Adoption Takes Many Forms

Those unfamiliar with adoption often perceive it in the stereotypical sense – a couple who, unable to have biological children, adopt a newborn. In fact, adoption takes many forms and together we’ve been lucky enough to participate in hundreds of adoptions of all kinds.

Most recently, an entire family joined forces to adopt a relative’s three children when the relations were no longer willing or able to parent them. Three different members of the immediate family each took one of the children to care for. They all live very close to each other and share the responsibility of raising the children as well as keeping the children physically and emotionally close to one another. These were not infants but teenage and pre-teen children. The adoption of these youngsters by their immediate family afforded them the permanency and stability they desperately needed. When the judge finally granted the adoptions on a sunny morning, one could easily sense this family’s relief and elation. Afterwards, photographs with the judge were a fun sight to witness and the culmination of one family’s arduous journey to keep their family together.

Another recent adoption we participated in involved the adoption of two siblings by a couple who already had four biological children. They wanted to expand their family and felt adoption was a viable option. Once they were certified to adopt, a two-year-old boy and his one-year-old sister were placed with the family by Child Protective Services (CPS). The children were wards of the state and after the biological parents’ rights were severed, they were lucky enough to adopt the siblings. Not even three months later, the couple also adopted an 11-month-old girl through CPS. Open to the possibility of another CPS adoption in the near future, they’re certainly not done yet!

One definition of “adoption” is the “voluntary acceptance of a child of other parents to be the same as ones own child.” Not only have these adoptive parents accepted their new children as their own, they’ve completely and totally embraced them, loving them unconditionally as only a parent can.

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How Underage DUI or DWI can Affect your Child’s Future?

Everybody makes mistakes when they are young. Some of these mistakes involve alcohol. While some got away from these mistakes unscathed, others were not so lucky. One of the most dangerous alcohol-related offenses is underage DUI or DWI. Such cases, while usually committed by minors, is not as harmless as many think.

In fact, it can negatively affect the rights and opportunities a child can otherwise enjoy. Here are some ways underage DUI or DWI can affect your child’s future:

  • Reduced educational opportunities – This is seen as the biggest consequence of an underage DUI case. It can compromise a child’s ability to gain different kinds of educational opportunities. First, it makes it difficult for him to get accepted in a school or course he likes. Second, it can compromise his ability to get educational perks such as scholarships. Third, it can disqualify him from acquiring certifications, licenses, and the like. A DUI case, resolved or otherwise, can make it difficult for a child to reach his full academic potential.
  • Reduced job opportunities – An underage DUI case not only affects a child’s educational opportunities, but it also affects his professional opportunities. In many ways, a case such as this makes it harder for him to apply for certain jobs. Some DUI cases remain on a person’s criminal record long after a case is resolved. It negatively affects his chances of getting hired, even if he has no other criminal records under his name. Having an underage DUI on the record will prove to be a huge disadvantage once he starts to look for a job in the future.
  • Difficulty with the driver’s license – An individual with an underage DUI record will lose their driver’s license.  It may be difficult to get the driver’s license back. If he is able to get a license, heu can still be classified as a high-risk driver, which carries several disadvantages. For one, penalties for traffic offenses are much stiffer. It’s also more difficult and expensive to get car insurance. This will also limit the types of vehicles that he can drive.
  • Car insurance issues – People with a history of DUI or DWI cases, even if they committed them when they are still underage, are at a disadvantage when it comes to getting car insurance. The problem is that insurance for car owners with a DUI record is more expensive – that is if his application is not rejected to begin with. Pre-existing car insurance policies can also be voided after a DUI offense.
  • Increased personal problems – There is a negative stigma associated with a person who committed crimes such as DUI when he is still underage. First, it compromises his relationships with other people, most especially his parents and other close family members. Second, there’s always a risk of developing trust issues, because the common thinking is that someone with an underage DUI case cannot be trusted with certain responsibilities. Some people may also think that he is incapable of making sound decisions. Lastly, it can cause embarrassment, which can scar him for the rest of his life.

Those are just some of the issues that a person with a history of underage DUI or DWI faces. A child can have an otherwise spot-free criminal record, but that DUI case will give him loads of problems both now and in the future. The easiest way to avoid such problems is to avoid driving under the influence. However, should someone you know has an underage DUI case, it’s advisable to ask for legal help to learn more about his or her legal rights. 

Robert is ready to fight to protect your child’s rights. As an experienced juvenile DUI attorney, I can provide my legal expertise in your case, contact me today. Contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, directly by email or by calling 480-860-4321 now for a free initial consultation.

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Useful Tips on How to Prevent Party Guests from Driving Drunk

Hosting a party is fun and exciting. However, the supposedly successful party may turn into a tragedy once a party guest drives under the influence of alcohol.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, a non-profit organization, reported that 28 people die daily due to crashes brought about by drunk driving. It is also reported that a little more than 10,000 people died and around 290,000 were injured because of the crashes in 2015 alone.

If this happens, there may be cases where the social host will bear the responsibility of the consequences of party guests driving under the influence (DUI). This article will list down tips on how to prevent party guests from DUI.


Before the Party

Plan activities ahead of the party so you can easily monitor the status of your party guests.


Prepare the right amount of alcohol

Being the host, it is vital to know how much alcohol will be served during the party. Always measure how much alcohol will be put into mixed drinks and punches. Furthermore, a shortage of alcohol is preferable than a surplus of them, since many party-goers will be tempted to drink more, knowing they still have more to consume.


Assign a reliable driver or use public transportation

If guests come in groups, it is advisable to select a reliable driver who will agree not to consume alcohol. However, he or she must know his or her responsibilities, such as knowing the addresses and emergency contact info of everybody he or she is driving for, as well as having a valid license to drive.  In case none of the guests are available to act as the driver, then using public transportation will be helpful. Riding on a bus, taxi, or train is an affordable and easy option for the party guests to get home safely.


During the Party

Provide substitute drinks

The first tip is actually to prevent the party guests from drinking too much alcohol.  Who said parties are limited to intoxicating drinks? It is important to keep water, juice and soda available. These beverages could slow the consumption of alcohol.


Serve heavy meals first

Another tip on how to prevent party guests from DUI is to let them eat dinner or heavy meals prior to drinking alcohol. Since they will likely have a fuller stomach, they can also reduce their alcohol intake. Additionally, encouraging them to eat snacks while drinking alcohol will also reduce their alcohol consumption.


Provide alcoholic drinks early

This is another option. By serving alcoholic drinks earlier, party guests will have more time to get sober. Furthermore, guests will enjoy drinking sessions better, knowing that they will not drive drunk. The alternative drinks will come handy after the drinking session is over, buying more time for party guests to get sober.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous. It puts the lives of not only the drivers, but also those of other motorists and pedestrians, at risk. Designated drivers, less consumption of alcohol and wise choices ensure that party guests will go home safely and will not drive after drinking. As an individual, knowing how to prevent party guests from DUI is a must before becoming a social host. If a party guest does happen to drive and gets a DUI, you want to hire an experienced DUI Lawyer in Scottsdale to help you. Robert personally answers his own telephone and he will personally handle your case. Contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, directly by email or by calling 480-860-4321 now for a free initial consultation.

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Why Hire Robert Dodell to Help with your Adoption Case?

While adoption is a wonderful way of opening your home to a child or children in need, you should also realize that it is a complicated legal process that can also be full of pitfalls for prospective parents. An attorney, who is knowledgeable about adoption law, can help parents navigate the process so that they can have peace of mind, knowing that they enjoy legal security when they start life with their new child.

What an adoption lawyer can bring is knowledge of state law to prevent legal problems later. Adoption and family law is different in every state, so it helps to have a lawyer who is familiar with the laws and the adoption process in your area. In an improperly managed adoption, for instance, the birth mother may later change her mind. The baby may also be born with persistent medical conditions.

By involving your lawyer from the start of the process, even before you have selected a baby, you ensure that the adoption will go smoothly. The lawyer will anticipate the various scenarios that may take place and make provisions for them. Once the prospective parents find a baby or a birth mother, the lawyer will act as the mediator between the parties and, once there is an agreement, he will draw up the legal documents.

One of the major benefits of using an adoption attorney is that the prospective parents can undertake an independent adoption, instead of going through an agency. By doing so, the parents have more freedom in choosing a baby or a birth mother, whereas an agency will take it upon themselves to match parents and birth mothers or babies, leaving both parties with no choice. In addition, by conducting the adoption independently, the adoptive parents can avoid the long waiting periods that those who work with agencies have to endure.

It is also the duty of the adoption attorney to come to the hospital when the birth mother is due to give birth, ensuring that consent forms and other legal documents are signed to terminate her rights legally. They will deal with the hospital staff, who may not be familiar with the legal adoption process to ensure that the handover of the baby goes smoothly. The attorney can also prevent another party from coming in and trying to convince the birth mother to change her mind at the last minute and give the baby to other parents.

Another part of the process that the attorney will handle is to locate the birth father and ask him to sign a consent form as well. If this does not happen, there is a risk that the father may show up at the last minute and derail the adoption process by claiming his legal rights over the baby.   

The other things that an adoption attorney can help you with include explaining to you how adoption methods work as well as the relevant adoption law in your state, familiarizing you with your rights as prospective adoptive parents, helping you determine what costs are involved with adoption, assessing the risks involved, and providing you with the resources you need to create an adoption plan, which is legally binding.

If you choose to work with an adoption agency, the attorney will review the contract to ensure that your rights are protected. If you are planning to enter into post-placement arrangement with the birth parents, an adoption attorney can discuss what your options are as well as how to ensure that your interests, and those of the baby, are safeguarded.

While Robert A. Dodell’s area of specialization is criminal defense law, he also has extensive interest in helping parents when it comes to adoption. Atty. Dodell has defended juveniles and adults in criminal cases, and has handled adoption matters, guardianship and juvenile dependency cases. I have worked extensively with parents who have dealt with the court system and the Department of Child Safety.

He is a member of the Arizona State Bar, and is licensed to practice in Arizona State, as well as in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the District Court of Arizona. If you are interested in asking for Atty. Dodell’s help with your adoption case, you may contact his office for a free consultation, so you can discuss your case.

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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.

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