Felony Sentencing Guidelines in Arizona

In Arizona, there are many different levels of criminal offenses that have a wide range of punishments associated with them. There are two major categories of crimes, felonies and misdemeanors. Each has different levels, or classes, within each. There are also different categories associated with repeat offenders for each class of felony or misdemeanor. In addition to that, there are several special circumstances and unique sentencing provisions that may or may not apply to your case.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor offense in Arizona, it is critical to hire an experienced attorney that will fight for you. Here at the Cates Garvey Law Group, we have years of experience handling cases involving the lowest level misdemeanors to the most severe felonies. Mr. Cates is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a Specialist in Criminal Law and has over 20 years of experience in handling cases of all types. In addition, Ryan Garvey, the managing partner of Cates Garvey, has 20 years of experience in standing up for the rights of the accused. The Cates Garvey Law Group has a strong team of attorneys that have experience in fighting cases in all 15 counties in Arizona. We are aggressive at mounting defenses and strategies to help you fight any allegation. Do not waste your time talking to salespeople who are not licensed attorneys. At the Cates Garvey Law Group, we offer free, and confidential, 30-minute consultations with licensed attorneys to help answer your questions. Please call (855) 965-4522 to schedule a consultation today.

Read more

Vehicle Search Crimes

Vehicle Searches in Arizona: Know Your Rights

One of the most frequent issues in criminal cases is the legality of a search by a police officer. The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. Generally, this means that police need a warrant to execute a search, or to stop a person for more than a few moments. The Supreme Court, however, has ruled that the Fourth Amendment’s protections are limited in the case of vehicles.

Police need some reasonable suspicion that a person has broken the law in order to stop a vehicle. That means that if an officer has reason to believe that the driver of a vehicle has broken almost any traffic law, he can be pulled over.

While police need only reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle, to execute a search, they require probable cause to believe that the occupants of the vehicle are engaged in a crime, and that evidence of the crime will be found in the vehicle. An example of this is the smell of marijuana. If an officer smells marijuana, an illegal substance in Arizona, he has probable cause to believe that the occupants of the vehicle are in possession of marijuana, and that the marijuana is located somewhere in the car.

It seems like a simple concept, but search issues can get complicated. Police often have a strong suspicion that a crime is being committed but lack any evidence as the basis for their hunches. In situations like these, officers often attempt to draw out the stop to develop more information. Common tactics include asking drivers to exit the vehicle on the premise that the officer wants to talk about issuing a warning, asking permission to search to gauge a driver’s reaction, or engaging the driver in small talk so the officer can claim the stop became consensual. The last is often used while the officer awaits the arrival of a canine unit.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a crime following a vehicle search, please call us. We offer free consultations and can help you understand your rights.

Penalties Under A.R.S. § 13-3405 – Possession of Marijuana

Possession of any amount of marijuana without a valid Arizona Medical Marijuana Act card is a felony under Arizona law. A.R.S. § 13-3405 defines the range of penalties for possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. Simple possession, that is, possession of a small but usable amount of marijuana for personal use, is a class 6 felony, and may be designated a misdemeanor by the court. Possession of any amount of marijuana over two pounds, the threshold amount, is a felony offense. The seriousness of the felony charge is tied to the amount of marijuana in the person’s possession.

• 2 pounds or less: Class 6 felony
• Between 2 and 4 pounds: Class 5 felony
• 4 pounds or more: Class 4 felony

Possession of marijuana for sale is a more serious offense. A person can be charged with possession for sale if the officers who conducted the investigation find evidence that the person was planning to sell the marijuana. Some examples of evidence the officers look for are the amount of marijuana in the person’s possession; the amount and denominations of cash the person is carrying; whether the marijuana is packaged for sale; whether the person has a scale or some other instrument used to measure quantities of marijuana. The penalties for possession of marijuana for sale are also tied to the weight of the marijuana in the person’s possession.

• Less than 2 pounds: Class 4 felony
• Between 2 and 4 pounds: Class 3 felony
• More than 4 pounds: Class 2 felony

Transportation of marijuana is charged when the police have reason to believe that a person is importing or transferring marijuana for sale. Like the other sections of the statute, the seriousness of the charge is tied to the weight of the marijuana.

• Under 2 pounds: Class 3 felony
• Over 2 pounds: Class 2 felony

As you can see, transportation is a very serious offense.
If you or a loved one has been charged with possession of marijuana, call us today. Our attorneys are familiar with these cases, and frequently achieve good results for even the most serious marijuana related offenses.

What You Need To Know About Resisting Arrest Charges: A.R.S. § 13-2508

Resisting arrest is one of the most commonly charged offenses in the country, and Arizona is no exception. In fact, in some cases a person has committed no other crime, should not have been arrested, and may still have committed resisting arrest and be found guilty of that charge.

A.R.S. § 13-2508 is the Arizona statute that defines resisting arrest. It holds that a person commits resisting arrest when they intentionally hinder a peace officer from making an arrest. Resisting can be either active, such as threatening or trying to fight an officer, or it can be passive, such as locking up or going limp.

Resisting arrest can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on whether the resistance was passive or active. In cases where the resistance was passive, the resisting arrest charge will usually be accompanied by an aggravated assault charge, as harming or attempting to harm a peace officer is its own crime.

Body-worn cameras are now common, and many arrests are filmed. For people charged with resisting, this can be good news. We have seen cases where resisting charges have been tacked on with little or no basis. In one of our cases, our client was charged with actively resisting for spitting on an officer. When we reviewed the body-cam footage, we found that our client had been placed in a choke hold and involuntarily drooled on the officer’s arm. We were able to get those charges dismissed.

If you or a loved one has been charged with resisting arrest, please call us today. We offer free consultations and are familiar with these types of charges.

Involuntary Commitment for Mental Health Treatment

Involuntary commitment for mental health treatment is often an extraordinarily confusing and frightening experience for patients and their families. Generally, this process starts when the patient has a break, a mental health episode that causes someone to be concerned enough for the patient that they contact police or mental health services. That call triggers a short period of commitment for evaluation. If, during the evaluation period, behavioral health experts determine that the person is a danger to themselves or others, they may file a petition for court ordered treatment.

When a petition for court ordered treatment is filed, a hearing will be scheduled where the Court will determine whether the person is a danger to themselves or others as a result of some disability, and whether that person is unable or unwilling to seek treatment voluntarily. If the Court determines that both are true, it may order the person to receive treatment. Under A.R.S. § 36-540 the Court has three options:

  1. Outpatient treatment: The Court may order the patient to receive treatment on an outpatient basis. The patient will be assigned a contact to ensure that they are following their treatment plan.
  2. Inpatient/outpatient: The Court may order the patient to receive treatment consisting of both inpatient and outpatient care.
  3. Inpatient treatment: The Court may order the patient confined to a behavioral health facility for treatment.

Court ordered treatment programs are in effect for one year, or until the patient is determined to be voluntary.

Often, when patients or their families are told that a doctor has filed a petition for court ordered treatment and are confronted with this statute, they come to the conclusion that the patient may end up confined to a behavioral health facility for a year. This is rarely the case. Arizona’s mental behavioral health services are designed to stabilize and release patients. Only in extreme cases, or in cases where the patient has a pattern of abandoning treatment, would a long period of commitment be ordered.

If you or a loved one are the subject of a petition for court ordered treatment, please contact our firm today. Our attorneys are familiar with this process and can advocate on your behalf.

Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in Arizona

In Arizona, domestic violence is never charged on its own. The State uses the domestic violence (DV) tag as an enhancement for criminal charges where the alleged victim has some familial relationship to the defendant. The domestic violence tag can be applied to a wide variety of offenses, but is commonly applied to:

  • Assault
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Criminal Damage
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Stalking

If you are charged with a domestic violence offense, you should be aware of four things: First, your release conditions will likely instruct you not to return to the scene of the crime, and not to have any contact with the alleged victim. These release conditions will be enforced even if the scene is your home, and the victim your child or spouse. Second, if there were any firearms at the scene they may have been seized, and they can be held for up to six months. Third, if you have two or more prior domestic violence offenses you may be charged with a felony, even if the crime you are charged with is a misdemeanor. Fourth, federal law prohibits the purchase or possession of firearms by anyone convicted of a domestic violence offense if the crime involved the use or threat of force.

If you have been charged with any crime and the State is alleging that it is a domestic violence offense, you should call us today. Our attorneys have experience dealing with domestic violence charges and will be happy to provide a free consultation.

Possession of Marijuana/Medical Marijuana/Prop 200

Possession of any amount of marijuana is a felony in Arizona, though it can be designated a misdemeanor by a judge. The penalty for possession of marijuana can range from no conviction at all to several years in prison, depending on the number of prior felony convictions and drug strikes a person has on their record.

Arizona’s Prop 200, ARS § 13-901.01, makes possession of marijuana a probation mandatory offense for anyone not convicted of two or more drug crimes, provided they have no history of violence. This means that if a person has no prior drug convictions, and has never been involved in a violent crime, they will not be sentenced to prison if convicted.

Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona. If a person is in possession of a valid Arizona Medical Marijuana card, they will not be prosecuted for being in possession of small amounts of marijuana. Arizona does not recognize medical marijuana cards from other states. Possession of any amount of marijuana in Arizona without a valid medical marijuana card from Arizona is a crime. This can lead to some absurd results, like a New Mexico state citizen purchasing marijuana legally with a valid New Mexico medical marijuana card, travelling to Arizona with a small amount of marijuana, and being convicted of a felony for possession of marijuana in Arizona.

If you have been accused of possession of marijuana, or any drug, call us today. Our attorneys offer free consultations and can usually determine whether a person is eligible for probation under Prop 200.

DUI Charges: Reasonable Suspicion and Dismissal in Phoenix

Driving under the influence cases begin with the traffic stop. For police to initiate a traffic stop, they must have reasonable suspicion that the driver is engaged in criminal activity. Reasonable suspicion for a DUI stop can be based on a huge number of factors, but generally the stop must take place because of a moving violation or otherwise poor driving performance. One of the best ways to beat a DUI charge is by finding an issue with the traffic stop.

I worked on a case where the driver was stopped for failing to use a turn signal. Like many DUI traffic stops, this one happened late at night and traffic was very light. The officer who initiated the stop described no other moving violations or bad driving. After the stop and an investigation, our client was charged with driving under the influence and arrested.

We interviewed the officer and asked him whether he had seen any other indication that our client was impaired before he pulled him over. The officer confirmed that the only reason he had pulled our client over was because of a failure to signal. We then asked him whether there were any other cars on the road at the time of the stop. There were not.

Under Arizona law, a turn signal is only required when a driver’s turn or lane change would affect other traffic. Because there was no other traffic on the road, our client’s failure to signal was not a traffic violation. In a pretrial argument, we were able to convince the judge that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop, and that his mistake was not reasonable. As a result, the rest of the investigation was suppressed, and the State had no choice but to dismiss the charges against our client.

We examine all of our DUI cases for these kinds of issues and use them to get the best possible results for our clients. If you have been charged with a DUI, call us! We offer free consultations and are available to discuss your case whenever it is convenient for you.

Written By Attorney Anthony Strong

A.R.S. §4-244 (34) Underage Drinking and Driving in AZ

According to the law known as A.R.S. §4-244 (34) Underage Drinking and Driving in AZ , it is illegal for anyone who is under the age of 21 to drive or be in physical control of a vehicle while there is any type of liquor in their body.

It doesn’t matter if the person is impaired by the alcohol, or not. This means, you could be completely sober and capable of driving, but still receive a violation if you have alcohol on your breath and are under the age of 21.

Penalties for Underage Drinking and Driving

In the state of Arizona, an underage DUI is also referred to as a Baby DUI. While the charges alone don’t require time in jail, this is typically on the case for first time offenders.

However, an individual facing these charges may still be sentenced by a judge for up to six months in jail. Other charges related to this offense include fines of up to $2,500, as well as an 84 percent surcharge. It’s also mandatory that the individuals license be suspended for a period of two years.

Legal Defenses for Underage Drinking and Driving Charges

If you are facing these charges, the best thing you can do is contact an attorney for help. They will likely go over some of the defenses for this situation, which include:

  • No reasonable suspicion for you to be stopped.
  • No actual physical control of the vehicle.
  • No probable cause for the arrest that was made.
  • The denial of a right to counsel.
  • An inaccuracy of the blood or breath testing device.
  • A violation of the person’s Miranda rights.
  • Incorrect or inaccurate police reports.

An attorney will be able to evaluate your case to determine if any of the above situations apply. In some cases, there are situations where more than one of the aforementioned defenses can be used. This is why it is so important to hire an attorney for assistance.

The Importance of Hiring an Attorney

If you are facing underage DUI charges, then the best thing you can do is hire a DUI defense attorney who understands all the possible defenses for your situation. Someone who is under the age of 21 has their entire life ahead. As a result, the last thing they need is to have a DUI conviction on their record, which can impact their reputation negatively and have adverse consequences for many years to come.

Finding the right attorney matters. Make sure to consider the options in the local area and their knowledge of Arizona laws. A quality attorney will be willing to work diligently to help you reduce the penalties and potential consequences that you face.

Non Resident Charged With A Crime In Arizona

If you or anyone you know of have faced criminal charges, a Phoenix Criminal Lawyer can guide you through the process and help you reach the best resolution possible. An Arizona criminal lawyer is familiar with the state’s laws and procedures and is able to help non-Arizona residents understand everything. A good law firm can answer questions and be in contact with you throughout the process while aggressively protecting your interests. They also offer an initial consultation which can be helpful for non-residents of Arizona.

This may apply if you were arrested while in Scottsdale or Phoenix, AZ while traveling for entertainment such as bachelor/bachelorette parties, Spring Training baseball, the Phoenix Open Golf Tournament, business conferences and tradeshows, et. You will want to consider your better options of consulting with an experienced law firm that deals with these types of clients and cases.

If you are being charged with a crime, you may have to deal with additional logistics. For preventiion, traveling groups are better with a few helpful tips with relevant information for planning and communication purposes. Simple communication is one of the ways to mitigate any issues or risks associated with non-resident traveling. Whether you are vacationing on your own or traveling with a group of other people, you never want to be forced into any criminal charges or deal with any criminal justice paperwork.

You want protections for your assets, including a disallowed forced spending on unnecessary expenses. You want freedom quickly from the stressful situation. You also want to protect your name and reputation with a gentler way to get through everything if you were with others that were also involved. Even the language you use is important and your ability to find a way out of the stressful situation would become a priority. The biggest improvement might be the informational resources and helpful writing content that gets you to a solution. Being a non-resident and having to deal with criminal charges is something almost unknown for a majority of the population.

Your experience with Greater Phoenix and Arizona tourism should be only positive. This includes any vacationing and traveling for large enjoyable events and fan celebrations. Those planning these events with smart choices for safety and comfortableness for the residents and guests are appreciated. Good planning is smart with so many logistics involved. Opportunities for excellent entertainment should have good planning with leadership and experience.
Event planners and those organizing traveling tours or vacations are often considering the social events and parties that might be involved. Safety and a clean record are probably important to anyone carrying a state identification card while visiting the state of Arizona.

As an example, The Phoenix Open Golf Tournament, attracts international elite athletes with all of their fanbase and support crews. It also appeals to business leaders involved with planning and large event scheduling for Arizona’s largest city. The Greater Phoenix area benefits from all of the vacationers, tourists, and support crews arriving with the incredibly accomplished and successful athletes. These types of champion athletes deserve only positive news and the hope for planning teams is to keep the event running smoothly while managing all of Arizona’s tourism. All of this has to work nicely with the existing infrastructures which include restaurants, bars, lounges, event party locations, and private parties.
There are additional planning steps often for out-of-state travelers attending any large events. Additional recreation and social outings, such as venues or bars in Scottsdale, should often be considered for safety and smart planning. Larger groups that are traveling together may often decide on certain social events to join as one of the scheduled party plans. The traveling group must also know that the non-residents should be told about certain types of client cases some law firms deal with when people have been arrested while traveling or vacationing. The planning groups should always notify non-residents about smart decision-making with social event plans. Knowing the venues and acceptable behavior may be important, although assumed to be known.

Anyone who was dealing with an arrest in Scottsdale or Phoenix when traveling would be smart to consider a consultation with a phoenix criminal attorney. When it comes to protecting the rights of the accused, they would probably want to have their best representation and smart ways to protect their interests. You will also want to find the Arizona criminal lawyer best to aggressively protect your interests.

Arizona and the Greater Phoenix area celebrate often with large entertainment venues that have become quite common. These larger events include some world reknown nationally televised events and many that are enjoyable for tourists and those celebrating sporting competitions. Greater Phoenix hosted nearly 44 million visitors in 2017 and the leadership continues to enjoy effectively planned tourism events. The state of Arizona offers an incredible number of opportunities and the experience matters.