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Phoenix Criminal Defense Law Blog

Arizona sentencing laws are not always flexible

When facing criminal charges, perhaps the most common concerns relate to the penalties associated with the crime. After all, fines for certain offenses can destroy your personal finances. Perhaps more urgently, if there is potential that you may go to jail for a conviction, it is important to understand how long that sentence might be.

While a sentence of six months or even two years is not a walk in the park, if the charges you are facing carry the potential for 10 years or even longer, you may miss your kids' entire childhood. The world you re-enter may be very different from the one you left. This is why it is critical to understand criminal sentencing in Arizona before you begin building your defense strategy.

Tests used by law enforcement during a DUI traffic stop

Arizona law takes a strong stand against drunk driving. If convicted, the penalties you could face include time behind bars, expensive fines, loss of driving privileges and more. It is in your interests to know your rights and how to defend yourself in case you find yourself with DUI charges against you. A good place to start is to learn more about what happens during a DUI traffic stop.

Law enforcement cannot pull people over simply because they want to. They must have probable cause to do so. During a traffic stop, police will come to speak to you and to assess whether you are displaying some signs of possible intoxication. These include red eyes, having alcohol on your breath and slurred speech. A police officer may then ask you get out of the vehicle to submit to certain tests called field sobriety tests.

Preparing for divorce as the stay-at-home mom

Being a stay-at-home mom is no cake walk. But it can be even harder when you’re worried about a divorce.

Though you add a lot of value to your household, you may not have as much financial stability to show for your efforts. While Florida’s family law considers childcare and spousal support during a divorce case, a divorce settlement can still be unfavorable for stay-at-home parents. Here are a few steps that you can take to be better prepared for your divorce and independent financial future.

Aggravated DUI can derail your future

There is no such thing as a simple DUI. Facing charges for drunk driving means your future is in jeopardy. A DUI conviction can carry penalties that result in financial burdens, professional challenges and personal struggles.

However, as complicated as a normal DUI can make your life, you face even more trouble if there are aggravating factors attached to your DUI. An aggravating factor is anything that authorities feel adds more severity to the offense. If aggravating factors exist in your DUI case, you may face the potential for enhanced penalties or even the possibility that prosecutors will raise the level of your charges from a misdemeanor DUI.

Did law enforcement have valid grounds to pull you over?

Facing drunk driving charges can be overwhelming and frightening. You are up against serious penalties and consequences that can alter the course of your life, even if it is your first offense. It is in your interests and for the benefit of your future to fight back against these charges.

One of the first steps in developing the right defense strategy is to examine the circumstances of the original traffic stop. If the police did not have valid grounds to pull you over, it could compromise the entire case against you. It is in your interests to learn about reasonable suspicion, your rights as a motorist and how to defend yourself when facing a DUI in Arizona. 

Before you share your prescription, think again

Your surgery went well, and you recovered quickly, so you did not finish the narcotic pain killers your doctor prescribed. When a coworker complained of pain, you thought nothing of sharing a few pills with him or her. Or perhaps a friend was struggling to get through a tough week at school, so you gave him or her a few of your Adderall to help with studying. Maybe you even handed over the prescription bottle. Perhaps you went as far as having your prescription refilled for your friend or coworker.

At the time, your good-intentioned actions may have seemed generous to you. After all, what's the problem? You were not going to use the pills, and it seemed a waste to just throw them away. However, medications that come in prescription form are under heavy regulation because they have dangerous potential for misuse, including addiction. If you are facing criminal charges for distributing drugs, you have reason for concern.

Domestic violence charges do not always include violence

Marriage can be a passionate relationship, and the passion is not always the good kind. You and your spouse may have struggled through difficult times when stress got the better of you and tempers flared. Perhaps you shouted. Maybe you slammed a door or threw something across the room. Maybe you grabbed your spouse's shoulder or instinctively reacted to your spouse's assault.

Now you are looking at domestic violence charges, which are among some of the most aggressively pursued and the most difficult to defend against. Arizona law prevents an accuser from dropping a charge of domestic assault once the police are involved. In fact, even if your spouse refuses to testify against you, the state may still file the charges and move forward with prosecution. This is why it is critical to consider engaging legal assistance as soon as possible.

That breath test may not have accurately tested your BAC

When you drink an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol circulates through your body and your bloodstream. As it passes through your lungs, it creates a measurable vapor. This is what breath-testing machines detect. The more you drink, the higher the concentration of vapor in your lungs the machine can allegedly detect.

The problem is that some of these machines do not always work as designed. They create false positives that result in people ending up under arrest when their blood alcohol concentrations did not reach the legal limit, which is .08 for individuals over the age of 21 here in Arizona. Other limits apply if you have a CDL or are under the age of 21.

Do police always have to read me my rights?

Knowing your rights is key to protecting them. Many have a vague understanding of the rights that protect them, especially in criminal matters, but often the law is much more complex than people realize. Adding to the confusion is the fact that Hollywood takes many liberties with criminal law when it comes to depicting police procedures.

One example of a rule that often leads to misunderstanding is the Miranda warning. Movies and TV crime shows often portray police arresting a suspect and reciting the rights to remain silent and obtain a lawyer. If you watch enough of these shows, you may be able to recite those rights by heart. However, did you know there are times when police do not need to warn you of your right to remain silent?

How does a DUI charge affect your employment?

Everyone makes mistakes, but some of them come with more ramifications and consequences than others do. You probably already know that Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country, which means that you should probably take any such charge seriously.

One area that may suffer significantly is your employment. Even if driving isn't part of your job duties, you could experience difficulties that your employer will not overlook due to the circumstances.