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Arizona Criminal Law

Penalties for Hit and Run Charges in The State of Arizona

Penalties for Hit and Run Charges in The State of Arizona

Automobile accidents can be traumatizing, stressful and expensive. In Arizona, when an accident is caused and either the party responsible or not responsible has left the scene of where the accident happened, that is called “fleeing the scene of an accident”, or more popularly known as a “hit and run” or ARS 28-662.

Even if the vehicle that was struck was unoccupied, the person that hit the vehicle is responsible for attempting to locate the owner. If unable to find the owner, a note with the driver’s contact information must be left in a visible location. If this is not done, serious penalties can happen.

What are the Penalties for a Hit and Run in Arizona?

Of the 50 states, Arizona ranked number 5 in a study conducted by AAA that ranks the states on their hit and run fatalities of 2018. Below we outline the different types of hit and run accidents and their potential penalties. They range due to the severity of the accident and those involved. In any case, it is always recommended for those that left the scene to seek legal advice from a hit and run attorney to investigate the incident and look for the best possible outcome.

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Is Caught “Sexting” a Sex Crime in Arizona?

Is Caught “Sexting” a Sex Crime in Arizona?

The popularity of sexting continues to increase amongst the adult population in the United States. According to CBS News, a research project was conducted at Drexel University with U.S. adult residents between the ages of 18 and 82. Of the 870 participants, 88% admitted to sexting once, and 82% admitted to sexting within the past year. While this study proves that adult texting is quite popular, sexting among minors has actually decreased between 2008 and 2013. Nonetheless, minors are still sexting, making it a criminal act.

The question of is sexting a sex crime amongst adults in Arizona varies from case to case because the sexting act can be linked to other offenses, which then can make sexting a crime. Generally speaking, sexting between two consenting adults is not a crime in the State of Arizona. However, if either one of the involved parties does not give consent to the sexting act, charges like harassment, emotional distress and obscenity can be filed. Harassment examples of adult sexting are someone who sends unwanted explicit messages and images to someone, or someone who asks or demands nude pictures or messages from someone.

What Is Sexting?

To be clear on the definition of the term, sexting is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as the sending of sexually explicit messages or images by cell phone. While this is the exact definition of the word in the dictionary, sexting is not limited to cell phones. Sexting can be done via e-mail, instant messenger chat rooms, and social media as well. It is a combination of the two words; sex and text. Sexting can be between a married couple who exchange sexy messages and pictures to entice their spouse and give them something spicy to look at to get them through the day. It could also be a man and woman who just met and are mutually attracted to one another. They may want to consensually exchange suggestive pictures and messages for both to enjoy at his or her discretion.

However, there are other forms of sexting that are seen as betraying, perverse, and demoralizing. When minors are involved, the act is criminal, regardless of the conditions. General examples of sexting gone wrong is an exchange of pictures and messages between adults and minors, someone sending sexual messages and photos to someone without the recipient’s consent, or someone using sexting as a coercion tactic, like blackmail. In determining criminality (with the exception of juvenile involvement), this is where it can get murky because the act of sexting can easily spill over into other issues.

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Charged for DUI Drugs as a Medical Marijuana Card Holder in Arizona

Charged for DUI Drugs as a Medical Marijuana Card Holder in Arizona

Even though recreational possession and use of marijuana remains illegal in Arizona, it has been legalized in the neighboring states of California, Nevada, and Colorado. The possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes in Arizona is perfectly legal though for patients who qualify and are approved for it. What comes to issue for medical marijuana patients are Arizona’s impaired driving laws. It’s illegal to drive impaired in the state when under the influence of marijuana. A conviction is equivalent in seriousness as driving under the influence of alcohol.

Marijuana and Driving Under the Influence Laws

As per ARS 28-1381 (A)(3), a driver could be found guilty of DUI Drugs if he or she is determined to have been driving or was in actual physical control of a vehicle and was “impaired to the slightest degree” by any drug or its metabolite. That’s equivalent to a “zero tolerance” law. Under ARS section 13-3401, the definition of drugs includes marijuana. As per the Arizona Supreme Court, actual physical control is defined as having “current or imminent control” over the vehicle and presenting a “real danger” to yourself or the public. Current or imminent control over a motor vehicle is determined by a totality of the facts and circumstances surrounding a case.

Supreme Court of Arizona v. Hon. Harris (Shilgevorkyn) Case

On December 11, 2010, at about 10:30 p.m., Hrach Shilgevorkyn was stopped by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department for allegedly speeding and making an illegal lane change. Police believed that Shilgevorkyan might have been impaired, and he was asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests. After performing the tests, Shilgevorkyan said that he had smoked “weed” the night before. He was not using it for medical purposes. He was asked to submit to blood tests which he voluntarily submitted to shortly after midnight. It was determined that carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (carboxy-THC) was in his blood sample. Our criminal defense attorney from DM Cantor was obtained to represent Shilgevorkyan against these dui charges. What the case turned on was whether Carboxy-THC was an impairing metabolite. In a four to one decision, the Arizona Supreme Court determined that it was not. Here is a summary of the court’s decision and rationale. It focused on the interpretation of section 28-1381(A)(3).

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What Happens if I Violate my Bail Conditions?

What Happens if I Violate my Bail Conditions?

If you’re arrested for a crime in Arizona, you will likely be given a bond by the judge in your case. When you receive this bond, you’ll have to abide by several “bail conditions.” What are these bond conditions? They’re particular to every case, but in most instances, they will be based on special factors related to your crime. If you were arrested for driving while intoxicated, for instance, you will likely be required to attend alcohol classes or put an interlock device in your car. You may be required to avoid contact with any victim in your case. Almost each types of bond in Arizona will include conditions related to avoiding drug use or future crimes. The interesting question then revolves around what happens if you violate these conditions. Here’s a guide.

Man vs. Judge: What options will the court have if I violate my bail conditions?

At the outset, you should know that the trial judge will have the power to revoke your bond if you fail to live up to the conditions under which it was imposed. Judges have significant leeway to make their own decisions during this process. Some will give you a break, allowing you to continue on bond. Others will drive a hard bargain, revoking your bond the first time you make a mistake. Your will lawyer should have a good sense of just how restrictive your judge will be.

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What is Reasonable Suspicion to Search My Car?

What is Reasonable Suspicion to Search My Car?

If a police officer has pulled you over and searched your car, you may have had questions about what your rights are and what the police are allowed to do.

  • What do police officers need to pull me over?
  • Can they search my car even if I haven’t committed a crime?
  • What do I need to know to protect myself?

While the specific answers depend on the situation, there are four critical things that you need to know about reasonable suspicion and what rules the police must follow.

Watch this short video from David Cantor about “No Reasonable Suspicion to Stop

1. What is Reasonable Suspicion to Search?

The only standard that a police officer needs to meet to pull your car over—which is also known as an investigatory stop—is reasonable suspicion, but what does that mean? Reasonable suspicion in its most basic sense says that “an officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime has been committed.” While this standard may seem simple, reasonable suspicious contains other rules that must also be met.

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What is Considered Aggravated Assault in Arizona?

What is Considered Aggravated Assault in Arizona?

A person may be charged with aggravated assault in Arizona if they have an altercation with another person. If you or a loved one has been charged with this crime or you’re concerned about being charged and you want to know more, you may find the following information helpful. You need to learn what assault means, how aggravated assault differs and the penalties that go along with the charge if you are convicted.

What is the Definition of Assault?

According to the Arizona Revised Statute, assault (see: ARS 13-1203) happens when someone attacks another person with the intent to do harm. Even someone who attempts to harm another person but doesn’t succeed could be charged with assault. This may be a misdemeanor or it can be upgraded to a felony charge, which has more serious repercussions.

Someone may be charged with assault whether they attacked the other person or both people were mutually fighting. The attacker may not have touched the other person, but they fear being attacked because of the person’s behavior.

An example of assault that doesn’t involve physical violence would be the following: Bill and Joe meet on the street and Bill lifts his hand in a fist as if he’s about to hit Joe. He yells, “I’m going to get you for what you did.” He could be charged with assault even though he hadn’t touched Joe, but the threat was real. Joe was frightened by the raised fist. If there had been no behavior or words, a charge of assault could not have been made even if Joe was afraid of Bill. It is the action of the person that makes the charge, not the reaction of the potential victim.

What Makes Assault Aggravated?

An assault may be labeled as aggravated for a few reasons. If there is an extenuating factor such as a weapon, it may be called aggravated assault (see: ARS 13-1204). Another factor that would turn an assault into something more is the relationship between the two people.

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What to do if You Are Arrested for a Felony in Arizona

What to do if You Are Arrested for a Felony in Arizona

If you have been arrested in Arizona for a felony charge, it is vital that you understand your rights. A felony conviction can have significant consequences and may result in revocation of certain rights. Rights such as the right to vote and to possess a firearm. Because of this, you should be mindful of your rights and should contact an Arizona defense attorney as soon as possible.

What are some of Your Rights after you are Arrested for a Felony?

After you are placed under arrest for a felony offense, you have certain constitutional rights that are intended to protect your interests. These rights include the following:

The right to remain silent

  • The right to remain silent: After you are arrested, you are under no obligation to speak with law enforcement about the event. Police officers are often well-trained in interrogation tactics and will seek to obtain information that could be used against you in court. The prosecution frequently relies upon admissions made by defendants or inferences that can be drawn from statements that are made. To protect yourself and to limit disclosure of information, you should exercise your right to remain silent, at least until such time that you have legal representation present.

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How Long Can I Be Held in Custody by Law Enforcement?

How Long Can I Be Held in Custody by Law Enforcement?

In most cases, someone who is arrested will be taken into custody by law enforcement, processed into jail and then be formally charged with a crime before a judge during an arraignment hearing; but what happens if no formal charges are filed? Can the police hold you behind bars until they feel like taking action? How long do you have to wait before your case goes to trial? When should you involve a criminal defense attorney in your Arizona arrest case?

What Happens After an Arrest?

After an arrest, you are in a bit of a legal gray area. You have been taken into custody by law enforcement, but you have not been formally charged with a crime. As a result, you must remain in custody while awaiting charges for a period of time. If that time expires and you have not been charged, you must be released. While waiting, you will likely be brought before a magistrate judge who will determine your bail amount, if any. This differs from an arraignment in that, during an arraignment hearing, you are formally charged with a crime and are required to enter a plea. This is also when a trial date is set, and you will remain in jail until your trial.

If you are not charged within the hold period, you will not be arraigned, but a bail amount and the posting of bail may be required – see “how to post bail”. Once again, this is an area of legal limbo because you are still in jail while waiting to see what is going to happen, so you should contact your defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest to ensure that you receive adequate representation from the start of the criminal justice process.

While Waiting in Jail:

  • Exercise your right against self-incrimination
  • Follow commands by law enforcement within legal boundaries
  • Contact your defense attorney
  • Know that you have not been formally charged with a crime until you have been arraigned

How Long Can You Be Held After an Arrest?

In Arizona, as well as in many other states, there is a limit of 48 hours after an arrest before formal charges have to be filed.

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