September 2011 Archives

September 29, 2011

Q and A

What You Need to Know About Mesa Charges and Criminal Defense for DUI DWI or Drunk Driving Charges in Mesa AZ

Q. Do I need a DUI lawyer for my Mesa DUI?

A. Yes. Whether your DUI is a felony or misdemeanor, you should consult an Arizona Criminal Defense or DUI lawyer who defends cases in Mesa AZ as soon as possible. Mesa DUI laws are governed by Arizona State Laws and criminal code. Arizona has some of the toughest laws for DUI in the country. *Most types of DUI charges require jail or prison, and suspension or revocation of your driver's license, as part of the DUI penalties if convicted. In many cases extremely severe penalties are not deserved. This is true especially in the case of a first time Misdemeanor DUI, non-extreme DUI. Many Arizonans argue that jail is too harsh, unjustified, and costly for the State. A DUI lawyer or Criminal Defense attorney in Arizona understands and is familiar with constantly changing criminal and DUI laws, and current case law that may apply to your case and be able to be used in your favor. They will use the laws to protect you and your constitutional rights, and make every effort to get your Mesa DUI charges dismissed, reduced, or otherwise the best possible outcome in your case.

Q. Can I go to my DUI Court without an AZ DUI Lawyer?
A. Yes. But understand that you will be held to the same standards as any DUI defense attorney would with regard to knowing the deadlines, court standards, protocol, and laws. You will not get any leniency by the court, judge or prosecutor if you are not represented by a DUI DWI lawyer for your Mesa DUI.
Mesa AZ DUI defendants feel the criminal justice system and courts are a vast and complex and set up more to convict you than defend you. That is true in many aspects. The Arizona prosecutor has a responsibility convict you of a DUI and impose the most severe penalties possible.

A DUI and Criminal Defense attorney in who defends DUI charges in Mesa AZ on a regular basis will be familiar with the court systems, judges, prosecution, standards, procedures and protocol. Bottom line, these factors will all work to the advantage of your defense.

Q. Will the court judge be more harsh on me, if I hire an attorney defend my Mesa DUI?
A. No. Defendants are many times surprised to find quite the contrary. The Judges prefer a client to have legal representation or an effective defense attorney to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings regarding the laws, processes and sentencing; and will provide them legal guidance verses having no legal guidance regarding protocol and being accused of an Arizona DUI. The judge can then assume you will you understand fully the ramification of the DUI charges, your plea, the verdict, and consequences resulting from the Arizona criminal justice process.

Q. Will the Arizona Prosecutor treat me differently if I hire a private practice DUI lawyer to defend me for my Mesa DUI charges?

A. The AZ prosecution will generally not mistreat you. However, what they don't want you to know is that it is a "game changer" for them. When a defendant is not represented by a criminal defense attorney, they know they will be able to get a swift and harsh conviction. They know ways that you may not be aware of, that they can cause you to incriminate yourself or harm your own case. In most situations, have the advantage over you in absence of your having effective assistance of legal counsel. They will likely be more familiar with the AZ laws, courts system, and of having built a case of evidence against you. They know that without an effective DUI defense attorney, it will be difficult for you to challenge that evidence or protect yourself. It makes their job much easier to convict you if you do not have a criminal defense attorney representing you.

*All Arizona Laws are subject to change. You should contact an Arizona DUI lawyer in the jurisdiction or city where you received DUI or criminal charges for current laws, and information relating to your specific DUI or criminal matter.

Continue reading "DUI charges are Criminal Offenses, as opposed to a Civil Citation: Why yu need a criminal defense attorney to defend your DUI - Q & A" »

September 27, 2011

Don't Plead "Guilty" to a Mesa DUI or Criminal Charge before Consulting a Good Mesa DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney. Experienced criminal lawyers may be able to use certain defenses that may lead to a dismissal of your charges.

Pleading Guilty verses Not Guilty to Mesa DUI or Criminal Charges
Among other reasons, the primary reason for an Arraignment is to inform the court of how you wish to plea. Among other reasons, the primary reason for an Arraignment is to inform the court of how you wish to plea.

You should not plead guilty to a Mesa DUI or criminal charge before consulting a DUI or criminal defense attorney. Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws, criminal laws, and penalties for conviction in the USA. Your best chance at getting a good outcome in your matter is to retain a good AZ DUI or Mesa criminal lawyer to defend you. Experienced criminal defense attorneys know, and may be able to use certain defenses that may lead to a reduction or dismissal of your criminal charges. In the very least you should consult a Mesa DUI or Criminal defense lawyer to get information about your charges, consequences of a guilty plea and your defense options.

Arraignments in Criminal Court in Mesa AZ
For Mesa AZ criminal or DUI charges, you will be given a complaint at some point following your arrest (if in custody) or a summons will be delivered to you (if you are not in custody). It will contain information concerning location, date and time you are required to appear at criminal court for your Arraignment.

The court location for where you will need to appear is usually based on the nature of the charges, and jurisdiction where you were charged. Most felony arraignments are held in Superior Courts in Arizona. Most misdemeanors are held in Justice Courts in Arizona, such as Mesa Justice Court. However, some felonies can initially begin in the lower courts in Arizona.

"Failure to Appear" for Your Arraignment for Mesa Criminal Charges
If you have not retained a private DUI or criminal defense lawyer, you must appear at the criminal court location, date, and time as scheduled. If you "fail to appear", a bench warrant may be issued for your arrest under Arizona Law as follows:
1) "A.R.S. 13-2506 in the second degree; classification" Failure to appear for Misdemeanor Charges;
2) "A.R.S. 13-2507 in the first degree; classification" Failure to appear for Felony Charges

If you have retained a Mesa DUI or criminal defense attorney, they will give you further instructions. In some cases, your Mesa criminal lawyer can vacate the arraignment date and providing the court with the required information on your behalf through alternative legal channels. In this event, you do not have to appear in person for the arraignment.

What Happens at an Arraignment in Criminal Court
Among other reasons, the primary purpose of your Arraignment is to inform the court of how you wish to plea to the Mesa criminal or DUI charges. You can also expect the some or all of the following events to happen as well: the court will also confirm your identity and current contact information; explain your rights; read your formal charges; advise you of the potential range of penalties if convicted; find out if you plan to retain a criminal defense attorney.

Types of Pleas that can be entered at an Arraignment
There are three possible pleas to a criminal or DUI charge:
"Not Guilty" - This means that you are denying guilt. In this case, the burden of proof is with prosecution to prove your guilt of the criminal charges against you. If you enter a plea of not guilty on your arraignment date, the Judge will set your case for either a pre-trial conference or a formal trial date.
"Guilty" - You admit or agreeing that you committed the act charged; that the act is prohibited by law; and that you have no legal defense for your act. The Mesa AZ Court judge will proceed with your sentencing at this time. For Felony charges they will usually set a new date and time in the near future for a hearing concerning your sentencing.
"No Contest" - This means you are not admitting you are guilty; but that you also do not wish to challenge the charges or evidence at a trial; and you will accept the conviction, sentencing and punishments of the criminal charge. The judge will proceed with your sentencing at this time. For Felony charges they will usually set a new date and time in the near future for a hearing concerning your sentencing.

Continue reading "Arraignment: Never ignore your Arraignment. Find out what happens if you do not appear, and how it can be used as the first step in your defense." »

September 22, 2011

Find out why the Tempe Criminal Court, for which you have been haled, can reveal a lot about the nature and seriousness of your Tempe DUI or Criminal Charges.

If you were arrested or charged with a crime or DUI in Tempe Arizona, you will most likely need to appear in a Tempe Criminal Court. When choosing a DUI or Criminal Lawyer, be sure to retain a Good Tempe DUI or Criminal Attorney who defends clients regularly in the court for which you have been instructed to appear. During your consultation with the Tempe DUI or criminal attorney, they will almost always ask you what court you are required to appear. They will ask you this for one or more of the following reasons:

1. To confirm that you need representation in a court for which they regularly defend DUI or criminal charges;
2. To confirm they are licensed and qualify to defend you in that court;
3. To get an idea of the nature, and seriousness of your charges;
4. To access if you were charged with a Tempe felony or misdemeanor;
5. To determine if the court you are required to appear is a "Limited Jurisdiction or "General Jurisdiction" court.

Tempe Criminal Courts

"General Jurisdiction" verses "Limited Jurisdiction" Courts in Tempe AZ: Their Differences and why it Matters

Tempe Municipal Court ∙ Tempe Justice Court ∙ Tempe Superior Court

The main difference between Municipal, Justice and Superior Courts involves the types of cases that can be heard in them. Arizona courts have been granted authority by Arizona Constitution to handle certain types of cases. For example, some of the lower courts are limited in what types of criminal cases they have authority to hear. This difference is described as "Limited Jurisdiction" verses "General Jurisdiction" as it relates to Arizona Criminal Courts:

A) Municipal or City Courts are Limited Jurisdiction Courts. This is considered a lower court. The City courts have limited jurisdiction and have authority to hear only limited types of criminal cases. The majority of the cases heard in Tempe City Court are Misdemeanor charges. Under certain circumstances, preliminary hearings for felonies can be heard in Tempe City Court.

B) Justice Courts are Limited Jurisdiction Courts. Similar to City Courts, the Justice Courts have limited jurisdiction over what types of cases can be tried or heard in them. The Justice courts in Arizona, usually hear Tempe Misdemeanor cases. However, some preliminary hearings for felonies can be heard in Tempe Justice Court.

C) Superior Courts are General Jurisdiction Courts. Arizona Superior Courts are considered state wide trial courts. They have authority to hear wide variety of criminal cases. The types of criminal cases tried in this court, however, are primarily Felony cases. Although the Arizona Superior Court is a single entity, it has multiple locations in each county within the state of Arizona. And each county, in Arizona, including Maricopa County, has at least one Superior Court Judge.

Types of Criminal & DUI Cases heard in Arizona Municipal/City Courts, and Arizona Justice Courts

1. Tempe Municipal & City Courts: Municipal courts & City Courts, in Arizona hear the following types of criminal cases:
• Misdemeanors;
• Misdemeanor DUI (Driving under the influence of alcohol); without an auto accident with injuries involved;
• Misdemeanor hit-and-run; without injuries;
• Misdemeanor reckless driving without injuries;
• Petty offenses; committed within that city, (Tempe AZ).
• Municipal or City courts also share jurisdiction with justice courts over certain types of violations relating to Arizona law, if the crime was committed in that city (Tempe AZ).

2. Justice Courts - AZ Justice Courts hear the following types of criminal cases:
• Misdemeanors;
• Some felony preliminary hearings; and
• Misdemeanors criminal offenses punishable by a fine of less than $2,500 or less than six months in county jail.

3. Superior Courts - The Arizona Constitution provides the Arizona Superior Court jurisdiction over the following types of criminal cases:
• Superior Courts in Arizona have exclusive jurisdiction over Felony cases;
• Superior Courts share jurisdiction with Justice Courts over misdemeanors when the potential penalty does not exceed $2,500 or imprisonment for six months;
• If no other court has jurisdiction or authority to handle a particular case, Superior Courts may have jurisdiction over that case.
You should always consult a criminal defense attorney or DUI lawyer who defends charges in the court jurisdiction you are required to appear. Your freedom and future may be great risk. Your chances of getting your DUI or criminal charges dismissed or any other good outcome in your case increase by retaining a good Tempe DUI or Tempe criminal defense attorney.

Continue reading "Differences between General Jurisdiction and Limited Jurisdiction" »

September 8, 2011

How AZ DUI Laws will affect your Phoenix DUI

DUI charges in Phoenix, AZ are serious and described as some of the harshest in the country. You should consult an experienced AZ DUI Lawyer or Arizona criminal defense attorney who defends cases frequently in Phoenix Court as soon as possible

It makes no difference if your charges were for Tempe DUI, Phoenix DUI, Gilbert DUI, Mesa DUI, Scottsdale DUI, Chandler DUI, or Maricopa County, or any city in Arizona, the DUI laws, classifications, and penalties fall under the rule and jurisdiction
of the laws of the State of Arizona.

In Arizona it is unlawful operate a motor vehicle of any kind while driving under the influence of intoxicating or impairing drug, vapor releasing substances containing a toxic chemical or any combination of alcohol, drugs and or vapor releasing substances if the person is "impaired to the slightest degree" (A.R.S. §28-1381(A)(1). This includes driving a vehicle if the person has an alcohol concentration level 0.08 or greater, more within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle. (A.R.S. §28-1381(A) (2))

It is unlawful in Phoenix Arizona for a anyone to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle if the that person alcohol concentration of the following: Within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle: 0.15 or more but less than 0.20. (A.R.S. §28-1382(A)(1) or "Extreme DUI" and within two hours of driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle and the alcohol concentration results from alcohol consumed either before or while driving or being in actual physical control of the vehicle: 0.20 or more. (A.R.S. §28-1382(A) (2)) or "Super Extreme DUI". The higher the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), the harsher the sentencing and penalties.

The consequences and penalties for Phoenix DUI are serious. Penalties range from minimal of 30 days in jail to extended prison sentencing, along with other penalties, fines, and fees. The Phoenix Court must abide by the minimum and maximum sentencing of the State. However, the Phoenix Judge may have some minor discretion over giving out further penalties if they believe they are necessary, reasonable and appropriate.

You should consult an experienced private practice AZ DUI Attorney or AZ criminal defense attorney who defends DUI charges Phoenix Courts frequently. They will be your voice and barrier between you and the prosecution, to make sure your rights are protected; you do not incriminate yourself further; and will utilize all defenses available based on your DUI circumstances to get your case dismissed, charges reduced, evidence

If you have been arrested for any Phoenix, AZ DUI other criminal charge contact the Law Office of James Novak, for your Free Consultation at 480) 413-1499. Speak directly with experienced Arizona criminal Defense and DUI Defense Attorney and James Novak (Former Prosecutor).

The Law Office of James Novak is devoted to handling 100% DUI, Drug & criminal cases in Phoenix and Maricopa County valley-wide.

Continue reading "DUI laws differ by state. Arizona has some of the toughest laws and penalties in the county. Find out about Arizona DUI laws and penalties, before you drink and drive." »

September 6, 2011

AZ DUI Laws, Felony DUI Penalties

"The cost of a felony DUI conviction, and it's consequences in Arizona is far greater than the price of hiring a good Arizona DUI defense lawyer"

If you were charged and/or arrested for felony DUI charges in Maricopa County, AZ you should contact an Arizona DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. A felony DUI conviction in Arizona will expose you to severe penalties. You will need a strong Arizona DUI defense attorney to defend your Felony DUI charges if you wish to challenge your DUI charges.

Felony DUI Charges - Arizona Laws:
There are three aggravating factors that will cause an Arizona Misdemeanor DUI to escalate to a Felony DUI charge. "Felony DUI" charges are also called "Aggravated DUI" charges:

1) A.R.S. §28-1383(A) (1): (Paraphrased) DUI charge while driving on a suspended, restricted or revoked driver's license in Maricopa County- Class 3 Felony

2) A.R.S. §28-1383(A) (2): (Paraphrased) Third DUI charge within 7 years and you have two prior DUI convictions that occurred during the last 7 years. - Class 3 felony.

3) A.R.S. §28-1383(A) (3): (Paraphrased) you were charged with DUI DWI and a child under 15 years of age was a passenger in the vehicle you were driving - Class 6 Felony

DUI Penalties - Arizona Felony DUI Sentencing Guidelines

Felony DUI charges and convictions in Arizona are serious. Felony DUI convictions are subject to mandatory DUI sentencing guidelines. Mandatory DUI penalties under Arizona Law include the following:

• Jail Sentences ranging from 1 day to 1 year;
• Prison Sentences ranging from 4 months to 2 ½ years;
• Revocation of your drivers license for 3 years;
• Ignition Interlock Device;
• Fines of Up to $150,000 plus 80% surcharge;
• $1500 prison assessment;
• $250 abatement fees;
• Probation fees;
• Costs for Drug or Alcohol Treatment Screening;
• Costs for Drug or Alcohol Counseling or Treatment Program;
• Supervised probation;
• Felony Criminal Record

Sentencing for a Felony DUI conviction in Arizona may be have "aggravated" or "mitigated". Aggravated factors are those that support the prosecution and warrant more serious DUI penalties. Mitigating factors are those circumstances that favor your defense and may help reduce the harsh penalties.

Arizona DUI Lawyer - Felony DUI Defense Lawyers in Arizona

Without compelling arguments presented or motions filed by your DUI Defense Lawyer, the judge or prosecution will not offer you a mitigated (less harsh) sentence. An experienced Arizona DUI Attorney will know what evidence can be used to argue for mitigated sentencing and reduced sentencing on your behalf for a felony DUI conviction.

Any Arizona Felony DUI charge can be challenged, regardless of the classification. Proven AZ DUI lawyers are often able to get evidence dismissed; charges reduced, or ultimately get the felony DUI charges completely dismissed. But rarely if ever does this happen without qualified legal representation and defense from a proven private practice AZ DUI Attorney or Criminal Defense Lawyer in Maricopa County. Early retention of a good Arizona DUI lawyer or criminal defense attorney is the key to a successful defense.

Continue reading "Felony DUI (Aggravated DUI): Differences between Misdemeanor DUI and Felony DUI charges)" »

September 1, 2011

Don't Plead "Guilty" to Scottsdale DUI or Criminal Charges Until Consulting a Good Scottsdale DUI Defense or Criminal Defense Lawyer. Experienced criminal & DUI attorneys may be able to use certain defenses, you are not aware of, that will lead to a dismissal of your charges.

Arraignments: Pleading guilty or "not guilty" to Scottsdale DUI or Criminal Charges
Among other reasons, the primary purpose of an Arraignment in criminal court is for you to inform the court on how you wish to "plea" in your Scottsdale Dui or Criminal Charges. It is never a good idea to enter a guilty plea for Scottsdale DUI or criminal charges before consulting a DUI or criminal attorney who defends Scottsdale DUI and criminal charges. No matter how serious the DUI or criminal charge, you should not waive this important right. By law you still have the right to defend and challenge the charges. With retention of a qualified DUI or Criminal Lawyer in Scottsdale defending you, the chances of getting a good outcome in your case increase significantly. Experienced criminal defense and Scottsdale DUI lawyers may be able to utilize certain defenses that will lead to a reduction or dismissal of your criminal charges. In the very least you should consult a Scottsdale DUI or Criminal defense lawyer to discuss your charges and defense options.

Arraignment Locations for Criminal Court for Scottsdale DUI or Criminal Charges

Following your arrest or detention in Scottsdale for criminal or DUI charges, you will be given a complaint (if you are still in custody) or a summons will be delivered to you (if you are not in custody) It should include the location, date and time you will be required to appear for your Arraignment in criminal court. The court where you will be required to appear is usually based on the nature of the charges (felony or misdemeanor), and jurisdiction where you were charged. Most felony arraignments are held in Superior Courts in Arizona. Most misdemeanors are held in Justice Courts in Arizona, such as Scottsdale Justice Court. However, some felonies can initially begin in the lower courts in Arizona.

Consequences for "Failure to Appear" for your Arraignment for Scottsdale DUI or Criminal Charges

If you have not retained a private DUI or criminal defense lawyer, you must appear at the criminal court location, date, and time scheduled. Be sure you are there early. If you fail to appear, a bench warrant may be issued for your arrest by the criminal court Judge, by authority of Arizona Law:

1) "A.R.S. 13-2506 in the second degree; classification" Failure to appear for Misdemeanor Charges;

2) "A.R.S. 13-2507 in the first degree; classification" Failure to appear for Felony Charges

If you have retained a Scottsdale DUI or criminal defense firm, they will give you further instructions. In some cases, your Scottsdale criminal defense lawyer or DUI attorney can vacate the arraignment date and provide what the court needs through alternative legal channels. In that case, you would be advised by your attorney that you need not be present for the arraignment in court. You should contact him or her to confirm the need for you to appear or not to be present, if you are unsure.

What Happens at the Arraignment in Criminal Court
Among other reasons, the primary purpose of your Arraignment is to advise the court of how you wish to plea the crime that you have been accused of committing in Scottsdale AZ. You can also expect the some or all of the following events to happen: the court will confirm your identity, current address and other contact information; explain your rights; read your formal charges; advise you of the potential range of penalties if convicted; find your intent of retaining or not being represented by a criminal defense attorney for your Scottsdale DUI or criminal charges.

Types of Pleas that can be Entered at an Arraignment

There are three possible pleas to a criminal or DUI charge:

"Not Guilty" - This means that you are denying guilt. In this case, the burden of proof is with prosecution to prove your guilt of the criminal charges against you. If you enter a plea of not guilty on your arraignment date, the Judge will set your case for either a pre-trial conference or a formal trial date.

"Guilty" - You admit or agreeing that you committed the act charged; that the act is prohibited by law; and that you have no legal defense for your act. The Scottsdale AZ Court judge will proceed with your sentencing at this time. If you enter a plea of not guilty on your arraignment date, the Judge will set your case for either a pre-trial conference or a formal trial date.

"No Contest" - This means you are not admitting you are guilty; but that you also do not wish to challenge the charges or evidence at a trial; and you will accept the conviction, sentencing and punishments of the criminal charge. The judge will proceed with your sentencing at this time. If you enter a plea of not guilty on your arraignment date, the Judge will set your case for either a pre-trial conference or a formal trial date.

Continue reading "DUI Arraignment: Find out how to plea at your Arraignment if you wish to invoke your right to defend your DUI charges." »