Category: News Blog

Dust Storm Driving: Safety Tips for Arizona Drivers

Dust storms are very common in Arizona and create hazardous conditions for drivers throughout the state. The most common time to experience a dust storm in Arizona is between the months of May and September. One particularly dangerous condition is called a haboob, which is an extreme dust storm that travels at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. The area that lies between Phoenix and Tucson is known for this type of weather phenomenon.

Although dust storms usually don’t last very long, they can be deadly. These blinding conditions often cause collisions that result in injury and vehicular damage. According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, dust storms are most likely on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson, Interstate 10 between Benson and the New Mexico State line, and on Interstate 8 between Casa Grande and Yuma.

During a Dust Storm

Since dust storms can severely limit your visibility while driving, it’s important to safety get off the road when one hits the area you’re traveling in. Keep these tips in mind if you find yourself caught in a dust storm behind the wheel:

  • Reduce your speed (In Arizona, the speed limit is 75 mph on rural interstates and 65 on urban interstates)
  • Carefully exit the highway as soon as you notice a dust storm forming in the distance
  • Don’t drive in an emergency lane or on the shoulder
  • Once stopped, turn off your lights to discourage other drivers from read-ending your vehicle
  • Set the emergency brake
  • Take your foot off the brake
  • Stay in the vehicle until the storm passes

If it is not possible to pull off the road right away, reduce your driving speed and use the center line as your guide while continuing to drive to a safe location.

After a Dust Storm

After it appears that the dust storm has passed, driving conditions may still be compromised. Here are some tips on what to do after a dust storm has passed:

  • Only begin driving when visibility is 300 feet or greater
  • Beware of slippery pavement and obscured lane markings
  • Ensure everyone in the vehicle is wearing safety belts (It’s required for kids in Arizona, but a good idea for everyone)
  • Be prepared for heavy rain, which often follows dust storms
  • Keep your car radio on to listen to local weather alerts
  • Call the police if you are involved in an accident

“Driving into a dust storm is very dangerous, but the key is that oftentimes it can be avoided,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “Drivers must be ready to alter their plans if there is a threat of a dust storm. It’s better to change plans than try to power through dangerous conditions. But if you’re on the road and a dust storm suddenly appears near you, pull off the highway as quickly and safely as possible. Never drive through a dust storm. It’s not a risk worth taking.”

Dust Storms & Arizona Laws

Not only do dust storms have safety implications for Arizona drivers, but they a legal significance too. For example, Arizona traffic laws (Title 28, Chapter 3, Article 4) require drivers to notify the local police department, county sheriff, or highway patrol office of any accident that results in injury.  And a written accident report must be provided within 24 hours of completing an investigation.

If you or someone you care about has been involved in a dust storm accident, we can answer your questions and help you handle your claim. We understand how Arizona laws apply to dust storm situations and are here to serve our friends and neighbors.

Jemma writes for Comedy Defense Driving, a driving school with locations in Texas and Florida.

The Importance of Dog Bites

Most people are not aware of the personal and legal implications of a dog bite. The immediate need for medical care is, of course, the top priority. But then what? Will there be a scar? Permanent injury or disfigurement? What happens to the dog owner? And the dog?

Statistically, dogs bite about 4.5 million Americans every year, half of them children between ages 5 and 9. Injuries often include one or more of the following: scars, nerve damage, abrasions, punctures, lacerations, crush injuries, tissue loss and avulsion, bone fractures, sprains and strains, disability and disformity, and life-threatening infections like rabies. Children are especially susceptible to facial scars and facial fractures.

Getting proper medical care and treatment is extremely important after a dog bite. At the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC, we know the best doctors and are happy to refer dog bite injury clients to the right providers for the best care.

Legal Implications of Dog Bites

In Arizona, dog bites are subject to strict liability. The dog owners are strictly liable for the bite victim’s injuries if they are “owners” of the dog. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 11-1025(A).

Arizona law specifies that “[t]he owner of a dog which bites a person when the person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of his viciousness.” § 11-1025(A). Importantly, the legislature defined “owner” as “any person keeping an animal other than livestock for more than six consecutive days.” A.R.S. § 11-1001(10).

In Arizona, dogs do not get “one free bite;” owners are held strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs’ actions and liability is imposed without regard to an owner’s knowledge of the dog’s viciousness. Massey v. Colaric, 151 Ariz. 65, 725 P.2d 1099 (1986).

In sum, if an unprovoked dog bite occurs, the owner or keeper of that dog is civilly (and sometimes criminally) liable to the victim for damages. If the owner has homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, the damages may be covered by the insurance carrier.

Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC Practice Tip: The statute of limitations for strict liability on a dog bite is one (1) year in Arizona. Contact our law firm as early as possible to preserve all evidence and file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations.

The dog bite owner/keeper can be criminally prosecuted under several city and county codes. Criminal restitution may be available in the criminal case. However, it is critically important to file a lawsuit and/or initiate a claim with the insurance carrier who will be paying the damages to the dog bite victim.

Other damages may become known soon after the dog bite. Emotional harm; fear of dogs; and other emotional and psychological consequences are common. These harms and damages, in addition to the physical injuries, can lead to a serious insurance claim. We would be honored to aggressively pursue your dog bite claim.

Contact us for a free case evaluation on any dog bite case.

Retrograde Analysis in Arizona DUI

Flagstaff, AZ – Arizona law prohibits driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher within two hours of driving. For the purpose of this article, “within two hours of driving” is the critical phrase.

What if the police cannot obtain a breath or blood sample from the driver in the two hours after driving?

In some cases, it takes over two hours to get a qualified phlebotomist to draw a person’s blood. In other cases, the driver may refuse to consent (warning: there are consequences for refusal) to a breath sample. Or the driver may have to receive medical treatment, and no sample can be obtained within the first two hours.

Regardless of the reason for the delay, the State will still prosecute the driver for DUI, even if they did not obtain a BAC on the driver within 2 hours of driving.

How? And what is a retrograde extrapolation?

The State will try to meet its burden of proving that a defendant had a BAC higher than the legal limit within two hours of driving by using retrograde extrapolation. State ex re. Montgomery v. Miller (Real Party in Interest: Suzanne Madrid), 234 Ariz. 289, 295 ¶ 4 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2014) (citation omitted) (hereinafter referred to as “Madrid”). A retrograde extrapolation is a method by which a person’s BAC at an earlier point in time is calculated based on his BAC from a later blood test. Id.

Rule 702 of the Arizona Rules of Evidence provides that a trial judge serves as a gatekeeper who makes a preliminary assessment as to whether the proposed expert testimony is relevant and reliable. Madrid, 234 Ariz. at 297. There are several considerations under Arizona law: (1) whether the proffered expert is qualified to testify about a particular issue; (2) the expert testimony must assist the trier of fact in understanding the evidence – expert testimony that does not relate to any issue in the case is irrelevant therefore not helpful; (3) the court examines whether the expert obtained enough information to make the opinion reliable; and (4) the law requires the expert’s testimony to be based on ‘reliable principles and methods’ and must be based on more than speculation.

Under newer legal standard for expert testimony pursuant to Daubert, the trial court should consider such factors as: 1) whether the expert’s theory or technique can or has been tested; 2) whether the theory or technique has been subjected to peer review and publication; 3) whether the theory or technique is generally accepted within the relevant scientific community; 4) the known or potential rate of error of the technique; and 5) the existence and maintenance of standards controlling the application of the technique.

According to Madrid, “[n]o single Daubert factor is dispositive of the reliability of an expert’s testimony, and not all of the Daubert factors will apply to all experts or in every case.” Id. at 299 (internal quotation and citation omitted).

Generally, the best Arizona experts agree that a number of variables affect how long it takes an individual to reach their peak BAC, including drinking history (time of last drink, how much they drank and over what time period, what type of alcohol they drank, whether they are a heavy or social drinker), eating history (when they ate, what they ate and how much food they consumed before they were stopped), and personal characteristics (height, weight, gender).

The Madrid Case

The trial court in Madrid determined that the retrograde analysis evidence was “unreliable and highly prejudicial” and precluded it from trial. The Arizona Court of Appeals applied Rule 702/Daubert and reversed the trial court’s decision.

Under 702(c) the court made several findings: (1) the State’s expert’s testimony that an average person reaches a peak BAC within two hours of driving was sound because the expert was able to cite multiple studies supporting his position; (2) the analysis had been peer reviewed because the State submitted several peer reviewed publications; (3) the State presented evidence that its expert’s methodology has been generally accepted within the relevant scientific community; (4) the State’s expert’s specific methodology reliably accounted for the potential rate of error in his retrograde analysis; (5) there were general scientific standards that governed the use of retrograde extrapolation; (6) whether an expert prepared his/her testimony in preparation of litigation does not weigh heavily for or against reliability regarding retrograde; and (7) retrograde is generally considered to be a reliable scientific procedure.

With that, the Madrid case solidified Arizona law on retrograde analysis under the new expert testimony standards (Daubert). Under Arizona law, when offered properly by a qualified expert witness, retrograde extrapolation is acceptable and admissible in a DUI case.

If you need a free consultation on a retrograde DUI case, or any criminal case, send us an email or call us at the number at the top of this web page.

Flagstaff DUI Defense

Flagstaff, AZ – Defense lawyers Ryan J. Stevens and Bruce S. Griffen defend DUI charges in Northern Arizona ranging from Aggravated DUI (felony) to Extreme DUI to DUI Slightest Degree. There are numerous courts in Flagstaff that handle DUI cases: Flagstaff Municipal Court, Flagstaff Justice Court, Coconino County Superior Court, and U.S. Magistrate Court (for federal DUI cases occurring on national park lands).

Arizona DUI Defense: Criminal Procedure

All DUI cases are criminal in nature. That means the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure apply. Cases begin with an investigation, arrest, and the filing of criminal charges. Then an arraignment, pre-trial conferences, case management conferences, and a jury trial may follow. It is important to understand every step of the procedure, to know when it is best to negotiate, when to file disclosure, when to expect to make a decision, and how to file motions to suppress evidence. Not to mention: how to win a jury trial. Last year, the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC earned dismissals of numerous DUI cases by utilizing the rules of procedure, as well as arguing constitutional law.

Arizona DUI Defense: Substantive Arizona DUI Law

Arizona DUI law evolves rapidly. There are new Arizona Supreme Court cases that affect DUI defense often throughout each year. Tactics in challenging breath or blood evidence are also evolving. At the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC, attorneys Bruce S. Griffen and Ryan J. Stevens routinely study new laws and cases from the Arizona Court of Appeals and Arizona Supreme Court. For example, a huge case came down in 2014 that made it impossible for the State to convict a person of DUI based solely on having a non-psychoactive metabolite of marijuana in their body at the time of driving. Other areas of challenge to DUI cases include: illegal traffic stop, Miranda violations, lack of probable cause for arrest, right to counsel violations, and numerous other areas.

Arizona DUI Defense: Jury Trial Success

When the prosecutor refuses to offer a plea agreement worth accepting, it is critical that you have a lawyer with substantial trial experience. In the last couple years, Griffen & Stevens have obtained substantial trial success. Griffen & Stevens had a DUI case thrown out of court during the middle of a jury trial; obtained “not guilty” jury verdicts on charges such as DUI, possession of dangerous drugs, and more; obtained multiple hung jury results on serious felony cases, causing the prosecution to either dismiss or seriously reduce the charges; and other successful outcomes prior to trial, such as the dismissal of a second degree murder charge.

Arizona DUI law gives the defendant the right to a jury trial. Will a jury understand your position? Will a jury respect your testimony or silence? Will you have a lawyer whom the jury trusts?

We are pleased to offer free consultations on all criminal charges, including DUI. Send us an email or call us at the number at the top of this web page.

Would an Arizona grand jury indict in the Michael Brown case?

The news recently broke that a grand jury has declined to indict the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In that case, the officer, Darren Wilson, testified at the grand jury proceedings. In Arizona, it is common for law enforcement to testify at grand jury proceedings, but not as common for a suspect (i.e., someone about whom the grand jury is deliberating) to testify before the grand jury. In the Brown case, Wilson was both law enforcement and the person under scrutiny for killing Michael Brown, which he admitted doing. Arizona has its own set of grand jury laws. Let’s reflect on some of those now, in light of the Michael Brown case.

It is settled law in the State of Arizona that a grand jury proceeding may be challenged for the denial of substantial procedural rights. Rule 12.9, ARIZ.R.CRIM.PROC. The accused is entitled to due process during a grand jury proceeding, requiring the use of an unbiased grand jury and fair and impartial presentation of the evidence. Crimmins v. Superior Ct. In & For Maricopa Cty., 137 Ariz. 39, 668 P.2d 882, 884 (1983).

Arizona has long recognized the historical independence of the grand jury. The purpose of the grand jury is to “clear the innocent, no less than to bring to trial those who may be guilty.” United States v. Dionisio, 410 U.S. 1, 16-17 (1973). In order to fulfill its purpose, the grand jury must “be both independent and informed in order to render a decision free from bias.” Wood v. Georgia, 370 U.S. 375, 390 (1962).

Arizona courts have attempted to safeguard grand jury independence by regulating the prosecutor’s presentation of the evidence and law and also by enforcing the prosecutor’s good faith duty. Justice Feldman of the Arizona Supreme Court described the role of the grand jury as:

The grand jury is neither an arm nor a servant of the prosecution. It has an independent responsibility to determine whether there is probable cause to believe a particular crime has been committed. A further function is to protect citizens against unfounded criminal prosecutions.

Crimmins, supra, 668 P.2d at 886 (Feldman, J. specifically concurring).

In Arizona, the State is also obligated to present to the Grand Jury “exculpatory evidence.” More specifically, while the State is not obligated to present evidence that is “arguably” exculpatory to the grand jury, the State must present evidence that is “clearly” exculpatory. State v. Coconino County Superior Court, 139 Ariz. 422, 687 P.2d 1386 (1984).

It is difficult, if not impossible, to say what an Arizona grand jury would do in the Michael Brown shooting. We note that grand jury proceedings in Arizona, due to their secretive nature and limited witness testimony, do not compare to a real trial. That’s why some indictments are issued by a grand jury but ultimately rejected by a trial jury after hearing all of the evidence, from both sides.

Also, in Arizona, the law on self-defense can be a huge hurdle for the State to overcome to obtain a conviction. That’s because, in Arizona, the State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the actions of the defendant were not self-defense. That’s right, the State must prove a negative: that the defendant was not acting in self-defense, within the limitations of Arizona’s criminal justification laws. We encourage our readers to review the grand jury transcript in the Michael Brown case for themselves. It has been published on many national media websites. Then, ask yourself: would an Arizona grand jury have acted differently in the Michael Brown case?

Most importantly, we grieve for the Michael Brown family, who have suffered the greatest loss. We hope his life and his story cause a positive social change, to include appropriate self-restraint by law enforcement, while keeping everyone as safe as possible.

Tequila Sunrise in Flagstaff

Tequila Sunrise is a Flagstaff and NAU tradition – the perfect kick-off to NAU Homecoming festivities. However, mixing alcohol and a heavy police presence can lead to confusion and arrests. Each year, we have routinely defended NAU students and other young adults who find themselves in handcuffs on Tequila Sunrise morning. We offer free consultations on all criminal charges in Arizona, ranging from disorderly conduct to assault to DUI, and more.

As a general reminder, a criminal case is charged through an Arizona Ticket and Complaint, which the police can hand to you, or a Court can provide to you later. Typically, a misdemeanor case that occurs in Flagstaff will result in a criminal case being filed in Flagstaff Municipal Court. However, if the allegation arises out of events on the NAU campus, the case will typically be filed in the Flagstaff Justice Court. And if it’s a felony case, it will be in the Flagstaff Justice Court or the Coconino County Superior Court. Regardless of where the case is filed, the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure will dictate how the case proceeds.

First, there will be an Arraignment. If you don’t have a lawyer, you must appear in person for the Arraignment, or else a warrant will be issued for your arrest. However, if you have an attorney, you do not need to go to the Arraignment if your lawyer tells you it’s okay to skip. Second, there will be a Pre-Trial Conference (PTC) and police reports (the “disclosure”) will be provided to you or your attorney.

Ultimately, you will be able to decide between accepting a plea agreement — or deferred prosecution or diversion agreement, if available — or proceeding to a trial. Some cases have the right to a jury trial; other cases will be a bench trial (where the Judge is both the fact-finder and the Judge). It is our job to get the best possible plea offer, deferred prosecution, or diversion agreement for our clients. And, if the offer is not good enough, we are well known as Flagstaff’s successful trial attorneys. We are honored to utilize our trial experience, reputation, and skills to achieve the best possible outcome in a courtroom.

We offer free consultations on all criminal defense and personal injury cases in Northern Arizona. No pressure, no cost. Use the free contact form to the right, or call us at the number at the top of the page. Let the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC fight for you.

The New Early Disposition Court

Yavapai County’s “early disposition court” (EDC) has been overhauled. New rules, new times for hearings, new ideas. The concept remains the same: substantively address felony cases at the preliminary hearing stage and try to resolve certain cases without expending unnecessary resources. The risks associated with this concept include not treating defendants fairly, putting undue pressure on defendants to accept a plea, limiting the time for the defense to investigate, develop strategy, and possibly crack a case wide open. Once you take a plea deal in early disposition court, you can’t retract it, except under very rare circumstances.

The new EDC rules allow for the defense to spend more time reviewing the police reports and developing a defense strategy while still in early disposition court (preliminary hearing stage). The old rules would limit a defendant’s ability to accomplish much work while still in the preliminary hearing stage. As a result, defendants used to waive preliminary hearings and proceed to the Yavapai County Superior Court more quickly. Now, however, cases are more likely to be resolved while in the early disposition court, without a defendant having to step foot into a Yavapai County Superior Court courtroom. The new rules also affect whether a defendant appears at the 8:00AM docket or the 1:00PM docket.

There are numerous options still available at an early disposition court proceeding: waive a preliminary hearing, continue the early disposition court to a new date, request a preliminary hearing (which is likely to trigger a grand jury indictment proceeding), take a plea, make a counter offer, and potentially more. All of these options should be discussed with a qualified criminal defense attorney. You are also entitled to receive the initial disclosure (police reports, etc.) at the early disposition court stage. The dangers of early disposition court are high: felony convictions, prison, probation, probation violations, parole violations, and more. Don’t fall for the trap of feeling pressured to take a plea deal. Make sure you are certain, with the assistance of legal counsel, that any plea agreement you accept is an appropriate resolution to your case.

At the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC, we are honored to represent defendants in the early disposition court on a regular basis. We know the new rules. We know the new risks. We can protect your rights.

Injured in Northern Arizona? A legal strategy.

Northern Arizona has some of the most dangerous roads. Whether it’s a high-speed road through Indian Country, a crash on I-17 or I-40 in Northern Arizona, or a country road on the way to the Grand Canyon, or a dangerous intersection in the City of Flagstaff, accidents happen. Injuries happen. Negligent (i.e., bad) driving happens. Vehicles hit pedestrians and cyclists. All of these types of events can cause serious or fatal injuries. And very few people know how what to do if it happens to you or someone you know.

First, get medical help immediately. At the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC, we sometimes see injury cases where the injured person refuses medical care, or is afraid to seek medical care due to the cost of an ambulance or treatment. It is incredibly important to get good quality medical care as fast as possible. Let us guide you through Arizona law as it relates to medical bills and liens later.

Second, call the police to make a report and ensure that a proper investigation is performed. In a motor vehicle accident, or MVA, it is appropriate for the police to review the accident scene, view the injuries, reconstruct what happened, and file a ticket or complaint against the negligent driver (if there is one). Detailed accounts of what happened are necessary to the proper handling of a personal injury case.

Third, when you feel ready, and medically stable, contact us for a free consultation. There are several reasons to do that. You may have a right under Arizona law to be reimbursed for your damages (bills, pain, suffering, etc.). You also may need advice and guidance on how to handle your medical bills, bill collectors, liens, subrogation claims, and pushy insurance adjusters. We do all of those things – diligently and professionally – for our clients.

Fourth, consult with us before you make any agreements with an insurance company or insurance adjuster. While they may seem nice on the phone (sometimes), you may not realize that you are getting a bad deal or unfair settlement. You should review any settlement offer with a lawyer. We do free case reviews in that regard. If you’re getting an unfair deal, we may be able to help you get substantially more money for your damages.

In addition to all of those things, you may also be faced with complicated issues involving medical liens, subrogation claims by insurance companies, lawsuit, mediation, arbitration, and more. If the insurance company for the negligent person that injured you cannot cover all of your damages, call us for more information about underinsured motorist coverage and/or uninsured motorist coverage. We would be honored to consult with you.

At the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC, we professionally handle all personal injury claims with the utmost professionalism and diligence. We are trial lawyers, unafraid to fight insurance company lawyers in the courtroom. We go the distance to show those insurance companies that we will not back down and accept an unfair settlement, just to avoid litigation. We do the work. You get the results.

Flagstaff’s Criminal Courts Explained

Over 5 million people visit Flagstaff and Northern Arizona each year. Whether it’s a visit to Northern Arizona University (NAU) or the Grand Canyon, or perhaps to ski at Snow Bowl in the winter, Flagstaff welcomes tourists and travelers every day. With that many people, not to mention all of the NAU students who live here, people who work in town, and visitors from the Reservation, it’s no surprise that Flagstaff police, DPS, and the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office stay busy with arrests and citations. This article is part of our “Criminal Defense in Northern Arizona Courts” series. Here, we’re going to explain the differences between the criminal courts located in Flagstaff. Believe it or not, there are five (5) different criminal courts in Flagstaff alone!

(1) Coconino County Superior Court – This is Flagstaff’s adult felony court. If you have a criminal case in Coconino County Superior Court, it means you are charged with – and being prosecuted for – a felony case. A felony, by definition, is any crime for which you can be punished in excess of one (1) year in prison. Therefore, major felony cases involving life in prison, the death penalty, and decades of incarceration are heard and tried in the Coconino County Superior Court. There are four (4) main divisions that handle felony cases in Coconino County Superior Court. However, there are six (6) divisions total. This is also the location in which the DUI/Drug Court Program operates.

(2) Flagstaff Justice Court – Like the Coconino County Superior Court, this court is a county court. It is located in the same building as the Coconino County Superior Court at 200 N. San Francisco Street. Flagstaff Justice Court handles both misdemeanor and felony cases. However, a felony case cannot be resolved as a felony in Flagstaff Justice Court. This court can handle the preliminary stages of a felony case. If a felony case proceeds beyond the preliminary hearing, the case would have to be transferred to the Superior Court. But if a case is a misdemeanor – like a DUI, domestic violence simple assault, disorderly conduct, etc. – the Flagstaff Justice Court will handle it through completion. Criminal charges that arise inside the Flagstaff city limits generally are not sent to the Flagstaff Justice Court, although this court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Flagstaff Municipal Court. As a general rule, all criminal charges arising from the NAU campus are handled in Flagstaff Justice Court. Also, all criminal charges (except felonies that are indicted by a grand jury) that occur within the Flagstaff precinct of Coconino County will be heard in Flagstaff Justice Court. There are two Justices of the Peace in Flagstaff Justice Court. Both have prior experience working in criminal defense.

(3) Flagstaff Municipal Court – This court hears all misdemeanor cases that occur in the Flagstaff city limits, except those that occur on the NAU campus. This court can only hear misdemeanor cases. Because of cases like DUI and shoplifting, the Flagstaff
Court does have the authority to conduct jury trials. Other misdemeanors are tried to the judge, also called a bench trial. There are several judges that work in the Flagstaff Municipal Court, although only two are assigned to resolve the large majority of all Flagstaff misdemeanor cases.

(4) Coconino County Juvenile Court – This is the court for juvenile offenders and juvenile criminal charges (i.e., criminal charges against a minor under the age of 18). Arizona law does allow the prosecutor’s office to charge certain felony cases in adult court, even if the accused is under 18 years old. This court has one main judge. She is very experienced in juvenile law.

(5) U.S. Magistrate Court (Federal) – This is Flagstaff’s only federal court dedicated to criminal cases. This court handles misdemeanor cases through completion, and the preliminary stages of felony cases (including a preliminary hearing and detention hearing). If a felony case proceeds beyond the preliminary stages (i.e., the case is not pled down to a misdemeanor), then the case will be transferred to U.S. District Court in Phoenix. This court handles cases that arise in the Grand Canyon National Park, Glenn Canyon National Recreation Area, Lake Powell, Lake Mohave, and other federal jurisdictions. For major felony cases, as noted in the Major Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1153, that occur on the Indian Reservation, oftentimes the preliminary stages of the case will occur in this court.

We hope Flagstaff’s residents and visitors have a wonderful summer. Be careful out there and enjoy beautiful Flagstaff!

Flagstaff Lawyers Defend Grand Canyon Trespassing Cases

Here at the Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC, we are extremely disappointed in the federal government’s shutdown of our most amazing national parks, including the Grand Canyon National Park. One of the top seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is… shut down? Closed? Prohibited from accepting visitors? It’s a sad day for our country, for our citizens, for the State of Arizona, and for all of us who have a right to enjoy our own national parks.

We are outraged by the recent news that nearly two dozen people have been cited – with criminal charges – for entering the Grand Canyon during the shutdown. For example, take a look at the USA Today article here. According to the article, there will be law enforcement patrolling the Grand Canyon National Park around the clock. If law enforcement is available to patrol the park “around the clock,” why are U.S. citizens not allowed to enjoy the park? Everyone charged with a crime in the Grand Canyon National Park will have to appear in federal magistrate court in Flagstaff, since the courthouse in the Grand Canyon National Park is apparently shut down.

We are honored to defend cases in the United States Magistrate Court in Flagstaff, Arizona. We defend federal charges of all types – trespassing, DUI or OUI, assault, sex crimes, drug cases, and murder. We are a criminal defense law firm in Flagstaff, dedicated to providing high quality legal defense to criminal charges. We take pride in defending those accused by the U.S. government of criminal wrongdoing. It was the U.S. government that caused the shutdown of the Grand Canyon and all national parks. We feel that the National Park Service, according to media reports, has been disrespectful, if not abusive, toward U.S. citizens. And we don’t believe it should be tolerated.

If you have been charged with a crime in federal court, U.S. District Court in Arizona, or the U.S. Magistrate Court in Flagstaff, please call us for a free consultation or fill out our Free Consulation Form at the top of the page.