main witness, but they are not charging you here - the state is.

Will the charges be dropped if "Jon Doe" does not show to this case management conference?

I am afraid not. He does not have to really be there until/unless there is a trial. The Court asking if John Doe was in the Courtroom today likely was for the Court's knowledge only but does not impact the sequence of events.

At this conference, the Court will explore the possibility of a non-trial disposition. At this time the Court may, in its discretion, participate in settlement negotiations and guilty plea hearings are often scheduled at this time. (In other words, it is a time for negotiation with the prosecutor.) If the case cannot be resolved by a negotiated plea, the matter will eventually be set for trial.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Ely and 3 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you