Get as much discovery from the state as possible as quickly as possible. Law only requires that the state provide a basic police report at the probable cause stage. But in order to make an informed and intelligent decision about how to proceed it is vital to know as much as possible what the evidence is.
Continue the Hearing
File a Motion to Continue at the first court appearance. The Court will generally give a party a 30 day continuance for any valid reason. This is time that can be spent investigating the case. An attorney can attempt to find witnesses, interview witnesses, re-test physical evidence, establish an alibi, and many other steps.
This time also allows for a defendant to prepare and submit a "deviation letter" to the state in hopes of getting the charges dismissed or decreased in severity.
Deal or No Deal
The prosecutor's office tries to make their best offer at the probable cause stage in the process. The theory is to resolves cases quickly so as to not waste resources. Sometimes the deal offered at this stage is the best deal you will see. Sometimes you can get a better deal by forcing the state to expend resources.
It is very important to know what a "good" deal is and whether there is a possibility of getting a better deal or not. If you make the wrong decision, you may not be able to get the deal back that you passed up on. A good attorney will know what to do. If you take the deal you will remain in RCC court and resolve the case quickly. If you do not take the deal, the state will likely indict you and proceed towards trial. The state will make another plea offer but it may or may not be better than the first offer.
Additional resources provided by the author
You can read more about this process at ArizonasTriallawyers.com or the Maricopa County Superior Court web site.
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