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Set Aside Criminal Conviction in Arizona – How it Helps and Who Qualifies

Set Aside / Expungement in Arizona

Arizonans who have criminal records may have to contend with many obstacles when they are looking for jobs or housing. While many states offer the ability to expunge criminal records, Arizona does not have an expungement statute. Instead, it has a different process that people might undergo to attain post-conviction relief from their prior convictions. This process is known as Restoration of Civil Rights and also to have Criminal Convictions Set Aside.

People who have felony convictions on their records are also unable to serve on juries or to own or possess firearms unless their civil rights have been set aside.

This article discusses the following topics below:

  1. Why consider filing a petition to set aside
  2. What does expungement and set aside mean?
  3. The process
  4. After the courts set aside a conviction
  5. Who does not qualify
  6. How long does the process take?
  7. Background checks
  8. How Attorneys can help

 


Why Consider Filing a Petitions to Set Aside a Conviction?

If you have a felony conviction on your record, it makes sense for you to file a petition to set it aside. People who have felony convictions may be unable to own weapons or to serve on juries. They may also fail to pass background checks for employment and for apartments. Some types of convictions may also make them ineligible for certain types of financial aid for higher education.

Setting your record aside may restore your civil rights. While you will have to disclose that you had a conviction, employers will not pay as much attention to it when a court has granted your petition and has set it aside. This might make it easier for you to secure employment and housing so that you can move forward with your life.

If you have a prior misdemeanor conviction, it may not make as much sense to ask for the court to set your misdemeanor aside. Most misdemeanor convictions will not cause you to lose your civil rights. Your attorney at DM Cantor can help you to decide whether it makes sense for you to file a petition to set your misdemeanor or felony conviction aside.

In a recent survey, ” SHRM found that while there is a willingness to hire people with criminal records, only 5 percent of managers and 3 percent of HR professionals said their company actively recruits people with criminal records.

Click to EnlargeDo companies hire employees with a criminal record?

 

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Arizona’s Open Container Laws, Questions and Answers

Arizona’s Open Container Laws, Questions and Answers

While most drivers in Arizona know that they cannot drink and drive, some might be unaware that they also are prohibited from having open containers of alcohol in their vehicles. If you are stopped by the police and have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle, you can be charged with violating the state’s prohibition against having an open container of alcohol in your car. It is not a defense to a charge of having an open container that you were not drinking alcohol from it at the time.

It also does not matter that you are of a legal age to possess and consume alcohol. An open container conviction may come with serious penalties. If you have been charged with a violation of the state’s open container laws, the attorneys at DM Cantor may be able to defend you against the charge.


What are the Open Container Laws in Arizona?

In Arizona, having an open container of alcohol in your vehicle is prohibited under A.R.S. § 4-251. Under this statute, you cannot have an open container of alcohol inside your vehicle’s passenger compartment. An open container includes any bottle or can of an alcoholic beverage that has had its seal broken or some of the beverage removed, including wine, spirits, beer, mixed drinks, or malt liquor. The law does not prohibit transporting unopened bottles of alcohol that you have purchased at a store or have been given by friends as long as their seals are not broken. However, if you go out to a fine-dining establishment and order a bottle of wine, you can be charged with an open container of alcohol violation if you subsequently transport the remaining wine home in your car after dinner.

If you are charged and convicted of a violation of the open container law, it is a class 2 misdemeanor. Under A.R.S. § 13-707, you may face a sentence to jail of up to four months. Under A.R.S. § 802, you can also face a fine of up to $750 for a class 2 misdemeanor conviction in Arizona. A conviction for violating the state’s open container law means that you would have a criminal record, which could also cause other problems for you at your job or with finding a job that you want.


What if a Passenger in Ride-Share like Uber or Lyft?

Open alcohol in backseat of car

Arizona’s open container law does include some exceptions. The rule does not apply to people who are in the living areas of motor homes. It also does not apply to passengers in taxis, limousines, or a transportation network company vehicle. In A.R.S. § 28-9551, a transportation network company is defined as a company that has been licensed by the state of Arizona to connect passengers and vehicles with rides over a digital network. This would include ride-share services like Uber, Lyft, and any others that have been licensed by the state to offer ride-share services, which would mean that you should not be charged with violating the state’s open container law if you transport an opened bottle of alcohol home while you are taking a ride in an Uber or Lyft vehicle.

If you are an Uber or Lyft driver, you also should not face charges for violating the state’s open container law if one of your passengers has an open container in his or her possession while you are using the service. If you a ride-share driver and have been cited for an open container, contact our defense attorneys immediately.

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Miranda Rights – Your Right to Remain Silent

Miranda Rights – Your Right to Remain Silent

If you have ever watched law enforcement drama shows on television such as “Cops,” you have likely heard about the Miranda rights being read to someone. This common phrase starts with “you have the right to remain silent.” In these shows, the police officers routinely read people their rights when they take them into custody. You may be unfamiliar with why the Miranda warnings are read and what they are meant to protect. Here is what you need to know about your Miranda rights when you are stopped and questioned by the police in Arizona. Keep in mind, if facing charges, speaking with a defense attorney could mean the difference between freedom and incarceration.

This article discusses:

  • What are your Miranda Rights and How do they protect you?
  • When do they have to be read to you?
  • What if the Police didn’t read your Miranda Rights?
  • What is Self-Incrimination?
  • If you chose to remain silent, can it be used against you?

What Are Your Miranda Rights?

The Miranda rights are your constitutional rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. A reading of these rights is known as a Miranda warning, and it comes from the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). In the Mirandacase, police officers went to the home of Ernesto Miranda, who was suspected of stealing $8 from a bank worker. They asked him to go with them to the police station for questioning. While he was being questioned, he admitted to rape and kidnapping and signed a statement of admission. He was subsequently tried for the kidnapping and rape and was convicted. Miranda appealed his case through the Arizona and federal court systems, and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear it.

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Arizona Wrong Way Drivers – Causes, Possible Charges & Defenses

Arizona Wrong Way Drivers – Causes, Possible Charges & Defenses

In Arizona, one of the most dangerous types of accidents that may occur is a wrong-way crash. People who are involved in head-on collisions with drivers who are driving the wrong way are much likelier to suffer catastrophic injuries or to die. Drivers who drive the wrong-way may do so for a number of different reasons. If they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of their accidents, they may face a variety of different types of criminal charges that carry severe penalties.

People who are facing criminal charges for driving the wrong way and causing a collision should seek help from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Phoenix at DM Cantor. Our legal team includes four lawyers who are board certified criminal defense specialists, and we have secured more than 4,700 victories for our clients, including victories in more than 2,900 DUI and vehicular crimes cases.


Wrong-Way Car accidents vs Other Types of Collisions

Wrong-way driving occurs when a driver drives his or her vehicle in the wrong direction on a highway, freeway, or road. According to the Federal Highway Administration, an average of 300 to 400 people are killed in the U.S. each year because of collisions with wrong way drivers. While this number represents just about 1% of the total number of traffic fatalities that happen each year, wrong-way collisions tend to be much more serious than other types of accidents. This is because these accidents often occur on highways and freeways where the speed limits are higher.

According to a study that was completed by the Arizona Department of Transportation reporting from 269 wrong-way crashes during a 10-year span from 2004 to 2014, 25% of wrong way crashes involve fatalities. Among other types of collisions on highways, only 1% involve fatalities. A large majority of wrong-way accidents occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., and 65% of the crashes are caused by drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. AZDOT also found that 57% of these crashes happen on the weekends.

Because of the problem of wrong-way driving in Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey signed HB 2423 into law in March 2018. This law amended multiple statutes and made wrong way driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs a felony offense. It is crucial for people who are charged with a wrong-way driving offense to seek help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon after they have been charged as possible. An attorney at DM Cantor may identify all of the possible defenses to the charge and work to build the strongest defensive strategy for his or her client.

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OUI (DUI on a Boat) Increases During Summer in Arizona

OUI (DUI on a Boat) Increases During Summer in Arizona

During the summer months in Arizona, a greater number of people head to the popular lakes and waterways for boating and other recreational activities. Boat operators should be aware that operating boats while they are impaired by alcohol is illegal in Arizona. If boat operators operate their boats while they are drinking, they may face criminal charges and potential penalties. So the main question is: can you get a DUI on a boat? Yes.

What are the Laws in Arizona about Consuming Alcohol while Boating?

In Arizona, operating a motorized watercraft on the lakes and waterways of the state while you are under the influence of alcohol is illegal under A.R.S. 5-395 – Operating Under the Influence. According to the law, you may be charged with an OUI offense if you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher, which is the same standard for a DUI in a vehicle. However, the law also allows an OUI charge if you are impaired to the slightest degree when you are operating a boat. This means that it is possible for you to be charged with an OUI if you have any measurable amount of alcohol in your bloodstream and have been observed boating in an erratic manner.

During the summer months, many people head to the lakes and other waterways to hike, swim, fish, and boating. Because of the large number of people in and on the lakes, law enforcement agencies work together with officers from the Arizona Game and Fish Department to patrol the waterways and to detect boat operators who are operating their boats while drinking. Boat operators who are suspected of operating their boats while they are impaired by alcohol may be stopped and charged with OUI offenses.

Watch this video of David Cantor explaining what is an OUI in Arizona:

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Boat Accident Statistics

According to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Office, 4,291 boat accidents occurred in 2017 in the U.S., injuring 2,629 people and killing 658. In Arizona, there were 123 boating accidents during that year that resulted in 77 injuries and 13 fatalities. The Coast Guard reports that alcohol use was a leading cause of fatal boating accidents in a majority of the cases. The top five leading contributing factors to fatal boating accidents include the following:

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Arizona Mortgage Fraud Charges

The Subprime Lending and Mortgage Crisis effectively exposed one thing; mortgage fraud was rampant in the system. Since the end of the Great Recession and Global Financial Crisis, regulators began pursuing more seriously investigations and prosecutions of such crimes. In this article we look at the white collar crimes of mortgage fraud and equity skimming.

Federal Government Endeavors to Reduce Mortgage Fraud Across the Nation

Mortgage Fraud Cases – Source: FBI.gov

The federal government quickly discovered that mortgage fraud and equity skimming were a national phenomenon. Congress enacted the Secure and Fair Enforcement Mortgage Licensing Act. This created a national system of mortgage registration and licensing protocols.

It also enabled prosecutors to go hard after mortgage fraud. The FBI Director Robert Mueller declared that the number of cases of mortgage fraud rose by almost 63 percent between years 2008 and July 2009. To go more effectively after these “white collar” criminals, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner announced his Treasury Department would begin collaborating more intensively with the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and Housing and Urban Development in order to effectively tackle mortgage fraud around the country.

The feds believed that such a multi-organizational approach to hunting down mortgage fraudsters would permit the federal government to successfully boost its enforcement, all the while raising consumer awareness of fraudulent and abusive schemes in existence.


Possible Penalties for Committing Mortgage Fraud

The government enacted severe penalties for such criminal behavior of mortgage fraud. The penalties can include large fines, seizure of business licenses, misdemeanor charges, and even criminal felony charges. With state and federal agencies working together to uncover and prosecute such criminals, the chances of people becoming caught has substantially increased.

The downside to this higher level of inter-agency communication lies in the higher odds for false accusations to arise. Attorneys with great experience in defending against such accusations of mortgage fraud come in handy for any business which feels that it is being improperly targeted for deceptive lending or fraudulent practices.

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What are the Child Abuse and Vulnerable Adult Abuse Laws in Arizona

Child Abuse and Vulnerable Adult Abuse (ARS §13-3623) are very serious charges and should not be taken lightly. They can carry significant, life-changing penalties and fines, not to mention including years of prison time. This article discusses what are the child abuse laws, possible defenses and an in depth look at the penalties.

In this video, David Cantor explains these charges:


What is Considered Abuse in the State of Arizona?

According to ARS §8-201, abuse is defined as follows:

The infliction or allowing of physical injury, impairment of bodily function or disfigurement or the infliction of or allowing another person to cause serious emotional damage as evidenced by severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal or untoward aggressive behavior and which emotional damage is diagnosed by a medical doctor or psychologist and is caused by the acts or omissions of an individual who has the care, custody and control of a child.

Abuse includes:

  1. Inflicting or allowing sexual abuse pursuant to section 13-1404, sexual conduct with a minor pursuant to ARS 13-1405, sexual assault pursuant to section 13-1406, molestation of a child pursuant to section 13-1410, commercial sexual exploitation of a minor pursuant to section 13-3552, sexual exploitation of a minor pursuant to section 13-3553, incest pursuant to section 13-3608 or child sex trafficking pursuant to section 13-3212.
  2.  Physical injury that results from permitting a child to enter or remain in any structure or vehicle in which volatile, toxic or flammable chemicals are found or equipment is possessed by any person for the purpose of manufacturing a dangerous drug as defined in section 13-3401.
  3.  Unreasonable confinement of a child.

What are some Defenses for Charges of Abuse?

In a child abuse, or vulnerable adult abuse, case in the State of Arizona, the biggest burden of proof is proof of intention. It must be proven that the Defendant meant to harm the victim. If that cannot be proven, the Defendant can get a less harsh conviction and sentence, or even be cleared of all charges. Majority of abuse charges in the State of Arizona are charged under “recklessness” or “negligence” standards because they may be easier to prove.

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Charged with Possession of Another Person’s Prescription Drug

Charged with Possession of Another Person’s Prescription Drug

Drug possession charges often carry stiff penalties. Even being in possession of another person’s prescription drugs can result in felony charges. In Arizona, the penalty for drug possession depends on the type and amount of the drug found on a person as well as the individuals past criminal history. An experienced criminal defense attorney can mount several defenses to Below are some common charges that can result from being in possession of prescription drugs:

Potential charges relating to possession of a prescription-only drug in Arizona

Unlawful possession of a prescription-only drug

Individuals may be convicted of unlawful possession of a prescription-only drug when they knowingly possess prescription-only drugs belonging to another person, including friends and family members. In order to be convicted of unlawful drug possession, the state must prove both that the accused knowingly possessed the drug and that the accused knew that the drug was a prescription-only drug.

The penalties for possessing a prescription-only drug are relatively mild compared to other drug charges. Unlawfully possessing a prescription-only drug is a misdemeanor and carries with it a sentence up to six months in jail, potentially up to $4,575 in fines and penalties, and three years on probation.

Possession or use of a dangerous drug

Dangerous drugs” are defined as any narcotic other than marijuana and include certain prescription drugs, such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin and benzodiazapines. Although the elements of the crime are similar to the unlawful prescription-only drugs, possession or use of a dangerous drug carries with it a much more stringent penalty. The crime is a class 4 felony and is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison, depending on the defendant’s prior criminal history.

Judges have the authority to sentence defendants convicted of dangerous drug possession as a class 1 misdemeanor. Further, pursuant to Proposition 200, defendants who are first or second-time drug offenders can only be sentenced to probation, in a addition to drug treatment, community service and fines. Although defendants may be sentenced for short jail stays for up to 2 weeks for probation violations, the judge must reinstate probation upon completion of jail time.
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