Friday, August 2, 2019

How Is a Sex Crime Defined in Arizona?

How is a sex crime defined in Arizona? It is a serious matter if you are charged with a sex crime in this state. It may even come with potentially life altering consequences. You could be looking at a lifetime of monitoring, probation, and a lot of hassle. Sex Crime

What Charges are Considered Sex Crimes?

In the state of Arizona, there are a lot of criminal charges that fall under the category of sex crimes. Many of these require registration in the sex offender database of the state. Here is a list of some of the charges that are defined as sex crimes:
  • Sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Child sex trafficking
  • Luring a minor for sexual exploitation
  • Commercial sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Unlawful disclosure of explicit images
  • Taking a child for the purpose of prostitution
  • Voyeurism
  • Violent sexual assault
  • Unlawful sexual conduct
  • Sexual misconduct by licensed professionals
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child
  • Bestiality
  • Child molestation
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual conduct with a minor
  • Sexual abuse
  • Public sexual indecency
  • Indecent exposure
  • Kidnapping (with intent to inflict sexual abuse)
  Note that there are other charges that also fall within the category of a sex crime in Arizona. The sentencing varies from minor misdemeanors all the way to a serious felony that could require a lengthy prison sentence that can last up to 27 years or, in some cases, life imprisonment. At any rate, you will need the aid of an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to deal with any charges of this kind. We recommend Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law, in case you find yourself charged in the state of Arizona.

Defining the Terms

In the state of Arizona, a sexual assault is defined as an event where a person knowingly and intentionally engages in oral or sexual contact or intercourse without the consent of the other party. This act is also commonly referred to as rape. What if an act does not meet all of these conditions? If that is the case, then the charge falls under sexual abuse. Take note of the following details:
  • There must be a penetration of the penis, vulva, or anus using anything bodily or otherwise for it to constitute sexual intercourse.
  • The intercourse is without the consent of the other party involved.
  • Oral sexual contact involves any oral contact with the anus, penis, or vulva.
  • Intimidation, fear, and threats may be used by the assailant when a sexual assault occurs.

Age of the Victim

The age of the victim at the time of the incident is a huge factor considering the sanctions and penalties levied on abuses committed toward children. If the victim was under the age of 15, then that translates to longer sentences. A rape conviction in Arizona will require prison time anywhere from 5 to 14 years. However, if the victim was under the age of 15 then the defendant will likely face a sentence that could last anywhere from 13 to 27 years, or even life.

Aggravating Circumstances

There are items or acts that may aggravate the sentence under Arizona law. For instance, if a date rape drug was used then an additional 3 years will be added to the sentence. If a serious physical injury was inflicted on the victim during the commission of a sex crime then the sentence can be raised to 25 years to life in prison.

Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

Sexual exploitation of a minor is also known as child pornography under state law. It occurs when an individual purchases, transports, sells, develops, duplicates, photographs, receives, transmits, films, or records any depiction of a minor engaged in sexual acts. This charge is considered as a class 2 felony. It carries with it a sentence that lasts 10 to 24 years.

Indecent Exposure

An indecent exposure can occur when people expose themselves to others inappropriately or even recklessly. That exposure is without regard of whether the other parties will be alarmed or offended. Note, however, that this charge does not cover mothers who are breastfeeding.

Need Legal Advice

There are plenty of offences that fall under the term sex crime in the state of Arizona. If you have been charged with any of these, then you will need legal advice from an experienced and results-driven sexual crimes defense attorney. We recommend Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law. With more than 30 years of experience, the nuances of criminal laws and statutes in Arizona will be explained to you as clearly as possible and you may even work your way toward reducing your sentence.  

The following blog post How Is a Sex Crime Defined in Arizona? is available on write up on the Robert Dodell Blog

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Orders of Protection and Injunctions Against Harassment in Arizona

Is there a difference between an order of protection and an injunction against harassment in the state of Arizona? Note that both of them are protection orders, but there is a particular difference between them in Arizona law. Threatening or Intimidating Criminal Defense  

Order of Protection vs. Injunction Against Harassment

The biggest difference between these two protection orders is to whom the order applies. An Order of Protection will apply if you have a familial kind of relationship with the other party. For instance, this kind of order applies to spouses, former spouses, a person you have lived with or are currently living with, a person with whom you had a child, and other relatives that are related to you because of marriage or through blood. On the other hand, you can file an Injunction Against Harassment only on people with whom you have no familial relationship. If there is no family relationship between the two parties, then this is the protection order that you should be seeking. This means that this protection order can be used against your coworkers, neighbors, club members, people in school, and even acquaintances.

How to Complete a Petition for These Two Protection Orders

You basically follow the same procedure when you file a petition for either an Injunction Against Harassment or an Order of Protection. The following are the steps that you need to complete:
  1. Submit your contact information and other relevant information. This includes your address and your phone number. In case the defendant (i.e. the person who you need a protection order from) would request a hearing, the court and your attorney can contact you. This information will be kept confidential.
  2. You must have the address of the defendant. It has to be a physical address and not just a PO Box. The order must be served to the defendant for it to be effective. You can request an injunction but it will still be ineffective if the order is not served to the defendant.
  3. Remember that filing something in court simply means that you have filled out and submitted to the court all the necessary paperwork. It does not mean that the protection order you petitioned is already effective. Once the judge grants the order, and it is served, the protection order is effective.  The defendant can challenge the order and ask for an evidentiary hearing on the order. It is the judge at that hearing who will decide if your protection order should continue in effect or cancelled.
  4. Note that you will not have to pay any kind of filing fee. However, there are other fees that you will need to pay for. There is a fee for the private process server and there may be another fee that you have to pay to the constable.
  5. Once the judge issues your Injunction Against Harassment or your Order of Protection it needs to be served to the defendant before it can be effective.
  6. What happens if the defendant violates either of these two orders of protection? If that happens you may immediately contact law enforcement who will enforce the protection order. Law enforcement officers and the prosecutor will decide whether or not to file charges.
  7. Remember that it is only the court who can dismiss Orders of Protection and Injunctions Against Harassment in Arizona. The court is also the only party that can change its terms. If you feel that certain terms need to be modified, then you need to contact the court for either dismissal or modification of any of these protection orders.
  8. Note that both an Injunction Against Harassment and an Order of Protection in Arizona are only effective for one year after they have been served on the defendant.

Understanding Harassment Laws

Note that a single incident does not necessarily constitute an act of harassment. It may be troubling to you, but it needs to be a repeated act or event for it to be classified as a form of harassment. Under Arizona law, harassment doesn’t have to be physical in nature. It can be in the form of verbal aggression or any other form of altercation. Therefore, many things could be considered a type of harassment. If you need to file a petition for an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment in Arizona, we highly recommend the law offices of Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law. Take advantage of my 30 years of experience in both prosecution and defense.  

Orders of Protection and Injunctions Against Harassment in Arizona is republished from www.azcrimlaw.com

Saturday, July 27, 2019

How Effective is Rule 11 in Arizona?

Rule 11 can be used in the state of Arizona if it is suspected that a defendant is mentally incompetent. However, there is some debate today if Rule 11 is truly effective in this state. Why is that? According to the ACLU (American Council of Civil Liberties), more than half of the population in Arizona prisons are actually suffering from mental disorders. That has led some to believe that Rule 11 doesn’t really apply or isn’t at all effect in this state.

What is a Rule 11 Hearing?

Simply put, a Rule 11 hearing in Arizona is a proceeding where a doctor will determine if a defendant is truly mentally incompetent to stand trial. To identify such a mental deficiency, the doctor will have to determine 2 things:
  1. The defendant is really unable to understand the court proceedings that are being undertaken against him.
  2. The defendant lacks the mental capacity to assist his own attorney with his defense in the proceedings.
The doctors who participate in the hearing will ask some probing and searching questions. They will ask the defendant to state what he understands is the role of the judge in the hearing. They will also ask if the defendant knows what the duties of the jury are. Other questions include a test of understanding for the role of both the defense and prosecuting attorneys. Here are a few sample questions:
  • Do you understand what a jury trial is?
  • What is your level of understanding of the current court proceedings?
  • Do you understand what a plea agreement is?
  • Are you aware of the charges made against you?

What Can a Defendant Do?

If you are the defendant in this case or if your loved one is, and it is suspected that Rule 11 applies in this situation, then you should talk to your defense attorney. The defense attorney will gather evidence of mental deficiency or determine if the required criteria are present. After that, a motion will be filed in court so that the defendant can be evaluated. The court will then send the defendant to two different doctors. The doctors will evaluate the defendant according to the procedure that was described above. After that, they will each render their own opinion. Their opinions will then be sent to court.

Agreement/Disagreement between Doctors’ Opinion

If the doctors agree that the defendant is competent to attend trial, then the defendant goes back to court. If their competency opinions are split, then the defendant will need to go to another doctor. The third doctor’s opinion will determine if the defendant goes back to court or not. If the doctors agree that the defendant is not competent then he or she could be sent a mental health institution for care. There is also the possibility that the doctors will believe the defendant is not competent ‘at the time of the trial’. However, in this case, they may determine that the defendant can be treated or educated and then restored to full competency. If that is the case, the defendant will be sent for treatment via therapy, education, or potentially through medication. This could last for up to 6 months, after which the defendant will be sent back to court and the judge will inquire how the restoration process is going. After successful restoration the defendant will have to answer for the charges.

Dusky v. United States

The US Supreme Court set out the scope of Rule 11 in this case. Dusky was a schizophrenic who was charged of kidnapping and rape. He was afterwards convicted, but the Supreme Court sent him back for retrial. The justices determined that a short mental status exam is not enough to determine competency. It is only fair that a full evaluation should be made. It should also be noted that people with mental illnesses can still be aware of the court proceedings and be able to consult with their attorneys in their defense. Note that Rule 11 can be used in the following proceedings:
  • Entering a plea
  • Standing trial
  • Assisting a lawyer in one’s defense
Remember that having a mental illness is not a way for anyone to “play” the system. You can’t use it as an excuse so that you won’t have to answer for charges in court. However, if a defendant is truly mentally incompetent then Rule 11 may apply in the State of Arizona. If you believe that Rule 11 applies to you or a loved one, then you need competent legal advice from a lawyer with decades of experience in Arizona law. The law offices of Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law is experienced in handling many different criminal cases.    

The following article How Effective is Rule 11 in Arizona? was first published to Choose Robert Dodell Law Offices

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Friday, June 28, 2019

Arizona Lawmakers Approve Ban on Cellphone Use While Driving

In April of this year, Arizona became the 48th state to prohibit the use of mobile phones and other handheld mobile devices while driving. The bill was signed on April 22, 2019 by Republican Governor Doug Ducey, which will give effect to a statewide ban on using handheld devices while driving starting January 2021. While police officers are not yet allowed to issue tickets to violators, they can already issue warnings. Once the law takes effect on the first day of January 2021, first-time violators will be issued tickets that will require them to pay a civil penalty from $75 to $149. Violators will have to pay a civil penalty between $150 and $250 for a second ticket. Want to make sure you’re well-informed of this new law? Here are some things you should know about the statewide cellphone ban for Arizona drivers.

Are You Allowed To Talk While Driving In Arizona?

The law specifically states that any kind of cellphone use—talking, texting, sending emails, accessing social media accounts, etc.—will be prohibited unless their devices are in hands-free mode and are activated by voice.

Here are the specifics:

  • It is prohibited to hold the phone in any way, including holding it up on the shoulder or supporting it with any body part.
  • Any text-based communication or activity, including emails, instant messaging, and texts is not allowed.
  • Recording or watching videos is not allowed.
  • It is also prohibited to take or view photos on a cellphone while driving.

The following information highlights exemptions:

  • Swiping mobile device screens to accept or make calls is allowed.
  • Talking on the phone is allowed when using an earpiece or any headphone device. Using a wrist-worn device is also allowed.
  • Voice-based communications are allowed (i.e. speakerphones, typing text through mobile voice function, etc.)
  • Using a built-in GPS device while driving is allowed.
  • Using handheld mobile devices are allowed while the vehicle is stopped. The vehicle can either be parked or stopped at a traffic light.
  • Using a handheld mobile device to call 911.
To be clear, this ban will apply not only to mobile phones but also to other portable wireless devices used for communication, such as tablets. Certain exemptions apply to officials who are responding to emergencies and to people who are in need of emergency help. The law does not include two-way radios, built-in devices, in-vehicle security devices, or navigation devices.

What About City Laws?

Even before the ban on cellphone use was approved, there were cities in Arizona that already prohibited the use of mobile phones while driving. Some of the cities that prohibited using handheld devices are El Mirage, Fountain Hills, Glendale, Phoenix, Surprise, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and Tempe. These laws will remain in effect until the new state law replaces them in 2021.

What Other States Prohibit Texting While Driving?

For more than a decade, there were a number of proposed laws that sought to ban the use of mobile phones while driving. There was already an anti-distracted driving law in place in Arizona, but it didn’t specify the use of mobile handheld devices. Texting while driving was prohibited only for newer drivers, particularly teenagers. Now that Arizona has taken this step towards banning all cellphone use, there are only two remaining states that still don’t have a statewide texting ban for all drivers—Missouri and Montana. Using a mobile phone while driving is a serious safety issue and now a civil traffic offense.  Arizona has been added to the list of states that had already implemented a statewide ban. Although it is a civil traffic offense, this does not mean that a driver cannot be charged with a criminal offense when the mobile phone violation results in an accident or other serious misconduct.  If you have been charged with an offense, Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law is there to assist you through your troubles.    

Arizona Lawmakers Approve Ban on Cellphone Use While Driving is available on call Robert A. Dodell at (480) 860-4321

Law Offices of Robert A. Dodell

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Sunday, June 23, 2019

How Can I Get My License Back After a DUI?

Partying is not a crime. However, drinking and driving is not a good combination. In the US, it is estimated that 28 people die every day from car crashes caused by alcohol consumption. This roughly translates to one person dying every 51 minutes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The statistics are bad enough to understand why driving while intoxicated is strictly enforced and why the law requires the suspension of a driving privileges. Drug Use Lead to a DUI

What Is DUI?

DUI means driving under the influence. Depending on which state, it may be called other names such as Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired (DWI), Operating Under the Influence (OUI), or Impaired Driving.

How Do You Get Arrested For DUI?

Most of the people who drive under the influence of alcohol or other substances violate speed limits or drive erratically. Once a police officer spots an offending vehicle, the officer trails that vehicle and signals to the driver to pull over. Once pulled over, they question the driver. If driver is suspected to be intoxicated, he or she is subject to a blood alcohol content (BAC) test. The legal limit for BAC in Arizona is 0.08 percent, though even smaller percentages may already impair a person’s ability to drive. In fact, a 2015 report from NHTSA found that 1,809 people were killed in car crashes related to alcohol intoxication where the drivers’ BAC was less than 0.08 percent. If the person is found to over the BAC legal limit, his or her driver’s license will be taken away and he or she will be charged with a crime. Even if a driver refuses to get his BAC tested, the officer will likely get a warrant for a blood test and driver’s license and driving privileges would still be suspended anyway. Upon conviction, a person may be sentenced to receive punishment —monetary fine, community service, or jail / prison. This depends on the severity of the incident and whether or not the person being convicted is a first-time or repeat offender.

How to Get Back Your License

Once a DUI offender gets released, their license isn’t immediately reinstated. They may have to undergo several steps depending on which state they’re in. For first-time DUI offenders, police officers will replace the offender’s license with a temporary one. The offender must  request a hearing from the Motor Vehicle Department or the license will be suspended in 15 days.The temporary license will be go until the ruling from the administrative law judge of the validity of the suspension.  Note that failure to request a hearing will lead to a suspension of the driver’s license, after the 15 day grace period. Suspension of a driver’s license varies in time.  It may last from 3 to 12 months depending on several factors: (1) the level of intoxication of the driver, (2) whether or not the driver has had previous DUIs, and (3) whether there was a refusal to take the blood test. There may be multiple steps to follow for people to get their license back after a DUI.  Each case is different. Basically, the person will be required to complete all the requirements set forth by the Motor Vehicle Department, which could include payment of any fines that caused a license to be suspended; proof of insurance from the vehicle; an ignition interlock device; completion of an alcohol rehabilitation program; and reinstatement fees. Note that alcohol rehabilitation programs vary depending on the level of intoxication at which the driver was arrested, alcohol history and prior DUI history.  It could range anywhere from attending an alcohol safety education for a several hours to signing up and committing to a long term alcohol rehabilitation and detox program. This may seem like a strict form of punishment, but it’s a good way to remind people to drink responsibly to avoid consequences that result from a DUI.

When You May Need To Hire A Lawyer

Scottsdale Courts take DUIs seriously, particularly because it often proves fatal to other motorists. Being convicted of a DUI means potentially losing your license, paying a large fine, or sometimes serving time in jail or prison. An experienced DUI lawyer may not guarantee that your DUI case is dismissed, but he or she could play a role in gaining you a reduced sentence. In case you need one at some point, Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law is an excellent choice.    

How Can I Get My License Back After a DUI? Find more on: call Robert A. Dodell at (480) 860-4321

Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law

10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

(480) 860-4321

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Monday, June 10, 2019

When You May Want to Waive Your Right to a Jury Trial

The US Constitution recognizes and protects the right of every citizen to a jury trial (Art III, Sec. 2, and the Sixth Amendment). But, you can also waive your right for a jury trial if you prefer a bench trial, where only the judge decides on the verdict. In general, people would not want to waive their right to have a jury trial. But, there may be cases when that will be the best option to take.

When to Waive Your Right to a Trial by Jury

According to the courts, any person can waive his or her right to a trial by jury in a voluntary and intelligent manner.  A conviction will discarded if it is shown that a defendant was not informed clearly of the difference between a jury and bench trial. Thus, you must show the court that you are aware of the implications of your actions if you are waiving your right to a trial by jury. For instance, you may need to confirm your understanding that a jury will be composed of a dozen people from your community. You may also need to confirm that you understand your right (through your lawyer) to participate in selecting the members of the jury, and that all the jurors must be unanimous in convicting you for the crime. If you waive your right, the decision on your innocence or guilt will be in the hands of the judge. Once you convince the court that you have full understanding of what you’re doing, it will be then be up to the prosecutor to agree to have a bench trial instead. There are various reasons you may consider waiving your right to be tried by a jury of your peers. Some wish to waive the jury trial because they believe that the jury will most likely not be sympathetic or compassionate; some believe the judge will follow the law more closely and not be swayed by emotion and then some just feel uncomfortable with a jury.  Whatever the reason, this should be fully discussed with the attorney before you decide whether to waive the right to a jury trial.

Waiving Your Right to Be Tried by a Jury

As mentioned, the court will only allow you to waive your right in a voluntary and intelligent manner. Likewise, the court will show that you have been well-informed about the differences between a bench trial and jury trial.  The prosecutor must also agree. If he disagrees, the trial by jury will proceed, as the State has the same right to a jury trial as the defendant. When considering waiving a jury trial for your criminal case in Arizona, contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law to help you plan your next move. Coming up with a sound strategy is perhaps the hardest part of defending a criminal case. After all, your freedom and reputation are at stake. Having an experienced and reputable lawyer by your side can help you achieve the best possible outcome.

The following article When You May Want to Waive Your Right to a Jury Trial Find more on: azcrimlaw.com

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Arizona Helping Hands, Foster Care and Adoption

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” With that powerful quote in mind from Charles Dickens, The Law Office of Robert A. Dodell and staff toured Arizona Helping Hands, a non-profit organization that helps families with children in foster care.  President & CEO, Dan Shufelt, kindly escorted us through their facility. Law book and wooden judges gavel on table in a courtroom or law enforcement office. Lawyer Hands holding business card with text Foster Care Our law office works on multiple adoptions a year for families who are either foster parents or relative or non-relative placements of children who are wards of the court and in the legal custody of the Department of Child Safety (DCS). It’s fulfilling to assist bringing families together via adoption, but we wanted to take it one step further and make sure these selfless families knew about organizations like Arizona Helping Hands.   So, what does Arizona Helping Hands help with?  Well, it seems like everything!   If a foster family or DCS placement needs a bed or crib for a child, Arizona Helping Hands provides one with an incredible donation from Mattress Firm. Over 2900 beds were donated in one year alone.  But that’s not all! Arizona Helping Hands also assists with clothing, diapers, books, etc., for foster families and DCS placements in need. These families need only bring their Notice to Provider from DCS, fill out the Arizona Helping Hands’ “in need” application or call for a service appointment for this assistance.  https://www.azhelpinghands.org/basic-2/   Our tour of the Arizona Helping Hands facility blew us away. The quiet and modest office in front completely belied the magic in back. The large warehouse, where donations of all kinds are stored in neatly packed aisles, was abuzz with activity and excitement. Volunteers lined up, assembly-style, chatted and laughed as they efficiently packed goods at long tables between the aisles. Some volunteers packed backpacks filled with school supplies for kids transferring to a new school. Over 6,500 backpacks were filled last year with age-appropriate supplies and given to foster children as the result of requests made by DCS placements, court appointed special advocates (CASA’s), DCS and tribal caseworkers.   Other volunteers packed personal care kits filled with basic toiletries such as shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc., for foster kids frequently placed in care with literally nothing but the clothes on their backs. It’s harder still, when you’ve been removed from the only family you’ve ever known and it’s your birthday. Arizona Helping Hands thought of that too. We watched in awe as personalized birthday gift bags for kids in DCS care were swiftly assembled with gift-wrapped goodies including toys, books and other treats. Sometimes even a bicycle accompanies the birthday gift bag!  Families can apply online for a birthday donation at https://www.azhelpinghands.org/birthday-dreams/ 2-4 weeks in advance of the child’s birthday. Of course, Arizona Helping Hands does not stop at birthdays; holiday toy drives are a must as well. Over 30,000 toys were donated last year! https://www.azhelpinghands.org/toydrive/   Whether you’re a DCS placement in need or you want to donate your time, goods or money to Arizona Helping Hands, reach out to them. They’re wonderfully organized and accomplish so much with just over 7% overhead and virtually no government support. Aside from corporate donations, most of the support is from individual donations via the Foster Care tax credit program, where a taxpayer receives a dollar-for-dollar tax credit against their Arizona State income tax liability for annual contributions. The credit is $1000 for a married couple or $500 for a single person.  https://www.azhelpinghands.org/aztaxcredit-html/ It is a wonder thing when you have a foster child in your home, or when you give of yourself to an organization that lightens a foster child’s burden. Check out how the Robert A. Dodell adoption team can help you and your family.

Arizona Helping Hands, Foster Care and Adoption was originally published on get in touch with us

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Is Threatening Someone a Crime in Arizona?

It is a crime to intimidate or threaten violence under Arizona’s Threatening or Intimidating Statute; it is also illegal to threaten serious damage to property. Under ARS 13-1202, threatening or intimidating is a serious offense that’s charged either as a felony, depending on the circumstances. With the charge, there does not have to be physical contact to the alleged property or victim. The victim simply has to report a genuine threat. Threatening or intimidating does not even require that the victim experienced any fear. Threatening or intimidating cases typically arise from uncorroborated claims from biased victims. The allegation of threat may even be  made up, blown out of proportion, or simply exaggerated. The victim may report the charge out of frustration, vindication, or anger as opposed to a genuine concern for property or safety. Under ARS 13-1202(A)(1), threatening or intimidating is typically charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. It can be charged as a Class 6 felony in some rare cases when it is alleged that the threat was made in retaliation to a victim reporting criminal conduct  Threatening or intimidating can also be charged as a a Class 6 felony when it involves criminal street gangs. It can be charged under ARS 13-1202(A)(3) as a Class 3 felony if made to promote the gang or to get a person to participate in gang activities. The threatening and intimidating charge, however, is most common in domestic abuse cases and those are typically filed as misdemeanors

Penalties for Threatening or Intimidating Under Arizona Law

 

Misdemeanor Threatening or Intimidating

Threatening or intimidating is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor where the person committing the offense, either by word or conduct, threatens to cause physical injury to another person or serious damage to another’s property.  The threat is also a Class 1 misdemeanor where the person causes, or in reckless disregard to causing, serious public inconvenience including, but not limited to, evacuation of a building, place of assembly or transportation facility.  A Class 1 misdemeanor carries up to a 6-month jail term, $4500 in fines and surcharges, as well as up to 3 years of probation. If it is charged as a domestic abuse offense, the defendant may lose their gun rights and be required to take mandatory domestic violence classes.  

Felony Threatening or Intimidating

Threatening or intimidating can be charged as a Class 6 felony if the alleged threat or intimidation is made in retaliation to the reporting of a crime, such as in a domestic violence or assault situation. It carries up to a 2-year prison sentence on a first offense. The most serious penalties are in Class 3 felony cases. On a first offense, the defendant may face a prison sentence of up to 8.75 years.  

Defenses to Threatening or Intimidating Charges

 

No Threat Was Actually Made

Charges may be fabricated at times, particularly in domestic violence cases. Anger, blame shifting, vengeance, custody, divorce, and cheating are some of the most common motivators in most cases. Drugs and alcohol can also lead to distorted or exaggerated claims.  

It Was Not a Genuine Threat

The State is not necessarily required to demonstrate that the defendant acted with wrongful intent, had the ability to actually carry out the threat, or planned to carry out the threat, but it still has to prove a “threat” was communicated.  

The Alleged Threat Is Not Criminal

A huge difference exists between criminal conduct and rude/offensive behavior. Arizona criminalizes behavior that involves violence, fighting, and genuine threats. However, it does not label people as criminals because they lack control/ respect or they act rude/offensive.  

Self-Defense

In Arizona, people are allowed to threaten physical force if it seems reasonably necessary to protect against the attempted or actual use of unlawful physical force. Threatening and intimidation is mostly justified when facing physical force to deter that violence.  

1st Amendment Rights

The 1st and 4th Amendments of the United States Constitution protect free speech. However, free speech is not absolute. “Fighting words” are not permitted under the law. Fighting words are those likely to provoke a violent reaction in regular people. Crude/vulgar language might be protected under the law, but fighting words are not.  

Final Thoughts

Is threatening someone a crime in Arizona? Yes, it is, and it depends on the circumstances. If in doubt, it is always advisable to consult a criminal defense lawyer to make your case. If you find yourself facing threatening and intimidating charges, get in touch with an experienced lawyer to help with your defense.

The blog post Is Threatening Someone a Crime in Arizona? was first published on https://www.azcrimlaw.com/

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Difference between Felony and Misdemeanor DUI

DUI, short for “driving under the influence,” convictions can make life difficult. They cause stress in the present moment and also have the ability to bring a lot of stress in the unforeseen future. So, what makes DUI convictions a misdemeanor or a felony? Are there any differences? While a lot of people consider misdemeanor charges to be less of a big deal compared to felony charges, the truth is that any criminal conviction is always big deal. While it is good to avoid criminal convictions, misdemeanors aren’t likely to have such a huge impact on your life as felonies. A considerable number of employers still ask for information about prior misdemeanor charges and arrests, but some companies don’t have a problem with misdemeanors. However, they’ll want to know if there are any felony charges against you, and they will perform a criminal background check to verify your answer.  

What You Need to Know About DUI Charges

If you’re unfortunate enough to have a DUI charge, the last thing you might be thinking of is if your charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. DUI charges have several levels of intensity, and it is worth knowing the things that will determine if you get a misdemeanor or a felony. They include the following:
  • Whether it is your first offense or not
  • Whether or not you have a valid license to drive
  • Injuries brought about by the accident
  • Whether or not there is a child under the age of 15 years in the vehicle
Misdemeanor DUI convictions often result in jail time, fines and temporary loss of driving privileges.  The severity of the punishment, however, is dependent on how many prior DUI convictions you have and the blood alcohol level. First DUI convictions, with a valid driver’s license, are usually considered misdemeanors; the same is true with a Second DUI offense, with a valid driver’s license.  A third offense, within seven years, whether or not one has a valid driver’s license, is a felony offense. One of the things that make felony DUI conviction a lot more frightening than a misdemeanor conviction is because the defendant is sent to prison after a felony sentencing. While a misdemeanor DUI requires jail time, that jail is done in a local jail and work release is often possible.  A felony DUI results in a prison sentence, starting at a minimum of four months, usually at a prison facility far from home.  No work release is available. On a first offense felony, the offender is typically put on probation after the prison term and is required to report to an assigned probation officer on a regular basis. When it comes to felony, Arizona revoked the driving privileges and will require the offender to use an ignition interlock device once they have their driving reissued. Another thing to note about misdemeanor and felony DUI convictions is that felonies stick on your criminal record much longer, negatively impacting education, job, and housing opportunities. DUI arrests involving driving on a suspended, refused or revoke driver’s license, children under the age of 15 years in the vehicle or a resulting  death will often result in felony charges. Convicted felons tend to experience many inconveniences when released from prison, but this often varies from state to state. Some states, including Arizona, provide tons of civil and social inconveniences after felony convictions. It’s best that you avoid drinking and driving altogether; however, we all make mistakes from time to time. Neither a misdemeanor nor a felony DUI conviction is something you want happening to you. To avoid finding yourself in such a position, it is best that you always have a sober person or a taxi driver take you home when you’ve had way too much to drink. That way, you will never have to worry about how a felony or a misdemeanor DUI conviction could affect your life. If you have been arrested because of driving under the influence, it is important that you get in touch with a DUI attorney to discuss options as soon as you can. A DUI lawyer can help you determine the best way forward and will defend you before the court system.

The article The Difference between Felony and Misdemeanor DUI Read more on: Choose Robert Dodell Law Offices

Robert Dodell Law Offices

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(480) 860-4321

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Understanding Rule 11 in Arizona

Within the rules of law in the state of Arizona, a person needs to be of reasonable mind in order to stand trial in court. If there is some evidence to suggest that the individual who is facing charges is not competent to understand those charges or the process of law, then it may be found that they are not able to go through the regular system. Here, we will take a look at how to understand Rule 11 procedure in Arizona.  

The Purpose of Rule 11

The legal system in the U.S. is based on an adversarial scenario. It is believed that this adversarial system is the best way to invoke true justice. In the state of Arizona, Rule 11 is there to help ensure that each defendant has the mental capacity to understand what is taking place so this system of adversarial engagement can operate properly. It is believed that a defendant needs to have at least enough awareness of reality to understand what is happening to them before it is fair for the state to exert their power against him. If an individual is found to lack the basic understanding of what is happening to them, they should not be tried or punished under the normal rules of law. Regardless of whether or not that person is facing proceedings because of information found against them or a complaint filed, it is still necessary that they are considered mentally competent. According to Arizona state law, it is unacceptable to proceed with a court case if the person being tried is mentally ill, mentally disabled, or is otherwise unable to fully understand his charges or the proceedings or is unable to help with their own defense. Often, mental illness presents itself as either a neurological or psychiatric disorder, and it may present itself as emotional or behavioral abnormalities. If a person shows some signs of being mentally incompetent, they will have to be examined to determine if they meet the legal definition of incompetence or not. If it is found that they are competent under specific parameters, then it will be possible to try them in a court of law. If, however, they are found under those same parameters to be incompetent, then they will not be able to stand trial. At any point before a trial, if the judge feels there is some question as to the defendant's mental capacity, then the judge can order an examination. It may be decided that he is not competent to stand trial. It could also be determined that he lacks the capacity to participate in his own defense. The law says that if a defendant is deprived of this examination, it prevents him from having a fair trial.  

Why Is Mental Competency Required in a Court of Law?

The state of mental competency allows for a person to take part in their own legal defense. It is also how a person is able to know that they are doing something wrong or illegal. If they have no ability to comprehend that what they did was wrong, or if they are completely unable to participate in their own legal defense, then the court finds they can't be legally held responsible for their acts or their decisions. If it is found that there is sufficient reason to believe they may be mentally incompetent, then they have the right to be examined by someone capable to make a legal determination of competence. The law states that if there is a failure to determine competency, it deprives a person's right to due process and to a fair trial. It is necessary for a criminal charge to be filed before a motion can be made to examine the defendant's mental condition.  

Why It Is Necessary for a Criminal Charge To Be Initiated Before An Examination Of Capacity Can Be Requested?

There is a chance that the individual could be committed into an institution if they are found to be mentally incompetent. For this reason, it is necessary for an actual criminal charge be filed before a request to examine competence can be made. Otherwise, it would be possible for the defendant to be committed to an institution even when there was no forthcoming crime.

Understanding Rule 11 in Arizona See more on: https://azcrimlaw.com/blog/

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Can You Be Charged with a DUI on a Bicycle? You can in Scottsdale.

The number of DUI cases in Arizona has grown over the years. This led to the implementation of stricter driving laws. The sheer number of existing laws has started to cause some confusion, to be specific, on their application. Bicycle laws are no exception. Many of these laws have evolved, which resulted to varying interpretations.

Arizona Road Rules

According to Arizona State laws, the existing provisions that apply to motor vehicles on the roadways are also applicable to bicycle riders. While this is quite clear, there is a particular law that confuses many bicyclists. The Nat’l. Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that around 25% of all bicycle-related deaths involve intoxicated riders. Now, the question is: Is it possible to be charged with a DUI offense on a bicycle in Arizona? Is there such a law?  

DUI in Arizona

The Arizona State Legislature considers it illegal to drive or physically control a vehicle while under one or more of these conditions:
  • Driving under the influence of an intoxicating drug, liquor, or vapor that contains a toxic substance, or a combination thereof if it impairs the person even to the slightest degree.
  • Having alcohol concentration in the blood of at least 0.08 within 2 hours of driving or physically controlling a vehicle, where the alcohol concentration is due to alcohol ingested while or before driving or physically controlling the vehicle.
  • Possession of any type of drug or its derivatives in the person’s body as defined in section 13-3401.
 

Definition of Vehicle and Bicycle in Arizona

According to Arizona state laws, a vehicle is any device that is used to draw or transport a person or property on a public highway. The definition excludes devices that are moved or controlled by human power. On the other hand, the law defines a bicycle as a device moved by human power. The official definition is specific in mentioning that the person must actually have physical control of a vehicle. Thus, charging a bicycle rider of a DUI may not be lawful. Most experts argue that DUI cases apply only to motor vehicles. But, in the state of Arizona, there is no statewide law is in place that applies particularly to riding a bicycle under the influence.  

Safety in Riding a Bicycle or Vehicle

It has been clearly established that a person riding a bicycle cannot be charged with driving under the influence under state law. Recently, the City of Scottsdale amended there city ordinance to address the issue or bicycles and scooters.  The ordinance prohibits drivers from riding a electric bike or scooters while under the influence of alcohol or recklessly, although it is legal to ride a non-motorized bike while under the influence of alcohol, so long as it is being ridden in a safe manner. But, there are various other violations that a bicyclist can be charged with. These include disorderly conduct, as well as public intoxication, which is applicable in some Arizona cities. Having said that, whenever you drink over the legal limit, avoid riding a bicycle or driving a car. Instead, use public transportation or have a sober driver take you to your destination. This way, you will lower your legal risk and keep yourself safe on the road at the same time.  

Arizona DUI Convictions

In the unfortunate chance that you are facing a DUI charge, having an experienced Arizona attorney like Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, by your side will help you put up the best possible defense. In case you are found guilty, your lawyer can help minimize your jail time and other penalties. Attorney Dodell has been defending DUI cases in Arizona for many years now. With his vast experience, you can expect him to ably handle your case. He will be with you throughout the entire legal process. He will keep you abreast on the progress, and address all questions and concerns you may have. Working with Atty. Robert A. Dodell means you will be with an experienced lawyer who knows exactly how the Arizona legal system works. He will come up with the best possible defense for your DUI case.  

What You Should Do

Hire a competent and experienced DUI lawyer. This way, you can protect not only yourself, but the best interest of your family as well. Bear in mind that having a DUI conviction will permanently blot your record. For the next decade or so, it will remain as a prior offense. You can prevent that by scheduling an appointment with Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law now.
Can You Be Charged with a DUI on a Bicycle? You can in Scottsdale. is republished from www.azcrimlaw.com

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Why You Need Fair Defense for a Sex Offense?

A sex crime is a serious criminal case because of the consequences that may come after it. Aside from getting convicted and paying the penalties, you will be branded as a sex offender. Because of this, you will likely grow old and live out the rest of your life having a tainted reputation. A sex crime is like a tough stain to your identity that can ruin more things in your life.

What Offenses Can Lead to Sex Crime Charges?

There are many forms of allegations that can result in a sex crime conviction. A good criminal defense lawyer can help when you face any of these charges:
  • Sexual abuse
  • Rape
  • Forcible touching
  • Child pornography
  • Statutory rape
  • Prostitution
  • Lewd contact
  • Sexual assault
Some sex crimes also involve domestic violence against a wife, a family member, or a dating partner.  

Why Should You Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Getting involved in a sex crime can affect many aspects of your life. You are risking a lengthy prison term and some very strict terms of probation. The prison term will vary depending on the type of sex offense.  And even without a prison term, obtaining employment can be extremely difficult. Also, you may become disqualified for housing opportunities, hence, you need a strong defense.   Also, the case and the court’s decision should be fair to you. Also, you need a qualified legal representative to get protection for your rights. When someone accuses you of a sex crime, face it with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has been taking on sex crime cases for years. A criminal defense lawyer can help you protect yourself from the consequences of getting convicted due to a sex offense.  

How to Defend Yourself Against a Sex Crime Accusation

Because of the possible consequences of a sex crime allegation, there should be a qualified criminal defense lawyer on your side. Some of the defenses suitable for your sex crime case are:
  • False accusations: if you are not guilty, that will be a strong defense.
  • Illegally collected evidence: evidence can work against the alleged victim if it came from a bad source.
  • Tainted witnesses and interviews: these are invalid and useless evidence.
A thorough investigation can reveal if the presented evidence is clean or useless. It can also prove incorrect investigation techniques and exaggerated or false accusations. An experienced criminal defense law office like Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, can save you from huge liabilities and shame.
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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Can Legal Drug Use Lead to a DUI or DWI in Arizona?

The improper or overuse of illegal drugs or alcohol triggers a lot of DUI and DWI cases. But, there are also cases where using legal drugs can cause impaired driving, and an arrest. In Arizona, medical marijuana and over-the-counter medications are legal. But, they can sometimes lead to unsafe driving. For one, they can cause blurred vision, sleepiness, slow movements, dizziness, fainting, jitters, and difficulty in focusing. According to a 2010 survey conducted by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Science Administration, around 10 million Americans had driven under the influence of a type of drug or medication. Based on a separate study done by the NHTSA the previous year, 20% of the victims of car crashes were positive for a type of drug or medication, excluding alcohol. The CDC also reported that around 18% of deaths from motor vehicle accidents were drug-related.

Driving and Over-the-Counter / Prescription Drugs

A few years ago, the NHTSA reported that incidences of driving under the influence have dropped in recent years. However, around 16% of night-time drivers had some type of potentially impairing medication or drug in their blood. The drugs mentioned in the report included over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications like sedatives, stimulants, antidepressants, and narcotic analgesics, and not only illegal drugs. The law requires prescription and OTC drugs to bear printed warnings about their possible side effects. These include driving risks. The problem is, a lot of people either don’t bother to read the warnings or they don’t think these warnings are for them. Bear in mind that a lot of OTC drugs, like those intended to relieve cold symptoms, contain different kinds of drugs in a single dosage. Thus, it would be wise to choose a medication that address only the symptoms you are experiencing. Ask the help of a pharmacist in case you do not understand the warnings. States have varying laws on the treatment of prescription drugs. 15 states mandate that OTC and prescription drugs must be deemed like alcohol in DUI cases. A few states like Arizona follow a zero-tolerance policy. A zero-tolerance DUI case in Arizona involves driving under the influence not only of alcohol and drugs, but of prescription drugs as well – if the substance impairs one’s ability to drive. It is best that you refrain from driving in case you have ingested a medication that can possibly impair your ability to drive. Request a sober driver to take you to your destination or use the public transport system or taxi to avoid a possible impaired driving charge.  

How Much of a Substance Can Cause Impairment?

Sadly, the amount of a particular substance in a person’s system that can cause impairment is not yet clear. There is not enough basis to compare the threshold to the standard 0.08% limit applied for BAC (blood alcohol content) levels. The good news is, the issue is currently receiving the proper attention it deserves. The NHTSA is alarmed about the impact of impaired driving caused not only by alcohol and drugs, but by OTC and prescription medication as well. Determining the medications and dosage levels that can impair driving ability requires a lot of time and effort. That is why the NHTSA convened a panel of experts to start work in identifying the proper methods to assess impairment. For the meantime, a combination of factual information about the driver’s behavior, including performing reckless maneuvers, weaving, ignoring street signs, and showing slow reflexes in reacting to road hazards are used as basis for DUI charges.  

Final Word

Bear in mind that a medical prescription is not a legal permit that will protect you from legal liability. As always, you are responsible to make sure that you are perfectly fit to drive before getting behind the wheel. Never drink alcohol or mix it with any medication. If you are having doubts about your ability to drive, the best thing to do is not to drive. It can save your life, and the lives of other people as well. You don’t want to hurt anybody due to your driving. Remember that your driving can be impaired not only by illegal drugs and alcohol, but also by anything you keep inside your medicine cabinet.
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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

How Many Drinks Can I Have at My Holiday Party to Avoid Drunk Driving?

If you drink any alcohol, you should be aware of the laws about driving under the influence of alcohol. Driving after drinking an alcoholic drink is dangerous. Remember, alcohol can quickly slow you down. It affects your body’s ability to respond, especially to emergencies.

What’s the Permitted Alcohol Limit in the US?

Most states says it is illegal to drive an automobile if you drive while having a blood alcohol concentration or BAC of 0.08 g/dL of blood or higher. This BAC can already impair your ability to drive that leads to an accident.  Arizona generally used the 0.08 statue. But Arizona also has a law that one may not drive if that alcohol impairs the ability to drive in the “slightest degree”. The “slightest degree” statue is not pegged for any specific blood alcohol level. At least one state has lowered tightened this rule for DUI cases. The state government of Utah changed the state’s standard BAC limit to 0.05 g/dL. The number of drinks you can have to stay under this BAC limit depends on several factors, such as:
  • Your age, weight, sex, and metabolism
  • Your meals for that day
  • The kind of alcoholic beverage you drink
  • The amount you drunk
  • Your stress levels
Note: I will not recommend that anyone drive after drinking any alcohol. It is best to be safe.

Why Should You Never Drink Alcohol When Going to Parties to Avoid DUI?

Even a few shot glasses of alcohol can already affect your ability to drive. CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that even 0.02% BAC can impair your alertness and judgment. Thus, it is best to avoid drinking any alcoholic beverage throughout the party. If you disregard this warning, expect that you will experience these negative effects of drinking alcohol: For 0.02% BAC:
  • Poor ability to see clearly any moving object
  • Impaired multitasking ability
For 0.05% BAC:
  • Weak ability to track a moving object
  • Difficulty in handling the steering wheel
  • Reduced body coordination
  • Decreased or slow ability to respond to emergencies
For 0.08% BAC:
  • Impaired mental capability to process information
  • Impaired perception
  • Inability to control car’s speed
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Temporary memory loss
For 0.10% BAC:
  • Impaired ability to brake and keep the car in the correct lane.
For 0.15% BAC:
  • Impaired ability to process sounds and sights
  • Weak ability to control the car
Note: A standard alcoholic drink is roughly a 355ml can of beer, a half glass of wine, or a shot of spirit.

What are the Dangers of DUI?

Alcohol can make you feel sleepy and weak. Thus, you may end up doing something that can lead to dangerous consequences for yourself and other people. Driving under the Influence is a serious offense and one of the common crimes in the US. The authorities have started taking steps to decrease the number of drunk drivers on the street. But, the number of fatalities associated with DUI still increases year after year. Thus, the US government has decided to post heavier penalties to discourage people to drink if they still need to drive a car. If you get a DUI, consult an experienced law office.  Contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, to know your rights and how you can defend yourself from the charges against you.
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Robert Dodell, Attorney at Law
10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
(480) 860-4321
httpss://goo.gl/maps/diwY4pu8X5m