Entries by Burges McCowan

What is Discovery?

Discovery (aka Disclosure) is the term used for the evidence the prosecution provides the defense on a criminal case.  This usually means the police report (aka departmental report, or DR).  It can also include pictures of evidence, lab reports, audio or video, etc.  The U.S. Constitution requires the prosecutor to tell the defense about each […]

What is Arraignment?

Also known in Maricopa County as the Not Guilty Arraignment, this is often the first court appearance for the case.  Arraignment is a hearing where the defendant is told of his or her rights and what charges he or she stands accused of by the prosecutor. The judge will address everyone as a group. There […]

What is an Initial Appearance?

An Initial Appearance is the first appearance in front of the judge after a defendant is charged with a crime.  Sometimes the Initial Appearance, or IA, is within hours of the police arresting someone.  Other times it is after the prosecutor has reviewed what the police wrote about the case and decided to charge the […]

What is an Indictment?

An indictment is the document filed with the court by the prosecutor that lists the charges the defendant is accused of and a brief description of the crime(s) charged.  The indictment will tell the defendant the crime(s) charged and provide the legal definition for that crime.  That legal definition is what the prosecutor must prove […]

What is a Preliminary Hearing?

When a defendant is charged with a crime by the prosecutor, the judge has to determine if there is probable cause to maintain those charges so the case can go forward in the court system.  This does not mean trial.  Usually all the prosecutor has to do is put one police officer who worked on […]

What is a Pre-Trial Conference?

A Pre-Trial conference is a simple court hearing where the defense and the prosecution appear to give a status update on the case to the judge. If it is a felony case, the defendant has to appear.  But for misdemeanors, the defendant’s attorney can usually appear in the defendant’s place. The Pre-Trial conference is where […]

What is a Plea Agreement?

Very simply, a plea agreement is a bargain between the defendant and the prosecutor to settle the case without going to trial. Usually, the bargain involves the prosecutor reducing the charge or sentence the defendant would face if he or she lost at trial.  Most criminal cases settle with a plea agreement. Sometimes it is […]

What is a criminal charge?

Criminal charges are an accusation that the defendant committed a crime.  The police can bring charges for misdemeanors (aka, DUI, Shoplifting, etc.).  For felonies a prosecutor has to review the case and file the charges with the court.  Sometimes the police will arrest the defendant and book him or her in jail.  In that case […]

Fran S. – ARS 13-2307 Trafficking in Stolen Property ARS 13-1819

Fran S. – ARS 13-2307 Trafficking in Stolen Property, ARS 13-1819 Organized Retail Theft – Probation without jail I needed an attorney when my daughter was facing jail for organized retail theft. Burges kept me informed and helped set my mind at ease with his knowledge and experience. I always knew what to expect at […]