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Mesa Criminal Defense Blog

What is probable cause?

Ask any Arizona parent if they can tell when their child is up to no good and they will probably say "yes". Parents tend to have a sixth sense when it comes to their children's behavior and for the most part the hunches and suspicions they harbor are generally spot-on. A parent can base punishments and consequences on the bad actions they find out their kids have committed when the parents act on their hunches.

However, law enforcement officials throughout the state cannot use this same manner of suspicion to arrest individuals that they believe are up to no good. A police officer who arrests a person based on a hunch may violate that individual's Fourth Amendment rights and as such law enforcement officials are held to a higher standard when they choose to act on alleged criminal conduct. In order for a law enforcement official to make a legal arrest, legally seize property or legally execute a search they must have probable cause.

BAC is not always the whole story in a DUI arrest

Suppose the police pull you over on suspicion of drunk driving. It comes out later that your BAC test result showed something like 0.06. "Wonderful," you may think. "That means police have to drop the charges. My BAC has to be 0.08 for an arrest to stick."

Not so fast, though. The reality is that in Arizona, you can receive DUI charges no matter your BAC level. There does have to be probable cause to suspect that alcohol has impaired your functioning to drive, but that impairment can be quite slight.

3 things to know about assault with a deadly weapon

In Arizona, the law defines assault as any action meant to cause another harm or causing a person to reasonably believe physical harm was imminent. While assault charges are bad enough on their own, someone in possession of a weapon can face more serious consequences for assault with a deadly weapon

When a weapon becomes involved, a conviction could lead to several years in jail, heavy fines and felony charges on a person's record. Here are some pertinent details for the general public to understand about these charges.

Aggravated circumstances can elevate sentencing of rape charges

Sexual assault and rape are serious criminal charges in Arizona. Any reader who is facing these significant violent crimes should contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss their legal options for preparing a case-specific defense strategy. This post will briefly introduce several factors that may elevate the sentencing of a rape or sexual assault conviction but readers are reminded that the information contained herein is not legal advice.

Sexual assault in Arizona is generally defined as sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with a person without their consent. The facts of a sexual assault case will play a major role in how a court will decide regarding the potential responsibility of the criminal defendant. A sexual assault conviction results in felony sentencing and the prospect of many years behind bars for the defendant.

How much alcohol can someone drink before hitting 0.08 percent?

In Arizona, a person's blood alcohol concentration becomes illegal and dangerous once it hits 0.08 percent. For commercial drivers, anything above 0.04 percent is illegal. Naturally, for individuals under the age of 21, it is illegal to drink alcohol. That means even a BAC of 0.01 percent could send a teenager to jail for driving under the influence

Determining a person's BAC without a Breathalyzer is next to impossible. A person's BAC can vary wildly depending on the person's age, gender and type of alcohol consumed. 

What makes a law enforcement search illegal?

Arizona residents are right to expect some level of privacy in their personal lives. For example, they should expect that the can live as they please within the law within their homes without the threat of law enforcement officials barging in and investigating their actions and property. However, under some circumstances police and other government officials are permitted to make searches and seizures of private citizens' property when they are investigating suspected criminal conduct.

First, under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, a search of a person or their property must be reasonable. A law enforcement official may not arbitrarily decide to search someone without cause; they generally must have probable cause to suspect that a crime has happened and that their search will yield evidence of that crime.

Pulled over for a DUI? Follow these 3 tips

You are at a party one night and you decide to drive home. Perhaps you only had a drink or two and assume that driving will be no big deal, only to see the lights flashing behind you. Maybe you were swerving a bit, driving unreasonably slow or you just have a taillight out. Whatever the case is, you get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you hear the sirens. 

Nobody wants to end up in this situation, but sometimes it happens and you need to deal with it. How you react to a DUI stop and conduct yourself may save you from facing an arrest. Here are some things you should do when the police stop you for driving drunk.

What is a criminal appeal?

When a Mesa resident is arrested for the alleged commission of a crime there are a few different ways that their legal matter may move forward. If the prosecutor on their case decides that there is not any evidence connecting them to the matter then they may be released from their charges. If the prosecutor does decide to move forward with criminal charges the individual may decide to negotiate a plea deal on their case. If the individual wants to fight their charges in court then a trial date will be set to hear their matter.

At trial a criminal case can be dismissed or the defendant can be convicted. If the defendant is convicted they will receive a sentence which is effectively their punishment for being found guilty of their alleged crime. However, not all individuals who are convicted of crimes are willing to accept the outcomes of their cases and not all individuals should accept them. When a person wants to have a review of their trial or the terms of their sentencing then they may wish to pursue a criminal appeal.

What to do after a DUI arrest

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a significant contributing factor to the number of car crashes in the state of Arizona. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, 4,923 alcohol-related collisions took place in 2016. 

There are certain things a person can expect after a DUI arrest. You have a right to stay silent and not answer any questions, but you do need to provide your name, driver's license and registration. Once you make bail, there are specific actions to take to increase your chances of getting through this time all right. 

Is a plea bargain worth accepting?

You’ve been charged with burglary. You’ve hired a defense lawyer, and you’re preparing yourself for trial. If things don’t go your way, you could end up in jail. Suddenly, the prosecutor for your case offers you a deal. What does this mean, and should you accept?

What is a plea bargain?

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