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drugsIn a recent Arizona appellate case, the court considered whether using multiple deadly weapons while committing a drug felony was a single offense, among other things. The case arose when an officer parked in the median of I-17 saw the defendant slow down as he passed him. The officer followed him and saw him hit the brakes for no reason and swerve across a white line. He pulled him over, and after hearing inconsistent statements from the defendant and his passenger, he asked for a drug canine unit.

The dog alerted, and two handguns, heroin, meth, and a used syringe were found. The defendant admitted he’d used heroin earlier and gave a urine sample of his own volition. The sample had metabolites of marijuana, meth, and heroin in it. He was indicted for multiple counts, including transportation of meth, a dangerous drug, and misconduct involving weapons. His passenger was also indicted.

The defendant was acquitted of certain offenses but found guilty of a DUI charge, transportation of a dangerous drug for sale, misconduct involving weapons, and other charges. The codefendant was also found guilty, and the fact that there was an accomplice was an aggravating factor. The defendant was sentenced to concurrent aggravated prison terms. The longest term imposed was 14 years. The defendant appealed.

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nissan-pathfinder-1466838-1-e1490133843106In a recent Arizona appellate case, the defendant was convicted of aggravated assault resulting in temporary but substantial disfigurement and assault. The lower court suspended the imposition of a sentence and put him on probation. The defendant appealed, claiming that there was prosecutorial misconduct in charging him with aggravated assault causing serious physical injury, and the court had made a mistake in denying his motion for a judgment of acquittal on that charge because the evidence showed minor injuries.

The case arose in 2012, when a trooper responded to a pickup truck accident. The trooper found that a pickup truck had left the road, and crashed into a sign. There was blood on the driver’s side of the pickup, and none on the passenger side. Emergency medical personnel treated the defendant and his mother. He had a bleeding cut above his left eye and on his hands. The mother didn’t have any blood on her, but complained about experiencing pain. The trooper observed that the defendant had red watery eyes and other signs of inebriation. The defendant admitted that he’d had a few drinks.

The defendant and his mother were taken to the hospital. The trooper followed. At the hospital, a nurse told the trooper they’d be drawing the defendant’s blood for medical purposes and the trooper asked for a sample. The trooper waited in a common area, and overheard the defendant talking on the phone and saying that he’d gotten into the accident after consuming alcohol at a restaurant. He also overheard the defendant confirm to his health care providers that he’d been drinking alcohol.

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gunIn a recent Arizona appellate case, a jury convicted a man of two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of murder. He was sentenced to concurrent terms, with the longer one being 13 years. The victims were two men who were shot and killed and one man who was wounded outside a party at a home. The defendant was convicted as the lone shooter involved.

The surviving victim had come to the party to serve as a deejay, and he knew the defendant from a social media website. Shortly after the victim arrived, the defendant told him that he was carrying a 9 mm pistol. Many witnesses saw him with a black gun that night.

Four or five of the men at the house party argued. The parties agreed there was bad blood between the defendant and one of the victims, based on a fight between the defendant and the victim’s brother. The defendant and the men got into a fistfight. Many people saw the defendant show his gun while they were inside the home.

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gunIn an unpublished Arizona appellate decision, a defendant appealed his convictions and the related sentenced for aggravated assault and armed robbery. The case arose when he came up to a cash register in a liquor store in 2012 and demanded money while threatening the clerk with a handgun. He got more than $450 and started to go. The clerk picked up a baseball bat and told him to stop, and in response, the defendant fired his gun at him, barely missing. He fled.

The police didn’t find the defendant right away. However, a few days later, the clerk was working nearby and saw a customer who looked like the defendant. He called the police, and when an officer looked at the surveillance video, he told the officer he wasn’t sure it was him. The detective decided that the customer in the video wasn’t the defendant.

Based on the clerk’s description, the police later identified two other people of interest, neither of whom had previously committed a robbery. An anonymous tip turned up the defendant. The officer showed the victim a six-photograph photographic lineup. The victim had no problem identifying the defendant.

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bulletsIn a recent unpublished Arizona appellate opinion, the defendant appealed a conviction for aggravated assault, for which he was sentenced to a term of 8 1/2 years imprisonment. The case arose when the defendant’s brother rode a bike to their mom’s house, where his brother lived with the mom. The brother had previously had fights with the defendant. When he came up to the gate, he found it was locked. He realized his mother wasn’t going to come out, so he started to ride off on his bike. His brother fired a gun at him twice, hitting him in the right leg.

The weapon wasn’t located, but police found a bullet in the defendant’s pocket and a bullet in a bag he was carrying right after the shooting. A detective met with the victim in his hospital room and saw a circular wound that looked like a gunshot wound on the victim’s leg. He also observed an x-ray that showed a bullet inside his leg. The victim told the detective that “Cotton” shot him—Cotton was the defendant’s nickname. The defendant was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, which is considered a dangerous offense.

In jail, the defendant called six family members, asking to make sure his brother wouldn’t come to trial to testify against him. He told his mother, sister, niece, and brother the date of the trial and said that if his brother didn’t show up, he wouldn’t be convicted. He also asked his mother to schedule a family meeting with the brother so that she could remind him that if he testified, the defendant would miss family Christmases. He also asked his niece to tell his brother that he would be disowned if he testified. His sister told the defendant that she talked to the victim, and the victim wasn’t going to be a problem. The defendant made many other efforts to get the victim not to show up at trial.

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a-crack-in-the-ground-1630956-1-e1485294664299In the unpublished opinion State of Arizona v. Scott, an Arizona appellate court considered the defendant’s conviction for disorderly conduct with a deadly weapon. The case arose when the victim and the defendant, who were married, got into a physical altercation. The husband was indicted for two counts of misconduct involving weapons and two counts of domestic-related aggravated assault.

The husband admitted that his wife was hurt and that he used a firearm during the incident. The wife suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was medicated for it. She admitted on the stand that she’d been previously arrested for aggravated assault against her husband, that she’d previously been committed to a mental institution, and that she was susceptible to memory loss.

The husband alleged she attacked him, and he was simply defending himself. He was allowed to testify about his wife’s prior attacks and descriptions of having violent content of voices in her head, as well as his knowledge of her mental health diagnosis and medications.

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carYou should be aware that allowing your vehicle or license registration to expire may provide police officers with a reasonable suspicion to stop you while driving in Arizona. Under A.R.S. section 28-2153, you cannot operate a motor vehicle that has not been registered with the department.

In the unpublished opinion of State v. Avalos, the defendant appealed after being convicted of aggravated DUI and aggravated driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more while his license was restricted, revoked, or suspended. He had been sentenced to concurrent terms of 10 years in prison.

A Tucson officer stopped the defendant after the officer checked the records and found the registration for the defendant’s car had expired eight days before. The officer approached the car, and the defendant got out and handed him his keys, saying he knew that the officer would tow the car. The officer took him back to the car and saw open beer bottles on the floor of the car at the driver’s seat.

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Tempe criminal defense lawyerArizona Among Highest Increases in Fatal Alcohol-Related Accidents

The good news would be that the East Valley Tribune reported on January 8 that driving under the influence (DUI) arrests in Arizona decreased 14 percent from 2014 to 2016. The bad news, however, is that CBS News reported on December 26, 2016, that 2016 could go down as one of the worst years for drunk driving deaths.

The 10,265 people killed in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2015 was an increase of nearly 300 from 2014, and 2016 was shaping up to be even deadlier. Mark Rosekind of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) told CBS News that the agency was seeing increases it had not seen in 50 years.
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How High is Too High to Drive?

Marijuana DUIIn November 2016, Arizona voters rejected a measure to legalize recreational marijuana, with many people citing concerns about a possible increase in driving under the influence (DUI) violations as being the reason behind their opposition. Appellate courts in Arizona, however, have made a number of decisions in marijuana DUI cases that make it more difficult for prosecutors to convict registered qualifying patients under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA).

The most such recent decision came from Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals. On December 22, 2016, the Court of Appeals vacated the conviction of man charged with driving while marijuana or its metabolite was in his body.

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Article Updated July 28, 2017                        “Public Health Crisis of Historic Proportions”                                                                                           

800px-Heroin

On December 6, 2016, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg announced results from the 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA), the comprehensive annual assessment providing “a national-level perspective of the illicit and remarkably dangerous drug threats facing the United States.” In a DEA press release, Rosenberg said that the report reconfirmed that opioids such as heroin and fentanyl are killing people in the country at “a horrifying rate.” Rosenberg said the country faces “a public health crisis of historic proportions.”

According to the NDTA, heroin overdose deaths more than tripled between 2010 and 2014. The 2016 NDTA found that Mexican transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) continue to act as the biggest criminal drug threat to the United States and are the primary suppliers of heroin as well as cocaine and methamphetamine.