How to tell if your stop was legal or illegal; What happens when your rights are violated?

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What is Reasonable Suspicion?

Reasonable Suspicion is a standard of proof in criminal law, recognized throughout the United States.

It refers to the justification needed by police to make an investigative stop.

Arizona Appellate Court Rules on Medical Marijuana Card Affirmative Defense; 3 Admissible Ways to establish an affirmative defense; 10 Other Marijuana DUI Defenses

Medical-MarijuanaA medical marijuana cardholder can raise an affirmative defense when charged with driving under the influence under § 28-1381(A)(3).

Recently, an Arizona appellate court considered an important case where the Justices reviewed what it takes to prove this affirmative defense.

This article sheds light on some important related criminal law and defense topics:

Aggravated Assault, Weapons Misconduct, Domestic Violence, Failure to Obey Police Orders: Laws, Penalties, and Criminal Defense in Arizona

aggravated-assault-1In Arizona, we recently learned of a tragic story.

Police officers answered a domestic dispute, and the suspect was fatally shot by police.

When the officer arrived on scene, he encountered a woman outside a home.

5 Things you need to know about Arizona DUI laws and defense

police-stop-drunk-driver-3-300x201No one who drinks expects to get a DUI or be the victim of an alcohol related disaster.

It is important to remember that others on the road may be driving dangerously due to drug or alcohol impairment.

Often people who have been drinking, lose track of how much they are drinking, and have not planned for an alternative ride home or arranged for a designated driver.

Arizona Supreme Court preserves defendant’s rights to inform jury of planned testimony in opening statements.

Arizona-Desert-Crimes-1-300x200In any criminal trial, the timing in which the defense theory is presented to the jury, is equally as important as the defense itself.

In a recent case decided by the Arizona Supreme Court, the defendant was charged with Marijuana transportation, and challenged the charges using Arizona’s Dress defense.

The defendant testified that smugglers armed with weapons, forced him to carry large bundles of Marijuana  into the Arizona  desert.

Arizona Supreme Court rules suspect was not in custody for purposes of “Miranda”; Facts about Miranda Rights that Police will Likely Not Tell You.

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court  Miranda v. Arizona, 1966.

Since that time, police have been required to read suspects their Miranda rights while in custody before they are interrogated.

The Miranda principle has faced many legal challenges, including when police are required to read the rights.

Arizona Court of Appeals: Mistake of Law must be Objectively Reasonable to Avoid Suppression of Evidence obtained after the Stop

police-stop-unlawful-2-300x203Can an Arizona Police Officer’s misreading of a clear and unambiguous law give rise to reasonable suspicion, thereby making a stop lawful?

This was a question for a recent Arizona Appeals Court to decide. In the case, the court considered whether a deputy had reasonable suspicion to stop a driver because the officer thought the rear display light on his vehicle was unlawful.

This article takes a closer look at how defense successfully challenged an unlawful police stop due to the police officer’s mistake of law with these topics:

Arizona Supreme Court Adopts “Odor-Unless” Standard: What it means for Arizona and AMMA qualified users

Marijuana-Smoking-1The Arizona Supreme Court recently considered a case involving the question of whether or not the smell of marijuana was enough to establish probable cause to issue a search warrant.

The Court  needed to evaluate this issue in light of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA).

The AZ Supreme Court ruled that Marijuana odor can establish probable cause, unless there are other facts that would cause a reasonable person to believe that the suspect’s activities were compliant under the AMMA.

U.S. Supreme Court excuses unlawful police stop due to suspect’s outstanding arrest warrant: How to protect your rights if you have a warrant

The aftershocks still linger following U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s eruptive and indignant dissent in this case:

 “The Court today holds that the discovery of a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer’s violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. Do not be soothed by the opinion’s technical language: This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants—even if you are doing nothing wrong…”  

– Justice Sonia Sotomayor, US Supreme Court

US-Constitution-10The incident began with an unlawful police stop of a man leaving a private residence.

The suspect was arrested after the police officer learned the suspect had an outstanding warrant.

Illegal drugs were found in the suspect’s possession, after the officer searched him.

The search was conducted incidental to the arrest, as a result of the outstanding warrant for a traffic violation.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided that even though the stop was unlawful, it was not flagrant.

So they allowed the drug evidence to be admitted and used against the suspect to prosecute the illegal drug possession charges.

In this article we outline the case, the U.S. Supreme Court decision, and how it impacts your 4th Amendment rights, especially if you have an outstanding warrant for arrest.  Continue reading

Arizona Supreme Court Limits Use of Entrapment Defense in Cocaine Case

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Is this too difficult to imagine?

You’ve just been released from prison. You are struggling to become a productive member of society.

You’re looking for job, and trying to get your life on back on track.

So far, no employer has been willing to hire you, due to your criminal record.

You’ve sold nearly everything you own, including your car to pay outstanding debts, and to try and make ends meet.

Day after day you wait for the bus to take you to town so you can continue your job search.

Then one day, you are approached by a man while waiting for your bus. The man asks you if you will purchase $20.00 of crack cocaine.  He offers to pay you $10.00 to do the deal.

You hesitate, and think that selling drugs again was the last thing you ever intended to do.

Weary, desperate, and hungry, you err in judgement and agree.

The man takes you to buy the drugs from an acquaintance.  You buy the cocaine for him.   You give him the cocaine, and he pays you.

Following the exchange of drugs and money, the man immediately arrests you.

You now face returning to prison, and serving 8 to 10 more years for selling illegal drugs while on parole.

The man who approached you at the bus stop was an undercover police officer.  You were clearly entrapped.

But you will not have a chance to gain an acquittal based on the entrapment defense, without doing this one very important thing…

That is, if you wish to challenge the charges by utilizing the entrapment defense, you must admit to the substantial elements of the crime.

In simple terms, you will need to admit that you committed the criminal act for which you were charged.

You are confused by this.  It goes against everything you understood about your 5th Amendment rights and protections against self-incrimination.  So you do not admit to the crime.

But the fact is, it doesn’t matter how much police deception or inducement was involved.  Unless you are prepared to formally admit to the substantial elements of the crime, either in testimony or stipulation, the entrapment defense will not apply.

You are convicted and sentenced to return to prison to serve 9 more years.  Your freedom was short lived.

Not only is this scenario imaginable, but the the high court of Arizona recently heard a case with similar circumstances. This statutory requirement was affirmed in that case.

The Arizona Supreme Court held that the entrapment defense afforded under A.R.S. 13-206, is reserved for cases in which the defendant admits to the substantial elements of the crime.

In this article we examine the often misunderstood entrapment defense, and include the following featured topics:

  1. Overview of recent Arizona Supreme Court ruling in a cocaine case;
  2. 7 questions and answers regarding application of the entrapment defense;
  3. The requirements of making a valid entrapment claim in Arizona;
  4. The burden of proof for entrapment;
  5. Arizona entrapment law A.R.S.  12 – 206;
  6. 10 other drug crimes defenses besides entrapment;
  7. Criminal defense for drug charges in Phoenix AZ

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