September 2011 Archives

September 30, 2011

"The best criminal attorneys in Arizona will tell you, there are some charges you can defend on your own; but a Felony DUI is not one of them."

Felony DUI Arrest Tempe AZ - Why You Need Felony DUI Defense
If you were arrested for a Felony DUI in Tempe Arizona you face very serious charges. So serious, that even experienced Arizona DUI lawyers in the valley would hire the best private criminal defense attorney or DUI trial lawyer they could find in Maricopa County to defend their felony DUI charges. This is not a reflection on that DUI attorney's or anyone else's legal qualifications; aptitude or ability to challenge evidence or criminal charges; or whether or not they are a criminal defense attorney or have a different occupation entirely. It's not even a matter of knowing how to defend their own Felony DUI charges; but rather, good DUI lawyers know it is best for their defense if they don't represent themselves---Simple as that.

You have heard the adage, "A lawyer who represents themselves has a fool for a client"- Abraham Lincoln or someone else...your choice. Most criminal attorneys agree with the prudence and rationale behind the adage. There are many reasons why an Arizona Criminal Defense or DUI lawyer would hire the best DUI lawyer or private criminal lawyer in Maricopa County they knew (the "best", being second to themselves, of course) to defend their Arizona felony DUI charges. However, to get into all of the reasons-- would take us well beyond the scope of this article. The point is you need to retain a good private practice Tempe Criminal Defense Firm or DUI lawyer in Arizona to defend your Felony DUI charges. This is true only if you wish to have any real chance at getting a dismissal, acquittal, or any other favorable outcome in your Felony DUI case.

Felony DUI Penalties List | Aggravated DUI Penalties Arizona
Aggravated DUI, also known as Felony DUI charges carry mandatory minimum and maximum sentencing ranges. This means that if you are convicted, the judge has the authority to order a sentence within that range. It may be lenient or harsh, depending on the circumstances and discretion of the judge. If convicted of aggravated DUI or felony DUI you will be exposed to prison time that ranges from 4 months to 2 ½ years. The seriousness of the penalty will be determined based on the Classification of felony for which you were convicted. The Classification for felonies range from Class one to Class six, with Class 1 being the most severe.

Here is list of potential Penalties that may apply for Felony DUI:
• Jail - 1 day to 1 year;
• Prison - 4 months to 2 ½ years;
• Driver License Revoked - 3 years;
• Ignition Interlock Device at the defendant's expense
• Monetary fines upwards to $150,000 + 80% surcharges;
• Drug/Alcohol Drug/Alcohol Screening, Counseling, Treatment & Costs;
• Probation;
• Criminal Record - Felony Conviction
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the felony DUI charges, the judge has the discretion to also order additional costs, fees, medical bills or other restitution.

LAW OFFICE OF JAMES NOVAK
DUI & Criminal Defense Lawyer
(Former Prosecutor)
Free Consultation!
(480) 413-1499

Continue reading "Why you should never attempt to represent yourself for DUI or criminal charges" »

September 28, 2011

Ways to fight your Tempe DUI Charges

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Tempe AZ, you have the right to challenge the charges. You will need to hire a good criminal defense or DUI attorney who defends DUI charges in Tempe Arizona frequently.

Good Tempe DUI attorney will know which defenses to use based on your individual set of facts that surround your arrest. There is not just one path or reason to get DUI charges in Tempe AZ dismissed or to get a "not guilty" verdict. There are many defense strategies that can be used. Each individual's DUI circumstances are different. Different defense strategies will be formulated by your Tempe DUI defense attorney based on those facts and evidence. Here are just a few defense avenues that some of the best Tempe DUI lawyers may take to fight your Tempe DUI charges:

• Arguing the reason you were stopped for DUI by the police;
• Questioning police observations of the defendant at the time of the stop or arrest;
• Challenging elements surrounding results of Field Sobriety tests;
• Determining if Police violated their procedures and protocol;
• Challenging results of Breath, Blood or Urine tests;
• Presenting exculpatory evidence (evidence in your favor). For example providing objective third party eye witness testimony which contradicts the police report of events led to the arrest;
• Determining if your Constitutional Rights were violated before, during or after your arrest.

In summary, you can fight a Tempe DUI by hiring a good Tempe DUI lawyer.
They will gather, and examine all the evidence and decide what defense strategy will likely lead to getting your charges dismissed or reduced, and the otherwise best possible outcome in your case.

Continue reading "7 Common Defenses for DUI charges" »

September 26, 2011

Why You Need a Good Criminal Attorney that Defends Felony Charges in Chandler AZ

If you have instructions to appear in Arizona Superior Court following a criminal arrest or receipt of summons, this usually means you most likely are facing a criminal felony charges in Arizona. If so, you should consult a criminal lawyer who defends felony charges received in Chandler and regularly defends clients in Superior Court. A felony is a serious matter in Arizona. Felony Charges in Arizona carry some of the harshest penalties in the country. Without effective private criminal defense for your Arizona Superior Court matter, your future and freedom may be in jeopardy. An experienced trial and criminal defense lawyer who defends Chandler criminal felony charges will help resolve your criminal charges so that they have the least impact on your life as possible.

Criminal Arrest for Felony in Chandler AZ
A Chandler criminal arrest is not a conviction. By law you are innocent until proven guilty by the prosecution. You do not have to "prove" your innocence. The Prosecution has the burden of proving you are guilty of the charges. The arrest is just the beginning of the Criminal Stages in the criminal justice process. Chandler police and law enforcement agencies work very closely with the Arizona prosecution to egregiously prosecute felony offenses and get convictions. The best way to protect yourself and preserve your freedom is to hire a highly trained, qualified, proactive and experienced Chandler Criminal Attorney. Chandler AZ felony convictions usually carry steep jail and prison sentences. Depending on the DUI, drug or other criminal charges, you could face long term or life time incarceration in prison; exorbitant fines and fees; and a felony criminal record that will follow you for life in some cases..

Felony Laws, Conviction & Sentencing | Chandler, AZ charges
Chandler Arizona is governed by the laws of the State of Arizona. Criminal charges fall within any one or more of six classifications; with Class 1 being the most severe. A class one felony conviction carries the harshest punishments and longest prison sentences, in many cases life in prison. If convicted of a Class 1 felony, the term of the sentence is usually required to be served in state prison rather than in Maricopa County jail. The felony sentencing and term is dictated by the nature and severity of the criminal charges for which you were convicted. Each felony class includes a minimum and maximum range for the mandatory prison term which is decided by the judge. For felonies, a sentencing hearing date is scheduled following a guilty verdict. This date is set at some point in the future for example 30 days out. A good private criminal defense lawyer will continue to fight for your freedom. They will make sure that you are treated fairly, and work to get you the minimum sentence or attempt to negotiate court orders and sentencing that have the least impact as possible on your life. In many cases, it is too late to bring on board a private criminal defense attorney, if you have not already, because irreparable harm may have been done to your defense case. The key to a successful defense is early retention of your criminal defense attorney, especially in felony cases.

LAW OFFICE OF JAMES NOVAK
DUI & Criminal Defense Lawyer
(Former Prosecutor)
Free Consultation!
(480) 413-1499

Continue reading "Why you must retain good legal representation for your DUI or criminal charges scheduled in Arizona Superior Court." »

September 23, 2011

10 Facts you should know if you face Drunk Driving Charges in Maricopa County!

1. Maricopa County Drunk Driving charges are very serious. Maricopa County DUI Laws are governed by AZ State Law, which are some of the most harsh in the Country. A first time drunk driving conviction can expose you to severe penalties including jail time. Your best chance of getting your drunk driving charges dismissed is to hire a private practice Maricopa County criminal defense or DUI defense attorney.

2. Regardless of your DUI evidence, you have the right to challenge your DUI charges. It makes no difference how high your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC Level) was, or if this is your second or third DUI: You have the right to hire a private practice AZ DUI lawyer to defend you, and fight to get your charges dismissed.

3. The Maricopa County Prosecutor is not your friend.

Don't be fooled by a smile or approachable greeting from your prosecutor. Their mission is to convict you. If you find your self confronted out of formal court proceedings, by a Maricopa County Prosecutor, avoid discussing any matters related to your DUI drunk driving charges or any other personal matters. Otherwise they can use your statements against you. While they may appear friendly and professional, you must remember their job is to convict you of a criminal or DUI charges in Maricopa County. Be polite and respectful, but do not engage in any discussion regarding your Maricopa County drunk driving charges or otherwise unless the judge or your DUI Attorney has instructed you otherwise.

4. You have the right to remain silent...Use it.
You do not want to unintentionally incriminate yourself and damage your DUI defense. Instead, acknowledge you are aware of your right to remain silent, until you are accompanied by or consult your AZ DUI attorney, and wish to exercise it.

5. Promptly attend all scheduled court appearances for your Maricopa County
drunk driving charges or you will face an arrest warrant.
If you miss your court date or are late, the Judge has the authority to issue a "Bench Warrant", for your arrest due to your "Failure to Appear" (FTA) "A.R.S. 13-2506 Failure to appear in the second degree; classification and A.R.S. 13-2507 Failure to appear in the first degree; classification." The only time this is not the case, is if you have retained a private practice Arizona DUI lawyer, and either your AZ DUI defense lawyer or the Judge instructs you otherwise.

6. Following a Maricopa County DUI or Drunk Driving Charge, you will need to deal with two separate entities.
First, is a civil matter with the Arizona Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV or MVD). A Maricopa County DUI charge may initiate the suspension of your drivers' license even before your court matter is complete. The second is criminal matter through the Arizona criminal justice system for the DUI charges.

7. If you hire a good private practice Maricopa County drunk driving defense lawyer, they will immediately begin tailoring and building a strong defense. A successful defense is one that begins well before your first scheduled court date. The more time you give your DUI lawyer to examine the evidence and build a defense, the greater your chances of getting the DUI charges dismissed. "Doing nothing" or waiting and hoping for the best, without hiring a Maricopa County DUI attorney, will get you a swift and severe conviction.

8. Without a strong private practice AZ DUI attorney defending you, the prosecution has an undisputed advantage.
You may also be missing valuable negotiating opportunities through the proper legal channels. You could jeopardize your defense, by passing up opportunities to file early procedural or other substantial motions that could lead to a dismissal of your charges. There are no barriers between you and the Prosecutor, no one defending you, and no one to fight to protect your rights from unfair treatment and at an unfair disadvantage. Sound unfair? It is. But if can change the odds by hiring a good private practice DUI attorney.

9. If you decide not to hire a private practice Maricopa County DUI Defense attorney, you will be held to the same standard in the court room and process as if you were represented by an AZ DUI Attorney. You don't get any breaks by the court, by not hiring a private practice Maricopa County drunk driving lawyer. You will be held to the same standards as would otherwise your Maricopa County DUI lawyer. This includes complying with procedures protocol; attending conferences and court appearances; meeting deadlines; building and presenting a your defense case.

10. A good private practice Maricopa County DUI Lawyer will be prepared to make every effort to get your DUI charges dismissed
. They will tailor, building, and presenting solid and compelling defense on your behalf. In some cases they may get your charges reduced to a less severe charge such as a civil traffic violation, get all or a portion of the evidence thrown out, to get the absolute best possible outcome in your case.

Continue reading "Drunk Driving Charges: Survival guide for a DUI Arrest" »

September 9, 2011

Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to represent you at your Preliminary Hearing in Tempe AZ

Preliminary Hearing
A Preliminary Hearing is the second phase of the AZ criminal justice system (with the exception of felony indictments which has a different process). It follows your Initial Court Appearance and was the court date, time and location given to you on your Tempe AZ complaint or citation for your Tempe arrest. You should in consult and retain an experienced criminal defense or DUI defense attorney who defends charges in Tempe AZ Court to represent you for this hearing. They will make sure your rights and defenses are protected. The preliminary Hearing is held before a court commissioner in the Regional Court Center (RCC). It is a critical point in time for your case, and too important to go legally unrepresented.

The Purpose of the Preliminary Hearing
The purpose of the Preliminary Hearing is for the Court Commissioner to decide if there is enough evidence to show that a violation of the law most likely occurred, and that you were probably the one who committed that crime.

The Importance of being represented by a Private Criminal Defense Attorney
At the Preliminary Hearing the prosecution is allowed to present witnesses and evidence against you. However, your Attorney can present exculpatory evidence (evidence in your favor); as well as challenge the prosecution's evidence against you if there is a legal and justifiable basis for it.

Less evidence is needed at this proceeding than an actual trial. However, understand that the prosecution may possess enough evidence for the commissioner to find "probable cause". If the commissioner finds "probable cause", your case will be assigned to the Superior Court and Superior Court Judge for further proceedings and setting a date for trial.

If Your Tempe criminal defense attorney successfully challenges the evidence, gets it suppressed and can educate the prosecution and court on flaws and weaknesses in their case, then the commissioner may find and rule on "no probable cause" and your case will be dismissed.

How to Get a Preliminary Hearing Waived
A preliminary hearing can be waived completely if the Prosecution, your criminal defense Attorney and You all reach a plea agreement before that time. In the case of a plea agreement, your attorney works hard on your behalf to get you an alternative offer that is better than taking a chance, going to trial, and losing. In almost all cases the plea agreement terms are far better, then sentencing for a guilty verdict conviction. And the preliminary hearing, trial and possibility sentencing for a "guilty verdict" by a judge or are all avoided. The decision to go to trial or take a plea bargain is always yours. But it is important that you discuss and understand the ramifications of both choices. The Arizona Jurors have proved to be less lenient in Arizona DUI cases, than other States around the country. In any event, your chances of getting the case dismissed, charges reduced or a better outcome in your case increase drastically with the retention of a private practice criminal defense or DUI attorney who defends Chandler DUI and Chandler criminal charges.

Continue reading ""What is a Preliminary Hearing?"" »

September 7, 2011

5 things you should know about your Gilbert Drunk Driving Charges!

The best advise a good Gilbert drunk driving lawyer can give you...

1. Arizona Drunk Driving charges is a serious offense. Arizona has strict DUI laws and penalties. Even a first time misdemeanor drunk driving conviction will expose you to severe penalties including time in jail time in Arizona's "Tent City". If you choose not to hire a private practice Gilbert DUI Attorney, lawyer, you will most likely meet an early conviction with severe punishments. Your best chance of getting your DUI dismissed, is to hire a private practice AZ criminal defense or DUI lawyer who defends DUI charges in Gilbert on a regular basis.

2. The Prosecutor is not your friend. After you are arrested in Gilbert AZ for drunk driving, the DUI charges are escalated to the Prosecutor for criminal processing. If your paths should cross with the Prosecutor, do not discuss any personal or other matters related to your case. Some defendants who have gone down that path, were surprised at statements they made to the prosecution were used against them. While they may appear friendly and greet you with a smile, you must remember, they have only one mission in mind...to convict you of a Gilbert DUI charge. So if a conversation should ensue, be polite and respectful, but do not engage in any discussion regarding your Gilbert drunk driving charges or otherwise. You have the right to remain silent. Use it. Otherwise, you may find that you have incriminated yourself and damaged your DUI defense. Instead, simply acknowledge you are aware of your right to remain silent, until you are accompanied by or consult your AZ DUI attorney, and wish to exercise it.

3. Be prompt, and attend all scheduled court appearances for your Gilbert
Arizona drunk driving charges. If you miss your court date or are late, the Judge has the authority to issue what is known as a "Bench Warrant", for your arrest due to your "failure to appear". The only time this is not the case, is if you have retained a private practice Arizona DUI lawyer, and they or the Maricopa County Judge instructs you otherwise.

4. Following your arrest for a Gilbert DUI, you will need to deal with two separate entities. First, is the Arizona Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV). An Arizona DUI charge may initiate the suspension of your drivers' license even before your court matter is complete. The second is criminal Court for the criminal matter, the AZ DUI.

5. If you hire a good Gilbert drunk driving lawyer or Gilbert DUI law firm, they will immediately begin your drunk driving defense. A successful defense begins well "before" your first scheduled court date. The more time you give your defense a chance to build a defense case, the greater your chances of getting them dismissed. Doing nothing and waiting in hopes of the best, without hiring a Gilbert DUI attorney, gives the prosecution the advantage of having a case built against you, and leaving you with no shield of defense or preservation of your rights. You may also be missing valuable negotiating opportunities through the proper legal channels. Lastly, you stunt you may detriment your defense, by having waived the opportunity to file early relevant motions to dismiss your charges, if they exist. If you decide not to hire a private practice Gilbert DUI attorney, you will be held to the same standard of the court as if you were represented by an AZ DUI Attorney. You don't get any breaks by the court, by not hiring a private practice Gilbert drunk driving lawyer. You will be held to the same standards as would otherwise your Gilbert DUI lawyer. This includes complying with procedures protocol; attending conferences and court appearances; meeting deadlines; building and presenting your own defense. Criminal and DUI charges are dismissed often for violations of a defendant's rights, violations in police protocol, weak evidence, or violations of police procedures required by AZ Law. An experienced Gilbert DUI Lawyer will be prepared to make every effort to get your DUI charges dismissed. They will tailor, building, and presenting solid and compelling defense on your behalf. In some cases they may get your charges reduced to a less severe charge such as a civil traffic violation, get all or a portion of the evidence thrown out, to get the absolute best possible outcome in your case.

Continue reading "Drunk Driving Arrest: Tips on how to preserve your rights; and avoid self-incrimination after a DUI Arrest." »

September 2, 2011

"If your rights have been violated, it can often lead to dismissal of evidence or your criminal charges in Gilbert AZ. The key to a successful defense based on rights violations is to hire an experienced criminal defense trial and defense lawyer who will investigate and raise compelling arguments on your behalf."

Experienced criminal defense and DUI lawyers who defend criminal charges in Gilbert are naturally very familiar with the laws, and how to use them in favor of your defense. It's a good idea for you to be familiar with your criminal rights before you get charged or arrested in Gilbert AZ. Many feel that laws and procedures are in place only to use against them to arrest, and convict. But the fact is that laws also exist to protect them even if they are accused of a crime.

To simplify, we will break them down into three types of criminal rights: 1) Federal Rights. These are the rights guaranteed under The United States Constitution or Constitutional Rights; 2) State Rights under Arizona Constitution and State Laws; 3) Procedural Rights, those related to processing formal criminal and DUI charges in the AZ criminal justice and criminal court process.

Below are some of the most common criminal rights (list is not all inclusive):

• The Right to "an attorney", criminal or DUI defense, as soon as reasonably possible (must be invoked by the accused );
• The Right to "remain silent" (must be invoked by the accused);
• The Right to "due process" to defend the charges in the criminal court system;
• The Right chose not to allow self-incrimination;
• The Right to plead "not guilty" of the charges;
• The Right to use justifiable defenses;
• The Right to obtain and present exculpatory (in favor of defense) evidence;
• The Right to challenge the credibility of evidence the prosecution intends to use;
• The Right to a fair and speedy jury trial (for charges eligible for jury trials);
• The Right to deny unwarranted "search and seizure" of property, vehicle, and person.
• The Right not to be treated humanely and with dignity not with "cruel and unusual" punishment.
• "Double Jeopardy" prohibition: the Right not to be charged, arrested, tried or punished, for the exact same or original incident.

If you face active criminal or DUI charges Gilbert AZ, or you feel your rights have been violated, you should contact an experienced criminal or DUI lawyer who defends Gilbert charges as soon as possible. Violations of constitutional rights can lead to dismissals of evidence or even complete dismissals of Gilbert criminal or DUI charges. Such allegations by a defendant involve certain evidentiary issues that must be proven and compelling, and defended through the complex criminal court system. For these reasons, your chances of getting a good outcome for challenging constitutional right violations are the most successful if investigated and argued by an experienced Gilbert criminal defense and trial lawyer.

Continue reading "Your Rights after Arrest: The most important thing you can do to protect your criminal rights is to know them. Common criminal rights you need to become familiar with." »