Arizona remains a hub for Meth crimes. Get the facts. Know the consequences..

Throughout 2012, Marijuana laws, and offenses capitalized the news media, and social websites. However, there are other dangerous, illegal drugs, and controlled substances that continue to be used, possessed, manufactured, and transported in Arizona. One of the most dangerous of them is Methamphetamine. .

Almost monthly in 2012 we learned of large and small operating Meth rings and labs discovered in some alarming places. Meth Busts took place in residential homes, where children reside; offices; and mobile lab units. Arrests are frequent, and Arizona prosecutes offenses related to it, egregiously. Meth is classified in Arizona as a “Dangerous Drug”. Crimes involving them are prosecuted egregiously. Convictions of any Dangerous Drug offense carry prison terms.

Methamphetamine (Meth) Facts:

Meth is a highly addictive and dangerous drug. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, ingesting even small amounts of methamphetamine (Meth) can result in adverse symptoms such as irregular or rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, and hyperthermia. Long-term abuse of Meth may include anorexia; severe dental problems and gum disease; anxiety, confusion, insomnia, behavior and mood changes that include violence and hostility. Serious and Chronic methamphetamine addictions may result in psychosis; paranoia, hallucinations, disturbing delusions. Overdosing may lead to convulsions, heart failure, stroke, other organ failure, and death. Chronic addiction to Meth has proven to lead to of infectious diseases such as and HIV/AIDS hepatitis B and C due to IV use or high risk behaviors.

Meth may be found in pill, or powder form. Crystal Meth is formed in glass fragments or bluish-white rocks. It has many common street names including but not limited to “Crank”, “Crystal”, “Glass”, “Speed”, and “Ice”, just to name a few.
Methamphetamine may be obtained through importation by “super labs” or dealers outside the USA; they are also manufactured here in the USA in large or small labs. In Arizona they are often found in ordinary residential neighborhoods, businesses, and in mobile labs.

Meth is illegal in Arizona. Crimes include use, possession, transport, sales, or administration. It also has been known to lead to other criminal behaviors such as theft, burglary, robbery, assault, and other violent crimes.

Arizona State Meth Laws and Penalties

It is illegal in Arizona, and considered a “Dangerous Drug” by Definition (A.R.S. 13-3401) and strict laws pertain to possession, use, sales, transport or administration (A.R.S. 13-3407).

Dangerous Drugs are prosecuted by the state egregiously. Meth is also illegal under Federal Law. It is categorized as a Schedule II stimulant under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II Stimulants are recognized as having high abuse potential, with limited medicinal uses in the medical community.

As a border state Arizona is has experienced heavy trafficking of Meth into the country. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s office has used Meth-task-force organizations to monitor the desert skies by aircraft along desert corridors. Other police efforts have included aircraft drone surveillance; under cover informants; special camouflage equipment; night vision resources; and community outreach programs to help combat the Meth problem in the valley.


Criminal Defense for Meth Crimes

If convicted, all Meth crimes are classified as Felonies, and generally carry harsh prison sentencing. If you were arrested for a drug crime you still have the right to defend your charges and retain a criminal defense firm on your behalf. If retained, an experienced criminal defense attorney will evaluate the evidence; defend your rights; determine if it is weak or unjust; determine if your rights were violated; and if there are any defenses that can be used to get a favorable resolution to your charges.


Additional Resources:

Arizona State Legislature – Meth Defined as Dangerous Drug

Arizona State Legislature – Dangerous Drug Laws involving Meth

Arizona Drug Enforcement Program

Arizona Substance Abuse Treatment Center Index

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Marijuna Defense Attorney Phoenix, AZ.jpgAlthough imitation Marijuana is readily available, it is still illegal to use or sell in Arizona
Synthetic Marijuana Facts

On Thursday November 23, 2012 local media outlets reported three incidents of synthetic Marijuana poison by high school students from two different schools in Southern AZ. Two of the students were sent to hospital emergency rooms.

Synthetic Marijuana or Imitation Marijuana is a chemically engineered cannabinoids substances or plant material that is said to produce a high similar that of Marijuana if smoked or ingested.

Arizona is in the majority of states in the country that prohibit use, sales, production, and distribution of synthetic marijuana products and other illegal substances.

This is because they have proven to be dangerous, causing severe illness, resulting in emergency hospitalizations, and fatalities. The National Institute on Drug Abuse compares the effects in some cases to poisoning. Health effects include severe anxiety, nausea, vomiting, heart problems, tremors, seizures, hallucinations, paranoia, psychotic episodes, and other serious medical conditions.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers incidents of poisonings, and poison control emergency calls increased 50% from 2010 (2915) to 2011 (5741) and continued to increase for 2012.

Despite Health alerts and warnings by Local, State, and Government Agencies, synthetic marijuana continues to be sold and used. Brands marketed and sold as something other than fake or synthetic Marijuana. They may be found under the popular names of:

• “Herbs”;
• “Incense”;
• “Spice”;
• “K2,”;
• “Blaze
• “Red X Dawn”
They are usually labeled as Incense and have the words “Not for Human Consumption”. They are readily available, and can be purchased at marijuana shops, other retail outlets, and even some convenient stores.

AZ Synthetic and Imitation Drug Laws

Synthetic Drugs are defined under Arizona Law Imitation Substances or Drug Offenses
A.R.S. 13-3451 and include:

• Controlled substances;
• Counterfeit preparations;
• Imitation controlled substances;
• Imitation prescription-only drug;
• Imitation over-the-counter drug
Arizona Laws A.R.S. 13- 3456; 13- 3457, and 13-3458, prohibit use of imitation or synthetic controlled substances; prescription drugs; and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs;
Violations of these laws will result in Class 2 Misdemeanor criminal charges.
Class 2 Misdemeanor charges expose a person to four months in jail; probation; substance abuse education, counseling and treatment; up to $750.00 fines; fees, and costs.

Arizona laws also apply to sales, manufacturing, or distribution of synthetic or imitation drugs under A.R.S. 13-3453; 13-3454; 13-3455; and 13-3459.

Violations of any of these laws will result in Class 6 Felony charges and expose a person to more severe sentencing including prison terms and exorbitant fines.

Arizona Marijuana Laws

Marijuana use, sales, production, and distribution is prohibited under Arizona law A.R.S. 13- 3405, and includes synthetic Marijuana as described in A.R.S. 13- 3401 Drug definitions.

Charges are classified as felonies. The classification of the offense and severity of the offense depends on the quantity of the drug found in a person’s possession as well as other factors.


Criminal Defense for Marijuana and Synthetic Marijuana Possessio
n
Many users are misled by the fact that the imitation drugs are readily sold over the counter. However, it is a criminal offense to use, sell, produce or distribute Synthetic Marijuana. If you face any Marijuana drug charges you should consult a criminal defense attorney regarding your matter. If retained, they will make sure your rights are protected; you are treated fairly; and defend your charges. There may be defenses you are not aware of that can lead to dismissal of charges; reduction of sentencing or other favorable resolution in your matter.

Arizona State Legislature Title 13 Imitation Substance or Drug Offense

Arizona State Legislature Title 13 Classifications for Use of Synthetic Drug Charges

National Institute on Drug Abuse

US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

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Criminal Rights and Exceptions of Right to Counsel

A person’s rights to counsel can be found in the State’s Rules of Criminal Procedures; The US Constitution 5th and 14th Amendment; the Arizona Constitution; and Under Arizona Criminal Code A.R.S. 13-114. This segment focuses on the Rules of Criminal Procedure in Maricopa County.

Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure – Right to Counsel

Rules 6.1 (a.) & (c.) entitle a defendant to be represented by counsel in DUI and criminal proceedings. However, they are not entitled to counsel if the offense has no possibility of resulting in jail or prison if they are found guilty.

A defendant may waive their right to counsel at any time.

Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure – Withdrawal of Waiver of Right to Counsel
Rule 6.1 (e.) allows for a person who previously waived their right to counsel, to also withdraw their waiver of right to counsel, at any time.

There is one exception to withdrawing a waiver of right to counsel at any time: A person is not entitled repeat a proceeding, they previously waived their right to an attorney, on the sole ground that they were unrepresented.

When Legal Counsel is Necessary

Defense services of qualified legal counsel are needed in all stages of criminal proceedings, that expose a person to jail or prison, if they are found guilty of the charges. These stages include:

• Pre-trial Services;
• Trial Representation;
• Sentencing
A person should also consider hiring a lawyer to represent them in pre-indictment cases, when a suspect is being investigated for serious charges, but has not yet formally been charged.

Legal Representation for DUI and Criminal Charges in Mesa AZ

It is unwise for a person to waive their right to legal counsel for DUI or criminal charges in which a person may be exposed to incarceration in jail or prison if found guilty. If a person moves forward with criminal proceedings unrepresented, irreversible harm can result in their case, and their defense may be compromised.

A defendant should always retain an attorney as early as possible in order to preserve all rights and defenses that may be used in the future to challenge or defend the charges.

If a defendant has jeopardized use of defenses, waived rights, or provided self-incriminating testimony, an attorney generally can’t undo the damage that has been done. They can’t go back and abolish the proceeding on the sole basis that the defense was compromised as a result of the defendant’s waiver of right to representation by an attorney.

In general, defendants usually do not secure favorable resolutions to their charges when they go unrepresented. A person who represents themselves if expected to adhere to all Rules of Criminal Procedure; understand their rights and laws; and consequences of their decision in the event they are found guilty of the charges. Early retention of a criminal defense attorney is a key factor in obtaining any favorable outcome in criminal cases.

Additional Resources:

AZ Supreme Court – Rules of Criminal Procedure

Maricopa County Superior Court

Right to Counsel under Criminal Code

US Constitutional Amendments

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The Verdict could have national impact on when law enforcement can collect DNA evidence from suspects.

On November 9, 2012, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear a criminal DNA testing case, Maryland v. King (12-207), which could result in nation-wide impacts. The defendant’s DNA samples were collected immediately following his arrest. He was subsequently convicted of rape. King’s Attorney attempted to suppress the DNA evidence, on the grounds that it was taken unconstitutionally. The Maryland Court of Appeals agreed, and overturned King’s conviction. They ruled that suspects under arrest but not convicted, have more rights than convicted felons; and that DNA testing was more invasive than standard finger print evidence.
The State of Maryland disagreed, and appealed to the US Supreme Court to hear the case. The case is expected to be heard by the high court in June 2013.

DNA testing has been the subject of much controversy. Objection to the DNA testing of non-convicted suspects is that it is in violation of a person’s 4th Amendment Constitutional Right against unlawful search and seizures.

All states currently use DNA testing as an admissible investigative tool. Currently it is lawful in most states, including Arizona, to collect report and distribute DNA results for convicted felons. However, not all states allow collection, analysis, reporting, distributing, and use of DNA testing as evidence against first time criminal offenders, with no felony convictions.

DNA Testing Laws in Arizona

Arizona allows collection, reporting and distribution of DNA evidence from prison inmates and convicted felons. Criminal DNA samples are maintained by in a forensic data base by authorized Law enforcement agencies, and indexed by the FBI.
However, in recent years, Arizona also passed legislation allowing DNA to be collected from suspects who were arrested, but not convicted of a felony in specific situations.
Under Arizona Law A.R.S. 13-610 DNA may be collected from a suspect if they were arrested for serious, violent, and dangerous felony offenses on involving a victim.

The law allows for DNA testing in situations where the suspect was arrested for a criminal offense specified by law, even if they were not convicted of the crime. Examples of these offenses include but are not limited to sexual offenses and assault; burglary in the first or second degree; homicide; and other dangerous offenses involving victims.


Criminal Defense for Charges involving DNA cases

Anyone arrested for a serious or dangerous crime, should always consult a criminal defense attorney before pleading guilty. Felony convictions for these types of crimes, will result in years to life in prison, or even expose a defendant to the death penalty. A defendant should always invoke their right to retain qualified legal representation to defend their rights and charges. If DNA evidence was collected unlawfully it may lead to suppression of the evidence in favor of the defendant. If DNA evidence does not lead to a match of the suspect arrested, the charges may be dismissed or lead to a “not-guilty” verdict in a jury trial. The lawfulness or validity of DNA evidence should always be argued by a qualified criminal defense attorney.

Additional Resources:

Arizona State Legislature

Arizona State Bar – Jury Instructions for Evidence

United States Supreme Court – Maryland v. King

US Supreme Court Orders – Petition Granted Maryland V. King, Alonzo J. (12-207)

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Phoenix DUI Lawyer.jpgHow BAC impacts DUI impairments and penalties in Arizona

According to the National Center for Disease Control (CDC) recent studies three categories of people are the most at risk of getting an alcohol or drug related DUI. Those categories include young people; motor cyclists; and repeat DUI offenders:

1) More than one of every three fatal crashes involved a driver’s with BACs of 0.08% or greater were between the age of 21 to 24 (34%); The next largest percentage of age groups were the 25 to 44 years of age (28% average);
2) Of all motorcyclist involved in a fatality 28% of them had a BAC of 0.08% or greater. Of those impaired riders killed 44% were between the ages of 40 to 44 years of age;
3) Motorist with BACs of 0.08% or greater involved in fatal accidents were four times likely to have a prior DUI – DWI conviction.

Arizona DUI Legal Limit BAC Laws and Penalties

Arizona has some of the most strict laws and harsh punishments in the country. The higher the BAC level, if the impairment is due to alcohol, the more impaired they become. The more impaired the driver. Arizona recognizes this, and consequently has laws in place that increase the severity of charges and penalties for higher BAC limits.
Under A.R.S. 28 – 1381 the legal limit for Blood Alcohol Content in a person’s system is 0.08% or greater. However, under the law, a person may be guilty of DUI even if their BAC is below the legal limit of 0.08%, or even if they had no alcohol in their system. This is called being “impaired to the slightest degree. A person convicted of these charges will be exposed to 10s jail along with other harsh penalties.

Under A.R.S. 28 – 1382 a motorist with a BAC of 0.15% or more, and less than 0.20 is considered to be under the Extreme Influence of alcohol. A person found guilty of these charges will be subject to 30 days in jail, in addition to other harsh penalties.
And under A.R.S. 28 – 1382 and a driver with a BAC of 0.20% or greater is will be guilty of Arizona Super Extreme DUI charges. Penalties for this offense will be subject to 45 days in jail in addition to the other harsh penalties.

Second DUI offenses expose a driver to heavier sentencing of 90 to 180 days in jail in addition to other harsh penalties.

Third offense within 7 years will result in Aggravated DUI (Felony), which will expose a person to prison sentencing that ranges from 4 to 8 months in imprisonment.
Convictions in all of these cases will result in adverse Driver’s License actions including suspensions, denials, or revocations; court ordered installation and use of Ignition Interlocking device on vehicle; alcohol or substance abuse screening and counseling; fines, fees, costs; probation; community service; or restitution.


DUI Lawyer Chandler AZ

If you were arrested for any type of impaired driving charges due to drugs or alcohol you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who defends DUI charges. They will discuss your matter and options for defense. If retained they will evaluate your case to determine if any defenses are available to challenge the charges; defend your charges; make sure your rights are protected; and work to get the best possible resolution to your case.

Additional Resources:

Arizona State Legislature – DUI laws and Impaired to the Slightest Degree

Arizona State Legislature – DUI laws – Extreme and Super Extreme DUI Laws

National Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Arizona Department of Public Safety – Driver Impairment

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Tips for keeping your holidays safe and free from DUI arrests and hazards

Last week, the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (AGOHS) announced it will be holding a Holiday 2012 DUI Enforcement “Kick-off” Conference at the Arizona State Capitol, Tuesday November 27, 2012. They will be discussing details for safety checkpoints, saturation patrols, and increased presence throughout the state to enforce DUI laws.

The AGOHS works with local city, and county officials to organize DUI Safety Checks that generally beginning around Thanksgiving and run through the New Year. During this time frame last year, DUI roadblocks resulted in over 4,170 Arizona DUI arrests for Drug DUI and Alcohol related DUI offenses.

7 Basic DUI Safety Tips

Here are some tips for planning Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holiday celebrations, to help avoid hazards and arrests resulting from impaired driving:

• Refrain from driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
• Appoint a trustworthy designated driver;
• Make arrangements in advance for a safe ride home including taxi, public transportation, or trustworthy family or friend;
• Know the Arizona DUI laws related to drug and alcohol DUI;
• Avoid binge drinking, and know your impairment threshold for drinking;
• Don’t allow yourself to be a passenger in a vehicle driven by a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
• Talk to your teens about the dangers of drinking and driving and encourage them to follow these tips
Arizona DUI Laws and Facts

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration works with Arizona to provide support for their Holiday DUI Enforcement “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaigns. Here are some Arizona laws, and NHTSA facts to keep in mind:

• Of the 32,885 people who lost their lives in 2010 to motor vehicle accidents, 31% or 10,228 fatalities resulted from alcohol impaired driving;
• The age group subject to the greatest risk of impaired driving and fatal crashes were 21 to 34 years old, who were under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
• Nighttime driving 6:00 pm to 6:00 am was the most deadly time frame for fatal crashes, and 78% of fatal crashes within the study in December 2010 alone;
• Of those, 45% had a Blood Alcohol Content of .15 BAC or higher;
• Police have zero tolerance for DUI charges, and do not provide warnings. DUI arrests will be made;
• All DUI convictions call for jail time and suspension of driver’s license;
• In Arizona Refusal to take alcohol breath tests will result in a suspension of a motorists driver’s license, whether the motorist was found to be driving impaired or not;
• In Arizona the legal limit for alcohol is 0.08% BAC;
• A person may be arrested for DUI, if their BAC is below the 0.08% if they are driving “impaired to the slightest degree” under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
• The legal drinking age in Arizona is 21 years old. Zero tolerance applies to any one driving or found to have any amount of alcohol in their system.

Criminal Defense for DUI Charges Tempe AZ

If you were arrested for DUI charges in Arizona, you should always consult an experienced DUI defense lawyer regarding your charges. Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws and penalties in the country, and prosecutors egregiously pursue convictions for all types of DUI – DWI charges. If retained, your attorney will make sure your rights are protected; that you are treated fairly; defend your charges; and attempt to get the most favorable resolution possible for your charges.

Additional Resources:

Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety – News Announcement

National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration

Arizona State Legislature – DUI laws

Arizona Mothers Against Drunk Driving – (MADD)

Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles

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Dring & Keys.JPGThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently conducted an evaluation of the Maricopa County DUI Court program. The purpose was to review the effectiveness of the program aimed at reducing <a href="The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently conducted an evaluation of the Maricopa County DUI Court program. The purpose was to review the effectiveness of the program aimed at reducing Aggravated DUI (Felony) and repeat impaired driving offenses.

The study concluded that Maricopa County’s program was effective in reducing recidivism and had successfully helped reduce repeat offenses. It also concluded that Maricopa County’s program was more effective than other County DUI Probation Programs. DUI Court Program DUI Court is a specialty court designed to improve public safety and reduce repeat and future felony DUI offenses, by promoting changes in destructive and illegal behaviors. This is accomplished through team efforts of the prosecution, judge, probational officers, criminal defense attorney, and the drug/alcohol treatment professional, and the probation department. As part of sentencing, the court includes substance abuse screening and treatment as well as probation. This treatment is a primary component of the program.

Those eligible to participate in the program must demonstrate a voluntary willingness to stop drinking or stop substance abuse behaviors in an effort to rehabilitate them. Not everyone will qualify for the program which usually involves a reduction of other harsh sentencing including jail and prison terms.

Requirements of the DUI Court Program

Participants are required to sign a contract with the court that outlines the details their obligations. These may include the following:

• Abstinence from drugs and alcohol;
• Substance abuse screening, counseling or treatment with a qualified treatment program;
• AA meetings;
• Monitoring, supervision and reporting of defendant to their probation officer;
• Attendance to DUI Victim Impact meetings;
• Random drug and alcohol testing;
• Attend court hearings and meet with the presiding judge to discuss progress and issues of concern.

A variety of incentives are used by the court to encourage successful completion of the programs. These may include deferred or reduced jail or prison time; public recognition; set aside of criminal charges; or reduced penalties.

Penalties for Non-completion of the program

The participating defendant is held accountable for completing or not completing the program. A person may be exposed to the following penalties or sanctions for non-compliance, or breach of contract in the program:

• Additional jail or prison terms;
• Community service;
• Curfews;
• Electronic monitoring;
• Probation violation hearings and consequences;
• Abolishment from the program;
• Revocation of probation;
• Reinstatement of original sentencing
Successful completion of the program

In order to graduate from the program sucessfully a participate must do the following:

• Remain sober or abstained from drugs for six months; • Attend school or be employed;
• Comply with all court orders;
• Attended all treatments and counseling and provide proof of completion;
• Fulfilled all other probation or court ordered requirements.

Criminal Defense Attorney for DUI charges Tempe AZ

You should always retain qualified legal representation if you face any type of DUI charges. Your attorney will defend your charges, and make sure your rights are protected. They will also work to help you to get qualified for a treatment program, that may reduce or mitigate sentencing, if the case can not be dismissed.”>Aggravated DUI (Felony) and repeat impaired driving offenses.

The conclusions were that the program was effective in reducing recidivism and had successfully helped reduce repeat offenses. It also concluded that Maricopa County’s program was more effective than other County DUI Probation Programs.

DUI Court Program

DUI Court is a speciality court , similar to drug court. It is designed to improve public safety and reduce repeat and future felony DUI offenses, by promoting changes in destructive and illegal behaviors. This is accomplished through team efforts of the prosection, judge, probational officers, criminal defense attorney, and the drug/alcohol treatment professional, and the probation department.

As part of sentencing, the court includes substance abuse screening and treatment as well as probation. This treatment is a primary component of the program. Those eligible to participate in the program must demonstrate a voluntary willingness to stop drinking or stop substance abuse behaviors in an effort to rehabilitate them. Not everyone will qualify for the program which usually involves a reduction of other harsh sentencing including jail and prison terms.


Requirements of the DUI Court Program

Participants are required to sign a contract with the court that outlines the details their obligations. These may include the following:
• Abstinence from drugs and alcohol;
• Substance abuse screening, counseling or treatment with a qualified treatment program;
• AA meetings;
• Monitoring, supervision and reporting of defendant to their probation officer;
• Attendance to DUI Victim Impact meetings;
• Random drug and alcohol testing;
• Attend court hearings and meet with the presiding judge to discuss progress and issues of concern.
A variety of incentives are used by the court to encourage successful completion of the programs. These may include deferred or reduced jail or prison time; public recognition; set aside of criminal charges; or reduced penalties.


Penalties or sanctions for non-completion of the program

The participating defendant is held accountable for completing or not completing the program. A person may be exposed to the following penalties for non-compliance, or breach of contract in the program:

• Additional jail or prison terms;
• Community service;
• Curfews;
• Electronic monitoring;
• Probation violation hearings and consequences;
• Abolishment from the program;
• Revocation of probation;
• Reinstatement of original sentencing
.

Successful completion of the program

In order to graduate from the program with successful completion, the person must to the following:

• Remained sober or abstained from drugs for six months;
• Attend school or be employed;
• Complied with all court orders;
• Attended all treatments and counseling and provide proof of completion;
• Fulfilled all other probation or court ordered requirement.


Criminal Defense Attorney for DUI charges Tempe AZ

You should always retain qualified legal representation if you face any type of DUI charges. Your attorney will defend your charges, and make sure your rights are protected. They will also work to help you to get qualified for a treatment program, that may reduce or mitigate sentencing, if the case can not be dismissed.

Additional Rescouces:

• National Highway Safety Administration – Evaluation of DUI Court Conclusions

Maricopa County – DUI Specialty Court Program

Arizona State Legilslture – Revised Statutes for Felony DUI
Arizona MADD website – Victim Panel

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United States Supreme Court.jpg“Request made ‘unknowingly’; defendant lacked ability to adequately mount a defense”says Judge

On October 9, 2012, the Superior Court Judge in Maricopa County denied Michael Lee Crane’s request to represent himself at trial. Crane is accused three violent robberies and homicides in the Phoenix, AZ.
The defendant claimed the reason he wanted to represent himself was because no one knew his case better than he did. But the reason for the Judge’s denial had little to do with knowledge of the case.

But rather, Crane had persistently been disruptive; refused follow or recognize governing authority and law; refused to answer questions; refused to follow substantiated law; refused to comply with the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure and Code; and deliberate engaged in serious and obstructionist misconduct
The Judge explained that Crane needed to be able to understand, and follow these rules and follow the Arizona and US constitution. The Judge explained that by not knowing and following these laws and procedures, the defendant did not realize the limits he would place on his defense. But more importantly, his request was denied on the basis that the request for self-representation was not “knowingly” made.

Analysis of Ruling

The Sixth Amendment of the constitution affords a person the right to counsel or the right to defend themselves. And while it is unwise, the court must respect a person’s right to refuse attorney representation, even if it to the detriment of the person’s defense. For this reason, the Judge did take the defendant’s request under advisement. However, the decision is still ultimately at the judge’s discretion.

In this Ruling the Judge recognized the right of a person to defend themselves and refuse counsel. However, he explained that this right has limits. The court cited numerous important rulings to refuse to the defendant his request for self-representation:

• A defendant who is persistently disruptive of orderly procedures may lose their right to self-representation U.S. v. Williams 2011; State v Brooks 1989; Smith v State 1998; Wilson v. state 2004; Coleman v. State, 1980;
• Repeatedly arguing with the court on issues that were already ruled on, may be cause for forfeiture of the right to self-representation State v. Hemenway, 2004;
• Self-representation must be balanced against the government’s right to a fair trial which requires it to be conducted in a judicious and orderly forum State v. Henry, 1997;
• A trial court has broad discretion in managing the conduct of a trial, and has a duty to properly exercise that discretion State v. Cornell, 1994;
• Even if found competent to waive counsel, and stand trial, the court still has discretion to deny self-representation requests if it believes that the defendant’s request was not made knowingly.


Criminal Defense Attorney Mesa, AZ

If you face criminal charges, especially if they are serious, you should always consider retaining a qualified criminal defense attorney to represent you. They will defend your charges, and make sure your rights are protected. They will represent you through all stages of a criminal case; be capable of mounting a defense on your behalf; and worked towards obtaining the best possible resolution to your charges.

Additional Resources:

State of Arizona v. Michael Crane

Arizona Judicial Branch – Rules of Criminal Procedure

Arizona Superior Court – Case Procedures

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DUI lawyer Chandler AZ.jpg5 reasons police conduct Preliminary Breath Tests

Arizona is one of a majority of states with Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) Laws.

The PBT is a small mobile device used to establish the presence of alcohol in a person’s system. The PBT is intended to be used as an early detection or screening tool by police. Arizona does not allow a PBT to be admitted as evidence in court against a person accused of DUI, because the machines historically are not considered accurate in measuring exact Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Levels. In addition, PBT units are not calibrated or routinely maintained like the official Breath Tests Machines.

Arizona Portable Breath Test (PBT) Law

Under A.R.S. 28 § 1322 Preliminary Breath Test law a police officer who has reasonable suspicion to believe a person is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol has authority to request that a person submit to a preliminary breath test.

Under this law, the officer may also require the person to submit to further testing
pursuant to the Implied Consent Law A.R.S. 28 § 1321. This includes DUI blood, breath, urine testing.

5 reasons PBTs are commonly used in Arizona

The National Highway Safety Administration recognizes that although the PBT is useful, it is not admissible as sole evidence to determine BAC; but is generally reliable in determining if any alcohol at all is present in a person’s system. Arizona courts do consider PBT evidence to be admissible in court as evidence against a defendant facing DUI charges. Below the police may likely choose a PBT in a DUI field investigation:

• To determine or rule out DUI influence of alcohol v. drugs;
• Drivers who may have a high alcohol tolerance level, and can perform field sobriety tests or other tasks to a greater degree than those with lower tolerance levels;
• To detect if an underage 21 person is under the influence of any alcohol in violation of the state’s Zero Tolerance law;
• As a preliminary DUI screening test only; and if positive, will be followed up with an Official Breath Test Machine.
• At the scene of a DUI collision where the driver is suspected of DUI, but has been injured and is unable to perform Standard Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs).

Criminal Defense for DUI Chandler AZ

Arizona laws and penalties are some of the toughest in the country. If you have been arrested for any type of DUI you should always consult a qualified criminal attorney to discuss your charges. You should do this before you appear in court or plead guilty to the charges. You have the constitutional right to defend your charges, and this is done by pleading not guilty and retaining proper legal representation. There may be defenses that you are not aware of that if used, may lead to a dismissal of charges, sentencing, or other favorable outcome in your case.

Additional Resources:

Arizona State Legislature – Portable Breath Test Laws A.R.S. 28 § 1322

Arizona State Legislature – Implied Consent Laws A.R.S. 28 § 1321

Arizona Department of State – Public Safety – Determining Alcohol Concentration

Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety – DUI laws

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Domestic Violence Charges.jpgOctober 2012 marks the 25th anniversary of the observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Every nine seconds a woman in the United States is beaten. Three women a day in the USA lose their lives. But victims are not limited to women. Victims can be men, children, brothers, sisters, grandparents, or other familial relationship.
The observance was founded by the National Coalition against Domestic Violence. Its goal is to reach out to victims throughout the nation to protect victims, raise awareness, and help end domestic violence.

A wide range of services and activities focused on education, support, and prevention at local, state and national levels. It includes the mourning of those who died as a result of domestic violence, and provides services and support efforts to their surviving children
Identifying Abusive Behaviors

• Controlling behavior;
• Physical abuse;
• Threat or intimidation;
• Isolation;
• Mental or physical neglect;
• Economic abuse or neglect;
• Sexual abuse
Planning for Safety

• Don’t allow yourself to be cornered in a room especially a small enclosed area;
• Educate yourself and your children to identify signs and indicators from your abuser that abuse is imminent;
• Discuss safety with your children before any incidents occur including safe places to go, what numbers to call, and safety signals to alert them to act if anything happens;
• Set up emergency signals with a trusted family member or neighbor who lives outside your home;
• Collect important documents, and records that you can access immediately from a safe location on short notice;
• Pack and keep a bag in a safe place that includes clothing, nonperishables, medicines, water, and any needed supplies for you and your children for at least 24 hours;
• Be familiar with local domestic violence shelters in your area, and keep their contact information readily available in the event of emergency.

Local and national supporters are wearing purple ribbons, and conducing “going purple activities”. For activities in your area, you can visit your state’s Domestic Violence Coalition, official city police website or other national resources.

Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic abuse or violence is a criminal offense, punishable by jail, fines, and counseling. You should know that even victims sometimes are charged or arrested for domestic violence. There are a numerous reasons for this. It can occur if a parent is a witness to domestic abuse or neglect to a child, but does not take any action to report it to authorities or respond appropriately to keep the child safe. It can also occur, if the police arrive, and are uncertain of which person is the aggressor and which is the victim; or if both persons contributed to the incident of aggression, violence, abuse, or neglect.

If you received charges or were arrested, you always consult a criminal defense attorney regarding your matter, before pleading guilty to charges, or appearing in court.

Additional Domestic Violence Support Resources:

• National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

• Other US Organizations for Domestic Violence Support

Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence

• State Coalition Contact List

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