Your Guide to ARS 13-3601.02, Aggravated Domestic Violence

Are you facing a domestic violence charge? If so, then you’ll want to understand what the state of Arizona defines as domestic violence, the different categories of domestic violence, and the potential consequences of a conviction. From there, with the proper legal representation, you can explore possible defenses and other options to protect yourself.

One of the more confusing aspects of domestic violence charges in Arizona is the “aggravated” domestic violence distinction. If you’ve been charged with aggravated domestic violence, there are some specific things you need to know.

Domestic Violence vs. Aggravated Domestic Violence

The state of Arizona defines domestic violence as a crime that is carried out against somebody with an existing relationship. This can include, for instance, violence against a spouse (or ex-spouse), blood relative, or child.

In Arizona, aggravated domestic violence is defined in ARS 13-3601.02. Compared to a standard domestic violence charge (which is serious enough), an offense is considered aggravated domestic violence when the defendant has already been convicted of domestic violence charges three times within a span of seven years. This type of charge is always a felony, whereas a standard domestic violence charge can be categorized as either a felony or a misdemeanor.

Potential Consequences of a Conviction

Because aggravated domestic violence is characterized by multiple prior convictions and is automatically classified as a felony, the potential consequences of a conviction are far-reaching and serious. For starters, this crime is not eligible for a pardon, probation, or suspended sentence. In fact, time in prison for an aggravated domestic violence conviction can range anywhere from six months to 7.5 years, depending on how many prior convictions the defendant has and the severity of the crime.

Why You Need Legal Representation

Because of the severity of aggravated domestic violence and the serious consequences (including prison time with no possibility for probation or a suspended sentence), it is important to find yourself the best legal representation if you have been charged with this crime in Arizona. Specifically, you’ll want to work with an experienced criminal defense team that has experience handling this crime.

A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer will be familiar with common defenses for aggravated domestic violence as well as potential pleas to lesser crimes, such as criminal harassment or disorderly conduct. In some cases, it may even be possible to have these charges dropped if false accusations, self-defense, or other circumstances exist.

A felony conviction for aggravated domestic violence can have a serious impact on your life. With this in mind, it’s important to seek legal representation sooner rather than later for your case. Our team of criminal defense lawyers at Cates & Garvey Law Group is here to help. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation at (855) 965-4522 and to find out more about what we can do for you.

Mental Health Defenses and How They Can Help Your Court Case

A person’s mental health can significantly impact a civil, domestic, or criminal case. If you’re involved in a case being handled by a mediator or court system, it’s very important that you understand how mental health affects your case. Developing this understanding can help you and your lawyer decide whether any mental health issues should be highlighted in the case to secure a favorable outcome.

Is Insanity the Only Form of Mental Health Defense? No, It’s Not.

When you think of mental health defenses, you probably think of someone ‘pleading insanity.’ And while this defense is often used in court cases, there are many other ways to leverage a person’s mental health issues as a form of defense against the charges.

Another common mental health defense comes in the form of a self-defense claim. When this type of claim is presented, it means the lawyer wants the jury to look at the case’s situation from the defendant’s point of view. This claim is often used when the defendant suffers from PTSD in which the lawyer will ask the jury to consider how the offender’s PTSD caused him or her to react in self-defense.

Learning disabilities can be used as mental health defenses in many types of cases. Take for example that you have a learning disability or some type of development issue that caused you to waive some of your rights during the arrest process. If it can be proven that your mental health disability influenced your waiving of rights negatively, then you may be able to have the entire case dismissed or appealed.

A person who pleads insanity is someone who has a disease or illness of the mind that makes it impossible to tell right from wrong in a situation, thus resulting in the committing of a crime. Some who pleads insanity can secure a final outcome for their cases without having to go to trial. In other instances, some who use this mental health defense still have to go to trial and face a jury.

Who Should Use Mental Health Defenses in a Court Case?

Anyone with a mental health issue that directly impacts a case should speak with an attorney about the various forms of mental health defenses that can be claimed. A mental health defense is often the determining factor for defendants regarding their ability to secure a more favorable outcome for a case, and as mentioned before, in some situations, the mental health defense can have the entire case dismissed.

Hire a Mental Health Defense Attorney!

Not all attorneys have experience in representing offenders with mental health disorders. And when it comes to using mental health defenses in court, it’s crucial to hire an attorney who has prior experience in winning cases using the defenses. If you need representation in the state of Arizona and you suffer from a mental health disorder, contact our law office now to see if a mental health defense can help your case.

Your Guide to Aggravated Assault A.R.S. 13-1204 in Arizona

If you have been charged with felony aggravated assault in the state of Arizona, you need to take your defense seriously. The ramifications of a conviction are life-changing and can affect your ability to gain employment or to own firearms while resulting in jail time and a criminal record. Since the penalties you will face depend on the circumstances of your case, retaining an experienced attorney can limit the financial impact on your life and reduce your sentence if you are convicted.

What Qualifies as Assault Under A.R.S 13-1204

If you have brought harm or injury to another person, regardless of intent, you may be charged with assault under A.R.S 13-1204. Whether you will face misdemeanor or felony charges will depend on what happened and the degree to which you have harmed the other party. The following can be considered aggravated assault.

  • Attacking another person in any manner that results in an injury. The severity of the injury is usually taken into account when assessing the charges.
  • Using any physical object or weapon to cause another person harm.
  • Physically restraining another person prior to or during an assault. This includes situations where the victim is impaired and unable to defend him/herself.
  • Visiting or coming in contact with a person who has filed a restraining order against you.
  • Causing physical harm to a minor under the age of 15.
  • Reaching for a police officer’s firearm or bringing physical harm to a police officer in any way.
  • Attacking public servants, such as paramedics, firefighters, health care professionals, and teachers.

When being tried for aggravated assault, the burden of proof rests on the prosecution. This means that it is possible to be acquitted or have your sentence reduced if the prosecutor is unable to prove that you committed the offense beyond a reasonable doubt in the minds of a jury. Lacking an experienced criminal defense attorney can result in you receiving a more severe sentence than you would have otherwise.

Possible Penalties for Aggravated Assault

There are five classes of aggravated assault, and each carries different sentences and fines. A Class 6 aggravated assault charge is considered minor while the most severe charge is a Class 2 aggravated assault charge. Following are each of these charges and the jail sentences you may face.

  • Class 6 Aggravated Assault— If convicted of this charge, you may face up to three years in prison in addition to fines, restitution, and a criminal record. If it is your first conviction, you may face a minimum sentence of 18 months.
  • Class 5 Aggravated Assault— Those convicted of a Class 5 aggravated assault charge face up to four years in prison. The minimum sentence is two years, and you may be subject to court costs, fines, restitution, and carry a criminal record.
  • Class 4 Aggravated Assault— This charge is a bit more serious with a minimum sentence of four years. If given a maximum sentence, you would face eight years in addition to fines, court costs, a criminal record, and other fees.
  • Class 3 Aggravated Assault— A Class 3 aggravated assault charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. If it is a first-time offense, you may be looking at closer to 7.5 years.
  • Class 2 Aggravated Assault— This is the most serious assault charge that you can face. If you are convicted, you may spend up to 21 years in prison. The minimum sentence is seven years, but you are much more likely to spend ten or more years in prison if you are found guilty.

There are many factors that are considered when deciding what type of charges you face, along with the sentence that you face. Whether you have a history of criminal offenses can definitely work for or against you and the details of the victim play a part as well. You will face more severe penalties if the victim was a minor, a pregnant woman, or a public servant. Whether you used a weapon or not will also affect the type of charge you face.

The extent of the injuries is also considered. If the assault resulted in serious bodily harm or death, you will be facing a much more serious charge than if the victim’s injuries were minor and did not require hospitalization.

Learn More About Your Legal Rights

In the United States, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty of any crime. If you have been accused of a crime, it is important that you speak with an attorney before making any statements or admitting guilt. The representation you retain will have a marked impact on your case and the penalties you face.

Cates & Garvey Law Group has the experience and record of success that you need if you have been charged with a crime. You should not delay when seeking legal representation in this sort of situation, so we invite you to arrange a free consultation today by calling 855-965-4522.

Charged With ARS 28-1381? Here’s What That Means!

The state of Arizona takes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs very seriously. It is possible to be under the legal blood alcohol limit and to still be charged with driving while intoxicated if a police officer has reason to believe that you were impaired just slightly enough to affect your judgment. The reason for this draconian enforcement of DUI laws in the state comes down to A.R.S 28-1381.

What is A.R.S 28-1381

The passage of A.R.S 28-1381 made it possible for law enforcement officers to make a determination on-site whether a person is legally impaired. It is a known fact that any amount of alcohol or the presence of certain medications and street drugs in a person’s blood can influence their ability to operate a vehicle. If you are pulled over while under the influence to any degree, it is possible to be charged with what is called misdemeanor DUI/DWI.

The penalties that can come with this charge are far worse than those imposed anywhere else in the United States for the same offense. For this reason, it is important to understand the charges when preparing a legal defense. Being able to prove that you were under the legal BAC limit is not enough to exonerate yourself from a charge of being slightly impaired.

Being Medicated Counts as Impairment

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is not the only way that you can be charged with a misdemeanor DUI/DWI. If you are on any form of medication that can make you drowsy or interfere with your judgment, you may be considered to be impaired. Pain medication, local anesthesia from medical procedures, and recreational drugs can all affect your ability to drive a vehicle and land you in legal trouble.

Many people learn the hard way that they should take greater caution when they have been prescribed medication for pain or need to have minor medical procedures performed. In most cases, it is wiser to arrange to have someone else drive you if you are going to be under the influence of any medication or substance with mind-altering effects. Since it is up to the police officer who pulls you over to determine whether you are “slightly impaired” or not, this determination can be subjective.

Possible Penalties for Misdemeanor DUI

Even if it is your first time being charged with a DUI, the penalties that you face can be frightening. The maximum jail sentence for an A.R.S 28-1381 charge is six months, and you may be fined up to $2,500. To make matters worse, this may not be the only charge you face. Depending on your level of impairment, you can be charged with A.R.S 28-1381 in addition to more serious DUI charges.

If your BAC content was above 0.08, it is possible to face felony charges in addition to this class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, you would be subject to a longer jail sentence and a greater fine. However, it is rare that first-time offenders are given the maximum penalty for their offenses. Even the minimums are meant to deter driving while under the influence. You would be looking at $1,250 in addition to court costs and surcharges and would need to undergo regular alcohol screening and install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for a year.

Being convicted of even a misdemeanor DUI can be life-altering, regardless of the circumstances leading to the charges. The penalties get far worse if you are found to be a repeat offender, which include financial hardship, possible jail time, and the loss of your driving privileges. In society today, being able to drive is nearly synonymous with freedom itself.

Why a Strong Legal Defense is Necessary

Even if the evidence is clearly against you, it is important that you seek legal counsel when facing a DUI charge and not to admit guilt. An experienced attorney can review your case and determine if there are any ways to mount a defense that will result in an acquittal or reduction in fines or sentence. When selecting legal representation, expertise and experience are important because an attorney with extensive knowledge of the process these types of cases go through will be able to advise you properly and ensure that you receive the best possible outcome.

Cates & Carvey Law Group specializes in criminal defense and represents clients throughout Arizona. Our attorneys have over fifty years of combined experience, giving us an advantage when taking on a client’s defense. Give us a call today at 855-965-4522 to learn more about your rights. We look forward to providing you with superior legal representation at a reasonable fee.

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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.

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.

Juvenile Criminal Cases and Court System In Arizona

Arizona has a juvenile court system that has been set up to handle criminal cases where the defendant is a minor. Not all minors will qualify to be a part of the juvenile court program; depending on the age of the defendant and the nature of the charges against him, a minor could be charged as either an adult or juvenile. The benefit to the juvenile court system is that it is far more forgiving than the criminal court system. The juvenile court system focuses on rehabilitation; judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and probation officers all work closely with each other and with the parents and minor defendant to get the defendant back on track.

During the pendency of the case, the judge will get regular status updates from juvenile probation on the minor defendant’s progress. The judge is looking for signs of progress: obeying parents and teachers, improving grades, volunteer or community activities, whether the defendant is working, the defendant’s plans after high school and what they are doing to prepare for the future.

If the defendant is successful at the juvenile level, they will most likely be placed on a period of probation. Once they reach the age of majority, their juvenile records will be sealed.

If you are the parent of a child who has been accused of a crime, please call us today. Our attorneys are familiar with the juvenile process and will be happy to discuss your case with you at no charge.

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.