Using the truth as a self defense strategy

If you’ve been charged with a crime such as assault, battery or even murder, how you create an effective defense strategy could mean the difference between a long stretch in prison or walking out of a courtroom as a free person.

While there are many possible ways that an attorney can frame your case, one of the best strategies and one of the most common is to claim self defense.  A skilled self defense lawyer has many possible ways they can spin your story to show that you were not at fault for a crime that took place.  A skilled attorney will also be able to show how there can be several possible versions of “the truth” and be able to introduce enough reasonable doubt that could lead to an acquittal.

A skilled self defense lawyer must be a great storyteller because often times, he or she will be using the same basic set of facts as the prosecutor in a case.  How well an attorney can take those basic facts and create a narrative will be a key component.  The attorney should be able to tap into the truth, but also be able to create a story that will generate sympathy among the judge and the jury.

In those cases where the evidence overwhelming proves that a person did commit the crime, the attorney’s job is a bit more difficult, but not impossible.  It’s quite possible to admit guilt, but then explain why and how the crime was committed.  For example, a person may admit to killing another person, but if it is revealed that the person who was killed had repeatedly committed sexual assaults on the victim or that there were other extenuating circumstances, then a plausible explanation may be enough to sway the courts, gaining either a reduced sentence or an outright acquittal.

Dwane Cates Law Group proudly serves clients in Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, Scottsdale, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities

Give yourself the best chance to stay out of jail if you violate the terms of your probation

You’ve had a run-in with the law and as part of the terms of your punishment, you were placed on probation.  Chances are you were given several different things to complete in a timely manner to satisfy the court’s requirements.  But in a life filled with job, family and school commitments, you may find that you’ve backed yourself into a corner and have either let some of those terms lapse, or you know that it will be next to impossible to complete everything you’re required to do by the deadline imposed on you.

You probably also know that when you violate the terms of your probation, you run the risk of greatly upsetting the courts.  And that can me going to jail, facing additional terms or a number of other options, none of which are sure to be pleasant.

If you find yourself in this kind of a situation, your best bet is to work with an experienced probation violation attorney.  While there’s no guarantees when it comes to stepping over the line, an attorney gives you a solid chance of being able to keep your freedom and negotiating a new set of terms on your behalf.   Those terms may include fine payments, community service, counseling, rehabilitation, restitution payments, progress reviews as well as continuing to maintain lawful conduct at all times.

Regardless of your situation, when a probation violation is reported to the court, you do have certain legal rights.  Those include the right to receive a written notice of the violations claimed against you, the opportunity to be heard by a neutral judge, and the right to present evidence and witnesses to support your case that you were not in violation.  Your attorney will be able to use the legal process to your best advantage and help you understand all of your rights in any probation violation situation.

Dwane Cates Law Group proudly serves clients in Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, Scottsdale, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities

Chasing the American Dream at any cost can have serious implications

It’s virtually every American’s dream to own a home at some point in their lives.  It represents the fact that you’ve made it, that you’ve accomplished something noteworthy and significant.  But the pursuit of that goal can also cause some people to cut corners and tell lies to make their dream become a reality.

As real estate continues to be a big ticket item that seems to keep getting even more challenging, sometimes people resort to mortgage fraud as a means to an end.  Mortgage fraud includes various types of misrepresentation or lying on various mortgage documents.  This might mean submitting a fake W-2 form, lying on the amount of income and assets you have available or creating an inflated property appraisal, among many other types of fraudulent activities.

In 2009, the federal government enacted the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (FERA) that significantly expanded the enforcement of mortgage fraud laws.  Without the assistance of a skilled mortgage fraud lawyer, defendants can be subject to prison sentences ranging to 30 years and fines of up to $1 million.

Because so many people are involved in the sale and purchase of a property, the opportunity to commit mortgage fraud can take many types of forms.  Mortgage brokers, real estate attorneys, appraisers, real estate agents, bankers, and even home buyers can be tempted to commit mortgage fraud at any one of the numerous steps involved in a real estate transaction.

Common types of mortgage fraud can include property flipping at an inflated value, fraudulent loan documentation, identity theft, equity skimming, inflated appraisals, the execution of a silent second mortgage, and the use of straw buyers, to name a few.

In addition to criminal penalties, defendants may also be held accountable for civil penalties as well.  For example, if a bank sustains a loss due to mortgage fraud, the defendant may be required to pay restitution to the bank for their illicit activities.

Dwane Cates Law Group proudly serves clients in Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, Scottsdale, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities

Defending yourself against embezzlement charges

Embezzlement is defined as a white collar crime in which some form of financial fraud takes place.  Typically, this means that when business funds are put under the control of a person and they are then misused for another purpose, the crime of embezzlement has been committed.

Because embezzlement cases can be complicated and involve a significant amount of financial forensic discovery, if you are charged with this type of crime, you will want to make sure you are represented by the best possible and most experienced embezzlement lawyer.

Depending on your situation, there are many possible defenses against a charge of embezzlement.  They can include:

Entrapment.  This is a defense strategy for many types of crimes in which the government compels an otherwise innocent person to commit a crime that they would not have done so otherwise.  The government will usually counter with the argument that you were going to commit the crime anyway.

Insufficient evidence.  Prosecutors must have enough solid evidence to prove that you committed a crime.  Otherwise you can raise the defense centered around reasonable doubt.  Because evidence can be difficult to produce and uncover, this is an often used defense strategy.

Under duress.  If you genuinely believe that some form of harm would come to you or that you would be in danger if you did not commit or participate in an embezzlement scheme, then you may be able to use this strategy.  Duress defenses do not work for the most part when they involve protecting a family member, such as taking money to pay for debts, gambling losses or drug and alcohol addiction.

Insanity or incapacity.  Mental illness claims can be difficult to prove as a means of having charges dismissed, especially when it comes to an insanity plea.  Incapacity defenses may make sense if you can prove that you were not in control of your senses, perhaps due to drugs or medications, and you made a mistake in the handling of money.

Dwane Cates Law Group proudly serves clients in Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, Scottsdale, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities.