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Articles Posted in Criminal Court Process

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Every year Florence, AZ is host to Country Thunder, the biggest outdoor country music festival in the state. The festival is sure to draw in thousands of fans young and old. With temperatures this weekend forecasted in the 90’s, you will want to be sure to have plenty of water, hats, and sunscreen! Above all, have a great time and be safe.

According to local news outlets, there will be an increased presence of Sheriff’s Deputies, undercover officers and security to ensure the safety and security of everyone attending the festival. Keep in mind, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), the AZ Dept. of Liquor License/Control, and the Florence Police Department in years past have issued hundreds of citations over the course of the 4-day weekend, particularly involving underage drinking related violations, including Minor in Consumption and Minor in Possession, as well as using fake ID’s to buy alcohol and furnishing alcohol to a minor. We have also seen numerous DUI/DWI cases occur as attendees leave the festival.

If you were arrested by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), Florence Police Department, AZ Dept. of Liquor License/Control, or any other agency during Country Thunder weekend, contact the Firm to arrange a free evaluation regarding your case. We have handled countless Country Thunder citations over the years and are familiar with the local courts as well as the typical violations we see coming out of this festival each year. Depending on the agency you were arrested by, your case will likely be cited into either the Florence-Coolidge Justice Court located at 400 South Central Avenue in Florence, AZ or at the Florence Municipal Court located at 775 North Main Street in Florence.

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Apache Junction Municipal Court Criminal Cases

If you were cited for a misdemeanor criminal violation by the Apache Junction Police Department, within the city limits of Apache Junction, you were likely cited into the Apache Junction Municipal Court. The types of cases which could be cited into this court could include, DUI (1st Time DUI, Extreme DUI, Super Extreme DUI, Underage DUI), Assault, Disorderly Conduct, Criminal Damage, Domestic Violence or any other criminal misdemeanor charges. The courthouse is located at:

300 East Superstition Boulevard, Apache Junction, AZ

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Phoenix Municipal Court

If you have been arrested by the Phoenix Police Department for a DUI or any type of criminal charge, you were likely cited into the Phoenix Municipal Court. The court is located at:

Phoenix Municipal Court

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The countdown to Super Bowl XLIX continues as throngs of fans head out to Super Bowl Central which has taken over about 12 blocks in downtown Phoenix. According to azcentral.com, Phoenix along with state liquor officials have approved public consumption of alcohol within an enclosed 9-block area of downtown Phoenix, enabling folks to enjoy the street festivities with a cocktail in hand. This is said to be the largest special event liquor license ever issued in downtown Phoenix and to ensure the safety of everyone, security will be extremely tight. Anyone wanting to consume alcohol in this area will be required to show their ID, wear wristbands, and stay within the 9-block perimeter which will be secured with temporary barricades. Officers from Phoenix Police Department, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) and the AZ Department of Liquor License and Control will be conducting enforcement efforts and ticketing violators for drinking violations such as Minor in Consumption / Minor in Possession and Underage Drinking as well as any other criminal violations ranging from Disorderly Conduct, Assault, Weapon and Firearm Violations, and Drug Violations. There will also be increased DUI enforcement in and around Phoenix so if you do plan to consume alcohol, be sure to designate a sober driver or utilize taxi service, Uber, or the light rail to avoid the harsh consequences of a DUI charge in Arizona.

Some of the most common alcohol violations we see with large events around the valley include, Underage Drinking, Underage DUI, False ID and Minor in Consumption (MIC) / Minor in Possession (MIP) violations. Arizona has a "zero tolerance" law which prohibits anyone under the age of 21 to drive with any trace of alcohol in their system. If you are under the age of 21 and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or above .08%, you may also be charged with DUI in addition to Underage Drinking. The penalties for some of the common underage drinking violations are outlined here:

A.R.S. § 4-241L – (Fake ID) "A person who is under the legal drinking age and who misrepresents the person's age to any person by means of a written instrument of identification with the intent to induce a person to sell, serve, give or furnish spirituous liquor contrary to law is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor." The maximum punishment for a class 1 misdemeanor is up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

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As Glendale is gearing up to host the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots on February 1st we want to welcome an estimated 100,000 out of town visitors expected to visit the Valley of the Sun for Super Bowl XLIX. According to AZCentral.com, Phoenix area airports (including Scottsdale Airport, Phoenix Deer Valley Airport, Goodyear Airport, Glendale Municipal Airport, Mesa's Falcon Field Airport, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Chandler Municipal Airport, and of course Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport) have been preparing for this increased air traffic for several months, anticipating over 1,000 additional private aircraft along with commercial and charter jets.

The NFL will be hosting the Super Bowl Experience activities at the Phoenix Convention Center the week leading up to the super bowl. According to azsuperbowl.com – along with the many interactive attractions, games, exhibits and other activities, fans will also be able to find many other venues and activities around town including the 2015 Pro Bowl on January 25th at University of Phoenix Stadium, the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale (1/26/15-2/1/15), Super Bowl XLIX Media Day (1/27/15), Verizon Super Bowl Central – a free, family-friendly, football themed outdoor fan fest taking over Downtown Phoenix (1/28/15-2/1/15), along with many other events leading up to the big game.

And of course with any event of this scale, law enforcement agencies from around the valley are coordinating efforts to ensure the safety of all residents – both locals and visitors alike. With a week filled with Super Bowl events spread across the valley between Glendale, Phoenix and Scottsdale, police officers from Glendale PD, Phoenix PD and Scottsdale PD will be working off-duty shifts in addition to all regularly scheduled shifts in these departments. Additionally, other agencies – both local and federal, are providing the assistance of their officers, including Gilbert PD, Tempe PD, Mesa PD and Prescott PD, along with regional cooperation of over 50 agencies. The City of Phoenix is hosting the major events – both Super Bowl Central covering several blocks in downtown Phoenix, as well as the Super Bowl Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center. The City of Scottsdale will be hosting many out town visitors in local resorts both for the Super Bowl and the WM Phoenix Open. The Super Bowl itself as well as the Pro Bowl will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in the City of Glendale.

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If you are facing criminal charges in Phoenix, a Board Certified Criminal Defense Attorney with this Firm offers a free, no obligation evaluation of your case. Mr. Buckallew has focused his practice primarily on criminal and DUI defense, representing countless individuals in Phoenix and throughout the State of Arizona for over the course of his career. The Firm has defended a wide range of criminal cases, from Disorderly Conduct and Domestic Violence cases to DUI cases all the way up to First Degree Murder cases. Mr. Buckallew has handled countless cases in the Phoenix courts – both the Phoenix Municipal Court (misdemeanor criminal/misdemeanor DUI) and the Maricopa County Superior Court (felony criminal/felony DUI). The Firm also represents individuals in the Maricopa County Justice Courts located in Phoenix, including the Arcadia Biltmore Justice Court, Desert Ridge Justice Court, Downtown Justice Court, Encanto Justice Court, Dreamy Draw Justice Court, Maryvale Justice Court, McDowell Mountain Justice Court, Moon Valley Justice Court, South Mountain Justice Court, and the West McDowell Justice Court (misdemeanor criminal/misdemeanor DUI). In addition to criminal and DUI cases, Mr. Buckallew also represents plaintiffs or defendants in Injunction Against Harassment/Order of Protection proceedings as well as Interfering with Judicial Proceedings cases.

If you are charged with a DUI in Phoenix, it is critical to seek competent legal counsel as these cases can result in significant fees/fines, potential for incarceration, increased insurance premiums, college/career repercussions, possible suspended or revoked driver's license, possible probation, and the possibility of ignition interlock requirements and alcohol classes. DUI litigation requires knowledge in both criminal defense as well as a thorough understanding of the scientific evidence (blood, breath, etc.) and Mr. Buckallew has significant experience in both of these areas. With his Law Degree and continuing legal education along with his Master's Degree in Forensic Science, Mr. Buckallew understands both the science behind the evidence as well as the potential legal defenses inherent in DUI cases. He has handled all types of DUI cases including (but not limited to), 1st Time DUI, DUI Involving an Accident, Underage DUI, Extreme DUI, Super Extreme DUI, Aggravated DUI, DUI with Multiple Priors, DUI Involving Homicide (or Injury), and DUI – Drugs. He has achieved successful outcomes for countless clients over the years, including full case dismissals, not guilty jury trial verdicts, favorable plea agreements, and aggressively defends each and every case he handles.

Mr. Buckallew has also handled a wide range of criminal cases – both misdemeanor and felony, including (but not limited to), Assault, Domestic Violence, Drug Possession, Drug Sales, Drug Crimes, Juvenile Crimes, Shoplifting, Misconduct Involving Weapons, Theft Crimes, White Collar Crimes, Minor in Possession, Minor in Consumption, Burglary, Reckless Driving, Disorderly Conduct, Violation of Restraining Orders, Prostitution, Sex Crimes, Homicide and Murder. He has a track record for zealously defending each and every client and has achieved successful outcomes in countless cases over the course of his career.

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According to a report in the Arizona Daily Star (11/11/13), the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) intends to begin a campaign in January to crack down on drivers who are distracted by texting or otherwise using their cell phones while behind the wheel. DPS spokesman Bart Graves highlighted the recent death of DPS officer Tim Huffman, who was allegedly killed earlier this year by a driver of a semi-truck who was distracted by his cell phone. Although our State Legislature has rejected previous attempts at regulating cell phone usage while driving, DPS plans to cite driver's under Arizona Revised Statute §28-701– Speed Not Reasonable and Prudent:

A. A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing. A person shall control the speed of a vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with any object, person, vehicle or other conveyance on, entering or adjacent to the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to exercise reasonable care for the protection of others.

This is a civil traffic violation and the penalties for civil traffic speeding violations include 3 points against your driver's license and a maximum fine of $250 (plus surcharges).

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According to a recent report in The State Press (8/21/13), Tempe police officers began increasing their patrols with the start of the fall semester at ASU. They have launched a task force – Operation Safe and Sober – which will include saturation patrols around campus and surrounding areas in Tempe, beginning August 15 and continuing through the end of the month. Tempe police officers will be on the lookout for minors consuming alcohol, driver's under the influence of alcohol (or drugs), out-of-control parties and other related criminal violations. Their goal is to try and send a message to students early in the school year in an effort to help alleviate potential trends in these types of activities. The Tempe Police Department will also be working the night DUI task force with officers from other agencies, including MCSO, Scottsdale PD, Gilbert PD, Mesa PD and ASU PD. In addition to DUI and party patrols, officers will also focus on traffic violations, aimed primarily at pedestrians and bicyclists. While warnings will be issued during the first week of school for traffic violations, officers will begin strict enforcement of alcohol related violations right away.

Since the launch of Operation Safe and Sober, Tempe PD reported 371 arrests during the first week and another 486 arrests during week two of the campaign. Of the 371 arrests during the first week, there were 111 Minor in Possession of Alcohol arrests, 91 DUI arrests, 17 Extreme DUI arrests, 14 DUI-Drugs arrests, 6 Underage DUI arrests, 2 Aggravated DUI arrests and 54 calls for loud parties, among other various arrests. Arrests during the second week of the campaign include 208 for Minors in Possession of Alcohol, 85 for DUI, 68 calls for loud parties, and 14 for Minors, under the age of 18, in possession of alcohol.

Tempe PD has also incorporated an educational facet to this campaign and has been talking with students regarding alcohol, laws and safety measures.

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The Firm recently prevailed in defense litigation on a case involving a driving on suspended/revoked driver's license violation. Through its case investigation, the defense discovered a violation of the defendant's Fourth Amendment Rights (unlawful seizure of evidence) and moved for a suppression of this evidence. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that persons shall be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures, and in this case the defense was able to successfully argue that the client's constitutional rights had been violated. The State subsequently dismissed the case.

The Firm represents individuals in all types of criminal proceedings throughout the greater Phoenix area, including cases involving driving on a suspended or revoked driver's license. There are a variety of reasons why a person's driver's license may be suspended or revoked (according to the AZ Department of Motor Vehicles), which can include:

  • Refusal to submit to a field sobriety test or other test to detect a person driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Failure to pay civil penalties for traffic violations, moving violations, or speeding tickets.
  • Being at fault in an accident that causes serious injury or death to another person.
  • Reckless driving.
  • Violating traffic laws so often that the state considers you to have "disrespect for traffic laws and a disregard for the safety of other persons."
  • Using a driver's license illegally.

Suspensions resulting from these types of offenses can last from months to years and depend upon the severity of the situation. Once a person has lost his/her driving privileges, it is considered a crime to drive until the license has been reinstated. According to the Arizona Revised Statutes, § 28-3473 (A) "Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a person who drives a motor vehicle on a public highway when the person's privilege to drive a motor vehicle is suspended, revoked, canceled or refused or when the person is disqualified from driving is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. If the suspension is pursuant to section 28-1601 and the person presents to the court evidence that the person's privilege to drive has been reinstated, the court may dismiss the charge of driving under a suspended driver license."

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According to recent media reports, this year's DUI task force arrests exceeded last year's numbers both in the number of people arrested as well as in the average blood-alcohol levels (BAC) of those arrested, compared to previous years. There were 559 people arrested for DUIs over the Memorial Day weekend, up from 547 in 2012 and the average BAC level was .153 – almost twice the legal limit of .08. Of the 559 DUI arrests, 148 of those were charged with "Extreme DUI", meaning their BAC was believed to be at 0.15 or greater. The biggest difference between a regular (non-extreme) 1st Time DUI is the increased jail time (1 day for a Non-Extreme DUI or 30 days for an Extreme DUI) as well as the increased financial penalties for an Extreme DUI.

Other DUI arrests over the Memorial Day weekend included 103 drug-related DUI's, which exceeds the annual totals over the past five years. You can be charged with DUI-Drugs if any sign of a prohibited substance is detected by forensic testing in the crime lab. It is important to note that the crime lab may detect the substance even if the drugs were ingested over a week earlier. Because Arizona permits prosecution upon a finding of the metabolite of a prohibited substance, and because metabolites will remain in the system long after the active ingredient has dissipated, the time frame for acquiring necessary evidence for prosecution can be quite lengthy.

The number of Aggravated DUI arrests this Memorial Day weekend totaled 60 which was a slight decrease over the past few years. A person can be charged with Aggravated DUI under various circumstances, such as, your driver's license was suspended or revoked at the time of the DUI arrest, you had a minor child under the age of 15 in the car at the time of the DUI arrest, or this is your third DUI in a 7 year period. The minimum incarceration time if convicted of an Aggravated DUI is four months in the Arizona Department of Corrections (prison).

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