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If you’ve been arrested, facing county jail or federal prison, a criminal indictment or are the potential suspect of a criminal investigation, you need an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney. You deserve competent and knowledgeable representation.

At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, we can help lead you through the arduous waters of the State and Federal Criminal Justice system. A criminal defense lawyer is there to research facts, help investigate your case, and protect your rights while pursuing every legal option available to you.

Criminal Defense Cases We Handle


Aggressive Criminal Defense in Phoenix

Facing criminal charges can wreak havoc on your life. Protect yourself and your rights with a team of passionate and highly skilled criminal defense attorneys. If you find yourself in a situation involving criminal accusations in Phoenix or surrounding areas, let Ybarra Maldonado Law Group fight for you.

Hire a Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney

Hi everybody! Ray Ybarra Maldonado here, I want to give you a little bit of advice on how to hire a criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix. The reason I want to do this is because I’ve seen so many people here in my office in tears because the criminal lawyer they gave money to didn’t do anything for them, or worse, did something that made their lives miserable and possibly resulted in a longer prison sentence or even in deportation in some cases.

What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Is this person someone who has won jury trials in superior court? Has this criminal lawyer won jury trials in federal courts? Have they submitted motions to dismiss that have resulted in the case being completely thrown out? Do they have experience in bench trials and jury trials? There are two ways a criminal defense lawyer can win, one is a non-guilty verdict after trial and two are good motions that result in throwing out the evidence or the government or the judge dismissing the case completely.

You want to be sure that when hiring a criminal lawyer that they have the necessary experiences to defend you in your court case.

Along with the trial experience, you want a criminal lawyer that has worked your kind of case before. The area of criminal law is very broad. You can have a misdemeanor case, DUI, domestic violence in a municipal court. You can have a serious felony drug case, aggravated assault case in superior court, you can have an illegal reentry, drug case, smuggling case in federal court. It might not necessarily be that the criminal lawyer your working with feels comfortable in federal court but they might feel really comfortable in superior court and vice versa. Maybe that lawyer only does DUI and misdemeanor court and that’s the person you need because you don’t need a criminal attorney that’s done jury trials in federal court if you’re just charged with misdemeanor or DUI in municipal court. Here you have somebody that has done thirty of these trials; that would be more of an attorney you would need to hire.

You want to be sure you have an attorney with experience and you also want to be sure that the person that you’re hiring is going to be there in the courtroom. You want to ask the question “Who is going to be the attorney representing me?” Is it going to be the attorney that’s talking to you and with a lot of experience? “Are you going to be the one that’s going to my court hearings?”

In addition to this, if you are not a U.S. citizen or if your family member is not a citizen, if they are a legal permanent resident, if they don’t have any immigration status, it is very important to ask your criminal lawyer; do you know the consequences of criminal conviction? Specifically, the charge that’s being levied against me? If you are a U.S. citizen, you don’t have to worry about that, but for anybody else, that’s very important.

You can have a very aggressive, very good criminal attorney that thinks they can beat this case and knows how to get a great plea that avoids jail or prison time, but at the end of the day, that conviction is going to result in automatic deportation. Someone who is an amazing criminal lawyer might not necessarily know the immigration consequences. However, this is not the end of the road, all you have to do if your criminal lawyer doesn’t know what the immigration consequences can be is to hire an immigration attorney to review and [have them] talk to your criminal attorney about your immigration consequences so you know before you plead guilty what those [potential] consequences will be.

You want to know who will be handling your criminal case. Is it going to be the criminal attorney with all the experience or is it going to be the junior associate that just graduated from law school and may not really know what they are doing. Be clear about that before you sign a contract.

[Also], I often tell people, “Why don’t you meet your public defender first?” Because often times, they are a very good [legal defense]. Public defenders get a very bad reputation, people think they work for the government, get paid by the government and won’t fight for me at all! That’s not necessarily always going to be the case, you might be able to save yourself thousands of dollars and get better representation if you work with a public defender versus hiring a private criminal lawyer.

The reason I say that is because, before having my own law firm, I was a public defender in Cochise County. I was an assistant federal public defender in federal court in Tucson. I know that if I had gotten your case back then, I would’ve worked just as hard as I work the cases today. There’s a lot of great people in both of those offices and here in Maricopa county as well! So give your public defender a chance and if you are not getting along, if they are not returning your calls, if they are not reviewing disclosures with you, then [their defense] is not what you need and it makes sense, perhaps this is the most important decision of your life, and need someone that’s going to take the case very seriously. Then you can hire a private criminal lawyer.

Always talk to three attorneys before you sign a contract. Ask them these same questions to make sure you are getting an experienced criminal lawyer, a confident attorney, who’s going to be handling your case.

Arizona Warrant Search

Sometimes, you just want to make sure that you don’t have a warrant out for your arrest in Arizona. There are four ways to check for a warrant in Phoenix:

  1. You can search on the Arizona public court information database. You’ll need to add your name and date of birth.
  2. Call 602-506-8575 to talk to the Court’s Administration Information Desk .
  3. Call 602-223-2233 to speak to the Arizona Department of Public Safety. 
  4. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney at Ray Maldonado.
arrest warrant phoenix az

Experienced Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorneys

When you’re charged with a crime, you face a long road ahead. The criminal justice system can be complex and often requires special knowledge to navigate. You don’t have to deal with your situation alone. Call Ybarra Maldonado Law Group today at (602) 910-4040 to find out how we can help you.

All criminal convictions have serious penalties and often unexpected consequences. If you’ve been charged with a crime, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney to fight for you against allegations made. We can also help in cases where immigration and criminal law overlap. One popular term for this is “Crimmigration.” Our lead attorney, Ray Ybarra Maldonado, has extensive experience as a criminal immigration lawyer.

Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer FAQ

What are my Rights When I Am Stopped By the Police in Arizona?

The rights you have depend on the circumstances you find yourself when speaking with a police officer.

If a police officer knocks on your door, you do not have to answer. If they have a warrant signed by a judge then you must allow them entry or they will use force to enter your residence. However, if they are simply attempting to speak with you or someone else in the house without a search warrant, you do not have to open the door or even communicate with the officers. Your constitutional rights are strongest in your home. There are certain instances where officers can enter without a warrant, such as when they believe there exists an emergency exception to the warrant requirement. This could occur if the officers are in hot pursuit of a suspect or there exists an immediate threat to a person or substantial property interest.

Bottom line is if you do not wish to speak with the police, you should not have to. The police are free to knock on your door and request that you open the door, but without a warrant you are not obligated to open the door or even answer their questions.

If you are walking down the sidewalk a police officer can approach you and begin a conversation. The officer will likely refer to this as a consensual encounter. The key word to focus on here in “consensual.”  In order to detain you and stop you from walking away the officer must have reasonable suspicion that you are engaged in criminal activity. Officers often use what they hear from you or see during this “consensual encounter” to develop the reasonable suspicion to legally detain you. Here is the key question for you to memorize, “Am I free to leave?”  This simple question can be asked as many times as you desire until answered by the officer. If they answer that you are free to leave then, you should. If they say you are not to leave then at this point they must have reasonable suspicion to formally detain you. In the streets they will often answer that no, you are not free to leave, and they will still continue to detain you. You are likely being held in violation of your Fourth Amendment Rights.  However, it is not advisable to get into a legal argument with an amped up, armed officer who is also possibly looking for a justification to inflict violence on you. If any criminal case were to proceed to court, you could ask your attorney to file a motion to suppress any evidence obtained against you. If no criminal case proceeds you could file a civil lawsuit alleging your rights were violated. 

If you are driving a vehicle and pulled over by a law enforcement officer you are required by Arizona state law to provide them with an identification. This does not require you to answer any questions about yourself. For example, if the officer asks how much you have had to drink, you are not required to provide an answer. You maintain your right against self-incrimination. An officer can check your driver’s license, check for proof of insurance, and make sure your vehicle operates safely. If they do not develop additional reasonable suspicion they should not prolong the stop for a time longer than necessary to write a ticket. If you have been provided with a ticket for any traffic violations, you should ask the officer if you are free to leave as opposed to answering additional questions from the officer.

If you are a passenger of the vehicle you do not have to provide identification unless the officer has reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed. For example, in the case of United States v. Landeros, Mr. Landeros was able to get his conviction thrown out because the officer who stopped the vehicle lacked reasonable suspicion that Mr. Landeros, a passenger in the vehicle, was engaged in any criminal activity. It wasn’t until Mr. Landeros was ordered out of the vehicle unlawfully that the officer discovered bullets in his pocket. As such, officers can ask everyone in the vehicle for identification but if you are not driving you can inform the officer that you are not legally required to produce identification if the officer lacks reasonable suspicion that you are engaged in criminal activity.

If you believe your Constitutional Rights have been violated we strongly encourage you not to engage in a debate with the amped up officer, but instead to call our office if you are facing any criminal charges. Our experienced attorneys have litigated numerous motions to suppress in both state and federal courts and will thoroughly enjoy cross-examining the officer who gave you the criminal charges. For cases involving vehicular homicide, we have a vehicular homicide lawyer standing by who is ready to assist you.

Do I Have to Give My Name to a Police Officer if They Ask Me?

In Arizona, a person who is lawfully detained based on reasonable suspicion that the person has committed or is about to commit a crime must state their true full name after being informed by an officer that failure to answer is unlawful. A person who refuses to comply could be found guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor. However, it is important to note that you must only give your true name upon being lawfully detained. If you can show that at the point of detention the officer lacked reasonable suspicion then you could be found not guilty.

If the Victim Tells the Prosecutor They Don't Want to File Charges, Does the Case Go Away?

No, in Arizona once the charges are filed by the prosecutor, they do not have to dismiss the charges simply because the victim no longer wishes to pursue the case. Even if the alleged victim notifies the prosecutor, arresting officers, and victims advocate that they no longer desire charges, the case can still continue. The State of Arizona can even subpoena the alleged victim to testify and bring criminal charges against them for perjury if they state something different than what they originally told law enforcement.

Also, if the judge told you that you are not to have communication with the alleged victim you should make certain to abide by those orders. Violating the judge’s order can result in you being returned to jail and receiving additional charges. Our office has successfully moved to amend release conditions to allow contact with family members, make sure you have this done before you find yourself back in jail.

The best thing you can do is hire an aggressive defense attorney who will fight for your rights. Remember that the State has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced attorney can make all the difference in your case. 

Is a Public Defender a Real Attorney?

Yes, they are! Your assigned public defender had to go to law school and pass the same bar exam every other attorney had to pass. While often referred to as public pretenders many public defenders are extremely passionate, experienced advocates. In fact, in Arizona you are often better off sticking with your assigned public defender than hiring some of the private law firms in town. Many of the firms who heavily advertise prey on the idea that public defenders are public pretenders. However, make sure before you hire an attorney that you know what attorney within that firm will be assigned to your case. It most likely will not be the attorney on the billboard or on the side of the bus, and in fact could be a recent law school graduate who has yet to even have done a jury trial. Make sure you aren’t paying top dollar to give some young lawyer experience.

The experienced criminal defense attorneys in our office are former county and federal public defenders. They learned how to work cases and get exceptional results while defending those who otherwise couldn’t afford a private attorney. They know firsthand there are good public defenders, and ones who simply are looking for a paycheck every two weeks. We encourage those who seek our services to first work with their assigned public defender and only after that if they believe they are better off with our services then to hire us. The benefit of now being in private practice is our attorneys are able to have a smaller case load than when they were public defenders. This allows them more time to work on your case and find a creative solution for you. Here you get an experienced attorney who has already handled numerous serious felony cases and know how to argue in both state and federal courts.

What Should I Look For in Hiring a Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney?

Which criminal defense attorney you hire can drastically change the outcome of your case. You want to make sure you are doing research and hiring the right attorney for you. Treat this interview process with the same thoroughness you would of any major life decision. We recommend speaking with a minimum of three attorneys before deciding which one to hire. Of course, this means you should have put hours into researching which three attorneys you wanted to meet with.

Key things to look for in your attorney are, experience, education, and passion. And most certainly don’t forget to ask which attorney will be handling your case. In many cases you will meet with an intake staff member or an attorney who only does consultations and does not actually work your case. Ask right away who the attorney responsible for your case will be and learn more about them. Do they have enough trial experience? Have they handled a case like yours? How big is their current caseload?

Do not just settle for any attorney. Do not simply hire the first one you call. Ask questions and make the law firm convince you that they are the right ones for your particular case, make them earn your money from the very beginning.

The attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group are experienced, passionate attorneys who will give you an honest assessment of your case based on their experience in state and federal courts. We have litigated criminal cases through jury trials in both state and federal courts, won cases at the Arizona Supreme Court and at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. If you are looking for a high quality defense from experienced attorneys give us a call. If you are looking for the cheapest attorney to avoid using a public defender, then go ahead and call one of the firms you see on the billboards so they can take your money and leave you complaining about the young associate attorney who always showed up late to your hearings and didn’t do anything for you.

Can I Get Deported if I Get a Felony in Arizona?

Any criminal conviction, even a misdemeanor, can have serious immigration consequences if you are not a citizen of the United States. We unfortunately have seen all too often, people who have been legal permanent residents for decades be caught by surprise when ICE picks them up and puts them in deportation proceedings following their criminal case. Most criminal defense attorneys are not immigration attorneys. The great thing about our office is we have an entire department that focuses only on deportation defense and a department that only focuses on criminal defense. In the middle we have one of our partners who is one of the gurus of an area known as crimmigration, the defense of criminal cases for immigrants. We are often retained to handle both the criminal and immigration cases and work the criminal case with the important objective of making sure you can stay in the country you call home.

The immigration consequences of criminal convictions is one of the most confusing areas of the law and it’s important to have a law firm experienced in criminal defense of immigrants. A person can be in serious trouble if their conviction is deemed a crime of moral turpitude, a controlled substance offense, an aggravated felony, a domestic violence offense, an offense involving child abuse, or a weapons offense. These categories are not as clear as one would think and sometimes even the words spoken by your attorney during the change of plea colloquy can decide whether you get to stay in the country or if you are deported. If you are an immigrant and worried about the consequences of your case on your immigration status, do yourself a favor and hire our office so we can take that pressure off of your shoulders and put that on us. We wake up every morning with the passion to fight for our community and have given numerous presentations to defense attorneys about the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.

Also, we have represented immigrants who received false information from their criminal defense attorneys and have been successful in getting their convictions overturned. Don’t be the victim of a criminal defense attorney who does not know immigration law, call our office today to speak with an experienced immigration criminal lawyer.

The Police Didn't Read Me My Rights, Can I Get My Case Dismissed?

Law enforcement must give you your Miranda warnings prior to asking you questions when you are in custody. Law enforcement does not have to read you your rights simply because they arrest you. For example, if the officers already think they have a strong case against you they can simply handcuff you and take you to jail without wanting to question you. Additionally, officers will often say they are engaged in a consensual encounter with you and they did not have to give you your Miranda warnings. This is why it’s always important to ask the officer, “Am I free to leave?” If they answer in the affirmative then you should leave. If they say you are not free to leave then you have a strong argument that you should have been given your Miranda warnings prior to any questioning. If law enforcement questions you while you are in custody and they neglect to give you your Miranda warnings you might be able to get your statements suppressed. This means your statements cannot be introduced during a jury trial against you.

However, getting your statements suppressed does not automatically lead to a dismissal of your case. If there remains additional evidence against you, the additional evidence could possibly still be presented to the jury. If you believe your Miranda rights have been violated do not hesitate to contact us about your case.

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Our team of compassionate and experienced attorneys are here to help guide you in your time of need.

Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado, Esq.

Founder & Principal Attorney
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Brett Turley, Esq.

Senior Criminal Defense Associate Attorney
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Zachary William Rivera Weiss

Immigration Attorney


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