Sunday, December 27, 2020

Juvenile Criminal Cases and Court System in Arizona

Juvenile Court is a separate division of the Superior Court.  It is responsible for hearing cases concerning juvenile delinquency, dependencies, termination of parental rights, adoptions, emancipation, and any other related matters. Despite the fact that most Juvenile Delinquency matters involve crimes committed by minors, they are taken seriously, just like any other case. That’s why it is important to hire an experienced juvenile attorney to handle the case. Hiring a Criminal Lawyer to Represent You

Arizona Juvenile Court Process

The organization and process of a juvenile court system are somewhat different from that of the adult system. For instance, when an offence is committed, juveniles or minors are considered ‘detained’ rather than arrested. Thereafter, a petition is created to serve as an official charge sheet. The petition states the jurisdiction of the juvenile court and the crime committed.  The family of the juvenile is notified of the charge. Normally, the first step when juveniles are detained is to contact a juvenile lawyer. A juvenile lawyer is familiar with the juvenile system, as it is not quite different from the adult criminal justice system.  The lawyer will advise you on the steps to follow until the hearing stage.

Inside the Courtroom

The juvenile delinquency case is handled by a Superior Court judge.  If the juvenile is tried or pled and is found delinquent (the juvenile term for guilty), that juvenile will have a disposition hearing (the juvenile term for a sentencing hearing).  The court determines what sanctions should be imposed on the juvenile. All records in juvenile courts are sealed and cannot be easily accessed. This is different from adult courts where anyone can get the records based on the Freedom of Information Act, minus some redacted personal information which may be included on said documents. The sealing of records is deliberate to ensure that mistakes committed don’t haunt the juvenile in his or her future life. Records may also be destroyed when the juvenile turns 18 – as long as they have fulfilled certain conditions given by the court. One of the main contentious issues with juvenile courts is the use of indeterminate sentencing. This is where judges have the discretion of deciding the maximum sentencing for juveniles. Consequently, juveniles are observed until they serve their maximum term or when the judge feels that they have reformed their behavior. But, sometimes, working with an experienced Arizona lawyer can result in an earlier release.

Different Types of Juvenile Cases

Juvenile court processes usually differ depending on the type of case. Below are three primary types of juvenile cases:

1. Juvenile Delinquency Cases

- These are cases concerning juveniles whose actions would have resulted in criminal charges if they were adults. The type of punishment and fines in juvenile courts is somewhat different from those in adult courts. The primary goal is rehabilitation rather than punishment.

2. Juvenile Dependency Cases

- These are cases concerning minors or juveniles who have been neglected, abused, or abandoned by their respective guardians or parents. The main objective of such cases is to provide children with safety.

3. Status Offense Cases

- These are cases that concern status offences that specifically apply to minors. It may involve drunk driving, curfew violations, or truancy, among others.

The following article Juvenile Criminal Cases and Court System in Arizona is courtesy of free initial consult Robert A. Dodell Attorney At Law Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law

10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

(480) 860-4321


Friday, December 18, 2020

Know Your Rights With Vehicle Searches in Arizona

People are protected from unlawful searches and seizure of their assets under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Any type of illegal seizure of assets could negatively impact a person financially. Any type of unlawful vehicle search would violate a person's right to privacy. Vehicle found with drug

Automobile Exception

This is connected to the Fourth Amendment and provides drivers with less of an expectation for privacy in their automobile when compared to their residence. Law enforcement in Arizona is still not permitted to search each vehicle they stop for a traffic violation. They must be able to establish probable cause. However, there are situations when law enforcement officers in Arizona can legally search a person's vehicle without the driver's consent or search warrant.

Probable Cause

This makes it necessary for law enforcement to have a reasonable belief that a crime may have occurred. This could involve drug possession, driving under the influence, and more. A traffic violation does not provide enough probable cause to search a vehicle. It could be a driver's actions or the objects in a vehicle that could give Arizona law enforcement officers cause to search a vehicle. There are certain common reasons they can legally search a driver's vehicle without a warrant or permission. *Law enforcement officer reasonably believes that the search is necessary for their safety *The officer has probable cause to believe there is evidence of a crime in the vehicle, such as illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia in plain sight, the odor of illegal drugs *Drivers admitted or provided information about what is in their vehicle *Statements from reliable witnesses

Vehicle Search

Once Arizona law enforcement has determined they have probable cause, they have the right to search a driver's vehicle. To do so, they will first instruct the driver and other passengers in the vehicle to exit the vehicle. Typically they will be required to stand far away from the vehicle unless they have been placed under arrest for an unrelated charge. The vehicle search will cover the entire vehicle and any belongings discovered inside it. This includes items owned by the driver and the vehicle's passengers. It could also involve using a K-9.

Routine Inventory Before Towing

A driver can be stopped if there is a warrant for their arrest or because of a traffic violation. They may not have any friends or family members to come and take possession of the vehicle, or there may be no safe place the vehicle can be legally parked. In this situation, law enforcement officers have no choice but to tow the vehicle to an impound lot. Law enforcement officers will perform an inventory of items in the vehicle to minimize the chance of legal trouble if an angry driver believes items from their vehicle are missing. Should law enforcement officers discover illegal contraband in the vehicle, it can be taken and used as evidence against the driver in court.

Unlawful Search And Seizure

There are instances when a vehicle search and property seizure conducted by law enforcement are illegal. If this happens, a criminal lawyer will file a Motion to Suppress with the court because their client's Fourth Amendment rights have been violated. There are three things a judge will consider for determining if a vehicle search by law enforcement was legal. *If the nature of the paraphernalia or drugs discovered is incriminating. A vehicle can't be legally searched if an object does not indicate a crime. *A law enforcement officer must have a valid reason to stop a vehicle. If not, they could be considered to not be legally present. *Law enforcement must have legal access to the paraphernalia or drugs. Should these items have not been in plain sight, the vehicle did not have the odor of an illegal drug, or no consent has been given for a search, law enforcement may not have a legal reason to search the driver's vehicle.

No Punishment

Under the law, there is no legal punishment associated with a driver refusing to give law enforcement consent to search their vehicle. Law enforcement officers have been known to try and bully a driver into giving them permission. It is important for a driver to know their rights and remain firm. This is an indication law enforcement does not have probable cause to search the vehicle. Anyone who is facing a felony drug charge in Arizona, after law enforcement searched their vehicle, needs to speak with criminal lawyer Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law as soon as possible. This legal professional understands facing criminal charges is challenging. Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law will know how to discuss the circumstances of the arrest and determine the best possible legal defense.  

Know Your Rights With Vehicle Searches in Arizona was originally seen on website for AZ Crim Law – Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law

10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

(480) 860-4321


Thursday, December 10, 2020

How Do You Know If You Are Under Criminal Investigation?

While contact from a police officer does not always mean you are under investigation for violating the law, there are times when you should be prepared for.  As a criminal attorney explains, there may be ways to know if you are under criminal investigation.

Commission of a Crime

Before explaining how a criminal investigation takes place, it is important for you to understand the types of crimes you could be charged with in Arizona. A misdemeanor is usually a lesser crime and punishable by up to six months in county jail. These cases are normally handled by lower courts. Felonies are punishable with time in the state prison. Although the case may initially be heard in a lower court, they may end up in a Superior Court hearing. Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors.

Pre-Arrest Investigation Process

A pre-arrest investigation begins as soon as the crime is committed and your initial interview with the police will be part of that crime investigation. You should always request a criminal defense attorney to be present for an interview, in order to protect your rights. Anything you tell the police during that initial interview will be used during the investigation. During this interview, the questions asked may indicate that you could face criminal charges. If the officer asks specific questions about the crime or what you were doing at the time, that could mean you are a significant part of or suspect of a criminal investigation. If they ask you to provide the names and phone numbers of the people you were with during the crime or if they ask about your drug and alcohol use, this is another sign that you may be under investigation.

Being Called in For Questioning

If the police contact you and ask you to come in to answer questions, it’s very important to contact an attorney prior to the interview. It’s very possible that the police simply need to clarify some information and you may not be the subject of the investigation. An attorney can accompany you to the interview and advise you how to conduct yourself and what questions to answer and which ones you should not, in order to avoid any possibility of incriminating yourself.

Search Warrants

In some cases, the police will not interview you first. If they receive information that you have evidence of a crime in your home, they may request a search warrant from a judge. If they arrive at your door with the warrant, it’s highly likely that you are under investigation. Officers often obtain search warrants before an interview when they are concerned that questioning a suspect could lead to destruction of evidence. If they execute a search warrant, they are hoping to find the evidence before it is destroyed. They will then use that evidence in your questioning.

Subpoena for Records

If your business is under investigation, you may learn of the probe when you are served a subpoena for records. Like a search warrant, you must comply with the officers and provide them with the records included in the subpoena. Although you do not have to answer questions during a police interview, search warrants and subpoenas cannot be ignored. It’s suggested that you have an attorney present to ensure the police do not take records not included in the subpoena. There are many ways that law enforcement may let you know you are under investigation. Sometimes you learn through “word on the street” that the police have been asking questions. There are also times that federal investigators reach out to you by mail and ask you to “come in for questioning”. No matter how a law enforcement agency reaches out to you, it is imperative that you protect your rights by hiring a criminal attorney. Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, a former prosecutor with over 30 years of experience, can help. Even if you have not been arrested, Robert will help you develop an aggressive defense, guide you through the complicated judicial process and give you a complete understanding of what charges you may be facing. If you believe you are under investigation or have been arrested for a crime, contact Robert by calling (480) 860-4321, emailing or fill out the easy online form to arrange for a no obligation consultation.

How Do You Know If You Are Under Criminal Investigation? is available on website for AZ Crim Law – Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law

10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

(480) 860-4321