Articles Tagged with AZ DUI Court Jurisdiction

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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15 Traits of Maricopa County Defense Lawyers – Who Often Get Criminal & DUI Charges Dismissed!

“Your chances of getting criminal charges dismissed increase with an attorney who can present a “compelling argument”, over an attorney who has a stronger argument, but presents it less persuasively.”

– James Novak, AZ DUI & Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer and Author of “Arizona Winning DUI & Criminal Defense Strategies” Book Series
1. Experience; Criminal & DUI defense experience in Maricopa County;
2. Communication: The best trial lawyers listen, as well as they speak. They know that winning cases are often found in the “details” of the facts, evidence and testimony; and they don’t want to miss a thing. A DUI lawyer preoccupied with what they are going to say next, risks missing details that could lead to their client’s case dismissal;
3. Compelling: The best defense lawyers are persuasive, articulate and compelling. They can present highly effective arguments;
4. Thousands of Hours of Trial & Litigation: Be careful of hiring criminal defense attorneys who have not spent much time in the court room or trial, even if you don’t plan on having a trial. The fact is, that there are attorneys who have not seen much of the “inside of a court room”: either because they are new, or because they simply don’t challenge the evidence or prosecution on the issues very often. In those cases, the attorney simply agrees with whatever the prosecution throws at their clients for conviction and sentencing; You don’t need to pay someone to help you lose;
5. Former Prosecutor: Here are just 4 good reasons to choose a former prosecutor:

(a) They get a vast amount of trial experience in many types of criminal cases in a short amount of time;
(b) In Maricopa County, it is not unusual for prosecutors to be in court or trial 4 to 5 days a week, every week. There are fewer of them and they carry heavy caseloads;
(c) In contrast average DUI or criminal defense lawyers in Maricopa County, only go to trial on about 2% or 3% of their cases, if that;
(d) Criminal defense lawyers who are former prosecutors know what can and can’t be done outside to help the defendants, particularly when it comes to negotiations for dismissals, or reduction in sentence; they practiced by the book, and know what’s in the book; and they don’t take “no” for an answer if they know otherwise;

6. They are Scholars of Arizona DUI & Criminal Defense Law
: They know the Arizona criminal law; they are familiar with existing and new laws, changing legislation, and court cases with outcomes that may impact their client’s DUI & Criminal charges in Maricopa County. They recognize that Arizona Laws do not exist just to prosecute a defendant and they know what laws to use that will make good defenses and protect the rights of their clients;

7. They Don’t Use “Cookie Cutter” defenses
: The best lawyers understand that “one size fit all” does not apply to defenses in a DUI or criminal cases. Each is unique and with its own set of facts. Winning DUI & Criminal Defense strategies are well thought out, and tailored to fit the circumstances. A particular defense in a case that leads to a dismissal may result in conviction with a prison sentence in a different case;
8. They Don’t File “Frivolous” Motions: Attorneys with reputations of filing frivolous or unjustified motions lose credibility with judges and the prosecution in courts where they regularly appear;

9. They Never Underestimate the Power of Filing EARLY Justified Motions
: These often involve procedural or constitutional rights violations such as 1). Charges being brought in the wrong jurisdiction; or 2). Time limit to prosecutor has expired for that crime under Arizona Constitution and the like;
10. The “Home Court Advantage”: The best criminal lawyers defend charges exclusively within their own jurisdiction or county such as in the case of Maricopa County. So although they may be licensed to practice in the entire state of Arizona, it is still best in most cases to hire an attorney who frequently defends cases in the jurisdiction or county where the charges were filed. Those lawyers have built reports; are well respected by law enforcement, prosecutors, investigators, expert witnesses, and judges; and they are extremely familiar with court procedures and protocol throughout courts for which they defend clients; There’s no substitute for the “Home Court Advantage”;
11. Simplify Complex Issues: Not only are the best attorneys able to interpret the law, but they have the ability to simplify them in the best light for their client’s defense;

12. Passion and Dedication
: They are dedicated to their client’s defense and obtaining the most favorable outcome for them; they have a passion for defense; they recognize that the accused has fundamental rights by law to defend their charges in due process under the United States Constitution and Arizona Law; They make sure defendants are treated fairly, and their constitutional rights are protected;
13. Work Ethic: They make the time needed to tailor, build, and present a compelling defense case which includes gathering evidence, retesting it, examining the facts, and challenging evidence for suppression (not to be used), and obtaining exculpatory (evidence in the client’s favor); they conduct their own defense investigations, concurrently as the prosecution is building their case;
14. They exhaust all means to obtaining the best outcome for their clients: Including case dismissals (partial or complete); negotiating for a better outcome, including leniency in penalties; or alternatives to harsh and unwarranted sentencing such as incarceration.

15. Getting the Case Dismissed is #1 priority: If a client does not wish to challenge their charges; have someone fight for them; or attempt to get their charges dismissed; then they do not need to hire one of the “Best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Maricopa County”. In fact, they would not need to hire any criminal defense attorney, in that the case.

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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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