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If you are facing criminal misdemeanor charges in the Scottsdale City Court or one of the Maricopa County Justice Courts in Scottsdale, especially if this is the first time you have ever been involved in the criminal court system, you may be wondering what to expect during misdemeanor court proceedings.

Misdemeanor cases are handled in either the Scottsdale City Court or one of the nearby Justice Courts – McDowell Mountain Justice Court and Desert Ridge Justice Court. The procedures are generally the same, although some rules may vary slightly from one court to another. When you hire a Scottsdale Criminal Defense Attorney, the first legal documents your attorney will typically file on your behalf will include a Notice of Appearance and a Motion for Discovery. The Notice of Appearance informs the court and assigned prosecutor that your attorney will be appearing with you at all future court dates. The Motion for Discovery is filed so that your attorney can obtain all discovery materials from the assigned prosecuting agency.

Arraignment

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Arizona Revised Statute 28-1321(A) defines Arizona's implied consent law. Just like in many other states, drivers in Arizona as obligated to provide a certain level of cooperation when they are arrested for suspected drunk driving. Statute 28-1321(A) outlines what this cooperation should be in regard to the blood alcohol content (BAC) tests.

If a law enforcement officer has arrested you for reasonable suspicion of drunk driving, then you are legally required to take a blood, urine, or breathalyzer test to determine your BAC. These tests have to be taken within two hours from when you were driving. Breathalyzer tests can usually be taken right on the side of the road, but blood and urine tests need to be administered by a medical professional at a nearby hospital.

If a driver refuses to take a BAC test, they will face penalties:

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With a vibrant night life, college town atmosphere and a variety of bars and restaurants – Tempe is a great town to enjoy an abundance of activities. With ASU at the heart of the city, and the party atmosphere along Mill Avenue, this also means law enforcement has a noticeable presence, particularly on weekends, holidays and during festival weekends and other high traffic times throughout the year. One of Tempe Police Department's annual campaigns is the "Safe and Sober Campaign" which typically begins at the start of the fall semester at ASU and runs for about 8 weeks. The primary focus is the enforcement of liquor laws such as Underage DUI and Felony DUI, but also includes educating folks about bicycle and pedestrian safety and enforcing party ordinances. If you are charged with an alcohol violation in Tempe, it is critical to consult with an experienced DUI attorney as Arizona is one of the toughest states as far as penalties are concerned.

While many DUI charges are classified as misdemeanors in the State of Arizona, there are some circumstances which can result in DUI charges being classified as a felony, or 'Aggravated DUI'. If you are charged with a felony DUI in Tempe, your case will be filed in Maricopa County Superior Court. Misdemeanor DUI cases in Tempe are generally filed in the Tempe Municipal Court (if Tempe Police Department was the arresting agency) or the University Lakes Justice Court (if ASU Police Department was the arresting agency). The primary factors in felony Aggravated DUI charges include:

Class 4 Felony:

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The weather is warming up in Phoenix which means surrounding lakes are filling up with valley residents looking for a place to cool down. Valley lakes are a popular place for residents to recreate and take part in water activities, including boating, jet skiing, fishing, paddle boarding, beach side barbecuing, hiking and just enjoying the scenery. A popular lake for east valley residents is Saguaro Lake which is just northeast of Mesa and easy to access from Scottsdale and Phoenix as well. If you are headed out to Saguaro Lake, situated in the Tonto National Forest, you will need to purchase a daily pass to display in your vehicle ($6) plus a watercraft use fee ($4) for each watercraft you are taking out on the lake. These passes are not sold at the lake so be sure to purchase them beforehand either online or at various retail outlets on your way out to the lake. Additionally, if you plan to fish, be sure to check out fishing license requirements before heading out to the lake as well.

Finally, if you plan to consume alcohol during your outing at the lake, always be sure to designate a sober driver for boats and other motorized watercraft as well as for the drive back home. A fun day at the lake can quickly turn sour if you are arrested for a boating DUI, or more specifically – an OUI (Operating Under the Influence). If you are arrested for OUI on Saguaro Lake, the arresting agency will likely be the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) – Lake Patrol Unit, and you will likely be cited into the North Mesa Justice Court (for misdemeanor OUI charges) or the Maricopa County Superior Court (for felony OUI charges). If you are facing OUI charges, they are treated very similar to a regular DUI, and it is imperative to seek competent legal counsel before making any decisions in your case.

Misdemeanor OUI Charges

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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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Please celebrate responsibly and enjoy a safe and happy New Year's Eve! If you plan on drinking tonight, make transportation plans ahead of time for the safety of yourself and other drivers on the roadways. There are plenty of options to ensure a safe arrival home at the end of the night, including taxi or limo service, Uber or a designated driver. In addition, AAA Tipsy Tow service is once again offering a free (10-mile) tow and ride home – call 1-800-AAA-HELP between 6PM Dec. 31st and 6AM Jan. 1st https://www.az.aaa.com/news/automotive/tipsytow. Also, check out Valley Metro as they are teaming up with Coors Light to provide free rides on bus, light rail and ADA Dial-a-Ride services beginning at 7PM on New Year's Eve. See more at: http://www.valleymetro.org/landing_page/freerides/.

If you do find yourself being charged with a DUI, it is critical to seek the advice of competent legal counsel as soon as possible. Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country and if convicted, the penalties include significant fees, fines, mandatory incarceration, alcohol counseling, potential for increased insurance premiums, ignition interlock requirements, probation, possible vehicle impoundment, license suspension, and other unanticipated consequences.

The penalties are typically harsher the higher your blood alcohol content (BAC) and can also be harsher when certain 'aggravating' factors are involved, such as having a minor child (under the age of 15) in the car, having a suspended/revoked driver's license, or having multiple DUI convictions at the time of the DUI stop. At a minimum, the penalties for a First Time DUI with a BAC of .08-.15% can include up to 6 months in jail, a $2,500 fine (with 84% surcharge) plus additional fees, a 90-day to 1 year driver's license suspension, ignition interlock requirement, mandatory alcohol screening and counseling, probation and potential for increased insurance, among other consequences. Extreme DUI (BAC of .15-.20%) and Super Extreme DUI (BAC > .20%) result in even harsher penalties including increased jail time, higher fees/fines, vehicle impoundment, license suspension, and other penalties. If there are 'aggravating' circumstances involved at the time you are stopped, you will likely be charged with a Class 4 or Class 6 Felony DUI. Aggravating circumstances, as previously mentioned, can include having a minor child in the car, having multiple prior DUI convictions or driving without a valid driver's license (i.e. suspended/revoked). As you can imagine, the more serious the circumstances and the higher your BAC, the harsher the penalties will be. The prison term for an Aggravated DUI conviction can be anywhere from 4-months up to several years. The fees and fines are substantially higher for felony DUI's, as are other penalties, including longer license suspension, increased insurance premiums, probation, classes and other unanticipated consequences.

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We have recently discussed both initial and pretrial hearings in a DUI cases, and while many cases can be resolved during the pretrial phase of a case (or even earlier in some cases), there are various circumstances where a DUI case is set for trial. The thought of trial can be very nerve-wracking for many reasons, but understanding what to expect once a case is set for trial can possibly alleviate some of these concerns. Prior to the day of trial, you will likely have what is usually referred to as a Trial Management Conference or a Calendar Call.

Trial Management Conference

A Trial Management Conference is a final conference that precedes a jury trial. In misdemeanor courts it is often called a ‘calendar call’. Regardless of the name given, the purpose of the hearing is for the attorneys, you and the assigned judge to discuss final attempts at settlement, and to discuss any legal issues that may be relevant to the upcoming trial once it is determined that settlement will not occur. A Trial Management Conference can also be an opportunity for the court to rule on substantive pretrial motions that have been filed by your attorney. This can include judicial rulings on Motions to Dismiss, Motions to Suppress, and other pre-trial motions arguing procedural defenses. This is an important hearing as it may be your last opportunity for a successful resolution short of a trial. Thus, it is important that you work with your attorney in a collaborative effort to prepare for the Trial Management Conference so that you may achieve your litigation objectives.

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https://www.crim-law.info/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/DSCN0489-1500-ffccccccWhite-3333-0.20.3-1.pngIn a recent blog posting, we discussed the initial hearings in DUI cases and what to expect early on in a DUI prosecution. After the initial hearings, a DUI case will be set for various pretrial hearings with opportunities for case settlement at any point during this phase of the DUI court process. Ultimately, if a settlement agreement (or dismissal) is not achieved during pretrial proceedings, your case will likely proceed to trial. What can you expect during the pretrial phase of your Scottsale DUI case and what are the different types of pretrial hearings you can anticipate in the DUI court process? If you were stopped in Scottsdale and charged with DUI, which courthouse will you need to appear at?

To answer the question regarding location of your court appearance, it will depend upon which law enforcement agency cited you and whether you are being charged with Misdemeanor DUI or Felony DUI. If you were stopped by the Scottsdale Police Department and cited for a misdemeanor DUI, you will likely be appearing in the Scottsdale City Court. If you were stopped by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) or Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), you will likely be appearing in one of the Scottsdale Justice Court Precincts – either the Arcadia Biltmore Justice Court, the Desert Ridge Justice Court, or the Dreamy Draw Justice Court. If you are facing felony DUI charges in Scottsdale then you will likely be appearing in the Maricopa County Superior Court / Southeast Facility, at least for your initial hearings. Your case could be transferred to the Maricopa County Superior Court / Downtown if it’s not resolved in the early stages of the court process. You will need to refer to your traffic ticket, summons, or other court paperwork you received to determine the exact location, date and time of your first court appearance.

A Pre-Trial Conference is a court hearing where your attorney will have an opportunity to discuss your case with the prosecutor. On many occasions an initial plea offer will be extended by the government at the first Pre-Trial Conference. Except for the most unusual of circumstances, it is normally best not to enter into a plea agreement at your first Pre-Trial Conference simply because there has not been sufficient time to investigate your case to develop a criminal defense strategy. Nor has there been sufficient time, at the first Pre-Trial Conference, to really make a determination of the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecutor’s case. Most of the time, especially in misdemeanor courts, you will probably want to have at least three Pre-Trial Conferences (about 90 days) to allow for an appropriate amount of time to consult with legal counsel. This should be sufficient time to develop a Defense Investigation Outline, and to conduct a proper defense investigation of your case. This process will allow you an opportunity to identify the strongest legal and factual defenses available to you.

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