Articles Posted in Arizona Criminal Defense

Arizona Supreme Court Limits Admissibility of “Cold” Expert Testimony

If you were arrested for domestic violence or assault, the prosecution may attempt to use profiling evidence or “cold” expert witness testimony against you.

Profiling evidence  and “cold” expert witness testimony is not always admissible.  The decision about admissibility is a decision for the court.  When making this determination the court will consider the rules of criminal evidence, content, relevance and objectivity of the testimony.

If improper witness testimony is admitted, it can potentially lead to an unfair guilty verdict. Therefore,  proper challenges should be made as to the admissibility of planned expert witness testimony.

A Review of 3 Uncommon Criminal Defenses Used for Drug Trafficking Charges

In a recent Arizona Court of Appeals drug case, the court considered a defendant’s conviction for narcotic drug trafficking charges.  The defendant was sentenced to a presumptive five-year term of imprisonment and appealed the conviction.

The defense argued that (1) the drugs found in his car should have been suppressed, (2) improper profile testimony was admitted, and (3) the sanction imposed for a Batson violation wasn’t adequate.

Drug trafficking charges are multi-facet in nature, and challenges can take place on numerous fronts. In this article three types of challenges will be discussed:

Criminal Defense for Intimidation, Threats, and Firearms on School Grounds Mesa AZ

Currently the state of Arizona limits circumstances in which firearms can be carried onto school grounds.

Unless specifically outlined by law, carrying a loaded firearm on any school grounds will result in criminal charges under Arizona’s Weapons Misconduct law A.R.S. 13- 3102(12).     

This article outlines the weapons misconduct laws related to guns on school grounds, threatening and intimidation (assault) laws; and criminal defense for weapons misconduct and assault charges.

5 Things You Should Know about Your Rights in a Police Stop and Arrest

You cannot be arrested solely for a non-criminal traffic violation in Mesa, AZ.

However, that changes if you fail to stop or try to elude police when you are signaled to pull over. Failure to stop violates Arizona’s unlawful flight laws.

The most important thing you can do when you realize police are signaling you to stop, is to pull over safely and promptly.

Arizona Supreme Court considers factors that create reasonable suspicion to justify police frisk.

What is a Frisk?

A frisk in the context of a law enforcement search is also known as a pat-down.

It is less intrusive than a full body search.  The purpose of a frisk is to ensure an officer’s safety by confirming that a suspect encountered by police is not armed and dangerous.

How to Protect Your Rights in a Plea Bargain and Deferred Prosecution

If you have criminal charges, it is likely that you will be faced with the decision of whether or not to take your case to trial.  As an alternative to trial, you may be offered a plea deal.  In some cases the prosecution can offer participation in a deferred prosecution program if it is available for certain types of criminal charges.

Last year Maricopa County Superior Court reported that of 99.8 percent of terminated criminal cases, only 2.2 percent went to trial.

The United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) reported similar statistics in 2016.   The USSC reported 97.3 percent of criminal cases were resolved without trial, while only 2.7 percent went to trial.

4 Things Arizona Supreme Court Needs to Admit Results

Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a person has the right to be protected from unlawful searches and seizures.

This protection extends to a DUI blood test.  Consequently, police need a suspect’s consent or a search warrant to obtain a blood sample for a DUI investigation.

Without the person’s consent or a search warrant, it is unlawful for the police to collect a DUI blood sample.

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

In 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.

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

Can 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:

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

The 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

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