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Articles Posted in Felony DUI

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Felony Case Progression in Pinal County Superior Court

If you have been arrested in Casa Grande, San Tan Valley, Florence, Apache Junction, the City of Maricopa, Town of Superior, or any other city/town in Pinal County, you may be wondering what to expect going forward. If you were arrested and told that you are being charged with a felony crime, your case will likely end up in the Pinal County Superior Court, if you were arrested by a state agency – whether it was Casa Grande Police, Maricopa Police, Florence Police, Apache Junction Police, Pinal County Sheriff's Office, Arizona Department of Public Safety, or any other city/town police agency. This Firm has significant experience in handling all types of felony crimes, including (but not limited to) – Aggravated Assault, Aggravated DUI, Disorderly Conduct, Drug Crimes, Probation Violations, Theft, Weapons Violations, Fraud, Forgery, Domestic Violence, Homicide, 1st Degree Murder and many other felony offenses. Mr. Buckallew is aBoard Certified Criminal/DUI Defense Attorney (certified by the State Bar of Arizona). Contact the Firm today for a free evaluation of your case.

Felony Criminal Investigation

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If you were arrested for a misdemeanor DUI in Scottsdale, you will likely be cited into the Scottsdale Municipal Court, located at 3700 N. 75th Street in Scottsdale, AZ. You may also be cited into the McDowell Mountain Justice Court or the Desert Ridge Justice Court if you were stopped along the 101 Highway – both of these courts are located at 18380 N. 40th Street in Phoenix, AZ. Scottsdale Felony DUI complaints are filed in the Maricopa County Superior Court – Southeast Facility, located at 222 East Javelina Drive in Mesa, AZ.

Investigating and litigating DUI cases can be complex, and if you plan to hire an attorney, it is important to find one who has experience in defending these types of cases. While there are many potential defenses in a DUI case, this discussion will focus primarily on "Factual Defenses" which may be advanced in your case.

What are "Factual Defenses"? Factual defenses can be quite complicated in DUI cases due to the large amount of scientific evidence that is normally involved in prosecuting these cases. A more specific (and more complicated) discussion of various factual defenses arising in the context of breath and blood evidence will be covered in future blog articles. Here, we will limit our discussion to a general overview of the categories of potential factual defenses that may arise in a given DUI case. Some of the more common defenses which may arise in the context of a DUI case include:

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St. Patrick's Day is one of the biggest drinking days of the year and with that brings increased law enforcement by DUI Task Force teams across the valley. Officers in both Tempe and Scottsdale were out in force on Sunday, primarily focusing on the downtown areas, but also in surrounding neighborhoods throughout these cities. Officers believe that an increased presence of law enforcement will prevent injuries and death, like the ones that occurred earlier this week in Tempe when two allegedly impaired drivers killed one individual and sent another to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. In one incident, the driver was allegedly speeding, ran a red light, and struck another vehicle, whose driver ended up in the hospital. The suspect is under investigation for drug-related impaired driving. In the other incident, a 21-year old female was killed after being struck on her motorcycle by a 32-year female, who, according to Maricopa County Superior Court records, registered blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.137 percent (breathalyzer test) and also had her 9- and 12- year old children in the car. She is facing multiple felony charges, including Aggravated DUI with Passenger(s) Under the Age of 15 – Class 6 Felony; Aggravated DUI – Driving on a Suspended/Revoked Driver's License – Class 4 Felony; Manslaughter – Class 2 Felony; and Endangerment – Class 6 Felony.

The maximum penalty for a first time Aggravated DUI can include: Incarceration in the Arizona Department of Corrections for 3.75 years, a 3-year license revocation and a maximum fine of $150,000.00 plus 84% surcharge. The minimum penalty in these cases often requires: a minimum mandatory 4 months in the Arizona Department of Corrections, up to 10 years of probation, 3 year license revocation, $750.00 fine plus surcharge, $250.00 DUI abatement fund, $1,500.00 prison construction fee, $1,500.00 state general fund, and an ignition interlock device. The prison term can be increased to 8 months minimum if the person has a total of 3 or more prior DUI convictions in an 84 month period. While the penalties upon conviction of an Aggravated DUI charge are onerous, of much greater concern in the case involving the death of the other driver is the manslaughter charge. If convicted, the sentencing range for a Class 2 Felony is 3 years (mitigated term) and up to 12.75 years (aggravated term) – with a presumptive term of 5 years in the AZ Department of Corrections.

If you have been charged with any DUI violation, involving alcohol and/or drugs, and any other related charges such as Endangerment or Manslaughter, it is critical to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Firm represents individuals in Tempe, Scottsdale and throughout the Phoenix area. A competent criminal defense attorney will be able to advise you on the many possible defenses in a criminal and DUI case, including – procedural defenses, factual defenses and other legal and substantive defenses. Procedural Defenses can include any number of issues, such as: Tainted Confessions, Miranda, Involuntary Statements, Unlawful Search, Unlawful Seizure, and many others. Factual Defenses can be quite complicated in DUI cases due to the large amount of scientific evidence that is normally involved in prosecuting these cases. However, some of the more common factual defenses in a DUI case may include: Invalidity, inaccuracy, or insufficiency of the results of the testing method; Mechanical or operating defects of the vehicle; License not suspended, or had no personal knowledge of the suspended license (for felony cases), and many other possible defenses.

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In Arizona an Aggravated Assault is a simple assault that is enhanced by the unique nature of the facts of the case. An assault can become aggravated if it results in serious physical injury, a weapon is used, the assault causes a fracture or temporary loss of use of a bodily organ or function, or if the victim is under 15 and the aggressor is over 18. Aggravated assault can also occur if one commits a simple assault upon certain protected classes such as police officers, firefighters, teachers, correctional officers, health care providers, code enforcement officers, park rangers, prosecutors or court appointed attorneys.

Some of the more common types of Aggravated Assaults include assaults that result in serious injury, result in a fracture or where a weapon was used – including a car. For example, if a person is involved in a car accident while impaired, which results in injury to another, the charge will normally be Aggravated Assault (as opposed to DUI). Under this theory of prosecution the vehicle becomes the weapon/dangerous instrument.

To add more complexity to this already complicated statutory scheme the government can add allegations of "dangerousness" to the charge. If the offense involves any type of weapon or dangerous instrument (including a car) the Aggravated Assault will be alleged to be a "dangerous" crime which then means if a person is convicted, the penalty is mandatory imprisonment, and the length of that prison sentence is enhanced as compared to a non-dangerous crime. "Dangerous" crimes are not probation eligible, but can become probation eligible if the "Dangerous" allegation is dismissed – a common strategy in plea negotiations.

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New South Court Tower in Phoenix

The long awaited Maricopa County Superior Court South Court Tower is now open, having held its grand opening on the day of Arizona's centennial celebration – February 14, 2012. The new court tower is located at 175 West Madison Street in Downtown Phoenix, just south of the main courthouse on Jefferson, with a skywalk connecting the two courthouses. The downtown Superior Court has been bursting at the seams for several years, as many criminal court Judges have been relocated from the Maricopa County South East Facility to the downtown facility in the past couple of years, as well as the simple fact that criminal cases have increased significantly in Maricopa County in the past decade.

The new 16-story South Court Tower currently has 22 courtrooms, houses the jury assembly area on the 1st floor and Clerk of the Court Criminal Exhibits on the 4th floor, along with Grand Jury Services. The offices of the County Attorney, Public Defender and Probation Department are located on the 2nd and 3rd Floors along with criminal courtrooms, including the Regional Court Center (RCC) and Early Disposition Court (EDC).

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There are a number of criminal offenses involving impaired driving, but due to the circumstances and severity of the situation, the government may pursue more serious charges than driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Some of these offenses include:

Normally, the more serious offenses listed above can include mandatory prison time if convicted. Therefore, it is imperative that you seek out competent criminal defense counsel and obtain legal representation immediately. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.

(Excerpt from 'Arizona DUI Criminal Traffic Defense Strategies', written by attorney Trent Buckallew. To receive your free copy of this book, you may submit your request here.)

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