What do you do if you charged with a crime in Arizona but you live out of state?

Unfortunately this happens to many people who are visiting. It creates serious problems for the person because the choices are to plead guilty or come back (more than once) to fight the charge. The cost of making the trips quickly gets expense, so those who find themselves in this situation usually pay the fine and move on. But there is another way. You can actually fight the charge without ever coming back!

The government wants you to simply plead guilty (and they know you likely will if you live out of state). However this is often not the best decision. First, there are serious consequences to having even a misdemeanor on your record. Second, fighting the charges and having a better outcome than a guilty plea is not as difficult as you might think.

Unlike many states Arizona allows you to have a lawyer represent you without ever having to appear in court. This means that if you have an attorney you can hand over all the mandatory court appearances to them and never have to come to Arizona. Also, while my goal is always to have a case dismissed, if you did take the case to trial you do not have to be present for that either! The law specifically states that you need not be present for your own trial. So if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having been charged with a crime while visiting Arizona, consult a criminal defense attorney before you pay that fine.