Articles Tagged with Arizona DUI or Criminal Charges

10 Things Police Don’t Tell You about Phoenix DUI Sobriety Checkpoints.

Article Written By: James Novak, Experienced Phoenix DUI Lawyer, & Criminal Defense Attorney
This time every year, Phoenix DUI lawyers and criminal defense attorneys start getting pretty busy with DUI violations, and other criminal charges that result from drinking and driving, or other offense that can stem celebrations or gatherings. One thing to expect is Arizona DUI sobriety check points. Phoenix DUI checkpoints are pre-determined and announced by city officials and law enforcement agencies. Not only are the locations of the DUI sobriety checkpoints decided in advance, but so are the vehicles they decide to stop. Federal laws adopted by Arizona, require that which vehicles to stop, be based on a mathematical formula. For example, it could be every third or fourth vehicle, or every vehicle. The only way to be 100% certain you won’t be stopped if you find yourself in a DUI roadblock line is the obvious: Avoid drinking and driving; and avoid driving impaired to the slightest degree, due to alcohol, drugs, or any other toxic substances that would impair your ability to drive in Arizona. If that is not possible, then read on to learn how to survive the DUI stop:

1. Stay away.
Before you leave for your destination, find out in advance where the planned Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale DUI roadblocks will be. Officials must announce DUI sobriety check point locations in advance. Check your local media and news sources; official law enforcement, DPS, Maricopa County, and other Social Media outlets, websites, blogs. Then take a detour.

2. Make your Arizona driver’s license and registration accessible to you in the vehicle. When the police stop a vehicle at a DUI check point, they will ask you for your driver’s license and vehicle registration. They are not just looking to see if your driver’s license is current and valid; or to make sure you’re not driving a stolen vehicle. They are also observing your demeanor, any unusual fumbling; or lack of controlled motor skills they may cause them to investigate you further for Arizona drunk driving or DUI. Produce your license and registration timely and without question.

3. Stay calm and in control. The Phoenix police or DPS officers always expect people to be a little nervous at a DUI stop, even if they have nothing to hide. But being overly nervous or over gesturing is a red flag to them that something’s up;
4. Don’t joke around. Refrain from joking, laughing or chattering to the police or other passengers in the vehicle with you. Heads up passengers….this includes you too. In fact, you should alert all passengers that you are approaching a DUI checkpoint that silence and respect is necessary, and throughout the process.

5. Get off the cell phone and refrain from texting. While in line or at the actual DUI stop, stay focused; pay attention; and listen to what is being asked of you by the police.

6. Don’t complain about the Phoenix DUI checkpoint or being stopped. Remain respectful and polite to the officers. Treat them how you would want to be treated if the tables were turned.

7. Give them only the information they are requesting. Don’t offer information about where you’ve been; where you are going, what you’ve eaten, or what you have been drinking, or anything of that nature. What may seem to you as harmless or innocent “elevator conversation” may actually cause them to question you further. A respectful greeting is sufficient such as “Good evening officer”, “Hello officer”, “Thank-you Officer” and the like.
8. Don’t offer any information about medical conditions or medications you have. And especially do not offer information regarding prescription or over-the-counter medications you may have consumed or that may be in your possession. To do so, may cue the officer’s to investigate you further for a Phoenix Drug DUI or Medication DUI. In Arizona you can get a DUI if you are “impaired to the slightest degree” by legal non-prescription drugs. You may not be aware that certain medications you purchased from a local drug store for aches, pain, allergies, headaches or other reason, contained ingredients that impaired your driving.

9. Don’t allow passengers to carry or consume alcoholic beverages while in your vehicle. When you step up to be the designated driver, you get to make the rules. The rules are to protect you and them. It’s your license and your freedom is on the line. Your job is to be sober and get them to their destination safely. Their job is to ride by your rules. When you make the rules and your riders abide them, everyone wins and you’re the “Most Valuable Player”.

10. If you are charged with DUI, consult an experienced Phoenix DUI lawyer as soon as reasonably possible regarding your matter. Arizona DUI, drunk driving, or DWI charges carry some of the most severe penalties in the Country. You will need a good Phoenix criminal attorney to defend your charges; protect your rights; and fight for a dismissal or other favorable outcome.

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You should know the difference between two particular AZ Criminal Laws:
“One may lead to a dismissal of charges: the other a conviction”
Article by: James Novak, DUI & Criminal Defense Lawyer Arizona
Good AZ Criminal Defense Attorneys – Choose the Right Defenses
Arizona has two criminal laws that may involve defenses of “not having knowledge”. The wrong one if used as a defense would result in a disastrous outcome for the defendant. The other if used effectively, under right circumstances, may lead to a dismissal of DUI or criminal charges. That is why it is important to hire an experienced Arizona criminal attorney or DUI trial lawyer to defend your DUI or Criminal Charges in Arizona.

Arizona Criminal Laws – Comparison of Two Criminal Defenses

1. “A.R.S. Title 13, Chapter 2, 13-204. Effect of ignorance or mistake upon criminal liability”- Where “not knowing the law” is not a viable defense and in fact may lead to a conviction. In reader friendly terms this law states that if one “does not know the law”, it makes no difference, and they will be held criminally responsible. In Arizona, if a person knowingly commits an act, but claims they “didn’t know” it was a violation of the law, it does not matter In fact by claiming they did not know their conduct was a crime; is simply reinforcing to prosecution that they in fact committed the crime.

2. “A.R.S. Title 13 Chapter 34: 13-3405. Possession, use, production, sale or transportation of marijuana; classification Where “Not having knowledge” may lead to a dismissal of charges. This law applies to Arizona Drug laws; in it is a provision and requires that the state prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant was “knowingly” in possession of drugs, in order to get a conviction for the drug charges. In this case, if someone “did not know” they were in possession of the drugs, their criminal defense attorney would present compelling arguments to the effect that their client “was not knowingly in possession” of the drugs. This often times proves to be a most effective defense that results in suppression of evidence, and dismissal of charges.

Application of Two Arizona Laws and Defenses:

1) A.R.S. 13-204. In the first case one admits certain criminal conduct, but “does not know” their actions were against the law. (not a valid defense)
2) A.R.S. 13-3405. In the second case, involving drug charges, a person is charged with drug possession, but “does not know” they were in possession of drugs. (Justifiable defense).

Examples of each of the Two Arizona Laws and Defenses:

1) A.R.S. 13-204 – The accused is arrested for possessing dangerous and illegal drugs. They claim they knew they had the dangerous drugs, for intended personal use. They were promptly arrested. They insist they did not know it was against the law to have the particular dangerous illegal drugs in their possession. It does not matter. They have reinforced their dangerous drug possession charges in favor of the prosecution.

2) A.R.S. 13-3405 – A friend borrowed the accused person’s vehicle and inadvertently left a bag of Marijuana on back floor board of the car. The following evening, the owner of the vehicle was driving it and was stopped by police for a minor traffic infraction. As the police officer approached the vehicle they saw the bag of Marijuana in “plain sight”, and arrested the owner of the vehicle. Until then, the owner of the car did not k now the Marijuana was in the vehicle. A good AZ criminal defense lawyer will have a compelling argument that the accused was not “knowingly” in possession of the drugs.

If you face criminal charges in Arizona, be sure you consult and retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer in the state and county you received the DUI or criminal charges. DUI and criminal laws and defenses may differ in every state.

Source of Arizona Law: Arizona State Legislature
Arizona Revised Statutes

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“What You Don’t Know, Could Cost You Your Freedom”

Article by: James Novak, DUI & Criminal Defense Lawyer Arizona

Good criminal lawyers can challenge your AZ DUI using different types of defenses; but in Arizona, “I didn’t know” is not one of them.

It is unwise to go to Phoenix Criminal or DUI court unrepresented by a good Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney. Doing so places your freedom and future at great risk.

If you were arrested or charged with a crime or DUI in Phoenix Arizona, you will need to appear for your Arraignment Phoenix Criminal Court or DUI Court. You should make sure your rights and defenses are protected by retaining effective criminal defense for your Phoenix criminal or DUI charges. The retention of a good proven DUI or criminal defense lawyer will increase your chances of getting a good outcome in your case. If you choose to defend your own charges and have your case heard without an experienced Arizona Criminal or DUI lawyer, you increase your chances of getting a criminal conviction or Arizona DUI conviction. Make sure the DUI attorney or criminal lawyer defends cases regularly in the court which you have been instructed to appear.

Phoenix Criminal Court Jurisdiction

Phoenix Municipal Court, Phoenix Justice Court and Phoenix Superior Court

Many defendants want to know why they have been instructed to appear at a certain court verses another Phoenix criminal court, and why they are different. The primary difference between Municipal, Justice and Superior Courts are the types of cases that are heard in them. Some courts have been granted authority by Arizona Constitution to handle certain types of cases. Some of the lower courts are limited as to what types of cases they are authorized to hear. In this context, the difference involves what is known as “Limited Jurisdiction” Courts verses “General Jurisdiction” Courts:

A) Municipal or City Courts (used interchangeably) are Limited Jurisdiction Courts. This is considered a lower court. The City courts have limited jurisdiction and have authority to hear only limited types of criminal cases. The majority of the cases heard in Phoenix City Court are Misdemeanor charges. Under certain circumstances, preliminary hearings for felonies can be heard in Phoenix City Court.

B) Justice Courts are Limited Jurisdiction Courts. Similar to City Courts, the Justice Courts have limited jurisdiction over what types of cases can be tried or heard in them. The Justice courts in Arizona, usually hear Phoenix Misdemeanor cases. However, some preliminary hearings for felonies can be heard in Phoenix Justice Court.

C) Superior Court is considered to be a General Jurisdiction Court. The Arizona Superior Court is state wide trial court. It has authority under the Arizona Constitution to hear wide variety of criminal cases. The types of cases tried in this court are primarily Felony cases. Although the Arizona Superior Court is a single entity, it has multiple locations in each county in Arizona. Each county in Arizona, including Maricopa County, has at least one Superior Court Judge.

Types of Criminal & DUI Cases heard in Arizona Municipal/City Courts, and Arizona Justice Courts

1. Phoenix Municipal & City Courts: Municipal courts & City Courts, in Arizona hear the following types of criminal cases:
• Misdemeanors:
• Misdemeanor DUI (Driving under the influence of alcohol); as long as no injuries were involved;
• Misdemeanor hit-and-run; without injuries involved;
• Misdemeanor reckless driving without injuries involved.
• Petty offenses; committed in Phoenix AZ.
• Municipal or City courts also share jurisdiction with justice courts over certain types of violations relating to Arizona law, if the crime was committed in Phoenix AZ.

2. Justice Courts – Arizona Justice Courts hear criminal cases of these types:
• Misdemeanors;
• Some felony preliminary hearings; and
• Misdemeanors criminal offenses punishable by a fine of less than $2,500 or less than six months in county jail.

3. Superior Courts – The Arizona Constitution provides the Arizona Superior Court jurisdiction over the following types of criminal cases:
• Superior Courts in Arizona have exclusive jurisdiction over felony cases;
• Superior Courts share jurisdiction with Justice Courts over misdemeanors when the potential penalty does not exceed $2,500 or imprisonment for six months;
• If no other court has jurisdiction or authority to handle a particular case, Superior Courts may have jurisdiction over that case.

As soon as you learn which court your are required to appear, you should consult an experienced AZ criminal defense attorney or DUI lawyer in that jurisdiction as soon as possible to discuss your charges and defense options.

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“Even the Best Arizona DUI Lawyers will hire their own Private Practice DUI Lawyer to represent them if they get an Arizona DUI”
AZ DUI Blog By: James Novak, Arizona DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyer
Defendants who face Arizona DUI charges in Maricopa County have a constitutional right to hire an AZ DUI Lawyer to defend their case or go without legal representation. They should use it. Representing yourself is risky and imprudent. Some DUI lawyers call it a fast track to an early AZ DUI conviction. Representing yourself makes it easy for an experienced prosecutor to get a conviction.

Was it Theologian, John Calvin centuries ago who said, “Only a fool represents themselves in court”? And was it President Abraham Lincoln who said “Any man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client”? While who coined the phrases may be debatable, their meanings are clear. This is particularly true in the defense of AZ criminal or DUI charges.

Even the best AZ DUI lawyers will hire a third party private practice criminal defense or Phoenix DUI lawyer to defend their DUI if they have the misfortune of getting one. Successfully defending Arizona DUI charges is a serous and complicated legal matter. AZ Criminal Defense Lawyers would agree, to provide a proven and successful DUI defense, requires a vortex of qualifications, training and hundreds of hours of courtroom and trial experience.

Here are at least 10 good reasons you should hire a private practice criminal or DUI trial lawyer in Maricopa County to defend your charges (this list in not all inclusive):

1. To avoid unknowingly saying or doing something that will incriminate your defense case.
2. To avoid unintentionally waiving any constitutional rights you could have used in your defense.
3. To avoid overlooking a defense strategy, that if used properly may have led to dismissal of your charges.
4. To remain detached and objective in examining the facts, evidence and defenses.
5. To eliminate being led into an evidentiary trap, and being lured into it by the prosecution. Many become aware of what happened after the damage is done.
6. To avoid the chance of misinterpretation of the constantly changing and tough AZ DUI Laws, and penalties.
7. To help you recognize and use evidence that is material to building a solid DUI defense strategy. (You may be surprised at the factors which are material. Many reach far beyond just the results of your DUI breathalyzer or blood test.)
8. You want to recognize weaknesses or flaws in the prosecution’s case; and avoid overlooking exculpatory evidence (evidence in your favor) that may strengthen your defense case and lead to a DUI dismissal.
9. You avoid failing to miss any procedural guidelines, deadlines, arguments, or processes that must be followed in the Maricopa County Criminal Justice System. If overlooked they may jeopardize your defense. Many DUI charges are dropped due to procedural errors or protocol violations by police or prosecution.
10. Lastly, a law expert once said “Never underestimate the power of filing early motions” (paraphrased). While they may be seemingly irrelevant to a defendant, or the general public, DUI or Criminal Charges in Arizona are dismissed every day due to procedural or defense motions filed early in the criminal or DUI case by the defendant’s
AZ DUI or AZ criminal defense lawyer.
The stakes are high. No matter whether you were arrested for a misdemeanor DUI or Felony DUI, the negative consequences can be life altering. Arizona has some of the toughest DUI Laws and penalties in the country including Jail or prison terms; Vehicle interlock devices; Hefty fines, fees, costs and/or restitution; Probation; Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license; Participation in drug or alcohol treatment programs; and long term Criminal Records. Hiring a private practice AZ DUI lawyer who is highly trained, skilled, qualified and experienced in defending Maricopa DUI cases on a daily basis is your best chance at a DUI dismissal or other favorable outcome.

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By: James Novak, Phoenix DUI & Criminal Defense Lawyer
1) If you have Arizona criminal or DUI charges you should not consult a personal injury or real estate attorney for help: Be sure your consultation is with an Arizona criminal defense or DUI defense attorney. They are the most familiar with the laws, defenses, and constant changes in Arizona criminal Law.

2) Just the facts: Stick to the facts of your criminal or DUI charges. A busy attorney has active retained cases from people who have hired them that need attention. They do not have time to discuss the weather or politics unless they are directly relative to your Arizona criminal or DUI charges.

3) Breathe: Yes Breathe. Many people accused of a crime are so anxious to tell their story to someone who will listen and side with them, that they don’t pause to give the criminal or DUI lawyer a chance to speak. Most Attorneys are very good listeners. They are trained and have experience in defense and litigation. As part of the consultation process, they need certain details or information they are looking for in order to help you and proceed with your consultation. If you are doing all the talking, without allowing them to speak, you may miss some very important information, interjections, or questions they have to provide you with the most accurate and useful consultation regarding your criminal charges and defense options. .

4) Answer the Attorney’s questions: The attorney may ask you questions such as date of birth, citizenship status, prior criminal or DUI history, city of arrest, city of residence, reason for the DUI stop, or other charges relating to your charges. They are asking certain questions for good reasons in order to help you. The answers to the questions may relate to the court process that will take place, what the prosecution will be looking for, and defense strategies they may be able to use to defend your case relating to the charges, They will also ask this information to assist them in determining the appropriate quote to give you regarding their fees for retention or other reasons relating to your defense.

5) Make sure you Speak directly with an Attorney: Some firms screen cases through other legal support staff or sales representatives. Find out in advance who you are or will be speaking with for your initial consultation. Consulting with a criminal or DUI attorney will be in a position to provide you the most accurate and beneficial information related to your charges and defense options. If you are not given the opportunity to speak with the attorney who will be representing you, it is wise to seek other defense counsel.

6) Don’t just call around looking for fee Quotes: Often times, people just call one attorney after another for quotes in general. And that is all they want to know. By doing this, they are missing out on very important information that could help them. Further, it is not always possible for the attorney to provide a quote without getting relative facts from you. Also, following your consultation, many attorneys will be willing to negotiate reasonable prices to assist you in retaining them especially if you are having financial hardship. Finally, there is a lot more to consider when hiring an attorney besides their prices. You should consider defense experience, education, training, credentials, and get an idea of what they can do for you. If you hire someone strictly on pricing, without finding anything out about the attorney, you may find you have made a grave mistake that will cost you your freedom and future.

7) Tell the Truth. Sometimes people make the mistake of with holding information surrounding the severity or number of charges instead of all of them, their criminal history, or what phase in the criminal law process they are currently engaged in. Their motivation is to get a “lesser quote”. But by doing this you will do more harm to your defense than good. First, you have compromised the trust of a potential attorney from the start. Next, a good Arizona criminal attorney or DUI lawyer will find out the truth, (sooner than later) whether you tell them or not. In that case, they will have the right charge you the proper amount needed to hire and defend the case. It is better to be honest from the start regarding such things as past criminal record, amount and severity of charges. Also if you have or had a different attorney currently, it is unethical for a criminal or DUI attorney to discuss details of your case. One exception to this is if you have a genuine desire to change attorneys and hire a new one. If that is the case, you need to provide this information as soon as possible. However, keep in mind that if a case is too far into the criminal justice process such as having been set for trial, many attorneys will decline to come on board to represent you.

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