March 2012 Archives

March 29, 2012

Marijuana Possession Laws in Arizona

If a person is convicted of Marijuana possession charges, in Arizona that exceed the statutory "Threshold Amount" of 2 pounds, they will face mandatory prison sentencing. Arizona has specified "Threshold Amounts" for illegal drugs and controlled substances. If drug charges involve an amount that exceeds, the Threshold Amount for that specified drug, state mandatory prison sentencing will apply, even for a first offense.

Marijuana "Threshold Amount" - A.R.S.13-3401.36 Under Arizona Law "Threshold Amount" means:

A weight, market value, street value, or other measurement form of an illegal drug, substance or chemical that equals or exceeds an amount specified under the law. The Threshold Amount for Marijuana Possession is 2 pounds. If a person is found to have in their possession an amount that equals or exceeds the 2 pound Threshold Limit, they will face mandatory prison sentencing. The higher the quantity exceeds the Threshold Limit, the longer the prison term will be in sentencing.

Arizona Marijuana Possession Penalties

Most drug offenses are charged in multiples, or more than one offense resulting from one incident. For example, if you are charged with Marijuana Possession, you may also be charged with a second offense, possession of Marijuana drug paraphernalia. Below is the mandatory sentencing chart for Marijuana Possession, for drug crimes that equal or exceed the statutory Threshold Amount Limit.

A. For drug crimes involving quantities that Equal or Exceed Statutory Threshold Amounts A.R.S. 3419 (A)(3),(4) include the following mandatory prison sentence ranges:

• Second offense:

Class 2 - 3.0 to 12.5
Class 3 - 1.8 to 8.7
Class 4 - 1.1 to 3.7

• Third or more:

Class 2 - 4.0 to 15
Class 3 - 2.5 to 11.2
Class 4 - 1.5 to 6.2
Class 5 - 0.75 to 5.0

B. Fines for felony drug convictions can be as high as $150,000 per criminal charge per person; and for enterprises, can be ordered as high as $1,000,000 per charge, depending on the quantity involved and other circumstances of the incident.

C. Penalties will also include completion of a court ordered drug counseling or treatment program at their expense; probation; and other fees, costs, and assessments.

Defense for Marijuana drug possession charges Phoenix AZ

If you face active Marijuana drug charges in Arizona, you should consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer who defends drug charges frequently. f you face Felony Marijuana possession charges that exceed the Arizona Threshold Amount you will be exposed to harsh prison sentencing. If retained a qualified criminal defense lawyer will protect your rights, and defend your charges. If the charges cannot be dismissed, then the Threshold Amount is a critical area of defense. Your attorney may seek to challenge the Threshold Amount you were accused to have in your possession. If successful, it may help you avoid harsh mandatory prison sentencing; reduce charges and penalties.

Continue reading "Marijuana Possession Laws and Defense: Why challenging Marijuana "Threshold Amounts" is crucial to defending drug possession charges" »

March 23, 2012

Extreme DUI Charges in Arizona

The Extreme DUI limit for alcohol is 0.15% but below 0.20%. If you are charged with a DUI 0.15% but below 0.20% the police will customarily charge you with three Arizona DUI offenses in the same incident:

1) DUI "Impaired to the slightest degree";
2) DUI above 08%;
3) Extreme DUI above .15%

In absence of "aggravating factors" described under A.R.S. §28-1383 an Extreme DUI charge is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

Extreme DUI Laws in Arizona:

Under Arizona Law A.R.S. §28-1383 a person may be guilty of an Extreme DUI if they are driving under the influence of drug or alcohol in Arizona; and are driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while:

• Under the influence of intoxicating liquor, drug, vapor releasing toxic substance; any combination of liquor, controlled substances or any drugs; vapor releasing substances if the person is "impaired to the slightest degree";

• and/or have a Blood Alcohol Content Level (BAC) of .15% (but not more than .20%) or more up to two hours after driving; or being in actual physical control of a vehicle; and the BAC of .08%n level is from consuming alcohol, either before or while driving; or being in actual physical control of the vehicle.

Since the BAC level of .08%; and "impaired to the slightest degree" are also within the range of .15% statutory limit, the police may charge a person with the additional two offenses under Extreme DUI for a total of three DUI charges in one stop.

Consequences for Extreme DUI Convictions

Penalties for DUI convictions will be more severe for higher the BAC limits and repeat offenses. A first time offense for Extreme DUI will result 30 days jail; $2500.00 fines; 1 year ignition interlock device; 90 days driver's license suspension; probation; fines; fees; costs and alcohol screening and counseling. More penalties may apply. It is important that you retain an experienced criminal defense attorney, before pleading guilty or going to court. You should in the least obtain a consultation to discuss your matter, the charges, and consequences. There may be defenses that you are not aware of that can be used to challenge the charges and evidence that can lead to a reduction of charges or sentencing; dismissal; or other favorable outcome in your case.

Continue reading " Arizona Extreme DUI charges: Find out why the police will charge you with three DUI offenses if your BAC exceeds the Extreme DUI limit. " »

March 20, 2012

"How to avoid alcohol poisoning and DUI charges."

Binge Drinking is the number one cause of Alcohol Poisoning. It has more to do with how fast you drink, than how much. Medical Sources define "Binge Drinking" as downing 4 to 5 drinks in a quickly, in a row. If you drink the same amount at a rate of no more than one an hour; you may still be arrested for DUI; but you will significantly reduce your risk of suffering from alcohol poisoning. The age group most vulnerable to binge drinking is 16 to 25, with a majority underage 21 drinkers. Many are unaware of the consequences of an Arizona DUI conviction, or dangers of binge drinking.

"What is a Drink?"

One drink is equal to:

• 12 ounces of beer;
• 3 to 5 ounces of wine;
• 1 ounce to 1.5 ounces of 80-86 proof distilled liquor

How Liquor is Metabolized

Alcohol (Ethanol) is processed by the body's liver. It takes about one hour for the body to process or metabolize a drink of liquor or Ethanol (drinking alcohol). Other factors besides speed at which a person drinks; amount and type of alcohol include speed of metabolism; food consumption; height; weight, age, tolerance, other medications. Alcohol will continue to be released into the bloodstream, after a person finishes a drink, no matter how fast a person is drinking. Subsequently, the level of alcohol in the body (BAC) will continue to rise, even though they are not actively drinking.

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

Classic symptoms of alcohol poisoning may include:

• Seizures;
• Slow or irregular breathing;
• Pale or bluish skin;
• Low body temperature;
• Hypothermia;
• Confusion;
• Severe dizziness;
• Vomiting;
• Passing out or unconsciousness

What to Do if You See Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

• If the person is conscious - And demonstrating two or more signs above, call your local poison control center or 800-222-1222 (within the U.S.A.) or visit the official website at ; or
• Call Local hospital E.R, or urgent care facility;
• Be prepared to tell the urgent care or poison control operator the location of the person; how much; what they drank;, and when they drank;
• If a person is unconscious - call 911 or your local emergency number immediately;
• Never Leave an unconscious person alone; Don't assume they will sleep it off. If they are suffering from alcohol poisoning, it could be fatal.

Even if a person does not demonstrate any of the above classic signs and symptoms you should contact poison control or #911 if they become unconscious.

Tips to Avoiding Binge Drinking (If you are going to drink)

1) Know how much you can safely drink;
2) Know the type of liquor you are drinking and it's proof;
3) If you are going to drink, make sure you eat either before or while drinking;
4) Decide in advance how much you can safely drink and do not exceed that amount;
5) If you are on any medications, consult your doctor before drinking alcohol

Tips to Avoiding Getting a DUI (If you are going to drink)

1) Appoint a Designated Driver before you go out;
2) Select someone who you can trust or depend on, to call if you drink to too much and need a ride home. Make sure that person agrees in advance, and let them know you will be drinking and make sure they will be available if needed to drive you home;
3) If your friends ask you to give them your car keys because they think you have had too much to drink, don't argue, give them the keys;
4) Call a taxi cab; Pick up your vehicle when you can safely drive ( 24-48 hours later.)
5) Don't drink and drive.

Underage 21 DUI Charges Tempe AZ

You should always carry the contact information of a DUI or criminal defense attorney with you. If you are arrested for DUI, you should consult them as soon as possible. You should not plead guilty to DUI before you discuss your matter with a qualified criminal attorney. The consequences for DUI convictions in Arizona are severe and include jail time, suspension or denial of driver's license; ignition interlock device on your vehicle; alcohol or drug education screening and counseling, and other penalties ordered by the court. If retained your criminal defense attorney will defend your charges; guide you through the criminal case stages and work to get you the best resolution possible in your case.

Continue reading "Binge Drinking and DUI: Binge drinking is the number 1 cause of alcohol poisoning in underage 21 drinkers. Learn how to avoid it; signs, symptoms; and how to save lives." »

March 16, 2012

"The purpose of a DUI Task Force is to seek out and arrest persons driving drunk, or driving impaired due to alcohol or drugs. The laws regarding routine DUI stops and DUI Task Force Stops are very different. To preserve your rights and defenses you should know the differences."

Difference between DUI Task Force Stops and DUI Stops

The difference between a regular DUI "pull over while driving" stop and a DUI Task Force Stop are the circumstances that lead to the initial DUI stop. In a DUI roadblock situation, Police do not need "reasonable suspicion" that someone is driving drunk or DUI, in order to stop a vehicle.

A routine DUI stop occurs when the driver is "pulled over" in absence of a DUI Task Force Situation. In a routine DUI stop, the police must have "reasonable suspicion" that a crime is in progress or other violation of the law has occurred. This standard has been upheld by the US Supreme Court, as held by the rights given under the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If a person is stopped for DUI or any other crime in absence of "reasonable suspicion" that a crime or violation is in progress or has occurred, then the stop is unlawful. Subsequently, it would be considered a violation of the driver's rights.

DUI Task Forces are organized and conducted according to The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), and along with City or State Laws in place for DUI Task Force Stops. The purpose of a DUI Task Force is to seek out and arrest persons driving drunk, or "driving impaired to the slightest degree" due to alcohol or drugs. No one is immune to the stop. In most cases, The vehicles to be stop at are decided in advance by city, or county officials and their respective law enforcement Agencies. The NHTSA guidelines require that the determination be made on the basis of a mathematical or numeric formula, for example, every vehicle, or every 2nd vehicle. According to the NHTSA guidelines, the determination must be made by means of some sort of mathematical formula. For example, they will stop every first, third, or every other vehicle passing through the DUI roadblock. Police need no other reason to make the checkpoint DUI stop.

Arizona DUI Penalties

Generally, there is no difference in penalties sentencing for convictions resulting from DUI Task Force arrest and a routine DUI Task Force Arrest. Arizona has some of the toughest DUI penalties in the country. Currently they include 24 hours jail time; suspension of driver's license for 90 days; interlock device installation; fines, fees, costs; drug or alcohol screening or counseling and other penalties ordered by the court. Penalties increase in severity for higher Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels and repeat DUI offense.

DUI Lawyer for Defense, Gilbert AZ

If you face DUI charges in Maricopa County, you should consult an Arizona criminal defense attorney regarding your charges, and defense options. If retained an experienced DUI attorney will review the facts of your case. They may find that there are defenses that can be used to challenge the evidence or charges in your matter. If the DUI stop was unlawful, it is considered to be a violation of your constitutional rights. In that event, any evidence gathered after that stop may be prohibited by the court from being used against you as evidence. This severely weakens the prosecution's case, and usually results in DUI case dismissal. Any defenses are the most effective, when presented by a qualified and experienced criminal defense lawyer. They will defend your charges; protect your rights; and represent you throughout the DUI case stages to obtain the most favorable outcome possible in your case.

Continue reading "DUI Task Force Stops: No one is immune. The police need no reason to stop you for DUI investigation, except the number of your vehicle in line." »

March 14, 2012

"It may be possible to get your Scottsdale Arrest Warrant Quashed (cancelled) by Retaining a Criminal Defense Attorney."

Arrest Warrants Scottsdale AZ

Basically, an arrest warrant is a legal order issued in the name of the State of Arizona which provides legal authority for the police or law enforcement to make an arrest. The two most common types of arrest warrants are Police Arrest Warrants and Bench Warrants. Police issue arrest warrants when they determine that they have "probable cause" to believe that a suspect committed a crime. A Bench warrant is issued by the Judge in a presiding criminal case, if a defendant fails to appear for a scheduled court hearing ("Failure to Appear for Misdemeanor Charges A.R.S.13-2506; Failure to Appear for a Felony Crime Charges A.R.S. 13-2507). They remain outstanding indefinitely or until the suspect takes care of it through the criminal justice court system.

How to find out if there is a Warrant for your Arrest

There are a variety of ways to find out if you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest in Scottsdale. Some mediums charge and some do not. But either way the safest, most reliable way to find out is to consult a Scottsdale criminal defense lawyer or Scottsdale DUI lawyer to find out. An experienced criminal defense Attorney will conduct a thorough search via accessible legal resources. They will then advise you of the most accurate and current information available concerning the warrant.

Arrest Warrant Options -What to do if you have an Arrest Warrant

An arrest warrant is a very serious matter. Some people are arrested decades later upon being stopped for a minor traffic violation or other matter. In Arizona there are no expiration dates on an outstanding arrest warrant. If you have a warrant it will remain outstanding until either the bond is posted or the judge decides to "quash" or cancel it.

Here are your options:

Pay the bond amount set by the judge: Once you pay the bond amount, the warrant will be quashed and you will be given a new court date if the warrant is for failure to appear.

Appear before the judge during the Walk-in Docket: Scottsdale Court usually provides a daily time for defendants who need to make unscheduled court appearances. Unscheduled appearances are heard only at specified times available by the Scottsdale AZ Court.

Retain a private practice criminal defense attorney: This is the best way to take care of an arrest warrant. Your criminal lawyer will confirm the facts, and a Motion to "quash" or cancel the warrant. At that point they can also begin tailoring a solid defense strategy for your Scottsdale Criminal or Scottsdale DUI charges.

The judge may still require a bond be posted before canceling the warrant whether you have an attorney or not. So it is best to be make arrangements in advance to post a bond for your court appearance. Upon Retention of a private practice criminal attorney, they can guide you through the steps of safest ways to deal with the warrant based on your circumstances. They will make sure that the warrant has the least adverse impact on your life relating to addressing the warrant and will defend your criminal charges.

Continue reading "Arrest Warrants: How to find out if you have an arrest warrant, and the safest way to take care of it." »