Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

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Overview of Arizona DUI Trends, Laws, Penalties, and Criminal Defense

https://blog.novakazlaw.com/files/2017/01/Statue-of-Liberty.-4jpg-283x300.jpgIf you live in Arizona or plan to drive in the state over the July 4th weekend it is important to be aware of the DUI laws and consequences of a conviction.

According to media reports, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout Arizona will increase DUI patrols over the July 4th weekend. Starting Friday, July 1, 2016 law enforcement, including the Phoenix and Tempe police departments, will have an increased presence throughout Maricopa County looking for drivers impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.

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Mesa Police Department Squad CarOne of least understood and most commonly charged crimes in Arizona is “Failure to Comply with a Lawful Order” in violation of Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) section 28-622(A). The crime is classified as a class 2 misdemeanor. The statute provides:

28-622. Failure to comply with police officer…

  1. A person shall not wilfully fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of a police officer invested by law with authority to direct, control or regulate traffic. (“Willful” and its variations are spelled “wilful” in the statute, an accepted but archaic spelling in American English.)
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Medical Marijuana and PrescriptionsOn November 20, 2015, the Supreme Court of Arizona decided Dobson v. McClennen (P.3d, 2015 WL 7353847, Arizona Supreme Court 2015). The decision has important implications for individuals that use medical marijuana and might have THC or its metabolite in their system but drive at a time when they are not impaired. Jokingly called the “Driving While a Habitual User of Marijuana,” these prosecutions are no joke.

Although the responsible use of cannabis for medical purposes has largely been decriminalized in Arizona, prior to this decision the DUI laws effectively made it a crime to drive as a medical marijuana patient (even after the impairing effects faded and disappeared). In other words, using medical marijuana should not automatically be a DUI when there was no actual impairment at the time of driving.

The decision in Dobson v. McClennen didn’t make either side happy. The defense wanted a ruling that Medical Marijuana Patients were immune from the “per se” version of DUI under § 28–1381(A)(3). On the other hand, the prosecution wanted a ruling that a positive blood test meant an automatic “per se” DUI conviction under § 28–1381(A)(3). The Court rejected both positions and came up with a middle ground that leaves many of the complicated issues surrounding driving after consuming medical marijuana unresolved.

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An Overview of the Role, Purpose, and Processes of Grand Juries in the Criminal Justice System.

Lady JusticePolice Involved in Deadly Shooting in Phoenix, AZ

Tragedy struck home in Phoenix AZ, last week, resulting in the eruption of protests here in the valley.  This, following reports of another fatal officer involved shooting of an unarmed suspect.

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Arizona DUI Arrest Statistics

In looking back over the last six years of DUI arrest statistics released by the Arizona Governor’s Office on Highway Safety (AGOHS), we see an alarming trend in DUI arrests with Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) at the “Extreme” levels, which is 0.15 percent or higher. In 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 the average Blood Alcohol Content has been over 0.152 percent. Initial reports released for the first quarter of 2014 are showing relentlessness in this trend. Drinking in excess of the extreme impaired driving laws has evidently become the norm, rather than the exception.

The legal limit for driving under the influence of alcohol in Arizona is 0.08 percent. However, a motorist may still be arrested if they are driving under the influence with a BAC lower than 0.08 percent if they are found to be driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while “impaired to the slightest degree”.Extreme DUI BAC in Arizona is .015 percent; and Super Extreme BAC is .020 percent or greater.

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Recent Amendment expands protections under Arizona’s “Stand Your Ground” Laws; not only to their homes, business, but anywhere else in Arizona “they have the right to be”.

Amidst heated debates over “Stand Your Ground” laws Arizona, businesses and homeowners continue to do what they must, to protect their home and property from intruders. For centuries, “Stand Your Ground” laws have existed and also referred to as the “Castle Doctrine” influenced by the age old adage “One’s home is their castle.”

Most states have some form of “Stand Your Ground” laws. These laws pertain to defenses that justify one’s actions, in what would otherwise be considered criminal conduct. Arizona has some of the broadest, most liberal “Stand-Your-Ground” laws in the country. One such provision is that a person can be protected under the laws if an incident where deadly physical force is reasonably necessary outside their home. In fact, it applies anywhere in Arizona where they “have the right to be”.

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Why Resisting Arrest is a Bad Idea

This week we in the news, an Arizona motorist was stopped and investigated by police for driving impaired due to alcohol or drugs. The suspect allegedly became angry at the line of questioning taking place during the stop. He then allegedly initiated punched one of the officers in the face, and began a physical altercation at the scene with two additional police officers.

All three officers required medical treatment for injuries that included a fractured wrist, contusions, abrasions and a concussion. The suspect was eventually restrained with a Taser gun.

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What Police and city officials are doing to take back their crime plagued city.    

As the trial begins for the murdered ASU student, Kyleigh Sousa, Tempe Police and City Officials try to prevent, and control crime and take back the downtown areas.

What was once the center of fun, and enjoyable activities, and entertainment, has now become the center of organized drug gangs and violence.  We are reminded of not only the tragic death of this ASU student, but the shoot- out last year between gang members at a popular nightclub.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsored research that focused on motorcycle DUI – DWI indicators. These are early cues police may use to detect a non-impaired driver from an impaired driver who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Motor Cycle DUI Indicators

NHTSA’s recent studies turned up 14 indicators, as well as probability levels of certain driving behaviors being consistent with impaired or drunk driving:

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A Statute of Limitation is the time frame for which the State and prosecution have to bring criminal charges against a suspect.

Under A.R.S. § 13 – 107 time limits for which charges can be brought are either named by crime or criminal classification.

In general, the State has one year to bring charges for Misdemeanors and 7 years for Felonies. The court may grant an extension in which to prosecute charges if there is a justifiable reason that exists.