Author: Ryan J. Stevens Esq.

Flagstaff Car Accident Lawyers Discuss Insurance

In recent days, we are saddened to report that there have been two fatal accidents on the interstates near Flagstaff, Arizona. Interstate 40 saw the loss of life of a Flagstaff mother who was only 27 years old.* Interstate 17 was the scene of an accident in which a man was pronounced dead by authorities just south of Munds Park, which is in Coconino County.** These horrific accidents are shocking and upsetting. And they are a powerful reminder of the dangers of high speed travel and the various road and weather conditions in Northern Arizona.

At the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC, we remind everyone to be alert and drive safely. As the weather gets nicer, we see more car accidents and serious injuries on our roadways. Yes, winter weather is the cause of many wrecks. But we all know Flagstaff is one of the nicest places to spend those beautiful summer days. Nearly 5 million people visit the Grand Canyon each year. Flagstaff is the gateway to the Grand Canyon. We have tourists, athletes, students, workers, Phoenix residents escaping the heat, and all kinds of additional traffic in the warm spring and summer months near Flagstaff. We are at the heart of the I-17 and I-40 intersection. We want to take a moment to talk about insurance policies as they relate to car accidents. As Flagstaff’s car accident law firm, the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC litigates all aspects of car insurance policies. There are often misconceptions about insurance policies, so we want to share some insight.

In order to keep my costs down, is it okay to purchase minimum coverage?

We understand the difficult economy of today. Times are tough, and we know that. That said, insurance policies are not always the best way to save money. We all hope we are never going to be in an injury-involved car accident. So why pay more for insurance? Well, it comes down to this. The required coverages in Arizona are called “Bodily Injury” and “Property Damage.” Under Arizona personal injury law, the minimum required limits are as follows:

  • For bodily injury: $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident.
  • For property damage: $10,000 per accident. If a person is injured in a car accident, and medical bills are $50,000, the $15,000 limit for bodily injury will not be enough.

It won’t even be close. And that can force people in debt, collections, and ultimately bankruptcy. Therefore, to avoid the horrible circumstance of not being able to afford necessary medical care, it is important to work with your insurance company to come up with an affordable rate that provides more than the minimum coverages required in Arizona.

If I am a passenger in a single-car accident, can I recover damages for my injuries?

Yes, it is possible. It depends on the circumstances of the case, but you do not have to be driving to recover damages from an insurance company, including your own.

If I am a pedestrian, or bicyclist, and I am hit by a car, can I recover damages?

Yes, it is possible. As always, it depends on the facts of the case. But most people don’t know that they can recover damages from their own car insurance policy, even if they were not inside a vehicle at all when they were injured. At the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC, we recently obtained a $75,000 settlement for a pedestrian who was struck by a vehicle, and some of that recovery came from the pedestrian’s car insurance policy.

If the driver at fault is uninsured or underinsured, am I out of luck?

Not necessarily. We will search for every insurance policy that could help you. We check for collateral sources of recovery. And most importantly, we will look at your policy for uninsured motorists and underinsured motorists. It is very important that you purchase an uninsured and underinsured policy. That way, if you are injured in an accident, we can push to get the maximum recovery for you.

If I take on the insurance companies by myself, will I get more money than if I hire a lawyer?

Generally, no. What we do is maximize your recovery and negotiate down your bills and liens, so that the large majority of our personal injury clients actually recover more money than if they accepted what the insurance company offered to them. Usually, the insurance companies offer very low settlements. Don’t let them trick you into giving up your legal rights. Insurance policies are complicated and adjustors never want to give you the money that you deserve.

*According to the Arizona Daily Sun article found here.
** According to the Arizona Daily Sun article found here.

Arizona Criminal vs. Forfeiture Proceedings

Have you ever seen an Arizona felony prosecutor driving around in a drug dealer’s tricked out ride? We have. Felony prosecutors all across Arizona, particularly in Flagstaff, Coconino County, can use forfeited or seized vehicles to drive to court to prosecute other people. But how is that legal? Why is the County Attorney driving around in an alleged drug dealer’s car?

Should the police and government be permitted to take your car, your money, your house, your computer, and your cell phone? Should the police and government be permitted to keep your stuff, sell it off at auction, or sell it to the county prosecutors at a reduced cost? Should you have to see a prosecutor driving a “work vehicle” with sweet gold rims that were once yours?

Here’s how it all works. Let’s say you’re driving on I-40 through Northern Arizona and you are pulled over by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) for going 77 mph in a 75 mph zone. (This is called a “pretext stop” that is often the result of racial or drug courier profiling by the Arizona state police.) Sure enough, the police claim they smell marijuana, citing to their olfactory prowess. You’re arrested and your car is searched. The police claim to locate some packaged marijuana in the trunk. You’re taken to jail, and your vehicle is impounded.

Days later, you’re served with a civil legal pleading called a Notice of Pending Forfeiture, in which the State of Arizona declares that they are not going to give back your vehicle, cell phone, cash, or anything else in the car they want. Without a forfeiture lawyer, which you are not entitled to free of charge, you wouldn’t know that if you fail to respond within the right time frame, your property is gone forever.

A forfeiture case is actually civil, not criminal, in nature. It is a lawsuit. It is not a criminal charge, even though it is extremely related to felony allegations (i.e., the felony charge of transportation of marijuana for sale). So while you’re thinking, “Am I going to prison for 3 to 7.5 years?” the State of Arizona is thinking, “Can we make money while we send this person to prison?”

At the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC, we not only fight hard to keep you out of prison. We fight hard to keep your stuff, to protect your property, to fend off those greedy officers and prosecutors. We defend against forfeiture seizures. We don’t want cops and prosecutors to drive around in your car, use your MacBook Pro, talk on your cell phone, and use your cash to investigate and imprison other people.

Forfeiture proceedings come with a unique set of rules, particularly the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure and other forfeiture statutes contained in the Arizona Revised Statutes. At the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC, we are experts at criminal defense and forfeiture claims. Let us handle your civil forfeiture defense along with your felony criminal defense.

We offer free legal consultations on all Arizona felony drug transportation and money laundering cases in Flagstaff, Prescott, Camp Verde, Holbrook, Kingman and all over Northern Arizona – and all related forfeiture matters.

For a free consultation, call us by using the number at the top right of the screen. Or use our free contact form on the right side of the page.

Don’t let the government take your stuff. Don’t let prosecutors steal your ride.

Flagstaff DUI Lawyer: MVD vs. Court

When someone is pulled over under suspicion of a DUI in Arizona, choices must be made. Big choices with big consequences. In this article, we’re going to discuss the practical application of “Admin Per Se” and “Implied Consent” in the Arizona DUI laws.

You may be innocent of a DUI (in criminal court), but you can still have your drivers license suspended by the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD).

The first set of choices involve field sobriety tests (FST’s), answering questions, horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), and other voluntary decisions that a driver can make – or refuse to make – when a police officer investigates a driver for DUI. Police officers don’t tend to inform drivers that the decisions are voluntary… but we’ll write another article on that issue later.

The second set of choices can greatly affect a person’s driving privilege. Let’s start with a question:

Can a sober driver get their license suspended for a year during an Arizona DUI investigation, even though the driver is completely sober?

Answer: You bet. Here’s why. If a police officer is mistaken about your sobriety, and thinks that you have been drinking, you will be arrested for DUI. All that the police need to investigate you for a DUI is reasonable suspicion – a low standard of proof. Once you are brought to the police station, you will be advised of your Admin Per Se / Implied Consent rights. In a Flagstaff DUI case, the arrested person will be brought to the Coconino County Detention Facility, where they have two Intoxilyzer8000 machines. This is a critical juncture in every DUI case. Do you agree to provide a breath or blood sample? (Yes, the officer can decide to ask you for a blood sample instead of a breath sample.) Are you deathly afraid of needles? Too bad, says the law.

Option #1: You agree to provide the sample of breath or blood. Phew… you can’t get your license suspended as long as you cooperate, right? Wrong. If your breath sample is 0.079%, your license cannot get suspended. But if you provide a sample of 0.080% or more, your drivers license must be suspended. If the officer believes you are impaired by alcohol, and they take a blood sample, and that blood result is not available, the officer can still suspend your driving privileges.

Option #2: You do not agree to provide a sample. This is called a refusal. If you refuse to provide a blood, breath, or urine sample, your drivers license will be suspended for 12 months! You cannot get a restricted license. And this law applies, even if you are sober, as long as the police officer can identify the grounds upon which he or she believed you to be impaired by alcohol or an illegal drug. Of course, the best advise is: do not drink and drive. If you had any alcohol, avoid driving. You can be charged and convicted of a DUI – Slightest Degree even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is under 0.08% in Arizona. So don’t take the risk. But if you are investigated for DUI, you do have choices. Do you want to comply with FST’s and potentially give the officer more evidence to use against you? (Even a sober person would not perform FST’s perfectly.) Do you want to agree to submit to HGN? Do you want to agree to a breath or blood sample? Do you want to refuse? The silver lining here is that if you do get your license suspended pursuant to an Admin Per Se / Implied Consent law, we can help you challenge it.

Time is of the essence. Once you let fifteen (15) days pass, you waive your right to have a lawyer challenge your suspension, whether it’s for a BAC of 0.08% or more or a refusal. Get help now.

Contact us immediately using the free contact form or call us at the number at the top of the kamagra online

Flagstaff Injury Lawyers Discuss Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

What is underinsured motorist coverage in Arizona? How about uninsured motorist coverage? And why is it so important?

Defining Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist insurance provides protection for personal (bodily) injuries caused by a negligent driver in northern Arizona with no insurance, such as broken bones, lacerations, organ damage, head trauma, back or neck pain, and more.

Underinsured motorist coverage provides you with financial protection if the negligent driver has some, but not enough, liability insurance to pay for your injuries, including bodily injuries and pain and suffering, lost income, and more.

Arizona’s Minimum Car Insurance Coverage

The required coverages in Arizona are called “Bodily Injury” and “Property Damage.” Under Arizona personal injury law, the minimum required limits are as follows:

For bodily injury: $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident

For property damage: $10,000 per accident.

Practical tip from Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC: The minimum coverage, while cheaper to purchase, are never enough in serious motor vehicle accidents in northern Arizona. The results of minimum coverage in a serious injury accident in or around Flagstaff are devastating. It means that someone will not be able to pay their medical bills, or be compensated for pain and suffering, lost income, and other compensatory damages.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones

So, for example, how can you keep yourself safe if a motorist negligently crashes into you and your medical bills are $100,000 or more? The answer is simple. You should invest – right now – in both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. And make sure to get the highest limits available to you. Hopefully you will never need to use it, but if you do, you will be grateful that you have it.

If you get hit by an uninsured motorist, and that person has insufficient cash or equity to pay your medical bills (the usual situation), and you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you simply won’t get compensated. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you can receive money from your own insurance company! (And no, that does not cause your limits to go up, unless the accident is your fault.)

The other example is underinsured motorist coverage. What if a person with the Arizona minimum coverage negligently hits you while you’re on a bicycle, and your medical bills are $50,000? The driver’s policy limits will only allow you to recover $15,000, leaving you in $35,000 of medical debt (and no compensation for pain and suffering and lost income). But if you have underinsured coverage, say, up to $250,000, then you can recover $15,000 from the other driver’s insurance company, another $35,000 from your own (to cover medical or “special damages”), and potentially more money for pain and suffering. Would you rather be in $35,000 medical debt or be free and clear of debt with a lump sum of cash still in the bank?

As Flagstaff personal injury lawyers, we see the ill effects of minimum coverage every day. We strongly believe that investing in underinsured and uninsured coverage is a wise decision for you and your family.

The Advantage of Medical Payments Coverage

Under Arizona personal injury law, medical payments coverage, or “med pay” coverage, can be very helpful. Medical payments coverage provides coverage for necessary and reasonable medical and funeral expenses incurred as the result of an automobile accident up to the limit stated in the policy for you or passengers in your vehicle.

Free Personal Injury Consultations in Northern Arizona

We offer no-cost consultations to personal injury victims all across northern Arizona, including Flagstaff, Sedona, Verde Valley, Prescott, Williams, Winslow, Holbrook, Kingman, and all across the Navajo Nation and other reservation lands.

Flagstaff Car Accident Lawyers

Motor vehicle accidents, or MVA’s, are among the most serious types of accidents that can happen. Getting injured in a car accident is extremely traumatic – physically, emotionally, and financially. Medical treatment should begin immediately. But other medical conditions can surface days or weeks later. You can miss family time, work, and other opportunities. You have pain and suffering. And you deserve justice. You can still be a victim even if a crime did not occur.

There are two areas of the law, generally speaking, which are: criminal and civil. A criminal case develops when someone violates a criminal statute of the Arizona Revised Statutes. The police and prosecutors must become involved for a criminal case to proceed. In other circumstances, a car accident is a civil wrong, or a “tort.”

To separate the two, consider this example. First, if you are hit by a car, and the other driver was driving drunk, then it is a crime. The crime is DUI and could be considered a felony Aggravated Assault. Second, if you are injured because a person is speeding and collides into you, there may not be a crime involved. This is a civil wrong, or a tort, for which you still deserve justice.

Fair Compensation: Pain and Suffering

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each year approximately 25,000 occupants of vehicles died in traffic accidents and an estimated 2.35 million people suffered injuries from car crashes. Injuries from car, truck and motorcycle accidents can be catastrophic. Victims often suffer broken or crushed bones, lacerations, muscle injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal organ damage or traumatic brain injuries, to name a few.

Flagstaff Lawyer: Mere Presence Defense

Written by Bruce S. Griffen, Esq.

The “mere presence defense” – ignored (by prosecutors), underutilized (by defense attorneys). But does it work for Arizona criminal defense lawyers?

In the Flagstaff, and all of Arizona, criminal defense world, there commonly are situations where the “mere presence defense” has application. Prosecutors seem to have complete memory loss when it comes to this area of law. As concerns defense lawyers, this defense appears recognized but underutilized. The more important question, however, is whether the defense works. Consider the following three fact patterns:

1. A pickup truck is stopped on the highway for a traffic violation. The two people inside consent to a search. The truck bed is closed with a hard cover. No one has keys to the locked cover. 200 lbs. of marijuana are found inside. Upon being Mirandized, one occupant clams. The other adamantly denies any knowledge of any contraband.

2. Four teenagers out late at night in a vehicle. The car has a tail light out and is stopped by the police. Upon a routine check, the car comes back as stolen that afternoon. The driver, upon questioning, admits that the car belongs to his stepmother and he took the car without permission. He tells the officer, however, that the other 3 kids in the car, all friends of his, had no knowledge that the car was stolen. Under Arizona law, every occupant is presumed guilty of joyriding.

3. College party at a friend’s apartment. Some people are drinking. Some people are openly using recreational drugs. Police get called because a neighbor complains about loud noise. Police enter and in plain view, on the kitchen counter, they observe cocaine. After questioning of three people, which produces no information regarding possession/ownership, everybody in the kitchen is arrested.

These are real, and frankly, common fact patterns that we see at the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC. In every case, indictments were secured by the prosecutor at a grand jury proceeding. In every case, the prosecutor did not instruct the grand jury on the potential applicability of the mere presence defense.

The mere presence defense is easy to understand: it is simply a refinement of the well known “wrong place at the wrong time” dilemma. It is a classic Murphy’s law situation.

The defense technically reads as follows:

Guilt cannot be established by the defendant’s mere presence at a crime scene, mere association with another person at a crime scene or mere knowledge that a crime is being committed. The fact that the defendant may have been present, or knew that a crime was being committed, does not in and of itself make the defendant guilty of the crime charged. One who is merely present is a passive observer who lacked criminal intent and did not participate in the crime.

See Arizona Criminal Defense Jury Instructions.

So, while the prosecution doesn’t like to instruct a grand jury about the mere presence defense, the defense is absolutely available under Arizona law.

But is it viable?

Jurors, if they can relate to a defense, are more likely to accept it. For instance, entrapment, as a defense, is generally a difficult sell. Because you must concede wrongdoing in order to gain benefit of the defense, jurors seem generally predisposed against the defense. The same situation is often the case with self-defense. Even though the law may not require retreat, jurors commonly question the defense where there was a “walk away” alternative.

But haven’t we all been, at some time or another, in the mere presence scenario? Present when your brother or sister did something stupid. Your spouse didn’t clue you in on something he/she was doing wrong. Or the concerning situation where you are present when criminal conduct is ongoing (i.e., use of drugs) but you are consciously and purposefully not participating.

The point to be made is that the defense is underutilized and has a higher degree of possible success than is otherwise usually available.

Practical tip from Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC: if there is any significant fact that works against the mere presence defense, it may not be viable. For instance, your fingerprints on the marijuana packaging, in example # 1 makes the defense likely untenable. In fact pattern #2, a text message found on a passenger’s phone, which reads “I’m cruisin’ with Mike. We’re in this really sweet ride that he ripped off from his evil stepmother” certainly would not be helpful. As concerns case # 3, a positive urine test for cocaine might make the mere presence argument un-winable. So, if thorough investigation produces no factor significantly inconsistent with the mere presence defense, the defense should be viewed as one with significant upside and potential.


Carefully investigate the potential utilization of the mere presence defense. Prosecutors don’t like it because it is a jury-friendly defense… something we can all relate to.

Written by Bruce S. Griffen
Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC

How to Choose a Flagstaff Lawyer

What is a free legal consultation? What can you talk about during a consultation with a lawyer? How do you choose a lawyer in Flagstaff, or anywhere in Arizona, for your legal issues? We offer this article as part of our series on Free Legal Consultations in Arizona. This article does not contain legal advice. These are tips and pointers on how to go about choosing the right lawyer or law firm for your legal issue in Flagstaff or any part of Northern Arizona. We are a regional law firm in Arizona.

1. What is your legal issue?

Practical tip from Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC: Don’t hire a law firm that claims to do everything. Choose a lawyer whose expertise fits your legal issue.

If you read any part of our website, you will see that we are Flagstaff’s criminal defense and personal injury law firm. If your legal issue is not criminal defense, and not personal injury, you should be looking for lawyers who specifically handle your type of issue. Why? Because lawyers may be trained in multiple areas of law, but those who are experts in particular areas are more likely to handle your issue efficiently and effectively. Would you hire a dentist to perform knee surgery? Of course not. So, read the law firm’s website. See what they do best. Don’t hire a law firm that claims to do everything. And call the right lawyer for your legal issue.

2. Is it really a free consultation?

Practical tip from Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC: Make sure it’s really free. And make sure it’s a consultation, not a sales pitch. There are two parts to that question. When speaking with a Flagstaff or Arizona lawyer, you should feel free to ask direct questions. Is your discussion really free of charge? The better question, however, is whether you are really getting a consultation. How quickly does the lawyer ask you for money? Does the lawyer share any information about the law, or simply speak in generalities? Does the lawyer seem to be approachable and knowledgeable?

When you first speak with a lawyer, you can assess whether you and the lawyer communicate effectively. Are you comfortable? Is the lawyer answering your questions? You can sense if the lawyer is rushing you, or not knowledgeable about the law pertaining to your legal issue. Feel free to ask the lawyer, at your convenience, about rates and costs. But before you shop around for the cheapest price, remember: you get what you pay for. An experienced, sophisticated, successful trial lawyer may be worth the price… and may just get you a better result than a cheaper lawyer.

That said, don’t overpay. Also, when consulting with a lawyer, except in rare circumstances, your discussion is confidential and privileged. That means you don’t have to withhold any facts. The lawyer will need to know what is going on in order to effectively help you. If a lawyer does not ask for your version of the facts, there may be something wrong. Make sure you get a true consultation. If you didn’t learn anything about Arizona law or your legal issue, then you didn’t get a consultation at all.

3. What’s the plan?

Practical tip from Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC: Watch out for the sales pitch. Go deeper than that. Learn about your legal issue. If a lawyer simply scares you, or tries to impress you by speaking highly of himself or herself, think about whether the lawyer has a real plan to help you. The first thing we do at Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC after a legal consultation is come up with a plan. How are we going to attack this case?

For an injured person, we immediately plan an investigation and collect medical records so that we have the ammunition to secure a meaningful settlement down the road. For criminal defense, we strategize with our clients based on numerous factors. If you leave a legal consultation feeling like there is no plan for your case, something is wrong.

Don’t just pay a lawyer and hope for the best. Make sure he or she has a plan or strategy that is specific to your legal issue and the variables surrounding it. A truly free legal consultation should leave you feeling better about your legal situation, not worse. You should be more knowledgeable about the law. And you should have a gut feeling on which lawyer is right for you.

Flagstaff Injury Lawyers: Motorcycle Accidents

In personal injury cases, motor vehicle accidents (MVA’s) are often most serious when a motorcycle is involved. In this article, we discuss how we help motorcycle accident victims in Flagstaff and surrounding areas of Northern Arizona.

Injury cases revolve around the legal concept of negligence, which by law is broken down into four (4) parts: duty, breach, causation, and damages. When a person is injured or, sadly, killed in an accident, the first question is, “Why?” Who did it? Who messed up? There is no reason a person should be involved in a motorcycle accident. Someone must have made a mistake.

Our job as lawyers is to investigate and prove that you, or a loved one, deserves justice. We offer the complete package. When someone is hurt, we obtain their medical records and bills. We compile the data. We prove the case of negligence. And we push the insurance companies to pay up. If they don’t, we are expert trial lawyers.

Arizona, including Flagstaff, has specific laws and statutes relating to motorcycles. There are strict rules about carrying passengers on motorcycles.

Arizona law states that a person operating a motorcycle “shall ride only on the permanent and regular seat attached to the motorcycle” and that the motorcyclist “shall not carry any other person and any other person shall not ride on a motorcycle vehicle unless the motorcycle is designed to carry more than one person.” See A.R.S. section 28-892.

There are other Arizona laws that explain that a person under 18 years old must wear a helmet on a motorcycle and that the motorcycle shall have a rearview mirror, seat and footrests. See A.R.S. section 28-964. There is also a “motorcycle safety fund” established by Arizona Revised Statutes, section 28-2010.

We are Flagstaff’s injury law firm. We are Flagstaff’s motorcycle accident law firm. To learn more about Flagstaff’s personal injury lawyers, just click on the link.

If you or a loved one is injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, call us immediately. We’ll start our investigation right away. And when it comes to insurance companies, settlements, and a lawsuit, you’ll want Flagstaff’s expert injury trial lawyers on your side.


Arizona Injury Law: Bouncers and Employees

“Never was anything great achieved without danger.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

Arizona police officers, bouncers, and security guards do not have the right to injure you, except under very specific circumstances. In this article, we share some insight into what happens when a person is injured by an employee of a business.

One of the most common “intentional tort” scenarios is when a security guard or a bouncer injures a customer or patron, or a police officer employed by a law enforcement department. A bouncer at a nightclub or bar does not have the right to injure people. Security guards do not have the authority to physically harm you. Bouncers and security guards may get a power trip as they attempt to control difficult situations. However, power trip or not, bouncers and security guards are not legally entitled to hurt you just because you are a patron of their business, even if you are causing some trouble. In rare circumstances, bouncers and security guards can use physical force upon you if it falls under a “justification” legally permitted in Arizona.

We can review your case to determine if the use of physical force against you was justified. In some cases, bouncers cause serious injury to customers and patrons. In those situations, you may be entitled to obtain money damages from the business for their employee’s (i.e., the bouncer’s) actions. In Arizona, if you are injured by an employee of a business (e.g., a restaurant, grocery store, Wal-Mart, bar, or nightclub), you may be able to recover damages from the business instead of the actual individual that harmed you.

This theory of liability is called respondeat superior liability.

Practical tip from Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC: If you are injured by an employee of a business, it is very important to make a good report of what happened. If the police or an ambulance are needed, utilize these services. Get all of the medical help you need. Find out who the witnesses are and make sure photographs are taken. Do not consent to an interview with the business owner or any representative of the business until you have a lawyer. Make an independent report with law enforcement (if appropriate), and contact us immediately so that we can get our investigators to work on your behalf.

Here is what respondeat superior liability means. An employer is responsible for the actions of its employee if the employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment. To win a personal injury case based on the theory of respondeat superior liability, under Arizona law, you must prove that:

  1. The act was the kind that the employee was employed to perform;
  2. The act occurred within the time and space of the employment; and
  3. The act was motivated at least in part by a purpose to serve the employer.

There are two ways an employee and/or business can be responsible for harming a customer: intentional acts and negligence. Here we will discuss intentional acts that cause harm to another person. These are called intentional torts. The most common examples in our scenario of a bouncer attacking a patron at a bar or nightclub are the Arizona civil torts of “assault” and “battery.” To win a personal injury case involving assault or battery, under Arizona law, you must prove:

  1. The person intended to cause harm or offensive contact with you or to cause you to suffer apprehension of an immediate harmful or offensive contact;
  2. The person caused you apprehension of an immediate harmful or offensive contact or actually caused harmful or offensive contact; and
  3. You suffered damages as a result.

Practical tip from Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC: If you are injured by an employee of a business, such as a bouncer at a nightclub, contact us right away. We aggressively represent injured people and fight for justice. You shouldn’t have to pay your own medical bills when someone intentionally hurts you without justification. You are also entitled to compensation for pain and suffering.

We aggressively pursue personal injury cases in Flagstaff, Sedona, Prescott, Williams, Winslow, Holbrook, Kingman, and all across Northern Arizona.

Arizona Medical Marijuana’s Day In Court

Medical marijuana is legal in the State of Arizona. But the federal government’s archaic drug laws may undermine Arizona’s authority to permit the production, distribution, and/or use of medical marijuana.


At the federal level, the drug cannabis (marijuana) is classified as a “Schedule I” substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act. See 21 U.S.C. § 801 et seq. By their legal definition, Schedule I substances are deemed to have a high potential for dependency. Therefore, according to federal law, a controlled Schedule I substance has no medical use. A significant number of physicians, however, disagree with Congress on this issue.

Arizona voters passed the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act in 2010, permitting the use of medical marijuana within the State of Arizona. See A.R.S. § 36-2801 et seq. This law has no impact on the federal Controlled Substances Act. Instead, the law contradicts, for the most part, the federal law. However, Arizona citizens are not without support.

In October of 2009, President Obama’s Administration released a memo to its federal prosecutors encouraging them to not prosecute people who distribute marijuana for medical purposes in accordance with their state’s laws.

Arizona’s Medical Marijuana: Day In Court

Because Congress has been dragging its feet, there has been no amendment to the Controlled Substances Act. The possession and distribution of marijuana is a federal offense. So how can Arizona citizens pass a law saying otherwise? Well, that issue is being briefed and argued in Maricopa County Superior Court. See the article in the Arizona Daily Sun by clicking here.

You might be thinking… federal law is supreme… of course it supersedes Arizona’s wimpy state law… Well, think again. Actually, take a look at the U.S. Constitution. How often do you hear people talking about “free speech”, “freedom of religion”, and “search and seizure”? Those are all derived from the language of the Bill of Rights. But there is one very important amendment – the Tenth Amendment – that deserves serious consideration. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” That said, the U.S. Supreme Court has rarely declared a law unconstitutional on the basis of the Tenth Amendment. See, e.g., New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992).

In the modern era, the Court has only done so where the federal government compels the states to enforce federal statutes. The basic rule is: Congress cannot directly compel states to enforce federal regulations. Can we extend that to say that neither Congress, nor the Department of Justice, can compel the State of Arizona to honor, or not interfere with, the Controlled Substances Act? Does Arizona’s medical marijuana law actually “interfere” with the federal law at all? Why can’t the State of Arizona legalize marijuana and therefore not criminally prosecute anyone in the state court system for marijuana offenses?

That is essentially what is happening now. You can lawfully possess marijuana in Arizona under state law, but if you do, you are not immune to federal prosecution. But we all know the feds do not have the resources to target, arrest, and prosecute you for a small quantity of marijuana. We anxiously await the outcome of this overly dramatic legalization process. In the meantime, if you are arrested or charged with an Arizona or federal drug offense, call us today for aggressive and experienced criminal defense representation.