What Is The Difference Between Setting Aside A Case vs Dismissing A Case In Arizona?

The legal world is filled with nuances and seeming contradictions. Each state has its own set of laws, which may be the same as other states, similar, or different. Legal terms can also be even more baffling when used by the media or entertainment industry. In this article, we will compare the difference between setting aside a case and dismissing a case.

To set aside a case means that the original judgment is changed in some way. After a trial or other determination, a party can ask the court (called a “motion,” or “petition the court”) to change the result. Of course, there needs to be sufficient, and legal reason for this setting aside to happen. Each case is unique and is governed by the law. So the original decision can be completely cancelled, or it can be modified somehow. The decision and case still exists, it is just changed. What would prompt a motion to set aside? In a criminal case, perhaps the sentence was too harsh for the crime, like life imprisonment for stealing a loaf of bread. In a civil case, it could be claimed that the amount of damages awarded were excessive based on the injuries suffered.

When a case is dismissed, that means it is closed. It can be dismissed before a trial, during a trial, or at the conclusion. A case dismissed “without prejudice” means that the case can be re-filed at a later date. A case dismissed “with prejudice” means the specific claim cannot be re-filed or re-charged to the defendant. A dismissal must be approved by a judge because it means the case is over.

In criminal cases, a dismissal is not the same as an acquittal. Being acquitted means that the person could not be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

When something is expunged, it is completely wiped out. It offers a fresh start for perhaps a petty crime, or mistaken identity. Laws vary greatly about which arrests and convictions can and cannot be expunged or sealed.

For instance in Arizona, “set aside” and “expungement” mean the same thing. So, in that State, the case is not erased, but still visible and is still available during criminal record checks for employment or other purposes.

A case can be dropped at any stage of the process. Whoever instigated the case, civil or criminal, perhaps feels that the evidence available would not support their position.

All of this may seem confusing, and it is. If there is any question, seek legal representation from a qualified attorney.

What Should I Know About Current Sheriff Paul Penzone and Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio

County Sheriffs have the opportunity to interpret the law, which means that different situations are subject to their opinion and they can choose what issues get priority in the area. That’s why it’s so important to understand the people who are at the forefront when making these decisions, and how they approach their jobs. Learning more about the differences between current Sheriff Paul Penzone and former Sheriff Joe Arpaio can give you a better idea of what you can expect in Maricopa Country.

How It Was

Arpaio served for more than 20 years as Maricopa County Sheriff, and he proudly did so with an iron fist. His name recognition was undeniable, and people appreciated his no-nonsense style for many years. Arpaio is a Republican, and a staunch supporter of Trump. He famously created Tent City, which essentially kept Arizona criminals outside in tents to save taxpayers and (hopefully) discourage criminal behavior. He didn’t approve of the tracking devices that were being used on certain criminals, nor did he approve of spending money to house them. When it comes to his name recognition on a national level, he is likely most well known for his criminal charges. Federal prosecutors announced that they would be formally serving him for violating civil immigration laws prior to the 2016 election.

A New Sheriff in Town

Penzone represented the county headed in another direction for many people. Some voiced their concerns about local interests getting lost in favor of federal issues like immigration. The county has 1,700 rape kits that have yet gone un-investigated by policy, which suggests that it wasn’t a priority for Arpaio. Penzone has two decades of experience as an officer, and and was recognized both in the country and internationally for defeating traffickers and violent criminals of all kinds. Despite one domestic dispute in 2002, he seems genuinely dedicated to peace and order. He wants to increase the amount of communication with the community and law professionals, whereas Arpaio seemed more focused on instilling fear and a Wild West atmosphere. He wants people to feel comfortable reporting crimes with the promise that they will be heard. He especially believes in the rights of children, and encourages the community to take a larger interest in everyone’s well being — including seniors and the poor.


Regardless of which style of law you support, the two men certainly have very different ideas of what it takes to build a strong community. As Penzone becomes more comfortable with this role, the county will learn more about his long-term solutions when it comes to law enforcement.

Consequences Of Possessing A Controlled Substance In Arizona

Chapter 34 of the Arizona State Criminal Code is our governing standard for drug-related offenses. The consequences of being caught with a controlled substance will vary with Arizona Drug Classifications of those substances. Also, whether or not this is your first drug possession offense, and if the police find paraphernalia related to drug use or sales can have an impact on your penalty judgment.

You must contact us immediately if you are arrested for possession of a controlled substance in Arizona because drug cases can become complicated very quickly. There are different penalties established under our Arizona State Laws regarding dangerous drugs, narcotics, or marijuana.

What was the Charge for Your Arrest?

Possession of Dangerous Drugs
If you are arrested and suspected of possessing certain controlled substances like mescaline, methamphetamines, GHB, LSD, steroids, ecstasy, psilocybin mushrooms, clonazepam, or related drugs you will be charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor. The penalty can vary due to quantity as well if other drugs or paraphernalia was also found. The penalty will be a jail sentence of up to 6-months with fines up to $2,500.

Possession of Narcotics
Charges against you involving the possession of oxycodone, morphine, cocaine, heroin, opium and/or similar drugs is considered a Class 5 Felony, with more serious penalties and ramifications. Depending on the quantity of controlled substance found this is likely a Class 4 Felony offense.

You’ll be facing a prison sentence of up to 2.75 years in prison, and up to triple the street value of the drugs found, like heroin for example. If the court finds you had additional paraphernalia that indicated possession with intent to sell the drugs, the charge will be increased to a Class 3 Felony, add more prison time if you were in the presence of a minor, your fines will increase also.

Possession of Marijuana
Arizona marijuana possession laws are more complicated and more serious than people understand. Even with Medical Marijuana Legalization under strict regulation, 99,740 registered legal adult users and 155 registered minor users in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program, there is still no tolerance for the illegal use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

In fact, Arizona Laws for possession, and the suspected intent to sell marijuana are more complex than laws governing illegal possession of more addictive, dangerous drugs. Possession of under 2-pounds carries a strict sentence of up to a year in prison and is considered a Class 6 Felony. More than 4-pounds will put you in prison for up to 3-years.

If this is your first offense, and in some cases, even a second offense can be reduced to probation time with regular drug testing/monitoring. If you complete probation without further offenses, your sentence could be dropped, perhaps your lawyer can have the charges removed from your permanent record.

For more information, give us a call at The Nolan Law Firm, (480) 568-6181.
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Know How Alcohol Affects Your Body

Alcohol, no matter how small the amount that one consumes, has an effect on the body. Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream and only a tiny amount of it is excreted by the body through the urine and breath. Long-term use of alcohol especially in excessive amounts always has physical and emotional changes that greatly harm one’s body. There are many long-term effects of alcohol abuse that can put the health and life of a user in serious jeopardy as well as endanger them.

Alcohol mainly affects the following body systems;

  • Excretory system
  • Central nervous system
  • Digestive system
  • Circulatory system
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Skeletal and muscle systems
  • Immune systems

Let’s have a brief look of how it affects each of the above body systems;

Excretory System

Excessive alcohol use causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that hamper its functioning. It ends up with an inflammation called pancreatitis, a very serious problem that can destroy the pancreas and result in chronic pancreatitis. Excessive alcohol also affects the liver by resulting in chronic liver inflammation. This can lead to cirrhosis which destroys the body and results in toxic substances not being excreted. Liver disease is life threatening and women are at a higher risk of suffering from alcoholic liver disease than men because their bodies absorb more alcohol.

Central Nervous System

Alcohol highly affects the central nervous system. Alcohol intake interferes with its functioning and the result is slurred speech in some people, poor coordination, lack of balance when walking, and more. Excessive alcohol intake can result in dire consequences such as inability to think clearly, inability to form memories, numbness, seizures and delirium from withdrawal efforts, permanent brain damage, and dementia.

Digestive System

Alcohol abuse can damage the salivary glands, tongue, cause ulcers in the esophagus, acid reflux, heartburn, stomach ulcers, and inflammation of the stomach lining. Excessive alcohol literally damages all parts of the digestive system. And this damage can lead to abdominal fullness, diarrhea, and internal bleeding from the ulcers, hemorrhoids or esophageal varices caused by cirrhosis. Heavy drinkers also face higher risk of malnutrition as well as mouth, throat and esophagus cancers.

Circulatory system

At times, a single episode of heavy drinking can result in troubles for the heart, especially for chronic drinkers. Complications such as irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and poisoning of the heart muscle cells.

Sexual and Reproductive Health

Alcohol abuse often results in erectile dysfunctions among men. It also hampers hormone production, affects testicular functions and causes infertility. In women, it can lead to infertility, miscarriages, premature delivery, still births, and fatal problems on fetal development.

Skeletal and Muscle Systems

Too much alcohol makes it hard for the body to produce new bones. It also increases the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis (thinning bones).

Immune system

Alcohol weakens the immune system and makes it hard to fight off illnesses such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.

If you have already been charged with a DUI or DWI contact the Nolan Law Firm for a free consultation at (480) 773-7901.

What Really Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is known as the sexual assault, battery, physical assault, willful intimidation, and/or abusive behavior that is a systematic pattern of control and power of one person against another. This type of violence includes emotional abuse, psychological violence, sexual violence, and physical violence. The severity and frequency of domestic violence can vary, yet the constant component is one partner’s effort to maintain control and power over another.

Domestic violence affects individuals of every nationality, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, age, and community. It is usually accompanied by controlling and emotionally abusive behavior that is only a small portion of dominance. Domestic violence can result in psychological trauma, physical injury, and possibly death. These devastating psychological, emotional, and physical consequences of domestic violence can easily last a lifetime and cross generations.

Deciphering Domestic Violence In A Partner

It is never easy to decipher if one is capable of becoming abusive early in a relationship as it only intensifies over time. Most abusers seem perfect and wonderful initially, but become more controlling and aggressive as the relationship progresses. Abuse can begin with distrust, possessiveness, threats, or name-calling. Although they may apologize for actions or claim that the actions are out of care or love, the control and violence only intensifies. What usually starts out as something to be insignificant can quickly escalate into extreme abuse and control. Such examples include:

  • Accusing a partner of cheating.
  • Showing jealousy of time spent with friends, family, or time spent away.
  • Telling a victim that nothing they do is done correctly.
  • Discouraging or preventing a victim from seeing family or friends.
  • Controlling money spent in the household.
  • Shaming or embarrassing their partner with put-downs.
  • Preventing their partner from making decisions.
  • Dictating how their partner looks.
  • Taking their partner’s money or refusing to give them money.
  • Intentionally scaring their partner.
  • Controlling what their partner does, where they go, or what they see.
  • Monitoring or stalking their victim via GPS, on the internet, or in person.
  • Threatening to hurt their partner or their family/pets/loved ones.
  • Intimidating their partner with weapons.
  • Pressuring their partner to have sex or do things they are not comfortable with sexually.
  • Forcing sex with other individuals.
  • Forcing or pressuring their partner to use alcohol or drugs.
  • Sabotaging birth control or refusing to wear protection.
  • Destroying property.
  • Preventing their partner from attending school or work, harassing their partner at either location, or keeping their partner up during sleeping hours so they under perform at either.

If you have already been charged with Domestic Violence,  contact the Nolan Law Firm for a free consultation at (480) 568-6132.