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Racketeering: What Does it Mean in Arizona Law?

While racketeering is a federal offense, the state of Arizona also has its own laws against the crime.

Racketeering is a federal offense and prosecuted on the federal level. However, the state of Arizona broadens the definition to a broader meaning. Racketeering applies to many things in Arizona. Racketeering is operating an enterprise illegally. More specifically, A.R.S 13-2301 defines racketeering as:

  • Money laundering
  • Asserting false claims through fraud
  • The counterfeiting of marks
  • The resale of real estate with fraudulent intents through an enterprise
  • Reckless fraud during the sale or purchase of securities
  • Reckless sale of unregistered securities
  • False statements in publications about land for sale or lease.

In addition, racketeering encompasses blue-collar crimes, such as extortion, bribery, forgery, prostitution, terrorism, human trafficking and more. All of these crimes are done to get financial gain and are considered racketeering.

The Consequences of Racketeering

The consequences of racketeering can be very serious. Those who illegally operate an enterprise can be faced with a Class 3 felony. A Class 3 felony comes with a minimum prison sentence of two years and a maximum of approximately eight years in prison. Whether it’s participation directly or indirectly in racketeering, it’s still a crime. Aggravating circumstances can increase the prison sentence, too. For example, hiring a minor to participate in racketeering will add Class 2 felony charges. The minimum sentence for this is three years in prison and could go up to over 12 years. Plus, there’s no pardon, suspension or probation.

Racketeering is a serious offense with serious consequences. This is why it’s very important to get an experienced criminal defense lawyer quickly. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to develop a strong defense strategy and argument against the charges. Often, a viable defense strategy will include the fact that no financial gains were involved. The sanctions can tally up, and a criminal defense lawyer will address all of them. And even if a criminal defense lawyer is unable to dispute the racketeering charges, they can often get the prison sentence reduced. It’s important to note that all involved in charges of racketeering should cooperate with authorities. This may lead to some leniency in sentencing.

In sum, the definition of racketeering in the state of Arizona is quite broad. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be very knowledgeable of its applications and use that knowledge to protect the best interests of the person charged.

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Police Cell Phone Searches and Your Smartphone: Know Your Rights

These days, many people store personal and sensitive information on their cell phones. To protect your privacy, you might have a passcode or similar security measures in place on your smartphone. But if you’re being questioned or searched by police, are you required to provide your cell phone’s passcode and allow officers to search your phone?

Arizona law says no, in most cases.

What Does Arizona Law Say About Cell Phone Searches?

The precedent for this was set forth in Arizona State v. Peoples, the opinion of which was issued by a judge in September of 2016. Ultimately, the opinion in this case found that Arizona recognizes a “legitimate expectation of privacy” when it comes to cell phones. In fact, this case has set the precedent for privacy even in situations where a phone is left unlocked.

As a result, in State v. Peoples, the court found that incriminating evidence unlawfully obtained by a police officer from the suspect’s phone would not be admissible in court.

Instead, officers in Arizona are required to obtain a search warrant for a person’s cell phone before searching, unless the person has otherwise provided consent to search.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

So, what does this mean for you if you’re being questioned by police? It means that, at least in the state of Arizona, you are not legally required to unlock your phone and allow officers to search its contents. Even if you don’t have a passcode on your phone, officers may not seize your phone and search it without your permission.

It is perfectly within your legal rights to deny an officer consent to search your property. However, if an officer has reasonable suspicion, he or she may still obtain a search warrant from a judge. With a search warrant, your property may be legally searched. However, it’s always a good idea to ask officers for proof of a search warrant before turning over any of your property.

When to Speak With a Lawyer

While most police officers are up-to-date on Arizona law and general constitutional laws protecting you from unreasonable search and seizure, the reality is that some officers do abuse their power (knowingly or unknowingly). If incriminating evidence was obtained against you from your cell phone without your consent or without a search warrant, you may be entitled to have this evidence suppressed in court.

Your best course of action is to speak with a lawyer who is well-versed in Arizona search and seizure law. Our team is here to help; contact us today to schedule your free consultation and speak with our legal team about your case.

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.

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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