Sunday, December 29, 2019

Why You Should Trust Your Criminal Defense Lawyer

When facing a criminal charge, your good reputation and your freedom are at stake. It is therefore understandable if you find it difficult to put your trust in another person to safeguard your interests. An experienced criminal defense lawyer like Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law, knows this only too well. After all, Attorney Dodell has personally been defending criminal cases in the state of Arizona for over 3 decades now. Cooperation and mutual trust between you and your lawyer are crucial in order to build a solid defense for your criminal case.

Importance of Trust between a Lawyer and His Client

Trust is among the most important elements of a good lawyer-client working relationship. After all, your defense strategy, no matter how solid, may not work if you don’t trust the advice given by your lawyer. In a lot of instances, your lawyer may need to say something to you that he knows you don’t want to hear. Bear in mind that one of the hardest parts of being a lawyer is to be the bearer of bad news to their clients. These may include situations when facing incarceration or that you need to accept a plea bargain to a specific charge. If you trust your lawyer, and the trust has been forged over the time you have been working together, then you are likely to be more receptive to his legal advice.

Honesty from Your Lawyer

You will find it easier to trust your lawyer if he is honest and upfront about your case. It should raise a red flag if your lawyer is making a lot of promises that seem too good to be true. Who would not be turned off if they heard their attorney bragging that he could make this or that charge go away, or that you will get a not guilty verdict on every charge – right in your first consultation meeting! To avoid this grave mistake in hiring a lawyer, it is important that you make sure that you consider only a lawyer who is straightforward with his clients. If he says that he will let you know everything he knows about the case, and when it is decision-making time, he will make sure that you can come up with an educated and informed decision, and that decision will be the basis for your future actions together – then you have found a trustworthy lawyer. Just as important to the need for you to have a trustworthy lawyer to listen to is the need for your lawyer to listen to you and your concerns.  The attorney-client relationship is a two-way street. The lawyer must listen to you. The case is about you, not your lawyer. If your lawyer advises you to accept a plea, but you want a trial, the lawyer will take the matter to trial and work hard on your behalf. It’s enough that you know your attorney has laid down all your options, and he allows you to make a well-informed choice. At the end of the day, it is your decision as to the client that will prevail. The job of your lawyer is to review everything with you. This way, you can be sure that whatever choice you make, you are making it in an informed one, and that you have considered everything. If you don’t trust your lawyer, you will tend to communicate less. This can compromise your successful defense.

Following are some tips that may help forge trust between you and your lawyer:

  • Ask the lawyer about his experience, specifically in cases like yours.
  • Ask him the number of cases he has won and lost.
  • Ask how he prepares for a defense, and how he conducts an investigation to gather details about your case.
  • Be open with your concerns about your case.
Take note of how the lawyer responds to these questions as these will indicate his commitment to you and your defense. If you or your loved ones are facing a criminal charge in Arizona, get in touch with Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law, right away. He is a lawyer that can be trusted.  The initial consultation is free.

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10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

(480) 860-4321


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Discussion About Proposition 200

A voter initiative that was passed in the state of Arizona back in 1996, Proposition 200 provided considerable protection for people who were charged with drug possession. Enacted as Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-901.01 under the Arizona Revised Statutes, the law has been modified a few times over its lifetime. The changes include which types of drug are eligible for protection under Proposition 200.

What the Law Does

According to A.R.S. § 13-901.01 (A) of the Arizona Revised Statutes, once you get a conviction for personal use or possession of drug paraphernalia or controlled substance, the court is mandated to put you under probation. You cannot be sentenced to jail or prison. A court can ordinarily require jail time as one of the probation conditions However, if the case is only your first conviction for a drug offence, you cannot be given a jail or prison term. This is a condition under your probation order under A.R.S. § 13-901.01 (E). The court shall select the additional conditions it deems necessary, including intensified drug treatment, community restitution, intensive probation, home arrest or any other sanctions. If, however, this is your second drug offence conviction, then the Court could sentence you to jail, as a condition of probation pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-901.01 (F). You cannot be sentenced to prison. Still, the court may include additional conditions of probation it deems necessary, including intensified drug treatment, community restitution, intensive probation, home arrest or any other action within the jurisdiction of the court.

Who Is Not Covered by the Law?

If you have received a conviction or an indictment for a violent crime, under § 13-901.01 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, then there is the reason for concern because under A.R.S. § 13-901.01 (B), Proposition 200 is not available. By definition, a violent crime happens when a criminal act results in physical injury or death, or the criminal makes use of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon. Similarly, if you get convicted for possession of a prohibited or controlled substance that is intended for sale, transport, manufacture, or production, then pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-901.01 (C), you are not eligible for Proposition 200. Now, if you are a habitual offender, and this is at least your third conviction for personal possession of drug paraphernalia or a controlled substance, you are also not covered, according to A.R.S. § 13-901.01 (H). Similarly, if you decline drug treatment as one of the terms of your probation or if you reject probation, you are not covered under Proposition 200 and the Court can impose jail or prison time. There is one specific drug which takes you out of Proposition 200. If the drug involved is methamphetamines, then you will not be covered under Proposition 200, even on a first offence.

How Can You Use Proposition 200?

No two cases are the same; each one is unique in some way. This is why you need to get the services of a skilled and experienced drug defense lawyer to handle your drug case. More importantly, your particular case may potentially be covered by the provisions of Proposition 200. On your own, you may not be able to see all your available options, as well as the potential problem areas that may compromise your successful defense. With an experienced attorney, like Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, everything will be reviewed as the case moves forward. There is no doubt you can use Proposition 200 to your advantage under the right circumstances. It can help mitigate the potential damage that you may incur. However, you cannot rely solely on Proposition 200 to bail you out of your predicament. For one, it cannot keep you away from a possible conviction. Thus, it is thus important that you get in touch with a lawyer who has plenty of experience in defending similar cases. This way, together, you can come up with the best possible defense for your particular case. If you need more information about Proposition 200, or you need an experienced lawyer to defend you in your pending criminal case, Attorney Robert A. Dodell is available for a free initial consultation. Attorney Dodell has more than 3 decades of solid experience defending criminal cases. Schedule an appointment with Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, right away.  

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10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

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Friday, November 29, 2019

The Main Difference Between Self Defense and Assault

In the state of Arizona law, there is a thin legal line that separates what is self-defense to the crime of assault and what constitutes an assault charge. To avoid crossing the line, you must know what your specific rights are, as well as their limitations.

The Arizona Standing Your Ground and Self-Defense Laws

According to the Arizona self-defense laws, you are under no obligation to retreat before resorting to threat or the use of physical force if you have the legal right to stay where you are. For the purpose of self-defense, using physical force is justifiable. It is also allowed in cases when doing so could stop another person from committing a crime.  The Arizona self-defense law is spelled out in ARS § 13-404, while the use of lethal physical force is covered in ARS § 13-405. The law says you can employ physical force if the situation warrants it. The force must be reasonable, and it must be in proportion to the gravity of the threat. This means it is unlawful to use unlimited physical force – even in the presence of a threat or if you are in a precarious situation where your life and limb are at risk.  The law also applies when defending other people who may be in danger or under threat. The use of physical force is allowed, particularly when the people involved cannot defend themselves. However, said force must be to an extent that is deemed reasonable and in proportion to the threat.

When Physical Force Is Not Permissible for Self-Defense

Various situations do not allow the use of physical force as a self-defense strategy. These include the following:
  • There is only a verbal threat.
  • Law enforcement officers are in the process of arresting you.
  • Your action results in the injury or death of an innocent third party.
  • Your action triggered physical force or threats to be thrown your way by another person. 
Aside from the limitations on the situations where you can use physical force, there are also very few instances where you are allowed to employ deadly force. Deadly physical force is allowable if there is fear of death or immediate serious injury. It goes without saying that you can’t use excessive force simply because someone slapped or pushed you. This is because such action is not proportional to the threat. If you’re threatened with a gun, for instance, lethal force may be justifiable. But, your response should coincide with the exact moment of the threat. Acting after the incident may be considered vengeance as it is no longer self-defense.

Common Defense Scenarios for Assault Cases

Self-defense is an often-used strategy for cases of assault. If you are charged with the use of excessive force, the charges may be dropped, and your case will altogether be dismissed if your lawyer can prove that your use of physical force was necessary and justified. However, for the defense strategy to work, there are several things that you need to establish. Aside from the previously mentioned factors, you will also need to prove that there was no other way to diffuse the situation. You must also establish that you didn’t make threats, provoke, or attack the other party first. When your lawyer invokes self-defense, it will be in the prosecution’s hands to prove that your use of force against another person was not justified in the particular situation.  Your lawyer can enhance the credibility of this particular defense scenario by making sure of the following:
  • The testimonies of witnesses and experts are reliable.
  • The person you used physical force on has a history of getting into confrontations or violence. This is crucial since your knowledge about the other person’s past history may cause you to feel threatened. 
You can use self-defense when faced with physical violence and other similar crimes. You can stand your ground, and this is a right guaranteed by the Arizona laws. However, there are established legal limits. Thus, you must always exercise extreme caution when standing your ground.   For example, if a thief attempts to snatch the gadget you are holding in your hands, you can push, slap, or kick the person. However, it would be illegal to pull out a bladed weapon, as this would constitute excessive force.  Reasonableness and proportionality is an issue decided by the fact finder during a trial, whether it is a judge or jury.  The line is thin and it is quite possible what you believe is reasonable and proportional is not what the fact finder determines.  If you find yourself on either side of any of the situations discussed above, you should consult with Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law, right away. This way, Attorney Dodell can assess the situation and protect your rights.  

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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Arizona Wrong Way Drivers – Understanding the Causes, Possible Charges & the Best Defenses

Wrong way driving happens when a driver operates a motor vehicle in the improper traffic direction. It can happen on one-way and two-way streets, and even in parking garages and parking lots. Arizona lawmakers have made public safety a major issue. Curbing wrong way driving is a step toward this. Ninety percent of collisions happen as a result of improper driver behavior. These include distracted or reckless driving, speeding, and impaired driving. Wrong way crashes are often a result of these driving errors.

Causes of Wrong Way Driving Crashes and Accidents

The majority of wrong way accidents are due to impaired driving. Thus, it comes as no surprise that most of these crashes happen from 6 PM to 6 AM. One third of these crashes occur from midnight to 3 AM. Interestingly, 50% of wrong way accidents are recorded during weekends. Other causes of wrong way driving include:
  • Distracted driving or driver inattention
  • Confusing or insufficient signage or markings
  • Driver being unaccustomed to driving on the right side of the road
  • Taking a short cut
  • Missing an exit, and wanting to go back

Wrong Way Driving Possible Charges

As mentioned, the state of Arizona has now increased its attempts to curb wrong way driving and DUI incidents. As a result, wrong way driving violators, especially those under the influence of alcohol or drugs, will now be facing felony charges when caught, due to a new law. HB 2243 was signed into law and went into effect on August 3, 2018. A.R.S. 28-694 makes it a civil penalty to drive the wrong way on a controlled access highway.  The fine is up to $500 and the requirement that person found reasonable for such an offense successfully complete an approved traffic survival school educational program.  Wrong way, under the statute, does not include median crossing or a collision where a motor vehicle comes to a stop facing the wrong way. The new law, under A.R.S. 28-1383(A)(5),  makes it a felony for a driver who drives the wrong way on a highway and be under the influence of alcohol or a drug.  It does not matter if this is a first offense driving under the influence. It is still a felony, which requires four months in prison, if convicted. The state has also set aside a budget for additional resources, required to enhance the system monitoring wrong way driving incidents during the night.

Defense for a Wrong Way Driving Charge

When facing a wrong way driving with DUI charge, regardless if it is your first offense, the first thing you need to do is get legal representation. An experienced and reputable lawyer like Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, can help protect your rights, and strongly advocate for you from the beginning of the case until its final resolution. As you may know, an arrest for a DUI should not be taken lightly. Even with your lawyer by your side, you may need to exert a lot of effort to clear your name. Otherwise, a conviction could create a lasting negative effect on your future, as well as your loved ones’ future. Attorney Dodell understands your situation very well. Thus, you can expect him to use all his experience and knowledge in AZ laws to come up with the best possible defense for your case.
  • He will methodically investigate your particular case to determine the most appropriate action to take.
  • He will check all the details surrounding your arrest to make sure that everything was done in a legal manner.
  • He will analyze all case elements to discover if any of your rights were violated at the time of your arrest.
  • If necessary, he will negotiate for a plea bargain on your behalf.
If you find yourself or a loved one charged with a DUI, contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, to fight to protect you and your rights.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Charged with Possession of Another Person’s Prescription Drug

Many people think that prescription drugs are safe to use – for good reason. For one, they have been approved by a physician. More importantly, they are legal. However, the same doesn’t apply when you are found in possession of prescription medication that wasn’t prescribed to you, but to someone else. The fact is, you can be charged with a felony if you are caught in possession of someone else’s prescription drugs.

The Arizona Drug Possession Laws

The State of Arizona is known for its strict drug possession laws. The penalty depends on various factors. These include the kind and amount of drug found in the possession of the person arrested, and the individual’s past criminal history. If you are found to be in possession of prescription-only drugs, various charges can be thrown your way. These include:

Illegal Possession of Prescription Drugs

To be convicted of illegal possession of prescription drugs, it must be proven that you knowingly took possession of another person’s prescription-only drugs. The state must also prove that you are aware that the drugs in question are for prescription only. The charge is considered as a misdemeanor. This means you can end up with a 6-month jail sentence. You will also spend 3 years under probation, and pay a mandatory fine of over $1800, including surcharges.

Possession of Dangerous Drugs

Under the law, dangerous drugs are narcotics other than marijuana. These include prescription medicines like Percocet, Vicodin, Oxycontin, as well as benzodiazepines. Proving unlawful possession of dangerous drugs is similar to proving illegal possession of prescription-only drugs. The difference is in the penalties. Illegal possession of dangerous drugs is considered a more serious felony, and therefore the penalties are considerably higher. The charge is a class 4 felony. A. You can face a maximum jail sentence of 3 years and 9 months. While it is a felony under class 4, if you are only charged with your first or second drug offense, under Proposition 200, you can receive a lighter sentence of probation, fines, drug treatment, and community service. That is why you need to get in touch with a reputable and experienced lawyer like Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, right away. This way, you can be sure that your rights are protected from the time of your arrest. Likewise, you can rely on Robert Dodell, Attorney at Law to come up with the best possible criminal defense for you.

Drug Trafficking

This charge involves the possession or transport of unlawful drugs for sale. It is among the most serious of all possible drug charges. It is considered a class 2 felony. For the charge to stick, the state doesn’t have to prove that a sales transaction is going on at the time of the arrest. Finding a specific amount of drugs in your possession is sufficient. The presumption is that you are holding the drugs for sale. If convicted of drug trafficking, you may be sentenced to a maximum of 12.5 years in prison if it is your first offense. If you are found to be a repeat offender, you can be imprisoned for up to 35 years. A drug trafficking conviction likewise disqualifies you from eligibility for parole. If you’re a first-time offender and you are caught with an amount of drugs that is less than the threshold for the presumption of sale, you may be eligible to apply for a parole sentence.

Possible Defenses for a Drug Possession Charge

Following are possible defenses you can use when charged with drug possession:
  •     Issues about actual drug possession
  •     Issues on whether the drug is really prescription-only
  •     Constitutional challenges (including violations of Miranda rights, involuntary confessions, unlawful searches and seizures, and denial of counsel rights)
If you are charged with the felony of possession of another person’s prescription drugs, or any other drug-related charges, contact a reputable attorney right away. Drug charges should always be taken seriously. After all, your life and future are at stake. The lives of your loved ones will also be affected. Contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, to protect you.    

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10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

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Monday, October 28, 2019

What is a Disorderly Conduct Charge in Arizona?

The disorderly conduct charge is one of the most broadly written statutes on the books in Arizona. Since the law is so broad, the crime can be defined in any number of ways. It’s up to the police at the scene to interpret the law and decide if a disorderly conduct charge is warranted. In fact, it is not unheard of for officers to cite an individual with disorderly conduct if they cannot think of another charge against them. Jail Time and Parole

Arizona Disorderly Conduct Laws

Under ARS 13-2904, disorderly conduct is defined as occurring when an individual knowingly “disturbs the peace” of a neighborhood, person, or group. As you can see, this broad definition may cover a lot of offenses, including:
  • Being ‘unreasonably’ noisy;
  • Behavior, defined as “fighting”, “violent” or “disruptive”;
  • Using offensive physical gestures or language that could provoke someone to retaliate;
  • Preventing others from going about their normal business or disturbing them while they are doing so;
  • Loitering or refusing to disperse a public gathering
Note the use of the word “knowingly.” This means that you cannot be charged with disorderly conduct if you were not aware that you were causing a disturbance. Generally, a disorderly conduct charge is just a class one misdemeanor, whose penalties include a maximum of six months jail time and a fine of up to $2,500 (not including surcharges). You may also be placed under probation. However, if there are firearms involved, the charges will be more serious. According to the law, an individual who recklessly discharges, displays, or handles a firearm may be charged with a felony disorderly conduct. This carries with it heavier penalties, including prison time and larger fines. And if there is an allegation of domestic violence involved, the charges worsen. Typically, the state may add a domestic violence designation to the disorderly conduct charge. This means that if you are convicted, there will be severe sanctions, including the requirement to undergo months of domestic violence counseling. If there are children involved, you may have problems obtaining custody of your children if a custody battle ensues. The court may also order you to find alternative living arrangements or not to contact family members.

Defending a Disorderly Conduct Charge

While a conviction for disorderly conduct may seem relatively minor, it can have serious consequences on your life and your livelihood. An employer may see the conviction as a basis for not hiring you. You may also have difficulty securing education, housing, and other essential services. If the police charge you with disorderly conduct, make sure you invoke your right to remain silent. For the state to convict you of disorderly conduct, they have to prove that you had “knowingly” “disturbed the peace.” Any statement that you make to the police may be used against you to show intent. Despite what police would have you believe, staying silent does not mean you are guilty. Rather, it is a way of protecting yourself against possible abuse by law enforcement officers who may twist your words to secure a conviction. An experienced attorney may be able to get the charges dismissed. Usually, it boils down to someone making a complaint against you and that person claiming that you knowingly bothered them.  The state still has to prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt. The witness or complainant against you may also have ulterior motives or credibility issues that a lawyer can bring out in court. Even if you are convicted, and this is your first offense, the judge may take this into account during sentencing and choose to give you a lighter sentence. For instance, they may only require you to render community service or pay a fine, and not sentence you to jail time. Attorney Robert Dodell is an experienced defense attorney who can help you get the best outcome for your disorderly conduct case. He will conduct his own investigation to determine the facts, and use these to defend you if you go to trial.  You need to protect yourself from a criminal record.

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10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Arizona’s Zero-Tolerance DUI Laws: What You Need to Know

What Does the Zero Tolerance Mean for a DUI Offense

Arizona is a zero-tolerance state, which means that certain things that are not punishable in other states can still lead to a DUI charge in Arizona. Don’t worry, though, the DUI laws aren’t as encompassing, intrusive, or as strict as you might think. There are certain limitations put into place as a way to protect the general public – including you as the accused.

Here’s what you should know about Arizona’s zero-tolerance DUI laws:

Zero Tolerance in Numbers

For most States, the legal limit is below 0.08%. What happens if the reading is exactly at 0.08%? That’s still the legal limit. This means that if the breathalyzer or blood test comes back with a reading of 0.08% or less than that, you’re still considered capable of driving and you won’t be arrested. In Arizona, you can be arrested even if the breathalyzer gives a reading below 0.08% because of the zero-tolerance approach. This means that if the arresting officer perceives that you are “impaired” as a driver, he can still arrest you for DUI. Note though that there’s still a limitation to this. According to State laws, it “may” be presumed that the defendant is not intoxicated if the reading is below 0.05%. Hence if there’s a return of 0.05% or less, there’s a presumption that you’re not intoxicated. Unfortunately, the term used is “may,” which means that it’s still up to the discretion of the arresting officer. This is why the input of a lawyer is crucial to help weigh the cards in your favor.

Impairment Meaning in DUI

Impairment is a technical term used in DUI with a fairly flexible definition as it pertains to cases. Since AZ is a zero-tolerance state, the degree of impairment is very strict. If the arresting officer judges that you’re in a condition less than perfect for driving, this might already be grounds for saying you are ‘impaired.’ In many cases, the BAC is the determining factor for impairment. Physical attributes such as slurred speech, failed field sobriety tests, erratic driving, glazed eyes, or any other unusual behavior may be seen as a sign of impairment. In some cases, even the smell of alcohol may be used as a justification, although this is subject to a good argument by an equally good DUI lawyer.

DUI Tiers

So let’s say you took a Breathalyzer test and the result is less than 0.08%, but you still get arrested. If this is your first time, then you’re up for a Standard DUI, and each succeeding one causes a tier increase. This is because AZ approaches DUI on tier levels. To avoid climbing the tier, you’ll need a good lawyer to make sure you don’t even get convicted for the first one. Here’s how the tier system works:

Standard DUI

Your first DUI offense is punishable in the minimum of 10 days of jail, with nine suspended, and around $1500 in fines. You also will be order to attend an alcohol screening and counseling program, and suspension of 90 days, with the possibility of a restricted permit after 30 of those days. An ignition interlock device will be installed for 12 months. Even a first offense has numerous ramifications. A low blood alcohol can be a defensible and therefore open to argument, but only if you get a good lawyer. Why is it important to have a first offense junked? Because the ramifications of a DUI as so draconian. The lasting effects of a conviction could haunt someone for years to come.

Extreme DUI

If you register more than 0.15% in the scale, this is an Extreme DUI with fines of around $2,780 for the first offense, not including jail and other associated costs. You get the same associated penalties of a program and license suspension as with the first offense Standard DUI, except there is more jail time involved - 30 days in jail, but 21 of which could be suspended if you install an Ignition Interlock Device.

Super Extreme DUI

Registering above 0.20% is classified as Super Extreme DUI with the first offense being $3,240 and 18 months’ worth of interlock installation. The same program is required and the same license suspension as the Standard DUI applies.  More jail time is involved - 45 days, with 31 of which could be suspended if you install an Ignition Interlock Device. The laws on DUI in Arizona cover a lot of factors and can be quite confusing if you’re not used to the procedure. Without proper counsel, you might find yourself being coaxed into a situation you don’t deserve. Seeking help from an established DUI defense team early on can help avoid these problems and help you get back on the road as soon as possible. Contact Robert A. Dodell for a free initial DUI consultation and find out what your rights are.    

The following article Arizona’s Zero-Tolerance DUI Laws: What You Need to Know Read more on: AZCrimLaw 

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

How Much Can An Arizona DUI Raise Your Insurance Rates?

Being convicted of a DUI is a serious matter. You will do jail time and lose your driving privileges. And there is a substantial risk your insurance premiums will go up.

DUI Arizona Laws

Under Arizona law, you can be found guilty of driving under the influence if your blood alcohol concentration is over the 0.08% limit. This is a standard DUI. You can be convicted of an extreme DUI if your BAC is above or at 0.15%. If you are a commercial driver, however, you can be convicted of a DUI with a BAC of just 0.04%. And, if you are an underage driver, even the slightest trace of alcohol can result in a “Baby” DUI. Also, you can be charged with an aggravated DUI under the following circumstances:
  • Driving while your license is revoked, canceled, or suspended
  • If you are transporting a passenger below 15 years old
  • Convicted of a DUI for the third time within a seven-year (84-month) period

Arizona DUI Penalties

Since the state has a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence, the penalties for DUI charges are severe. These harsh penalties are intended to act as a deterrent to discourage drivers from drunk driving. For a first time offender with a standard DUI, the penalties include jail time from 24 hours to ten days, minimum fines of approximately $1,600 (plus a monitoring fee and jail costs), and suspension of license for 90-days or one-year revocation. In addition, the offender must have an IID installed in every vehicle they use for 12 months, along with an alcohol or drug screening and education treatment program. They may also be required to perform community service. Repeat offenders who have had second standard DUI face 90 days jail time, approximately $3500 in fines, and a 12-month license revocation. An IID will be installed in all vehicles they use for 12 months, and they must perform 30 hours of community service. They are also required to undergo an alcohol or drug screening and education treatment program. Penalties for aggravated and extreme DUIs are much more severe, with longer jail sentences and higher fines, as well as longer suspension of driving privileges. Underage DUIs come with the most severe penalties, with a maximum 180 days of jail time, and fines and fees of as much as $4,575 as well as suspension of driving privileges for as long as two years. In Arizona, a DUI conviction will stay on your record, even if you have only been convicted of a misdemeanor. However, you can petition the court to have your conviction “set aside,” meaning it will be removed from your record.

Insurance Premium Increases

Should your insurance company learn of the DUI conviction, you should expect your car insurance to cost you much more. In fact, you should not be surprised if your average car insurance rates more than double. The insurance provider now classifies you as a “high risk” driver and thus, will charge you higher rates to be insured. You should also expect that these rate increases will last for a minimum of three years and a maximum of seven years or more, depending on the severity of the DUI and if you are a repeat offender. You may have to required by the Motor Vehicle Department to obtain a SR-22 insurance policy from your insurance company. This is also known as a financial responsibility or certificate of insurance form. This vehicle liability insurance form certifies that you have met state requirements for liability insurance. The insurance company is also required to inform the DMV if your policy has been cancelled or you have allowed it to lapse. If you have been with a DUI, get in touch with a lawyer immediately to handle your case. Hire an experienced DUI Attorney; Robert Dodell has over 30 years as a practicing criminal lawyer who has also worked as a prosecutor in the past. He is there to get you the best outcome for your case.    

How Much Can An Arizona DUI Raise Your Insurance Rates?

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Common Defenses Against Aggravated Assault Charges

What is an Aggravated Assault and Common Defenses?

Aggravated Assault is defined under ARS 13-1204. The law provides that there is aggravated assault when there is an “assault,” and the following elements occur at the same time as the assault.

What Is Aggravated Assault?

Before discussing defenses, you have to first find out what assault means. Assault occurs when a person:
  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes physical injury to another person
  • Intentionally puts another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent bodily injury
  • Knowingly touches another person with the intent to injure, insult, or provoke said person
If any of the above occurs, that’s legally recognized as an assault. For it to be “aggravated assault,” the following elements must also be present:
  • That the physical injury caused is serious
  • The person uses a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument
  • A person commits assault via the use of force that results in substantial but temporary disfigurement, substantial but temporary impairment, or loss of any organ or any part of the body

Defenses Available

Due to the complexity of the law, there are several defenses available for a person charged with aggravated assault. Since this is a criminal case, the burden of proof is on the State to prove the offense. This means that the State must be the one who proves that all the elements mentioned above are present. So what defenses can you use? Here are some options:


Arizona law allows for self-defense as a possible reason to invalidate aggravated assault charges. Self-defense is allowed if you are protecting yourself from a perceived and imminent threat. This means that, while there was physical force or threats on your part, you only did so because the other person made you believe that it was necessary to protect yourself immediately. Typically, this defense is only accepted if the force you used to protect yourself is proportionate to the perceived threat. Hence, if someone is readying himself to punch you, then you can preemptively punch him first. This is considered an appropriate response – but stabbing them is not.

Defense of Others

The law also extends the privilege of self-defense to other people. For example, if you see a loved one or a friend being threatened or in what appears to be imminent danger. If this is the case, you can step in and use the appropriate amount of force to defend that person. Note though that you are still limited by the perceived attack. It has to be an appropriate response, which means that the physical force you use is not excessive, considering the physical abuse that the other person threatens.


Causation is also a good defense. It simply puts into question the validity of the perceived connection between the “injury” and the physical violence or threat. It answers the question: is the injury caused by the person being charged with the crime? For example, if a person is drunk – it can be argued that their injury was their own fault, or the injury would have occurred even without the intervention of the accused. This is also a possible defense in instances where the injury occurred in crowded places, putting into question the possibility that some other person did the damage.

Violation of Constitutional Guarantee

Another good defense is by questioning the validity of the evidence and having it eliminated from the presentation. This occurs when authorities collect evidence without the benefit of a search warrant or warrant of arrest. Any evidence obtained without a warrant may be excluded from presentation and therefore, may not be considered when a decision is being made by the judge. This is one of the most fundamental policies of the State, and it can be tough for the prosecution to bargain against it. With vital evidence gone from the table, a State’s case becomes more difficult.

Consulting the Right Arizona Lawyer

The possibilities for an aggravated assault defense are numerous, with the law requiring the highest quality of proof before deciding on the case. This is why the right lawyer is important, giving you the chance to break down the situation into pieces that can be analyzed and presented in the best light. Due to the many factors involved here, it pays to have someone with the experience and legal know-how to present your stance in the most favorable light. Hiring the right lawyer, like Robert A. Dodell, can help get the right result.    

The following post Common Defenses Against Aggravated Assault Charges was first published on AZCrimLaw and associates

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Police Investigate Even Minor Hit and Runs

Police are mandated to investigate any hit and run accidents, even minor ones that only involve slight damage to property and no physical injuries or if alcohol is involved. So, do not think the police will not get involved.  You should not neglect your legal duties in case you are involved in an accident under applicable Arizona laws. A hit and run is defined as a traffic accident in which a driver leaves the scene without fulfilling their legal duties as a party to the collision. Under Arizona law, two major statutes define your legal duties if you are involved in a hit and run. Under ARS 28-663, if you are the driver of a car that is involved in an accident that resulted in death or injury, or damage to a vehicle driven or attended by a person, your duties are to:

  1. Provide your name and your car’s vehicle registration number
  2. If requested, show your driver’s license to the driver, persons struck, or the occupants of the car as well as persons attending them
  3. Provide reasonable aid to persons injured in the accident, including first aid. If it is apparent that the injured persons need treatment, you must make arrangements to get them to a physician or hospital
Under ARS 28-662, if you’re involved in an accident involving only damage to a vehicle attended or driven by a person, your legal duties include:
  1. Stopping your vehicle at the accident scene or near it but return immediately to the scene
  2. Remaining at the scene until you meet the requirements of ARS 28-663
  3. Stopping without unduly obstructing traffic
Here are several hit and run scenarios and their corresponding penalties if you fail to meet your legal duties:
  • Hitting an unoccupied parked vehicle
  • Failing to meet your legal duties is a class 3 misdemeanor, which carries with it a fine of $500, up to 30 days in jail, and 1 year probation. However, you can meet your legal duties in this case by leaving a note on the windshield with the relevant information.
  • An accident that causes damage to an occupied vehicle
  • Not meeting your legal duty is a class 2 misdemeanor, which carries with it a $750 fine, maximum jail time of 4 months, and two years probation.
  • An accident that only involves non-serious injury
  • Failing to meet your legal duty is a class 5 felony, whose penalties include a 3-year revocation of the driver’s license and maximum jail time of 2.5 years.
  • An accident that causes death or serious injury
  • Failing to meet your duty is a class 2 felony. This carries with it a penalty of up to 8.75 years in jail and revocation of your driving privileges for five years.
Police will get involved in both the misdemeanor and felony matters, although they will prioritize accidents where one or more of the parties involved have sustained a physical injury. Even in cases where there are minor injuries and minimal property damage, you should contact the police. This can help you if you make a claim with your insurance provider, since there is a police report and a case number. If you are the guilty party in a minor hit and run, this does not mean you are free and clear if you believe you successfully avoid detection.  The police will investigate and try to track you down. Thus, it is always the best course of action to meet your legal duties in a hit and run, even one considered minor. If you have left the scene, however, and the police contact you, get in touch with an attorney immediately to ensure that your rights are protected. Attorney Robert Dodell is an experienced lawyer who has worked in both criminal defense and as a prosecutor. If you have left the scene of a hit and run and are worried that you will be charged with a crime, Attorney Robert Dodell will fight your case even before it goes to court. He will conduct his own independent investigation to ensure that your case has the best possible outcome.    

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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.  

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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

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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?

Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law

10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

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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.

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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.   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 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!   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. 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.

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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.  


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.

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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.

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Robert Dodell Law Offices

10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

(480) 860-4321