Articles Posted in AZ CRIMINAL DEFENSE TOPICS

Arizona Supreme Court clarifies standards for determining if a fundamental and prejudicial error occurred at trial.

Drug-Courier-Proling-Laws-Criminal-Defense-Attorney-Mesa-AZ-150x150The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that when the prosecution uses drug courier profiling evidence mainly as a way to prove guilt, it violates a person’s constitutional right to a fair trial.

While police can use drug courier profiling evidence to establish reasonable suspicion for purposes of stopping someone to investigate a crime, this evidence cannot be used at trial largely to prove they are guilty.

This is because by doing so, the defendant is essentially prosecuted for the conduct of others, rather than that of the defendant.

Arizona lawmakers recently passed House Bill 2007 (HB2007), adding an aggravating circumstance to the list of 26 that were previously enumerated in the statute.  The law became effective August 3, 2018.

The newest aggravating circumstance is triggered when a defendant “uses a mask or other disguise to obscure the defendant’s face to avoid detection” during a crime.

To be clear, the new aggravating circumstance doesn’t criminalize wearing a disguise.  Rather, it allows for an increased punishment for those who are convicted of committing a crime, while wearing a mask or disguise.

3 self-incrimination traps to avoid; How to invoke your rights; Aggravated assault penalties in Arizona; How to resolve your criminal charges

Arizona jails and prisons have measures in place to assure no criminal activity is in progress related to the defendant’s communications.

Authorized jail and prison officials screen mail, and record suspects’ phone calls.

The information they obtain may be used to prosecute pending or future criminal charges. The exception to this would be privileged  communications between a defendant and their criminal attorney.

The Arizona Supreme Court recently ruled that enhanced sentencing does not apply if the victim is fictitious.

Under Arizona’s Dangerous Crimes against Children statute (DCAC), a person convicted of a sexual crime against a child is subject to enhanced sentencing. These penalties are severe and designed to provide greater punishments to those convicted of the offenses.

The question for the Court in this case was whether or not enhanced sentencing should be imposed under A.R.S. § 13-705(P) (1), when there was no actual victim.

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.

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.

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.