Step-Parent Adoption – Process

The role of a step-parent is very often one filled with minimal glory. Absent the biological parent, the step-parent’s role becomes essential to the emotional and financial well-being of the child, though devoid of the legal rights to fully carry out that responsibility.

The decision to adopt a step-child is monumental in nature. It provides both the step-parent and especially the child a sense of long-term stability and belonging. Adoption also enables the new parent the ability to make educational, financial and medical decisions. The adopted child also has the right of inheritance and survivor benefits, the same as a biological child.

A step-parent adoption usually involves two steps, unless the birth parent is deceased. The first step, legal termination of parental rights, can be accomplished with the birth parent’s consent or evidence of a birth parent’s abandonment and/or inability to parent. A severance hearing before a judge, culminating in a signed order terminating parental rights, is necessary prior to the adoption.

The second step is the adoption itself. The step-parent’s spouse consents to the adoption of the child. Typically, a homestudy, fingerprints and step-parent background check are processed; these may be essential to the judge’s approval of the adoption. Finally, a new birth certificate is issued with the adoptive parent’s name.

The entire process, dependent on how complicated the situation is, can take a couple of months to several months. The end result, to provide a child you love with the stability and permanency he or she needs, is worth the time and effort.

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Important Considerations that can Affect your Driving Under the Influence Case in Scottsdale

DUI or driving under the influence is a crime, which involves driving a vehicle while you are in no capacity to operate it safely. Under the influence of drugs or alcohol, your capacity to drive becomes impaired, which may cause harm to you and other people you encounter while you are driving. DUI is also sometimes referred to as driving while intoxicated (DWI).

In Scottsdale, Arizona, DUI is often considered as a misdemeanor, but it can escalated to a felony depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, prior convictions and license status. A lot of roadside accidents and deaths are caused by DUI so the Scottsdale law enforcement is always on the lookout for violators.

If you happen to be charged with DUI, you’re probably wondering about the things that can affect your DUI case. If you are going to be tried in front of a judge, here are a few items that can affect your case:

  1. Prior records of DUI arrest – If you have been convicted before for DUI offense, this can affect the sentence is your case. The law requires a greater punishment than if there are no prior offenses. The court can drastically increase your jail sentence, the fine that you have to pay and your probation period.
  2. The officer who arrested you for DUI – Some police officers are experienced in DUI law. These are the officers who have had a lot of experience being a witness to these kinds of cases and know what it takes to get you convicted. Some officers, especially the new ones who do not have a lot experience yet with DUI cases, can’t give a complete and compelling account of your DUI arrest, thereby affecting how the judge or the jury sees your case.

The way the officer arrested you for DUI also matters in your case. If the officer who arrested you failed to administer the required tests properly at the time of your arrest to prove that you are indeed under the influence, then the State may have no case at all. Forgetting to read your rights and abusing you while you are being arrested or held in jail are also factors that can affect your case.

  1. The test results – Breathalyzer, blood and urine tests can determine how impaired you are at the time of your arrest. If any of these tests tells the court that you fall below the prescribed intoxication level for DUI, then you can possibly get your charges dropped on reasonable doubt. This is why it is important for the officer who arrested you for DUI to administer these tests properly.
  2. The evidence and witness testimony – When other people are involved, like any witness to your driving or an accident, their accounts and testimonies matter during the trial. The severity of their injuries could affect the way the judge or jury decides the case and could affect the sentence if you are convicted, even if it just your first offense. In some cases where the defendant has accidentally killed someone while driving under the influence, the trial can escalate into one for manslaughter.

These are some of the reasons you need to obtain an aggressive and experienced DUI Attorney in Scottsdale to help you navigate through the judicial system. We can help you defend your case to the best of our ability. At Robert A. Dodell Law Offices, I personally handle my own cases and I answer my own phone. Call us today for a free initial case consultation.


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Why Choose Robert Dodell as your DUI Attorney?

Are You Looking For a DUI Attorney in Scottsdale to Represent You?

You should never drink and drive, but if you have been arrested because of a DUI offense and you believe that the charges are unwarranted, it is important that you hire an experienced attorney to handle your case. Even if you are innocent, there are still many ways that a case can be made against you, particularly if you had been drinking before you were pulled over. For example, the officer may improperly administer a field sobriety test that made you look impaired when in fact, you were still capable of driving safely.

The consequences of being convicted for a DUI include the suspension or even loss of your driving privileges, a permanent mark on your driving record, a huge fine and even possibly, long jail time.

Hiring an experienced DUI attorney is no guarantee that you will win your case, but your chances of having the charges dropped will be greatly increased. At worst, even if you are convicted, the DUI attorney can help mitigate the penalties, such as helping you avoid jail time and preventing your license from being taken away.

A DUI attorney can achieve this by not only having an understanding of DUI law but also by knowing how the courts work in the jurisdiction where you are charged. They will be familiar with the prosecutors who will likely handle your case, as well as the judges who will hear it, and will be able to help you navigate the system. In addition, they can inform you of what your legal options are regarding your case, so that you can make an informed decision regarding the best course of action to take.

Your DUI attorney can also help you with your hearing with the local MVD. Most people are not aware that in addition to court hearings, they will also have to attend license suspension hearings at the DMV. A good attorney is familiar with the best defense in order to help avoid the loss of your driver’s license.

An attorney who has not handled DUI cases before may be able to protect your rights during the early part of the proceedings, for instance by preventing you from making a self-incriminating admission. However, once hearings have started, they may not be able to address your case properly. For example, they may not be familiar with the latest requirements for breath tests and sobriety tests that can serve as basis for getting your case dismissed if the officers involved did not adhere to them. They may lack the experience to be able to find issues in the state’s case against you that can help it get thrown out or at least, lead to a lesser charge.

Another way that a DUI attorney can help you is by being aware of legal options for disposing your case that can either help you win a dismissal or mitigate the possible legal consequences. For example, if you are a first offender, there are some counties with specialized DUI programs that allow you to undergo counseling in exchange for a reduced sentence with no jail time and no loss of driving privileges. He can also advise you regarding best plea bargain you can make to prevent you from getting a permanent criminal record.

Robert A. Dodell is an experienced attorney who has prosecuted thousands of cases as a prosecutor for the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office. This has provided him with a detailed understanding of how the criminal justice system in Arizona works. He went into private practice in 1994.

With his extensive understanding of the workings of the criminal justice system, he has successfully handled thousands of criminal cases. He is dedicated to ensuring that every case he handles is thoroughly prepared, with particular attention paid to ensuring that the details are thoroughly investigated, and aggressively litigated so that the defendant gets the best defense.

Robert Dodell is licensed to practice in the State of Arizona, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the US District Court of Arizona. He is a member of the Maricopa County Bar Association and the Arizona State Bar. You can discuss your case with him for free so that you will know how Attorney Dodell can help you.

Why Choose Robert Dodell as your DUI Attorney? Find more on: Law Offices Dodell

Important Consideration that can Affect your Criminal Case

Learn More About What Items Can Affect Your Case

One of the first questions that people involved in a criminal case asks their lawyer is “What are my chances of winning this case at trial?” The answer will depend on several factors. The following are just some of the most important factors or considerations that can affect your criminal case and why you need to hire an experienced criminal attorney.

  1. 1azphoenixpolice-viEvidences and facts of your case – The evidence and the facts about your case is a major consideration when it’s time to rule of the case. The court whether the judge or jury, will looks into all the information provided during a trial and use this information to formulate a conclusion to decide whether or not you are guilty. The facts and evidence can either help or harm your case. Things, like audio, video and forensic evidence, witness accounts and their credibility as witnesses and admissions are all part of the “facts” that will be presented in your case.
  2. How evidence is obtained – Some evidence is obtained illegally. Once the court finds out about this, they deem the evidence inadmissible. This means that no matter how much it can help or harm your case, if it was obtained using illegal means, the court will not consider that evidence as part of the trial. Other reasons why evidence becomes inadmissible is when the crime scene or the evidence itself was not handled properly.
  3. Your criminal record – The court also looks into your criminal record when it’s time to present your sentence. First time offenders of non-heinous criminal cases are sometimes given only the minimum punishment. Repeat offenders often get higher sentences, as are people who commit the same crime repeatedly.
  4. The severity of the crime – The court takes into consideration the severity of your crime. If you are convicted for a DUI but no harm was done on anyone or anything and you truly show the judge that you are repentant then maybe you can end up with a minimum punishment and minimum fines for that crime. If your DUI comes with drug charges or someone had been harmed, then the court will likely give you a higher level of punishment if you are found guilty. If there is also evidence of criminal damages, then you may need to consult with a criminal damage attorney in Scottsdale like Robert A. Dodell.
  5. The prosecutor handling your case – Some prosecutors are more forgiving than others. Some are more reasonable when it comes to resolving a case without going into trial while others want harsh penalties with a conviction. Prosecutors will always make a recommendation for the sentence to the judge.
  6. Your attorney and how he handles your case – Some lawyers are diligent and make sure that they have all the bases covered when it comes to your case. They make sure that for every argument that the complainant has, they have a counter argument available. Your attorney’s negotiation skills will also help determine the type of plea offer extended.
  7. The judge assigned to your case – Judges handle cases differently. Some judges are stricter, while others are more forgiving. Their interpretation of the law also sometimes varies as well. Some judges will give you a long jail time without fine while others will give a shorter jail time and bigger fine for the same crime. The judge’s decision will depend on the facts of the case and evidence for mitigation of a sentence provided to the court.



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Why Hiring an Experienced and Aggressive Attorney in Scottsdale Is Important

Do You Need a Lawyer That is Experienced and Understands the Scottsdale Laws?

If you’ve ever been charged with DUI or criminal crime, it is imperative to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. This is because these kinds of cases can’t just get you jail time, but may affect other areas in your life. Cases like these may cause loss of employment and employment opportunities. In the case of a DUI, your license can be revoked or suspended.

When hiring a DUI attorney, make sure that he or she is highly competent and has extensive experience in the kind of case that you are involved in. Don’t just pick any “general practitioner”. Pick someone who emphasizes in DUI or criminal cases to ensure that he knows the procedures and the kind of litigating techniques that he should use to win your case. His extensive experience also ensures that he knows all the legal implications of your case.

legal-icon-brownAn experienced attorney can also provide information on what is at stake and what you should expect during the trial. It is also important to follow your attorney’s expert advice because he knows that all your actions will have an impact on your case. An experienced attorney’s job is to ensure that you win the case or at least, minimize the sentence. You will be paying your attorney for that expert experience.

Another characteristic that you should look for when hiring a lawyer is aggressiveness. An aggressive lawyer is often highly competitive. He hates losing as much as the next person. He is the kind of attorney who can help you win your case because he will not just sit around and let the opposing counsel dictate where the case is going. He will work to find the means to steer the case to a better position. He will diligently look for ways to keeping you out of serving jail time.

An aggressive lawyer will consider all the angles to defend your felony DUI case and the prosecutor’s possible course of action. Hiring a former prosecutor helps understand how the prosecutor of your case is going to present your case.

The following article Why Hiring an Experienced and Aggressive Attorney in Scottsdale Is Important was first published to Law Offices Dodell

The Indian Child Welfare Act and Juvenile Court Proceedings

Arizona has one of the largest American Indian child populations in the United States, and also has the largest number of American Indians living on reservations. Foster and adoption placements of Native American Indian children are covered by The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which establishes minimum federal standards for their care.

ICWA covers any American Indian child involved in state child custody proceedings. A person may explain his or her identity as American Indian, but in order for ICWA to apply, the child must be an American Indian child as defined by the law. ICWA defines an “American Indian child” as “any unmarried person who is under age eighteen and is either (a) a member of an American Indian tribe or (b) is eligible for membership in an American Indian tribe and is the biological child of a member of an American Indian tribe.” Individual American Indian tribes have the right under federal law to decide eligibility, membership, or both. However, in order for ICWA to apply, the child must be a member of or eligible for membership in a federally recognized American Indian tribe.

Tribes may waive their jurisdiction if they feel it will benefit the child’s development. ICWA also gives the Tribe’s preference over placement a higher priority than what the state may have decided. The assumption here is that Indian culture has a broader sense of a family unit and a vested interest in making sure the child retains the tribe’s cultural heritage. The tribal placement choice allows the tribe to have direct input into how the Indian child will ultimately be raised and helps to maintain cultural identity.

The Indian tribe’s right to intervene in the state proceedings does not get waived. Even if the tribe earlier passed jurisdiction to the state, they can later petition to have jurisdiction transferred back. ICWA gives them that option by going through the Bureau of Indian Affairs and using any agreements between the Tribe and the state. In ICWA adoption cases, the respective tribe has to be noticed of all court proceedings, including hearings, at least 10 days before the date of those proceedings. This occurs so that the tribe’s attorney can intervene on behalf of the tribe or the child. Intervention may or may not occur.

In cases involving the Department of Child Safety (DCS, formerly CPS), the judge requires proof of notice of a pending court date, through certified mail or formal serving of notice. After this occurs, most judges also require a short letter from the tribe acknowledging receipt of notice. The judge may also require the tribe, through its attorney, to include other details in the response. For instance, the court may want to know whether the tribe will waive notice of future case proceedings or if it plans to object to the severance of parental rights or adoption.

Tribal Intervention can be as little as being allowed to appear in court and listen. It can also include the right to discovery, calling witnesses, placing objections in state court, and can even include the right to veto a decision. The goal is always to make sure placement for the American Indian child, be it a relative placement or non-relative placement, is respectful of the child’s heritage and proactive in maintaining the child’s cultural identity in the Tribal community.

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Why Hiring an Experienced Criminal Case Lawyer is Important For Your Case

Have you been charged with a crime? If you have, it is important to understand that you are about to enter the criminal justice system. In here, your best bet at getting the best possible outcome is to hire a competent and experienced criminal defense lawyer. Robert Dodell is the personification of excellent legal counsel. While you can find other defenders to represent you, you want one that has years of experience and extensive knowledge with these types of cases in your area.


An Expert on Local Procedures and Personnel

The big question is: Why should you hire Robert Dodell? Plain and simple, the answer is that he possesses the local advantage that you’re looking for.

Keep in mind that it is best to hire a lawyer who is experienced in courthouses where the defendant’s case is filed and heard. It is true that laws are the same throughout the state. However, the policies and procedures themselves vary from one locality (or courthouse) to another.

Robert Dodell is experienced in all the criminal laws and proceedings in Scottsdale, Arizona.

He is equipped with knowledge regarding the many of the prosecutors. As a local attorney, he is also familiar many on the police officers and how they handle their cases and how they testify in court. As an attorney defending you, having experience with both local policy, procedures and personnel can be a huge advantage for your case.


Criminal Law Experience and Knowledge

You need to go with a lawyer who has previously represented defendants who had cases and offenses similar to yours. These days, criminal law encompasses so many subspecialties, such as drug offenses, white collar crimes, drunk driving, domestic abuse, and more.

You can be sure that whatever it is, Robert Dodell has handled it before. His experience is wide and extensive. Before hiring him, you are more than welcome to inquire about his previous experience with criminal cases. You can ask him any questions and open any concerns that are bothering you.

He will work for you and with you to the best of his abilities. Working together, he will work up with the best possible defense for your case. You will be working together, with him offering guidance and expert opinion about legal proceedings and projected outcomes.


I have handled many criminal cases, here are a few I have handled:

Assault Lawyer

Criminal Damage Attorney

Drug Crimes Defense

Probation Violations Attorney

Shoplifting Legal Defense


Learn more about the cases I have handled and my experience at


Compassionate and Personable Defense

One of the most common pitfalls of employing a criminal defense is hiring a lawyer who, no matter how qualified and knowledgeable, doesn’t speak the defendant’s language. The most important factor to consider is your comfort level with your lawyer.

If you are facing criminal charges and do not know where to turn to, know that there is someone who is willing to help. Robert Dodell is just a call away, ready to lend a helping hand. His legal expertise will give you that fighting chance. He will let your voice be heard. He is your advocate – someone you want in your corner.

Why Hiring an Experienced Criminal Case Lawyer is Important For Your Case is available on