Year: 2011

Yavapai County Felony Defense Lawyer

Prescott, AZ – Felony cases in Yavapai County often face the Early Disposition Court, or EDC, which is an attempt by the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office to get felony defendants to give up their constitutional rights, plead guilty, and most likely go to the Arizona Department of Corrections.

No defendant should ever take an EDC plea without a lawyer’s advice. And EDC doesn’t really give anybody, defendants or defense lawyers, a chance to thoroughly review the case or the State’s evidence. It’s well known law in Arizona that a Yavapai County Superior Court judge, or any Superior Court judge, cannot accept a guilty plea on a felony case unless the defendant knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waived all of his constitution rights associated with criminal cases.

Can you really waive all of those rights intelligently in Yavapai County’s EDC on a felony case? Doubtful. To do so, you’d need time to review all of the State’s disclosure, which is often ongoing.

Rule 15.1 of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure requires specific types and amounts of disclosure. Can the prosecutors in Yavapai really meet those requirements at EDC? Again, doubtful.

Before pleading guilty to any criminal offense in Arizona, click the link at the top of this page for a free consultation. Or call Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC now.

What a Flagstaff DUI Lawyer Can Do For You

Arizona DUI (or DWI) cases are different than other criminal cases. DUI laws are in Title 28 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, which pertains to Transportation in general.

DUI offenses are not listed in the Arizona criminal code. But they are still criminal in nature. In Flagstaff, Prescott, Verde Valley, and across northern Arizona, the punishments can be severe. If your very first DUI is with a 0.15% BAC, if you’re convicted you’ll go to jail for at least 30 consecutive days.

So if you spent 24 hours in jail on the DUI charge (to sober up in the “drunk tank”), you won’t serve 29 days, you’ll still serve at least 30 more days because it is required to be consecutive.A simple DUI, or DUI Slightest, is a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in a Arizona county jail and up to $2,500 in fines, except that the fines can be higher than $2,500 in an Extreme DUI case.

A DUI Slightest is the same level of offense as an Extreme DUI, meaning that if you drive with a 0.08% BAC, it’s a class 1 misdemeanor. And if you drive with a 0.20% BAC (Super Extreme DUI), it’s still a class 1 misdemeanor. On a first-time DUI with a 0.20% BAC or higher, you’ll do 45 consecutive days in the Coconino County jail (or in whatever county the crime occurred).

So what can a northern Arizona DUI lawyer do for you?

Plenty.

You need a criminal defense lawyer with DUI case experience, who is familiar with the inner workings of DUI laws, breath tests, blood tests, expert testimony by criminalists, jury trials (all DUI cases come with a right to a jury trial), plea negotiations, suppression hearings, suppression motions, Fourth Amendment, and much more.

Creative plea bargains can be obtained as well to minimize your jail time, get you on work furlough (so you’re out of jail for 12 hours/day while still getting credit for the time), and much more.

A criminal defense lawyer should thoroughly and critically review the State’s evidence. Sometimes, a dismissal of your DUI case is appropriate. To get a free DUI consultation right now, use the form at the top right of this page, or call the number at the top.

Arizona Attorney: How to Do an Arizona Public Records Requests

Flagstaff, AZ – If you’re looking for information held by a public office, we all have the right to do a public records request. Generally, Arizona law requires every public body to maintain all records of disciplinary actions, including the employee responses to all disciplinary actions.

This includes politicians, politicians’ employees, police officers, chiefs of police, sheriff’s deputies, prosecutors, public defenders, school board members, and all other public officials. Those records must then be “open to inspection and copying” under most circumstances.

How do I create a public records request in Arizona?

Both Arizona state law, and the federal Freedom of Information Act are on your side. If you are looking for Arizona public records, contact me now using the link at the top of this page.

For a low rate, I can put together a solid public records request, with all of the legal citations you need, for you to make sure you get the information you’re looking for.

Flagstaff Lawyer Notes the Importance of Arizona Pre-Sentencing Work by Felony Defense Lawyers

If you’ve been exposed to the Arizona criminal justice system, especially felony cases in northern Arizona, may have heard of “mitigation hearings” or “pre-sentencing hearings.”

But if you’re looking at a possible prison sentence in the Arizona Department of Corrections, you don’t want to just walk into a Sentencing Hearing and hope for the best.  You need a lawyer who will prepare a mitigation case, file a Sentencing Memorandum, seek positive reference letters and testimony, challenge the State’s aggravating factors and arguments, and put on a Pre-Sentencing Hearing pursuant to Rule 26.7, Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Normally, felony sentencing occurs at a Sentencing Hearing after either a jury trial or change of plea (wherein the defendant pleads guilty or no contest).  A Sentencing Hearing in Coconino County, Yavapai County, Mohave County, or Navajo County typically occurs 15-30 days after the determination of guilt. See Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 26.3(a).

According to Rule 26.7, the Court shall hold a pre-sentencing hearing if the defendant requests one.  And the Court can’t hold a mitigation hearing, let’s call it, until the Adult Probation Department (or whoever the judge appoints) creates the Pre-Sentence Report.  The Pre-Sentence Report is a compilation of relevant information about the defendant, including family history, substance abuse history, criminal history, facts of the present csae, statements from victims and others, and lots more.

At the mitigation hearing, both the defendant and the prosecutor can introduce any reliable, relevant evidence, including hearsay, in order to show aggravating or mitigating circumstances, to show why sentence should not be imposed, or to correct or amplify the pre-sentence reports.

In summary, after a person pleads guilty to a felony, a good defense lawyer should be work very hard in preparation for sentencing because Arizona law provides lawyers with a lot of methods for getting a judge to see and find mitigation, which can result in a significantly lighter sentence.

In a recent case I handled, the prosecutor argued for the maximum sentence of 3 years in prison, and because I prepared hard, filed a pre-sentencing memorandum, interviewed witnesses, and articulated the mitigating factors in a favorable way, my client got the minimum sentence.

Flagstaff Lawyer Speaks On Arizona Domestic Violence Laws

Flagstaff, AZ In Arizona, “Family Offenses” are criminalized under Title 13, Chapter 36 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. A typical scenario is a boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife drinking alcohol, getting into an argument, and resorting to some level of violence, anger, outburst, or other crime. The result is that the crime will be tagged as a Domestic Violence Offense, or “DV”.

What most people don’t know is that “domestic violence” is not in-and-of-itself a criminal offense in Arizona. Domestic violence, or DV, is a designation that is tagged onto specific crimes, if certain criteria are met. So, let’s first discuss the criteria. What makes a relationship worthy of the extra protections of the domestic violence statutes?

Here are the relationships between “victim” and “defendant” defined by Arizona DV laws:

  1. Marriage or former marriage or people who lived together or used to live together;
  2. Have a child in common;
  3. The victim or the defendant is pregnant by the other person;
  4. The victim is related to the defendant either by blood or by marriage (including in-laws), such as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
  5. When the victim is a child, and resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who resides or who has resided in the same household as the defendant.
  6. A “romantic or sexual relationship”, current or previous, defined by the following factors: (a) The type of relationship. (b) The length of the relationship. (c) The frequency of the interaction between the victim and the defendant. (d) If the relationship has terminated, the length of time since the termination.

See A.R.S. section 13-3601(A).

Once the DV relationship exists, what crimes can be domestic violence?

Here’s the list:

  • Any Dangerous Crime Against Children
  • Endangerment
  • Threatening or Intimidating
  • Simple Assault
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Custodial Interference
  • Unlawful Imprisonment
  • Kidnapping
  • Criminal Trespass (1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree)
  • Criminal Damage
  • Interfering with Judicial Proceedings
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Use of a Telephone to Terrify, Intimidate, or Harass
  • Harassment
  • Aggravated Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Surreptitious Recording or Photographing
  • Aggravated Domestic Violence
  • Child or Vulnerable Adult Abuse

All of the above-stated crimes can be tagged as DV.

And what happens if you get a DV conviction? There are special sentencing provisions that make things worse for DV defendants, including no-contact orders, DV counseling and classes, DV impact panel, higher costs, and more. If you get a 3rd or subsequent DV conviction in a period of 7 years, it is automatically a class 5 felony.

Domestic violence in Flagstaff is a significant problem, and oftentimes comes after an alcohol-fueled day or evening. Don’t commit domestic violence. If you have anger problems, drinking problems, or have committed DV and want to never do it again, get help right now.

Flagstaff Felony Lawyer: drug offenses on I-40 and I-17 and more

Drug crimes make up a huge portion of the major felony prosecutions in Arizona each year.

In Coconino County, and in particular Flagstaff, the intersection of two major interstates leads to drug courier profiling and drug arrests on local highways. Interstate 40 runs east/west; Interstate 17 runs north/south. Many of those arrested and charged with drug felonies in Coconino County, at the courthouse in Flagstaff, or in the Yavapai County Courthouse, are from out-of-state. So I’d like to take a moment to address what kinds of drug crimes exist in Arizona.

There are a lot of drug crimes in the Arizona statute books.

  • Possession of marijuana
  • Possession of dangerous drugs
  • Possession of narcotic drugs
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Possession of marijuana for sale
  • Possession of dangerous drugs for sale
  • Possession of narcotic drugs for sale
  • Transportation of marijuana for sale
  • Transportation of dangerous drugs for sale
  • Transportation of narcotic drugs for sale
  • And more…

Anything above the following threshold amounts in Arizona is a serious felony offense for which you should consult with me immediately:

  • Marijuana – 2 pounds
  • Methamphetamine – 9 grams
  • Amphetamine – 9 grams
  • Cocaine – 9 grams (powder form); 750 milligrams (rock form)
  • Heroin – 1 gram
  • LSD – ½ milliliter (liquid form); 50 dosage units (blotter form)
  • PCP – 4 grams or 50 milliliters

FREE CONSULTATIONS ON ALL ARIZONA FELONY DRUG CASES!

Location of your arrest/charges doesn’t matter! Call now or use the link at the top of this page. Coconino County Felony Drug Lawyer Certified in all Arizona State & Federal Courts.

Flagstaff Felony Defense Lawyer: drug sales in school zones

I’ve had a lot of questions recently regarding the sale of drugs on or near school property, and whether that matters for their cases. The answer is yes, it does matter. It matters a lot.

Possession of drugs, such as marijuana, “for sale” comes with far more severe consequences than simple possession. And the actual sale of drugs, such as when the METRO undercover task force does a drug sting in Flagstaff or in Northern Arizona, is even more serious that possession “for sale.”

All Arizona drug crimes involving the sale of drugs are felony offenses. Arizona drug laws define “sale” or “sell” as the “exchange for anything of value or advantage, present or prospective.” A.R.S. section 13-3401.

Now, what about offenses committed in a school safety zone, like when a high school senior sells marijuana to his friends while at school? It’s not a different crime than the ones I’ve discussed above, but it is a different sentencing scheme. First of all, what is a “school”? It’s “any public or nonpublic kindergarten program, common school or high school.” A.R.S. section 13-709(D)(1).

A “school safety zone” under Arizona law means any of the following:

(a) The area within 300 feet of a school or its accompanying grounds;

(b) Any public property within 1000 feet of a school or its accompanying grounds;

(c) Any school bus;

(d) A bus contracted to transport students for school;

(e) A school bus stop; or

(f) Any bus stop where children wait to be transported by bus to or from school.

A.R.S. section 13-3401(D)(2)(a)-(f).

Thus, selling drugs at a school bus stop anywhere in Flagstaff, even if the nearest school is miles away, brings you under the enhanced sentencing structure of A.R.S. section 13-709. So why does this matter so much?

Because if you are convicted of a drug crime in a school zone or school safety zone in Arizona you face up to a YEAR longer in prison (if non-gang member) and up to FIVE YEARS longer if you are a gang member.

Plus your minimum fine is $2,000. Know your rights. Defend your freedom.

Arizona DUI Checkpoint Lawyer on the Cinco De Mayo DUI Task Force Arrests

Flagstaff, Arizona – The Associated Press broke the story recently that Arizona law enforcement put together a statewide task force to make DUI arrests from Thursday, Cinco De Mayo, through Saturday night. And make arrests, they sure did. (Article here.) But not every one of those arrests must result in a conviction. 511 different people were arrested for DUI in Arizona in the three (3) nights of the Cinco De Mayo DUI Task Force;According to reports, Arizona police in places such as Phoenix, Flagstaff, Sedona, Prescott, Mesa, Tempe, and Gilbert, just to name a few, made the following arrests under Arizona DUI statutes:

  • 167 of those were arrested for Extreme DUI (see below);
  • 50 people had prior DUI convictions (see below); and
  • 52 drivers were underage (see below).

A simple DUI conviction in Arizona requires time in jail. If the DUI is an “Extreme DUI,” which means the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was above 0.15% or 0.20%, then the person convicted must serve 30 or 45 consecutive days in jail, respectively. For those 167 folks charged with Extreme DUI as a result of the Arizona Cinco De Mayo DUI Task Force arrests, an aggressive DUI lawyer should be consulted immediately.

Just because you’re charged with an Extreme DUI doesn’t mean you need to be convicted and go to jail. Let an Arizona DUI lawyer defend you and try to get a good plea offer, a dismissal, or an acquittal. For the underage young adults nabbed on DUI charges over the weekend, the consequences are extra bad if you’re convicted and can include serious jail, fines, fees, and long license suspensions. Get a DUI lawyer now.

For a free Arizona DUI consultation, call or email Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC now.

Flagstaff, Phoenix, Prescott, Verde Valley, Arizona Weekend Lawyer: Free Consultations for May 2011

Let’s face it. Arizona Police don’t take weekends off. Whether you’re facing felony drug or assault charges… or you’re accused of criminal speeding on I-40, I-17, or I-10, or you get arrested on suspicion of DUI, or marijuana or drug crimes, or assault… no matter what the crime, misdemeanor or felony, call your Arizona criminal lawyer at the phone number above, even if it’s a weekend, or request a free consultation with the link at the top of the page.

With felony defense lawyer offices in Gilbert, Mr. Stevens serves as a weekend criminal defense lawyer for the entire Valley of the Sun.

If you’re in any of the Maricopa County courts, including justice courts for criminal charges in Tempe, Chandler, and near ASU (Arizona student defense lawyer), call for a free consultation.

With a criminal defense lawyer offices in Prescott and Cottonwood, Mr. Stevens handles all types of felony and misdemeanor cases arising out of Verde Valley, Prescott Valley, and Yavapai County.

With Flagstaff law offices, Mr. Stevens is a criminal trial lawyer with weekend hours for all of Northern Arizona, providing criminal defense services in Page near Lake Powell, in Holbrook and Navajo County, in Kingman and Mohave County, and all along I-40 and I-17.

Flagstaff DUI Lawyer: How to Get Your Best Plea Offer in an Arizona Criminal Case

If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI in Flagstaff or elsewhere in Northern Arizona, or any criminal charge, now is the time to deal with it. And by “deal with it,” I mean work hard to “deal” the case, as in an Arizona plea deal, or plea offer, or plea bargain, or plea agreement (all the same thing).

As I’ve discussed in prior articles, when you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, a huge chain of events is set off. You’ll be arrested and potentially face an Admin Per Se / Implied Consent suspension (i.e., your drivers license will be suspended), depending on your BAC results if there are any. You can appeal that suspension, but must do so within 15 days in order to prevent the suspension from starting. Once you are under arrest, you’ll appear before a judge, magistrate, or justice of the peace within 24 hours. See Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 4.1(a).

At your Initial Appearance under Arizona law, the judge or magistrate will perform several functions relating to your Arizona constitutional rights, as I discussed in a recent article about criminal arraignments. Once you plead “Not Guilty” to each and every count of your Arizona DUI Ticket and Complaint, as I strongly advise you to do, the judge or magistrate will set your case for a “Case Management Conference” or a “Pre-Trial Conference.” They will decide on your release conditions and/or a bond. Arizona Case Management Conference / Pre-Trial Conference Now you’re getting into the meat of your case.

The procedural elements are out of the way: you’ve been advised of your rights, you’ve pled Not Guilty to the Complaint. It’s a very good time to have a lawyer working for you. Behind the scenes, while your case is pending, and a Case Management Conference (CMC) or a Pre-Trial Conference (PTC) is coming up, there are numerous things that a lawyer can be doing for you to help set up the plea negotiations with the prosecutor.

Things you and/or your Arizona DUI defense attorney should be doing, include: a substance abuse screening (you, not your lawyer); performing a detailed legal review of all of the State’s disclosure; requesting more disclosure from the State; formulating mitigation; researching potential constitutional violations; and handling case-specific needs. As your CMC or PTC approaches, your Arizona DUI lawyer should be contacting the prosecutor’s office to determine what the State’s approach to plea negotiations is going to be in your case. It will be different in every case because every case has unique facts unique defendants, and unique charges.

If, for example, you are charged with Super Extreme DUI – 0.20% BAC or more, you’re facing a mandatory 45 days in the county jail (e.g., Yavapai or Coconino County Jail). So if you just plead guilty, you’re hitting the slammer for 45 days minimum, plus somewhere around $3,000 in fines.

But if you work hard and prepare perfectly for your plea negotiations, you stand a real shot at a better plea, reduced jail time (if any at all), lower fines, and a softer conviction on your record. Plea negotiations in Arizona criminal cases require a hard working and knowledgeable criminal defense firm like Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC to get you the best possible resolution in your case. Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC has a special understanding of the criminal justice system and Arizona plea negotiation process because he has practiced law on both sides of cases. Call today.