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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Never Take a Plea Bargain

Never Take a Plea Bargain

Facing criminal charges is stressful. You want to tell your side of the story, but the District Attorney offers you to enter a guilty plea as charged. You want to get this case over with as soon as possible. You should not accept a plea deal without the advice of an attorney.

Resist Making a Snap Decision

At Arraignment, the District Attorney or prosecutor may offer a plea deal. If you make a snap decision and agree now, you might regret it later. Many criminal convictions have collateral consequences with a long-term negative impact. 

First Plea Deal is Seldom the Best

A criminal defense attorney can get a better offer later in the case. As the case proceeds, the State will take a closer look at the evidence. The closer the case gets to a trial, the more likely the State will consider further options when proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt in front of a jury.

Understand Collateral Consequences

When the District Attorney offers a plea deal, it might include a fine or jail time.. The plea deal does not address the collateral consequences. A criminal defense attorney will go over the pros and cons of any plea deal with you so that you can fully understand the ramifications of your decision..

You Have the Right to a Trial

It’s vital to comprehend when facing a criminal charge that you have the constitutional right to a trial. At trial, the State must prove to a finder of fact that you committed the crime as charged beyond a reasonable doubt.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Happens When You Plead Guilty To a Felony?

What Happens When You Plead Guilty To a Felony?

Following a negotiated plea of guilt, a court hearing will be arranged so the judge can be informed. Regardless of whether the judge accepts or wants satisfactory changes, the judge will hear the plea of no contest or guilty and sentencing will proceed often at the next scheduled hearing. Read on to learn more.

Judges Review

Many judges will accept plea bargains if they consider the sentence to be fair but may also consider if the defendant is a repeat offender and if there is community outrage regarding the crime.

The Judge will ensure the defendant is aware of the rights they are conceding, and they comprehend the offense for which they are being punished. This includes admitting and understanding the charges, understanding what the plea fully involves and knowing that by pleading they forsake the right to counsel if they are represented, a right to a trial by jury, the right not to self-incriminate and not to cross examine.

Judges Questions

Normally the judge has a comprehensive list of questions to ascertain if the plea is knowing and intelligent. Usually, defendants follow counsel from their attorney and answer in the affirmative to the questions, so as not to harm the plea-bargaining process.

Not Knowing And Intelligent Pleas

When a defendant enters a plea and does not appear or lacks counsel when reviewed having made a knowing and intelligent plea, there may be grounds for the striking of the conviction from the record of the defendant. This may be vital as offenders tend to be sentenced more harshly with each offense.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Plead Guilty or Go to Trial?

Plea Bargains

When a criminal defendant makes the decision whether to plead guilty or go to trial, he or she often has much more to consider than whether he or she is actually innocent. Read on and learn more.

Pros of Pleading Guilty

  • Resolving the case more quickly than if he or she waited a year or more for a criminal trial.
  • Another advantage of pleading guilty is the expense for a lawyer is generally less when the lawyer does not have to go to trial. 
  • When a criminal defendant pleads guilty when represented by legal counsel, he or she usually does so through the process of plea bargaining. 

Cons of Pleading Guilty

  • Innocent people may be subjected to criminal punishments, such as having to go to jail and pay fines for crimes that they did not commit.
  • In some jurisdictions, there is a statutory minimum sentence that the prosecutor cannot get around. 
  • If the Judge does not like the sentence that was suggested by the prosecutor and the criminal defense lawyer, they can generally reject it and impose a longer sentence.

Pros of Going to Trial

  • Going to trial buys the criminal defendant more time to prepare his or her defense and spend time with family before potentially going to jail.
  • Going to trial and receiving an acquittal is the only way for an innocent person to have justice. 
  • Another benefit of going to trial is that the criminal defendant receives all of the benefits of the United States Constitution. 
  • Police misconduct or a failure to follow rules can get evidence suppressed so that it is not used against the criminal defendant at the trial.

Cons of Going to Trial

  • Juries are often difficult to predict. 
  • A defendant also faces the maximum penalty for a crime.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Forced to Plead Guilty When Innocent

Plea Bargains

Can you make a plea deal even though you cannot state truthfully that you committed the crime? Fortunately, there are alternative plea arrangements available that will allow you to take advantage of a plea agreement without lying to the court.

No Contest (Nolo Contendere)

One option available to a defendant who cannot admit guilt is to negotiate an agreement that allows the defendant to plead “no contest” instead of “guilty.” If you plead “no contest,” you do not admit guilt or claim you are innocent. You simply acknowledge that the prosecution has enough evidence to prove you committed a crime and you agree not to contest the charges. You’re not simply entitled to enter such a plea, however. The prosecution must agree to a “no contest” plea, the judge must allow it.

Alford Plea

Another option available to a defendant who cannot admit guilt is an Alford plea. When a defendant enters an Alford Plea, he pleads guilty but asserts his innocence while acknowledging that the prosecution likely can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. An Alford plea is not as common as a “no contest” plea but it is still available to defendants and used in a small percentage of criminal cases. Like a “no contest” plea, an Alford plea is only permissible if the prosecutor agrees and the judge allows it. 

Negotiating an Alford or “No Contest” Plea

Because the prosecutor must agree to an Alford or “no contest” plea before you can use it, the defense must negotiate this issue in advance. The defense first must make sure that the prosecutor will agree to the alternative plea. In felony cases, the parties often sign a written plea agreement before going to court. The fact that the defendant will be pleading “no contest” or entering an Alford plea should be included in the written agreement.

Source: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/can-i-plead-guilty-a-crime-i-didnt-commit.htm

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Happens When You Accept a Plea Bargain?

Plea Bargains

A plea deal is a negotiated agreement in a criminal case. The defendant and prosecution agree to settle the charges without a trial. There can be many benefits of taking the deal, but pleading guilty means giving up your rights in court. Read on to learn more.

Some of the benefits of plea deals for defendants include:

  • Reduced criminal charges
  • Predictable outcomes
  • Reduced sentencing
  • Probation or deferred prosecution
  • Faster resolution

In a plea bargain hearing, the judge will explain the charges to you and make sure you understand what will happen when you plead guilty or no contest. If the judge accepts the plea bargain, the judge will instruct you to admit guilt under oath. When this occurs, you are waiving your rights, including:

  • The right to a jury trial
  • The right to the assistance of counsel
  • The right to a speedy trial
  • The right to confront witnesses
  • The right to remain silent and avoid self-incrimination

Other consequences of accepting a plea deal may include: 

  • Immigration consequences, such as deportation
  • Registering as a sex-offender
  • Civil confinement, such as being confined to a psychiatric hospital
  • The loss or suspension of a professional license
  • Gun ownership restrictions
  • Loss of benefits

Although once you agree to a plea deal you cannot usually retract your agreement if you meet the following: 

  • Ineffective assistance of counsel
  • Coercion to accept the agreement
  • Ignorance of the consequences

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Plea Bargains

Plea Bargains

Plea bargains, also called negotiated pleas or just “deals,” are the way most criminal cases end up. Read on to learn more.

For these reasons and others, and despite its many critics, plea bargaining is very common. More than 90% of convictions come from negotiated pleas, which means less than 10% of criminal cases end up in trials. And though some commentators still view plea bargains as secret, sneaky arrangements that are antithetical to the people’s will, the federal government and many states have written rules that explicitly set out how plea bargains may be arranged and accepted by the court.

Charge Bargaining and Sentence Bargaining

Lawyers and judges often divide plea bargaining into two types: sentence bargaining and charge bargaining. (Plea bargaining can, however, be broken into additional categories.)

Sentence bargaining is a method of plea bargaining in which the prosecutor agrees to recommend a lighter sentence for specific charges if the defendant pleads guilty or no contest to them. Charge bargaining is a method where prosecutors agree to drop some charges or reduce a charge to a less serious offense in exchange for a plea by the defendant.

When Are Plea Bargains Negotiated and Made?

In most jurisdictions and courthouses, plea bargaining can take place at virtually any stage in the criminal justice process. Plea deals can be struck shortly after a defendant is arrested and before the prosecutor files criminal charges. Plea negotiations may culminate in a deal as a jury returns to a courtroom to announce its verdict. If a trial results in a hung jury, in which the jurors are split and cannot make the unanimous decision required, the prosecution and defense can (and frequently do) negotiate a plea rather than go through another trial. And plea deals are sometimes reached after a defendant is convicted while a case is on appeal.

Pleading “No Contest” (Nolo Contendere) In Place of a Guilty Plea

A “no contest” or nolo contendere plea, in essence, says to the court, “I don’t choose to contest the charges against me.” This type of plea, often part of a plea bargain, results in a criminal conviction just like a guilty plea. And a no-contest plea will show up on a criminal record. 

The Consequences for Your Criminal Record

A guilty or no-contest plea entered as a judge-approved plea bargain results in a criminal conviction; the defendant’s guilt is established just as it would be after a trial. The conviction will show up on the defendant’s criminal record (rap sheet). And, the defendant loses any rights or privileges, such as the right to vote, that the defendant would lose if convicted after trial. Depending on the nature of the conviction and the defendant’s other interactions with the law, however, the defendant might be able to seal, or expunge, the criminal record.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How To Get A Better Plea Bargain

How To Get A Better Plea Bargain

When faced with the prospect of a long jail term, a plea bargain may be an option to reduce possible jail time, but you need to make sure you are getting the best possible outcome. Here are some questions to ask yourself in that situation. Read on to learn more!

Have I Talked To My Attorney?

This is the first step. An attorney has experience in plea bargaining and can ensure you get a good offer. You may feel you (or your friends or family) have sufficient legal knowledge. That said, an attorney will look at the evidence and decide if there are aspects of the charges that may be disputable. The lawyer may be able to tell if the prosecuting lawyer does not have a strong case and may be positioned to exploit that to your advantage. An attorney will fight for your rights in the face of adversity. The extra paperwork this creates for the prosecuting attorney may also make them more amenable to strike a favorable plea deal.

Is The Plea Offer Really Any Sort Of Bargain?

Remember that prosecutors have many cases and want to resolve them as soon as possible. They will want the plea deal negotiation to be as simple as possible – often to avoid the need of the trial. So, the prosecution may pitch a plea deal that is somewhat favorable to you to avoid a trial. However, your attorney will be able to see the strength of their case and going back and forth may be able to get you an even more favorable outcome.

Is This Offer Really In My Best Interest?

The prosecuting attorney may try to play the nice guy and make his plea deal seem attractive. But ask yourself, “Why?” He is not your friend or advocate and the case he has against you may be weak. That is why your attorney should be involved in the negotiations of a plea deal and can ensure the final arrangement is in your best interest. You may also be able to obtain an adjudication whereby you are not actually convicted but still must serve some form of probation or a lighter sentence than you otherwise would have.

When you accept a plea bargain you lose the right to appeal many of the facts and issues involved in your case – if you happen to be sentenced in a manner that is unfair, there may be no legal recourse. Judges normally accept the recommendation of a prosecutor. A plea deal means the jury may not have the opportunity to hear your side or hear evidence that may favor you. Prosecuting lawyers do not like to go to trial unless they must, so as the court date nears, the plea deal arrangements may become more generous.

Source

https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/when-should-you-accept-a-plea-bargain-in-your-criminal-case-30893

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How To Find A Criminal Lawyer

Do I Have to Talk to the Police

A good start is to go online and search for lawyers who practice criminal law located close to you.

  1. If you need financial help to hire an attorney, it is a good idea to contact a pro bono service or a lawyer who works with legal aid from your online search. Although you need to register (it is free) Legal Match is also a good website for finding reputable criminal lawyers.Remember, the state must provide and pay for an attorney on your behalf when you cannot afford to pay for an attorney. Usually, an attorney from the local Public Defender’s Office will be appointed to represent you in court.

    Considerations When Hiring A Criminal Lawyer

    • How much you can afford
    • The type of criminal lawyer you need to use
    • The location of the lawyer
    • Your comfort level of working with the lawyer
    • The career experience of the lawyer
    • The educational background of the lawyer

    When Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?

    When facing charges for committing a crime, you should contact a lawyer without delay. An experienced criminal lawyer can let you know defenses available and work on a legal strategy to assure the best possible outcome to your case. They will also inform you of your legal rights and ensure you are fully protected. They can also help you negotiate a plea bargain as well as answer questions and offer legal advice through the entire legal process. 

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Do I Need a Criminal Lawyer?

https://arizonadowns.com/

The truth is, no matter how smart or well educated you are, the criminal justice system makes it virtually impossible to do a competent job of representing yourself. Each criminal case is unique, and only a specialist who is experienced in assessing the particulars of a case—and in dealing with the many variables that come up in every case—can provide the type of representation that every criminal defendant needs to receive if justice is to be done.

Criminal defense lawyers do much more than simply question witnesses in court. For example, defense lawyers:

  • Negotiate “deals” with prosecutors, often arranging for reduced charges and lesser sentences. By contrast, prosecutors may be uncooperative with self-represented defendants.
  • Formulate sentencing programs tailored to a client’s specific needs, often helping defendants avoid future brushes with the criminal justice system.
  • Help defendants cope with the feelings of fear, embarrassment, reduced self-esteem, and anxiety that criminal charges tend to produce in many people.
  • Provide defendants with a reality check—a knowledgeable, objective perspective on their situation and what is likely to happen should their cases go to trial. This perspective is vital for defendants trying to decide whether to accept a prosecutor’s offered plea bargain.
  • Are familiar with important legal rules that people representing themselves would find almost impossible to locate on their own, because many criminal law rules are hidden away in court interpretations of federal and state statutes and constitutions. For example, understanding what may constitute an unreasonable search and seizure often requires familiarity with a vast array of state and federal appellate court opinions.
  • Are familiar with local court customs and procedures that are not written down anywhere. For example, a defense lawyer may know which prosecutor has the real authority to settle a case and what kinds of arguments are likely to appeal to that prosecutor.
  • Understand the possible hidden costs of pleading guilty that a self-represented person might never think about.
  • Spend time on a case that a defendant cannot afford to spend. Defendants who can afford to hire a lawyer usually have jobs, and therefore lack the time (and energy) to devote to such time-consuming activities as gathering and examining documents, doing legal research, and talking to witnesses.
  • Gather information from prosecution witnesses. Witnesses often fear people accused of crimes and therefore refuse to speak to people representing themselves. Witnesses are more likely to talk to defense attorneys or their investigators.
  • Hire and manage investigators. Investigators may be able to believably impeach (contradict) prosecution witnesses who embellish their stories at trial. By contrast, it is far less effective for a defendant to testify that “the prosecution witness told me something different before trial.”

Source: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/need-lawyer-charged-crime.html

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

I Don’t Answer Questions: Do I Have To Answer Police Questions?

I Don't Answer Questions: Do I Have To Answer Police Questions?

According to the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, “no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself in any criminal case.” In other words, the Fifth Amendment protects U.S. citizens from self-incrimination. But there are two exceptions to this rule. Although you do not need to answer any further questions asked in either scenario, in some states you will have to provide your name to law enforcement if they request that you identify yourself. The other time you will need to respond is if you are pulled over for a traffic violation and the police ask to see your license, registration, etc.

On the other hand, if a person does decide to answer a police officer’s questions, then any of the statements that they make in response can be used against them in a court of law. Also, the person may stop answering questions at any time, which means that all questioning by police must cease as well.

In addition, an individual has a right to have their attorney present if they do decide to answer any questions. If they decide to exercise this right, then their request for an attorney must be made in a clear and direct manner.

When Do I Have to Provide Some Information to the Police?

As previously mentioned, there are certain situations where an individual may be required to provide particular information or answer specific questions.

For example, in many states it is often the case that if the police see a person wandering aimless with no apparent direction and in way that poses a threat to the public (i.e., loitering), then they are allowed to ask the supposed loiterer for their identification as well as an explanation of what they are doing.

Do the Police Have to “Read Me My Rights” in Order to Question Me?

If a person has not been arrested or is not placed in a custodial type of environment, then the police are not required to read them their rights. In contrast, if a person has been arrested or is in police custody, then the police are required to read them their rights.

When a person is absolutely certain that they either are not or were not involved in any criminal activities and if they decide they want to help the police, then they are free to answer any questions that the police ask.

On the other hand, if the person thinks they are a suspect or they believe that the police suspect that they have committed a crime, then it would be in their best interest to remain silent or to tell the police that they refuse to say anything without consulting an attorney first.

Can the Police Stop Me and Question Me?

The police can stop and question anyone who they have a good faith belief are connected to criminal activity. Moreover, they also can detain them and pat them down for weapons if the officer feels they are in danger.

This entire process is called a “stop and frisk” or a “Terry stop.” Running from the police will provide them a sufficient enough reason to “stop and frisk” someone. Also, while the pat down part of the stop may be limited, if the police find any contraband, then it can lead to a full blown search and arrest.

Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for Help with Police Issues?

Depending on the circumstances of your situation, it may be necessary to hire a lawyer. If you were merely a witness to a crime and it is more than clear that you were not involved in any way, then you may not need an attorney.

However, if you are a suspect or believe the police think you are a suspect, an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area can advise you of your rights and help you understand the complexities of the criminal justice system as well as your case.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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