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Mesa Criminal Defense Blog

Supreme Court to review traffic stops

Motorists have a right of privacy while they are in their vehicles. But, stopping motorists often leads to the filing of criminal charges, such as drunk driving, drug charges or theft. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an illegal search and seizure case involving a traffic stop in Kansas.

The Court is reviewing an appeal of a Kansas state Supreme Court ruling that a truck driver was unlawfully stopped for suspicion of driving with a revoked license because the traffic stop was an impermissible search under the constitution. It will decide whether it is reasonable, under the Fourth Amendment, for the police to stop a vehicle only because a police officer assumes that its registered owner is driving the vehicle and the police have no other information disputing this assumption.

Understanding ignition interlock devices in Arizona

Despite the police force's best efforts, many Arizona residents continue to drink and drive. In fact, some evidence suggests that more people than ever before drive while drunk. Over the most recent St. Patrick's Day weekend, police arrested 366 people for DUI, which was a slight increase from the same weekend last year. 

Upon arrest, drivers need to start building a defense right away. A DUI conviction will bring numerous consequences that will stay with the person for years to come. One punishment many people tend to overlook is the requirement to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. This item will prevent the car from starting unless the driver proves he or she is sober. 

Understanding criminal trespassing in Arizona

Whether you decided to take a shortcut while walking home and did not know you were crossing through private property, or you had an inkling you should not enter an abandoned building but do so anyway for fun, you and other Arizona residents should realize that entering residential or commercial property without permission – even if you were just passing through – can come with serious criminal penalties.

It is especially important for young people to understand that trespassing has consequences, since juveniles may unwittingly commit a crime by “urban exploring,” hanging out at a railyard after hours or doing other activities that may seem harmless, but break the law.

How much can an Arizona DUI raise your insurance rates?

It is no secret that Arizona has some of the harshest driving under the influence laws in the country, and the consequences you will likely face after a DUI conviction are considerable. Even first-time drunk drivers can anticipate facing some harsh penalties, among them jail time, fines and a suspended license. The repercussions associated with the crime do not completely go away once you get your license back.

Instead, reports that you can expect to see a sharp increase in the amount you must pay for automotive insurance coverage once you receive a conviction for DUI, and Arizona’s drunk drivers face some of the highest insurance rate hikes in the country. Just how much could your insurance rates go up once you have a conviction for an Arizona DUI?

Being stopped for a DUI in Arizona

Surrendering the keys after drinking alcohol is the best way to avoid a conviction. However, motorists may face drunk driving charges after leaving a party and being pulled over by police. Drivers should undertake precautions to help protect against a conviction.

The legal limit for drunk driving is .08 percent blood alcohol content, but charges may be filed in Arizona if a person's driving ability is impaired in any way. Impairment differs for each driver based on their size, gender and other factors.

Legal marijuana patients face drug charges

A defect in criminal laws and overzealous law enforcement are a combination that can threaten citizen rights. Prosecution and conviction of at least two people with valid medical marijuana cards in Yavapai County show that criminal appeals may be necessary to preserve rights when there are oversights with drafting new laws.

According to the Arizona ACLU, the county prosecutor is interpreting current state law to allow medical possession and use of marijuana in its plant form. However, the prosecutor considers products made from it as illegal cannabis that is prosecutable under the state's felony drug laws.

3 signs you may have accepted a bad plea deal

Like most of your friends, you do what you can to stay on the right side of the law. Nonetheless, life has a way of intervening. While no one wants to be a defendant in a criminal prosecution, how you proceed may have a significant effect on your future.

Arizona’s criminal courts are often busy places. Because trials can be both expensive and time-consuming, judges often entertain pleas. While accepting one may be an effective way to move forward with your life, not all plea bargains are good. Here are three signs you have accepted a bad plea deal: 

Bill may lessen sex offender registry law

All people convicted of a sexual offense in Arizona must register with the state's sex offender registry. A bill was recently introduced that may grant eligibility for more people convicted of sex crimes to have their names removed from the registry. But, some criminal justice reform advocates claim that it may present obstacles for removal.

Now, the law contains almost no exclusions. Anyone convicted of sexual contact with a minor who is at least 15-years-old can ask a court for removal from the registry if they meet certain requirements. The contact had to be consensual, the offender could not be over 22-years-old when the offense occurred and the offender could not violate probation or commit another sex-related felony offense.

Hit-and-run kills motorcyclist in Mesa

On Jan. 22, a motorcyclist struck a vehicle that turned abruptly in front of him. The man collided with the car and later died from his injuries.

The driver of the vehicle struck did not stop and fled the scene. The Arizona Department of Public Safety worked the scene at 3200 E. Southern Ave. in Mesa and searched the surrounding area for the hit-and-run vehicle.

Gag orders in a criminal case

Roger Stone's federal trial and the judge's consideration of a "gag order" brings up the interesting conflict between the right to free speech and the guarantee of a fair trial. Failure to protect trial rights in and out of the courtroom is one of the grounds for criminal appeals.

A gag order prohibits prosecutors and defendants from publicly commenting about their case and criminal trial. These are usually intended to protect a defendant from the prosecutor's excesses, because they usually have a greater opportunity to prejudice their fair trial rights in the public. It is also used to assure that an unbiased and unaffected jury that can render a fair verdict.

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