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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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.

What is a Disorderly Conduct Charge in Arizona? is republished from azcrimlaw.com

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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(480) 860-4321

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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:

Self-Defense

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

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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Scottsdale, AZ 85260

(480) 860-4321

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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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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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