Articles Tagged with Criminal Defense Attorney

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.

The new AZ DUI law withdraws the right of a jury trial for some DUI defendants. But Arizonans say “not so fast”…

June 4, 2011
Arizona News & Editorial Commentary
Article By: James Novak, Arizona DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyer
AZ SB 1200 was signed into law by the Governor Jan Brewer on April 29th, 2011, to take effect December 31, 2011. A controversial provision discretely found its way into the bill at the last minute. It contained restrictive language that was not included in the earlier versions of the bill. Thus, it deprived the public of input or debate on the issue. The provision causing upset involves the revocation of some AZ DUI defendant’s statutory right to a jury trial. It applies to DUI defendants who have been charged with a first time, non-extreme Arizona DUI charges, eliminates their statutory right to a trial by jury for their AZ DUI. It does include a consolation or alternative for the judge to hear the case and decide if the AZ DUI defendant is guilty or not guilty.

It didn’t take long before the restrictive amendment sparked opposition by many Arizona citizens, AZ DUI defense attorneys, and organizations such as The Committee for the Right to Jury Trial.

Among numerous provisions, the new AZ DUI law includes the following:
1. Gives municipalities, counties and certain local AZ jurisdictions judges the authority and discretion to offer such alternative penalties to eligible defendants, home-detention programs instead of incarceration in jail.
2. Reduces the length of time from one year to 6 months for a first time, non extreme DUI offenders to use the DUI interlock device on their vehicles.
3. Eliminates the right for non-extreme, first time AZ DUI offenders the previous right to a jury trial. Instead only DUI defendants that have prior convictions, extreme DUI or less serious DUI charges to keep their previous statutory and inherent right to request a trial by jury.

The first provision makes good sense. It allows for some cost relief to help reduce the over crowded Arizona’s Jails. The second provision gives some relief to first time non-extreme misdemeanor DUI defendants. So far, so good right?

But then there is the third provision that’s facing fire. Arizona Law makers and proponents of the amendment claim that it was a move to reduce the State’s cost for expensive jury trials for those less serious DUI charges, where the blood test or breathalyzer test against them strong against the DUI defendants. The problem with that thinking, among many other reasons, is that it revokes an existing statutory right to those who fall within this category. In essence it could be argued that first time offenders are losing rights while repeat offenders get rewarded by preserving their rights.

Constitutional and Statutory Rights are one of the few things in life people lean on to protect them from mistreatment or abuses in the criminal justice system. If the move was all about Arizona saving money because “trials are too expensive” then someone needs to redo the math. How much will it cost the state of Arizona to fight any and all future repeal propositions that this amendment will face? So much for cost savings and the preservation of the States economic resources.

The Committee for the Right to Jury Trial, led by attorney Clifford Girard is asking voters to repeal that particular amendment of the new AZ DUI law in SB 1200. The committee needs to gather 86,405 signatures by July 19, 2011 to qualify for putting the repeal on the 2012 ballot. Opponents want the voters of Arizona to have the chance to decide, debate, and vote; a chance that was not provided to them before it was passed into law. Fair enough.

Article News Sources: 1), 2) , 3) Associated Press 4) Arizona Republic News. 5) AZ news
This news article and commentary has been posted for general public informational purposes only. All articles by this author are intended to raise awareness and generate discussion on a variety of Arizona State Law issues and topics. Note that Arizona legislation, laws, and bills are often presented and changing. If you have a criminal or DUI defense matter related to this topic, it is important that you consult or hire an Arizona criminal or AZ DUI lawyer in the jurisdiction or municipality of Arizona where you received your charges for up to date information.

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Petitions to be Accepted by ADHS for Additional Qualifying Debilitating Medical Conditions for AZ Medical Marijuana Use

March 30, 2011 News Post
Article by: James Novak, Phoenix DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney
Don’t fret if you have a qualifying debilitating medical condition not initially included on the list. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) plans to accept petitions beginning January, 2012, for additional debilitating medical conditions to be considered as qualifying for use of prescription medical marijuana in Arizona. This is good news to many who feel they needed to use medical marijuana for relief of their symptoms, but their conditions did not initially qualify under the AZ medical marijuana law.

According to the AZ Medical Marijuana Rules patients suffering from the following medical conditions were considered to initially qualify (Cited in part):

• Cancer
• Glaucoma
• Hepatitis C
• Crohn’s disease
• Alzheimer’s disease
Also there are certain symptoms that qualify, even though they may not be the result of a qualifying condition listed above. A “chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition” is defined as one that causes the following symptoms below. (Cited in part):
• Cachexia or wasting syndrome;
• Severe and chronic pain;
• Severe nausea;
• Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy;
• Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
The ADHS will accept written requests to add medical conditions and chronic or debilitating symptoms of a condition to the current list. This opportunity will take place twice each calendar year, in January and July. There will be certain requirements and documentation needed by the ADHS in order to consider adding a new qualifying medical condition. Those requirements and documentation are outlined in detail, but reader friendly, at the ADHS official website in the Question and Answers section.

Article Source: Official ADHS Website: .
This article has been posted for general public informational purposes only. All articles by this author are intended to raise awareness and generate discussion on a variety of Arizona State Law issues and topics.

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Final Rules Published by ADHS

They’re here! Arizona Department of Health Services Publishes Final Rules for Administration of the AZ Medical Marijuana Act. Two more milestone dates added.

March 29, 2011 News Post
Article by: James Novak, Phoenix DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney
The ADHS published it’s Final Rules, Physician Certification Form, and Frequently Asked Questions and Answers which can be found at their official website

There you will also find two more milestone dates for future actions posted on the website: :
1) August, 2011: ADHS will select and award medical marijuana dispensary registration certificates.

2) January, 2012: ADHS will accept petitions for additional debilitating medical conditions.

Article Source: Official ADHS Website Refer to the Arizona Department of Health Services Official Website for more information on this article topic, latest news and expanded information .

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Arizona Medical Marijuana Update
A closer look at how Arizona dispensary registration certificates will be allocated and awarded by ADHS to medical marijuana dispensary applicants.

March 28, 2011 News Post
Article by: James Novak, Phoenix DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney
According to announcements made on ADHS website, the first issuances of for registration of dispensary certificates will begin in May 2011. They will be allocated according on the basis of what is known as the “Community Health Analysis Areas (CHAAs)”. The CHAAs were created six years ago. They are community-based locations made up of small geographic areas. These areas were designated as units. Although smaller in geographic locations, they are large enough in population to base a statistical analysis.

The ADHS will initially award dispensary registration certificates as outlined in R9-17-302 of the final draft rules and regulations. Here’s what we know:

1) In the event there is only one “complete and compliant application” received for medical marijuana dispensary in a particular CHAA, that dispensary applicant will be awarded a certificate without contents.

2) However, if more than one compliant application is received by ADHS for a dispensary in the same CHAA area, they will “randomly” award the certificate to one of the two or more dispensary applicants. That choice will be made in a public forum to be held at a later scheduled date in the summer of 2011.

A medical marijuana dispensary applicant who has been awarded a registration certificate must obtain approval from the ADHS to operate as a dispensary prior to beginning operations. The application procedures for the approval of the dispensary operations are outlined in section R9-17-304 of the final draft rules.

Refer to the Arizona Department of Health Services Official Website for latest news and expanded information .
News Source: Official ADHS Website

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Final rules scheduled to be published for implementation of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act March 28, 2011…and a look at what’s next.

March 27, 2011 News Post
Article by: James Novak, Phoenix DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney
You can look for the final rules to be published by ADHS tomorrow, March 28, 2011,
Also, at the ADHS website you can “map your location” to obtain current information about the dispensary application process in your areas.

As a refresher, under the provisions of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AZ Prop 203) the AZDHS has until April 13, 2011 to adopt a regulatory system for implementation and distribution of medical marijuana.

Through an exempt rule making process this system will include methods for approving, renewing, and if applicable, revocation of registrations for the following entities:
1) Qualifying Patients,
2) Caregivers,
3) Nonprofit Dispensaries,
4) Dispensary agents
The ADHS has been a key player in keeping the public involved and informed as to their efforts. They have thus far met every deadline they set on or before the scheduled date. Here’s a look at what’s next on their agenda of milestones:

• April 2011: Applications will begin to be accepted for qualified patients and caregivers, by ADHS.
• May 1, 2011: Applications for dispensary registration certificates will begin to be accepted by ADHS.

Refer to the Arizona Department of Health Services Official Website for latest news and expanded information .
News Source: Official ADHS Website

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February 25, News Post
Article by: James Novak, Phoenix DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney
On March 1, 2011 Scottsdale Police plan to rent space to defendants in other cities valley-wide convicted of non-violent misdemeanors including Arizona DUI charges for up to 48 hours. This alternative is being offered in lieu of spending that time in Maricopa County’s Tent City or Maricopa County Jail.

No one wants to do time for an AZ DUI conviction under the harsh conditions of Sherriff Joe’s Tent City. So the question is “what’s the catch?”
First, it’s not about comfort for the defendants. Basically, it boils down to money issues. The city of Scottsdale faces a $20 million deficit for next fiscal year’s budget. The idea is to bring in $700,000 from this 6 month pilot program to rent the jail space in the Scottsdale Detention Facility. But some speculate whether or not it makes sense. Officials indicate that that it costs the city approximately $500,000 to keep the jail facilities opened. Scottsdale hopes to offset existing costs, of keeping its two jail facilities opened, and earn a $200,000 in profit to help the budget. The primary Scottsdale booking facility is the down town jail on 75th street in Scottsdale AZ. The facility where they will be renting the space is the Scottsdale via Linda Detention Center.

Scottsdale City officials feel it will help the over populated Maricopa County jail and Tent City because some valley cities in Maricopa County, such as Mesa AZ, do not have the space or capacity to hold defendants overnight. If the 6 month trial fails, officials report that the City of Scottsdale may have no choice but to consider ceasing operations and closing the building down.

Other concerns are that there are only eight additional beds available for out-of city defendants, because the other six are being used to accommodate convicted defendants from Scottsdale City Court.

So how do defendants opt in? Well, besides the Arizona Criminal Justice system’s tape, several other things need to happen. For one, there needs to be room available at the Scottsdale via Linda facility. Eight beds do not sound like a lot. Considering the program is available to valley wide cities, the “no vacancy” sign might light up sooner than expected. And Two, it will cost the defendant $189.00 per day, out of their own pocket to stay at the Scottsdale via Linda jail. Ouch…on a good day, $189.00 that could pay for a nice room at some of the valley’s best hotels and resorts.
Article Resource Used:, Arizona Republic Newspaper, & Local Fox News Television Station.

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On February 18, 2011 synthetic Marijuana Bill HB 2167 was signed into law, permanently banning use, possession, or sale in Arizona.

February 24, News Post
Article by: James Novak, Phoenix DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney
The permanent ban has now been signed into Arizona law by Governor Jan Brewer, which takes effect immediately. Synthetic Marijuana (fake pot) was found to be responsible for such severe and sometimes fatal conditions including but not limited to seizures, strokes, high blood pressure, visual disturbances, heart dysfunctions and more. The synthetic Marijuana chemical compounds were found to be 700 times more potent then the authentic substances of the active ingredients in Marijuana.

Bill Montgomery, Maricopa County Attorney stated that those using, possessing or selling this drug should “consider themselves on notice”. He vowed to aggressively prosecute those who have been charged or arrested for using, possessing or selling synthetic marijuana; and that this and similar drugs pose a threat to the citizens of Maricopa County.

Sources: Office of the Governor, and Local Television News Agencies.
This news is a follow-up article to dated December 15, 2010 regarding Temporary Ban on use of synthetic or fake Marijuana also known as Spice: Click on this link for more detailed information on synthetic marijuana and the ban on it.
Author: James Novak – Criminal Defense and DUI lawyer in Arizona (Former Prosecutor).

The Law Office of James Novak is devoted 100% to defending DUI, Drug & criminal charges in valley wide within Maricopa County including Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert Arizona and surrounding cities valley-wide. .

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ADHS announces final rules for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act on schedule to be published March 28, 2011. Over 2,150 comments were submitted to ADHS regarding the final rules.

February 19, 2011 News Post
Article by: James Novak, Phoenix DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney
According to the official ADHS website, the public comment period for the draft rules closed February 18, 2011 as expected. The ADHS stated their target date to publish the final rules is March 28, 2011.

The ADHS will be reviewing the more than 1,000 comments they received electronically and 150 verbal comments provided during public comment sessions, on this second and final round of soliciting public feedback. Abut 1,000 comments were submitted for the initial draft rules. The ADHS plans to make the comments available to the public in the near future.

When you think about the hundreds of thousands of people who voted one way or the other, on Prop 203 back in November 2010, the number of comments, (approximately 2,150) pales in comparison.

So here we are, with implementation around the corner. Arizona residents were given their chance to vote, and provide constructive input regarding the Medical Marijuana Act rules. Each city in Arizona will administer the Medical Marijuana Law by adopting the final rules as they see best fit for their city.

There will be those who have significant interests or who will be greatly affected by the law, and are still unhappy with the final outcome following all due processes. With respect to those, they have one final option to act: Put simply, move…to another city or state. Like it or not, that’s the way it is.

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Public comments on the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act initial rules obviously had an impact based on the new rules posted January 31, 2011 by ADHS.

February 3, 2011 Post
Article by: James Novak, Phoenix DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney
It seems like just yesterday the votes on AZ Prop 203 were finally counted, and the law passed. Yet, here we are just a few months away from implementation.New revised rules were posted January 31, 2011 on the official ADHS website. The public has until February 18, 2011 to post electronic comments to the revised rules. Revisions were made in part based on comments contributed by the public after the initial draft rules were drafted and posted.

If you are following the events leading to implementation, mark your calendars for the next important dates that were published on the ADHS website:

1) March 28, 2011 – Final rules will be published by ADHS. These rules will l be the ones used for implementation of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.

2) April 2011 – Applications will be accepted and considered by ADHS for patients and caregivers who meet the required qualifications.

3) May 1, 2011: applications will be accepted and considered for dispensary registration certificates by AHDS.

ADHS will consider public comments on the revised rules until February 18, 2011. Based on the amount of changes made which can be viewed on the ADHS website, your opinions on the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act initial rules made a difference. Just the votes, every one was considered and counted. Many had regrets one way or the other if they did not vote when they had the chance on AZ Proposition 203. Don’t pass up another chance to post a constructive comment on the new rules.

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