Frequently Asked Questions

1Do I even need an attorney?
If you have been arrested for a crime or are under police investigation for a crime, it is likely you need an attorney. In order for you to make the right decision, even if you plan on pleading guilty, you should still discuss the specifics of your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney. There are many collateral issues involved in a criminal case and your decision could result in some very unpleasant unforeseen consequences. The right attorney is there to look out for your best interests and protect your legal rights.
2Should I just use the public defender?

If you do not have the money to hire a criminal defense attorney and you are eligible for a court appointed attorney, you should use the public defender. However, the public defender is not always free. Many courts seek some reimbursement for the cost of the attorney.

The court will not give you your choice of which public defender you get. You do not get to choose your attorney. Public defenders have a heavy caseload, which can result in less time they can spend on your case and that could affect the ultimate result.

The right private criminal defense attorney will spend the time on your case, investigating and building a strong defense to attain a good result. Further, the right private criminal defense attorney will be available to you to answer your questions and discuss your case.

3How do I find the right private criminal defense attorney for me?
Get to know the attorney and make sure you are comfortable with him or her. Is this someone you can trust to put your future in? Make sure the attorney you are speaking to is actually going to be the attorney handling your case. You want to know that the attorney has the experience handling the type of case you are dealing with. You want to make sure the attorney will answer your questions and be available to you when you need it. Communication is fundamental to a good relationship with your attorney.
4Why Choose Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, for my lawyer?
  1. Personal Service: When you call for Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, you are calling him personally. Robert answers his own phone. He provides a free initial and honest consultation.
  2. Accessibility: There is no screener or secretary blocking your access to your attorney. When you call, you get the attorney.
  3. Experience: Robert handles every aspect of the case, from the initial consultation, investigation, gathering of evidence, interviews, depositions, developing a defense strategy, motions, negotiating with the prosecutor, preparing for trial and presenting your case in court. Robert has handled cases throughout Maricopa County city, justice and Superior Courts and is familiar with the prosecutors in the criminal community.
  4. Former Prosecutor: Experience counts. As a former prosecutor, he has the experience of knowing how to deal with your prosecutor.
  5. Affordable: Affordable flat fees. The firm is small, without expensive overhead to inflate the costs.
5What courts to you travel to?
I travel to all of the city courts, justice courts, and superior courts within Maricopa County. Cities include Scottsdale, Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert, Apache Junction, Glendale, Peoria, Surprise, Avondale and El Mirage. It is also not unusual for me to travel to other counties for court.
6Do you give free initial consultations?
Yes. Telephone me or email me. I personally answer my own telephone and answer my own emails. You will only speak to me, not some answering service.
7What are your office hours?
Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, is open Monday – Friday, from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm. He often meets people in the evening and the weekends if those scheduled hours do not work for you. Contact Robert, directly by email or by calling 480-860-4321 now for a free initial consultation.
8What is the difference between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?
Crimes are divided into two categories based on their seriousness. Misdemeanors are the less serious of the two, although some misdemeanors can have some quite serious consequences themselves. The maximum penalty on a misdemeanor is a $2500 fine, not including surcharges and additional assessments. The term of one day to six months of jail can be imposed in the county jail. Felonies are far more serious. The maximum penalty on a felony is a $150,000, not including surcharges and additional assessments. A term of four months to life can be imposed in an Arizona State Prison, along with the rare death penalty.
9Do the police have to advise me my rights?
The police only have to advise you of your Miranda rights if you are in custody and questioned. So, if the police arrest you and do not plan on asking any questions, they do not have to advise you of your rights. Keep in mind, anything you voluntarily say to an officer is an admissible statement. The best thing to do is not to speak to the officer.
10Should I speak with the police?
If you are questioned by the police, even before an arrest, it is crucial that you do not speak with the police without a criminal defense attorney present. The officer’s goal is to collect evidence against you, in order to assist the State in convicting you of a crime. When you are under investigation, the officer is not there to help you. Some officers try to get you to incriminate yourself with the use of deceptive tactics or claiming to be sympathetic to your case. It is best to politely not answer any questions and get a criminal defense attorney on your side.
11What is the "Arraignment"?
The arraignment is a quick and formal hearing for you to appear before the court for the first time, in order to inform you of the legal rights, the charges against you and the enterance of a formal plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. If you hired a private attorney and the case is a misdemeanor, the attorney can typically take care of the arraignment without you. If your case is in Superior Court, you must appear with your attorney. If you cannot afford a private attorney, the court can appoint you on at the arraignment, if you qualify. If you fail to appear at the arraignment, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.
12How should I plead at the arraignment?
Generally, it is best to pled "Not Guilty". It is a rare case when a lawyer will advise you to plead guilty. A "not guilty" plea will allow you the right to defend yourself from the charges. The court will then schedule the next court appearance to allow you or your attorney to prepare the defense.
13What is a bail bond?
A court can order a bail bond to insure that the defendant will attend a future court date after being released from custody. The bond is a monetary pledge to the court. A defendant can post a cash bond with the court or go through a bail bond company. If a cash bond is posted, the monies are returned to the party that posted the bond, unless there is an agreement to transfer the bond to a fine. If a bail bond company is used, the company will usually require payment of about 10% of the total bond amount, along with collateral. The payment to a bail bond company will not be refunded, as it is the company's payment for post the entire bond on the defendant's behalf.
14Who do I talk to if I have more questions?
You should contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law. Robert will personally answer your questions. Contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, directly by email or by calling 480-860-4321 now for a free initial consultation.