Friendly Tips on Finding a Reliable Lawyer for Stepchild Adoption in Arizona

There are so many reasons for stepparents to adopt children in Arizona. It is common that the stepparent wants to consider the child as truly their own, not just emotionally, but legally. The same can be said for the child. Often the child wants to share the same surname as the stepparent. Another crucial reason is to give the right to inherit. So whatever purpose you may have for adopting a child, it’s important to understand the legal terms in the adoption process. For best results, you can work with a reliable lawyer that specializes in stepchild adoption in Arizona.


Adopting a Child in Arizona

A stepparent can only obtain imposable parental rights over a stepchild through legal adoption. Sometimes, the biological parent will refuse to agree to a stepparent adoption, but the adoption is still possible if legal conditions exist for a termination of parental rights through a severance trial.

However, when all involved parties cooperate, the process is much easier. First, the biological parent needs to hand over their parental rights to the would-be stepparent for a successful adoption. Once the biological parents give consent to the adoptive parent, their parental rights are consensually terminated. In the end, the stepparent will have full parental rights and will be responsible for providing for the child’s financial, medical and emotional needs, inheritance, and other privileges.


Is Adoption the Right Decision for Stepparents?

Adopting a child makes a more solid family bond. In addition, stepparent also get legal responsibilities for the child just like his biological parents. But since the stepchild will need parental and financial support, adoption is lifetime commitment. Think about all the possibilities before asking the original parent to relinquish their rights. After the adoption, you will be responsible for all the needs of child. Once the parental right are transferred and you are granted full custody of the child, he will be considered your own.


Making the Adoption Process Simpler

If you really want to make sure this process goes smoothly, you need a well experienced lawyer to handle your case. When finding the perfect lawyer, consider his background. He should be knowledgeable in handling stepchild adoption cases in Arizona. After you find the attorney who will help you, you have to get started with the paperwork by filing out the Consent to Adopt form. You will also need to undergo the process called Petition to Adopt.

The Arizona State Legislature requires a social study in the adoption process. A background check is required for the stepparent. You should discuss the full process with your attorney.


Advantages of Having a Stepparent Adoption Lawyer

Since adoption is an arduous and lengthy process, you need to have your own legal counsel. This will guide you in making informed decisions before you finally adopt a child in Arizona. Your attorney will handle all the paperwork as the case progresses. He will also represent you in the legal proceedings and guide you through the court hearings. Hiring a lawyer for this matter also increases your chances of officially becoming a stepparent. Do not take unnecessary risks that could result in more expenses. Work with a reputable adoption lawyer today.

Read more about Robert A. Dodell Adoption Legal Services here.

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What Is Entrapment in Arizona and How Can This Affect Your Case

Entrapment is an affirmative defense, meaning, the defendant admits that the criminal charge has substantial elements and wants to be relieved of punishment. For him to use the entrapment defense, he has the burden of proving that the law enforcement planted the idea of committing the crime, influenced him to commit the offense, and that he was not predisposed to commit such act if it was not for the law enforcements’ actions.

For a clear picture of entrapment, let’s say that there’s a person who has a regular job which covers his everyday needs. One day, a stranger (someone with law enforcement or working for law enforcement in disguise) approaches him and coerces him to sell drugs. Because of the pressure from the law enforcement, he is forced to do the criminal act. After he has committed the crime, the police arrest him for drug trafficking. He faces trial and admits, “Yes I did it”, to the substantial elements of the crime. But he successfully proves an entrapment defense and is found not guilty of the charges against him.

Proving an entrapment defense can help you in getting a favorable verdict. There are important elements that you have to keep in mind for you to successfully use this.

First, you don’t deny of your knowledge of the crime. A denial would automatically exempt you from using an entrapment defense.

Second, you have to admit to the substantial elements of the crime. It is not enough that you keep quiet and not deny the charges against you. Silence and not challenging the evidence and testimony do not mean you are admitting to the crime. You need to make a clear confession of your participation.

Third, it is not sufficient that you prove that the police presented the opportunity to commit the act for the entrapment defense to hold. Law enforcement must also draw you to action through pressure and coercion.

Fourth, you should prove that you would not have done the act if law enforcement did not force you to do so. It is important that you present that you would have not committed the crime if you and the law enforcement never met.

Last, you are not allowed to use the entrapment defense if you were planning to do the crime even before you were approached by law enforcement. It is not enough to claim entrapment just because the law enforcement hid his or her true identity from you.

When you are charged with a criminal offense, it is useful to know of the possible legal defenses that can be used to defend oneself.  This can increase your chances of getting a positive result. An entrapment defense can be useful under the right circumstances.

Entrapment can pertain to different aspects criminal and DUI cases. Read more about out services at:


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A Breakdown Of Arizona Stalking Laws

Stalking constitutes behaviors such as sending excessive texts or emails as well as making excessive phone calls. It also involves sending unwanted gifts and showing up at uninvited places. Such behaviors are considered illegal and unacceptable and that’s where Arizona stalking laws come in handy.


What You Should Know

Under Arizona law, stalking is defined as knowingly or intentionally engaging in behavior directed towards another individual with whom the victim has or had a romantic or sexual relationship, or has resided with the victim within the last six months. Conduct must cause the victim to suffer emotional distress, damage to their property or reasonable fear of physical injury. That injury can be to the victim, the victim’s family member or pet. Conduct the causes the victim to fear death or the death of a family member or pet is another version of stalking, which carries greater penalties.


Type Of Felony for Stalking

Stalking offenses that might cause an individual to fear for his or her personal safety are usually categorized as class 5 felony. Those that result in fear of death are categorized under class 3 felony. For the class 5 felony charges, the punishment includes up to 3 years probation, spending 1 year in jail or a prison sentence of at least 6 months to 2.5 years depending on the severity of the charges. Note that, if the stalker has prior felony convictions, the prison sentence carries an additional prison time.

For the class 3 felony criminal charges, the punishment includes up to 5 years probation, spending 1 year in jail or at least 2 years to a maximum of 8.75 years in prison. Here, prior felony criminal convictions can also lengthen the prison sentence.

A stalker may also get receive additional criminal charges if there is a protective order in place preventing the defendant from contacting the victim.

Stalking can be a frightening and terrorizing experience for the victim. Best not to go there in the first place. However, if you’re charged with the crime of stalking, you should find a good Arizona criminal defense attorney to assist with the case.

This post was first published on the Robert Dodell, Attorney At Law blog and you can find it at

3 Great Qualities Of A Defense Lawyer For A White-Collar Case

Is someone accusing you of fraud, or anything having to do with a large sum of money? This is a white-collar case and you need quick help. This is a criminal case. You will facing the government in the courtroom.

Given that, you will have to look for lawyers from private law firms. Many law agencies have experts who are highly skilled at crafting a credible white-collar criminal defense in Arizona. Severe penalties await those who will be convicted following a white-collar trial, so make sure you pick the best lawyers. What qualities do you need to consider?


Experience is very important

White-collar cases can be quite complex. Since yours is considered to be a difficult case, choose lawyers who are known in the industry to have handled complicated cases in the past and have won many of them.

Some choose one who once worked as a prosecutor representing plaintiffs in white-collar cases. While that kind of experience is not necessary, it may be advantageous for you to work with someone who has had dealings with both sides.


The lawyer keeps you informed

You want to look for the quality of an experienced lawyer that is willing to fight for your rights till the end of your case. Your lawyers must also be able to care for you as an individual who needs to be kept informed of how your case is going.

You need an established attorney that will be able to advise you of all your options from start to finish. Your legal defense options for a white-collar crime will have different potential outcomes. An experienced attorney such as Robert A. Dodell will be able to advise you on potential outcomes.


The lawyer acts proactively

The truth of the matter is that you can make a lot of wrong decisions. Law enforcement will attempt to gather as much evidence against you as possible, to put you in a bad light.

A criminal defense attorney works to protect your legal rights when dealing with law enforcement. He/She will not allow you to waive your constitutional rights without you knowing fully the legal implications of your actions.

A skilled defense attorney knows that there are remedies. If ever you will be arrested, the case must be fully investigated and a defense must be prepared. Often, the defense attorney and the State attempt to resolve the case through a plea negotiation before proceeding to a trial. If the white-collar cases cannot be resolved though these out-of-court negotiations, your skilled defense attorney will be prepared for that trial.

Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law
10601 N Hayden Rd, #I-103
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
(480) 860-4321

The following post 3 Great Qualities Of A Defense Lawyer For A White-Collar Case was originally published on call Robert A. Dodell at (480) 860-4321

How Do I Get A DUI Off Of My Record?

A DUI or DWI can have a devastating effect on your life. The good news is that Arizona has a procedure you can go through that lets you set aside the conviction from your record. This is good if you have problems with the charge popping up when you are looking for work or trying to find a place to live.

There is not a specified amount of time you have to wait if you want to get your record set aside in Arizona, and different courts will require different time frames. It is best to discuss this with an attorney that deals in set asides and DUIs. You also have to meet certain requirements in a lot of cases in order to remove the DUI off of your record.

To get something like this set aside, you have to work with a Court. The Court will need to check whether you’ve had more issues after your DUI. A copy of your driving record will assist the court. It is best to have no pending driving issues and your license should no longer be suspended. This is why you need to be very careful after getting charged, because any mistakes can lead to a denial. It is best to find an attorney to work with instead of researching your options on your own.

The DUI will automatically fall off of your driving record after a certain period of time, but it is always on your criminal record. Otherwise, if you don’t do anything about it to get it set aside through the courts, it will remain on your criminal record for the rest of your life. A big problem with that is later on you may want to try to find employment only to learn that you can’t be hired due to your record. Know that the more DUIs you get, the worse the punishments are. With more DUIs also comes less of a chance of you getting it taken off your criminal record no matter what you do.

Until you get a DUI you don’t know how bad it can actually be. The good news is that there are options. Once you hire the right attorney to work with, they should be able to file an application with the court where you were convicted. A set aside will all depends on the court. So getting the right attorney to assist you is imperative.


How Do I Get A DUI Off Of My Record? Find more on: robert a dodell attorney

Right to a Fair and Impartial Judge

Can You Request A New Judge?

It is stated in the law that both the State and the Defense have the right to a fair judge. This means that a fair and impartial judge must be made available to any parties under criminal litigation. A change of judge can then be requested with or without cause as needed.


With Cause

Whenever requesting a change of judge with cause, it must be stated in clear, full details as to why such request has been made as to ensure that it is still in line with the integrity and fair functions of the judicial system. This is a change of judge as a matter of right. This motion must be filed within ten days of the discovery that grounds exist for changing the judge. The requesting party must assure that such a request is only done in good faith. If the assigned judge does not agree that cause exists, the presiding judge provides a hearing on the matter before another judge to determine by the preponderance of the evidence whether a change of judge is required. If this judge rules that the change is required, the presiding judge will reassign the matter to another judge.


Without Cause

The State and the Defense may request a change of judge without cause. This is called a peremptory notice. In non-death penalty cases, this motion must be filed within ten days after the arraignment or within ten days of the assignment of the judge. Although the change of judge is “without cause”, the request must be made in good faith and cannot be made of any of the following reasons:

  • Attempts to delay the proceedings
  • Obtainment of severance
  • To interfere with the reasonable case management practices of a judge;
  • To remove a judge for reasons of race, gender, or religious affiliation
  • for the purpose of using the rule against a particular judge in a blanket fashion by a defense group or law firm
  • To obtain a more convenient geographical convenience
  • To obtain advantage or avoid disadvantage in connection with a plea bargain or at sentencing, except those allowed by Rules of Criminal Procedure.


Furthermore, the right to a change of judge without cause is limited and controlled by also allowing both the State and the defense one, and only one, peremptory or final change of judge per case. A further exception of additional judge replacement might however apply if one side is made up of two or more parties under hostile or adverse interests.

Once the request for a new judge is made, the case is transferred immediately to the presiding judge. The presiding judge reassigns the case to another judge.

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5 Tips for Legal Adoption To Help With The Paperwork

You and your spouse have been dreaming to have a child for so long and have finally decided to adopt one. Your excitement over the prospect is extremely high but after a quick consultation with a lawyer, you find out it is not as easy as you think.

The process can be time-consuming and will require a trail of paperwork that you need to accomplish and prepare.

Depending on whether you plan to do a domestic adoption, the forms you need to prepare and fill out seems endless:

  • Forms to file a petition in court
  • Forms for home study
  • Application forms for an agency if you plan to use an agency
  • Medical records, financial and employment records
  • Your personal history and family background

The list goes on and on and without careful planning, you will find yourself under severe stress even before the process begins.

The adoption process can be quite tricky but following these five easy tips, you will be relatively worry-free and can avoid what otherwise can be a taxing route.

  1. List down all the paperwork you will need to fill out and accomplish. Include a deadline for each form; this way, you can finish each methodically.
  2. Set aside time to review and fill out all the paperwork. Once you have listed down what you need to do, set aside a time to do them. This will ensure that you stick to your deadline to accomplish the forms.
  3. Organize and file your paperwork. Use a file organizer and label them properly to keep all your forms in once place. You will find it easier to locate them when you need them at a moment’s notice. You will also be able to keep track which forms you have accomplished and which ones you still need to finish.
  4. Do not give up. No matter how organized you are, there will be times when you would be fed up with the endless paperwork that you simply just want to give up. Don’t. Encourage yourself by reading stories about successful adoption stories or join webinars about the adoption process. Listen to stories of what other adoptive parents went through and how they succeeded. Go back to the reason you are going to through all this tiresome process, which is to be a parent.
  5. Stay focused. Concentrate on what you need to do next and how to do them. Be resolute on what you want to happen and how to make it happen so that you can keep the unexpected from happening. This will make the next steps less daunting and tiresome.

Just keep these five easy tips in mind and you will be amazed at how much you have accomplished in no time.


These are some tips if you are doing a domestic adoption, but if you are looking for an attorney that focuses in family or relative adoptions, get in touch with Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law. I can inform you of all the necessary paperwork and details that you are going to need for this type of an adoption. I have successfully navigated many clients through the family member adoptions process. I can help you through this process as well.

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