Arizona’s harsh DUI penalties

It’s been a tough week at work and you stop off with friends at your local watering hole for a couple of drinks.

Or, you’re watching the big game and you need to restock your frig at half-time.

Maybe it’s Saturday night, you’re at a party, and you’re feeling invincible when you’re selected to make the next beer run.

Whatever the case may be, when you get behind the wheel after too many drinks, you not only put your life other people’s lives in danger, you run the risk of messing up your life in a pretty big way, even if you don’t get into any kind of an accident.

Arizona limits the legal blood alcohol content limit for drivers to .08. While the punishments vary widely from state to state if you’re popped for driving while over this limit, in Arizona, you’ll be facing mandatory jail time, a suspended license, and you’ll have an ignition interlock device installed on your car. You will need to hire a lawyer who specializes in DUI to keep a bad situation from getting even worse.

It should be noted that the .08 limit applies to drivers who are of legal age to drink and drive. For anyone under 21 years old, there is a zero tolerance law in place, meaning that if you are busted for having any blood alcohol content whatsoever and you are under age, you can be charged with DUI. The law was put in place because nearly one-third of all fatalities for people under 21 years old are due to motor vehicle accidents. Of these, about one-third are caused by drinking and driving.

In addition, for those drivers who have a blood alcohol content of .15 or above, they will face aggravated DUI charges resulting in enhanced penalties upon conviction.

Those penalties start with a minimum 90 day suspension of a driver’s license and can rise to up to 3 years based on subsequent DUI convictions. While vehicle confiscation will not take place, a person will be required to go through mandatory alcohol education, assessment and treatment.

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

Defending yourself against manslaughter charges

A person charged in the accidental killing of another can either be charged with voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, depending on the circumstances of the situation and usually revolving around the degree of reckless and negligent behavior on the part of the defendant.  Defenses against manslaughter charges can be similar to other homicide charges, but there are a few other options as well.

An experienced manslaughter defense attorney may choose to use one or more of the following strategies in defending their client:

Self-Defense.  This is perhaps the most common of all manslaughter defenses.  An attorney must be able to prove that a defendant reasonably suspected that they were in imminent danger of being killed or seriously harmed.  They must also be able to prove that there was not an over-reaction on the amount of force used to protect ones self.  Sometimes, in a murder case, when this defense is used, a charge may be reduced from murder down to a plea of manslaughter, resulting in a lesser penalty.

Accidental.  A defendant may be able to show that the death was the result of an accident.  In cases where a dismissal may not be the outcome, it may be possible to have a charge reduced from one of voluntary manslaughter, which has an element of intent attached to it, to one of involuntary manslaughter, which only has some form of recklessness or neglect.

Innocence.  A prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person did actually commit manslaughter.  In some cases, it is possible to attach an alibi to a case or to introduce evidence that would create a reasonable doubt, leading to a dismissal of charges.

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

White collar crimes are complex and can take a long time to resolve

White collar crimes are those that are not violent committed by businesses and individuals who are motivated by financial gain. Typically, this will include crimes such as bribery, fraud, insider trading, embezzlement, forgery, money laundering, identity theft and other related infractions.

In most cases, these offenses are highly complex and can generate substantial evidence gathering and forensic investigation. This means that a charge and the subsequent case can drag on for months or even years before going to trial. Retaining an experienced white collar crimes lawyer is a necessity. That attorney will often need to work with related financial professionals on your behalf, because white collar cases are often laced with complex financial information and scores upon scores of documents and data.

Many white collar crimes fall under the jurisdiction of federal laws, so a person charged with this type of crime may be going up against the resources of a variety of federal agencies such as the FBI, the Department of Labor, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service, among many others. That means an attorney defending a white collar crimes defendant must have experience not only at the state level, but at the federal level as well.

It also makes sense to retain a lawyer even if you have not yet been charged with a white collar crime. Because white collar crimes are complex, you will need someone familiar with the mechanisms of how an investigation will play out. An attorney will be able to guide you and shield you from saying or doing things that could self incriminate you or lead to additional charges over and above what you may already be facing. Preserving your rights as early as possible can set the stage for a solid defense and one that may ultimately lead to the charges being dropped or resulting in an acquittal.

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

Financial crimes involve deceit and subterfuge

Financials crimes, often times referred to as white collar crimes, are a form of theft that involves taking money or property and using them illegally for the purpose of trying to gain some kind of benefit.  It is a very broad category of crime and can take on many forms, including:

  • Identity Theft
  • Fraud
  • Tax Evasion
  • Mortgage Fraud
  • Bribery
  • Bank Fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Money Laundering
  • Racketeering
  • Securities Fraud
  • Forgery
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Telemarketing Fraud
  • Ponzi Schemes

While each of these has its own unique traits, all of them involve some form of deceit or subterfuge, relying on another person or another business’s trust.  What is also common to all of these types of crimes is that they are generally complex in nature and will require a high degree of financial forensic work, meaning that a case may take a long time to come to trial or be resolved.

A financial crimes attorney may mount one or more possible defense strategies on behalf of a client, depending on the circumstances of a case.

One of the more common defense is claiming there is insufficient evidence to prove a financial crime has been committed.  A prosecutor has the burden of proof and as long as a degree of reasonable doubt can be used in a case, it could lead to a decision in the defendant’s favor.

Another defense is the absence of intent to commit a crime.  For a financial crime to take place, there generally must be an intent to deceive as part of the burden of proof required by the prosecutor.  For example, if you accidentally use a friend’s credit card, unless it can be shown that the act was intentional, in which case you could face charges.

A lesser used defense is entrapment which takes place when the government or law enforcement compels someone to commit a crime they would have not done so otherwise.  Prosecutors will generally argue that a defendant was likely to commit the crime anyway, leading to a murky overall defense strategy.

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