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Mesa Criminal Defense Blog

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.

Sleeping it off? You could still get a DUI

Many people seem to think the only way the police can give you a DUI is if they catch you driving a vehicle while under the influence. That is what happened last New Year's weekend when police around Phoenix arrested 30 people on suspicion of drunk driving

However, law enforcement does not necessarily have to catch you actually driving the vehicle to give you a DUI. Many people assume they are safe if they merely sleep in their car after a night of drinking. In this circumstance, the police can still issue a DUI as long as they suspect you were in physical control of the vehicle. It is best to find some other place to spend the night to sleep off the impairment.

5 new laws in Arizona as of 2019

There are frequently new laws and changes to existing ones in Arizona. In fact, the number of bills passed by the state legislature is a whopping 369. Many of these new rules are now in effect, as of Jan. 1, 2019. 

Several of these new laws will impact your daily life. They address a wide range of issues, from license suspensions to the minimum wage. Here are five of the most notable new laws in Arizona. 

The government may force phone decryption

The Fifth Amendment protects individuals from being forced to be a witness against themselves. This right, and the rights against unlawful search and seizure, are facing challenges in the digital age. Court cases have complicated the issue of whether the government can force decryption of an electronic device. This can be significant in a criminal appeal because of the treasure trove of personal information stored in these devices.

Previously, courts could compel a person to turn over tangible items, such as a key to open a vault. However, it could not make a person turn over information they held in their mind, such as a safe combination. It also had the means to gain access with jackhammers or drills once it obtained a warrant. By comparison, however, law enforcement is unable to decrypt some electronic devices.

A quick overview of plea deals

A plea deal, also known as a plea bargain, is an agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant.

The agreement is for a defendant to plead "no contest" or guilty to charges in exchange for one of the following actions from a prosecutor:

  • Recommend a specific sentencing guideline to a judge
  • Reduce a charge to a lesser offense
  • Drop one or several charges

Vehicle black box is a serious witness

Recognized as presenting information in airplane accidents, an event data recorder or black box is now standard equipment in American vehicles. Suspects may begin to claim that seizure of black box data is an illegal search and seizure because police are now equipped to gather and use this evidence.

Beginning in 2018, black boxes were installed as standard equipment in most American cars. These devices record every time a motorist presses a button or makes a maneuver. This data is intended to be readily-accessible after an accident and will disclose information such as seatbelt closure, usage of brakes and travel speed.

Behaviors that give police reason to pull motorists over

There are numerous campaigns to warn people about the dangers of drinking and driving. Even so, the 2018 holiday season in Arizona saw an increase in DUI arrests compared to the same period in 2017. 

Even if individuals only have one alcoholic drink, they can still become impaired to the point where police can arrest them. Police can arrest someone for DUI if it seems as though he or she is a danger on the roadways. This is evident by certain behaviors. While the police need a reason to pull someone over, the following actions are more than enough to justify a traffic stop. 

Greyhound passengers advised of constitutional rights

Passengers on buses and other transportation do not leave their fourth amendment constitutional rights at the curb. In response to recent demands for identification by federal immigration officers, Greyhound issued an advisory to bus passengers about their rights against illegal search and seizure.

The advisory was issued during the holiday season amid recent expanded checks by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. Greyhound advised customers that the law permits federal officials to board any intercity bus within 100 miles of an international border.

How to use social media before your DUI trial

Social media has become a powerful tool in trials. One Mesa woman claimed police officers used excessive force during a DUI traffic stop, reports ABC. Video evidence of the incident circulated on social media, which gave the woman great evidence to fight her case. 

You may not have video evidence of the cops mistreating you, but you still need to know how to navigate social media before your trial. When you have a DUI trial on the horizon, it is paramount to keep the following tips in mind. 

A DUI conviction, a hearing and the effects on your future

After a conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol in the state of Arizona, you will face an administrative hearing to decide the fate of your driving privileges.

If you need your vehicle to travel back and forth to work or to class, the loss of your driver’s license can be devastating. A DUI mark on your record could also put a big roadblock on your plans for the future.

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